Friday, April 4, 2008

Cross Country Check-Up: April 2008


Once a month, I hope to have a post dedicated to the burning ultimate questions facing the major teams and players across the land.

If you have any questions or stories to share... or can provide the answers to a question feel free to post to this thread each month.
East Coast

  • When does Newfoundland send a team to nationals?
  • When does PEI register in a major tournament?
  • Can Red Circus (Halifax) recover from the major losses of Ramsay Wright and Brad Callaghan?
  • Will a team from New Brunswick pose any challenge nationally?
  • Is Q (open, Quebec city) dead? Do they help form a co-ed team destined to medal?
  • Which Montreal open B team is better- Magma or the newly formed Demon (Mephistio affiliate)?
  • Why the hell did Camelot (Montreal, coed) walk away from coed in a worlds year, when they did some well at Nationals 2006?
  • Where is Lorne Beckman this summer?
  • When is the Storm (women's) calender coming out?
  • Does Sherbrooke continue to improve?

Mephisto Versus GOAT- Nats Final 2006
Source: George Ghiz
  • How does GOAT stay motivated within its own borders?
  • Who is better in women's- Stella (Ottawa) or Toronto's Lotus?
  • Does Anne Mercier plays worlds in coed with friends or women's? Does she rebound from a subpar Nationals 2007 final?
  • How good is Ottawa open? Is the Toronto talent drain plugged?
  • Did Tombstone make the right Worlds roster decision(s)?
  • How badly will Grand Trunk miss Peter Jamieson?
  • Will Too Bad qualify for nationals?
Savvy Justine Price Source:
  • Will Mangina be better or worse? Will they get a website?
  • Will General Strike medal at nationals?
  • Will this be Calgary's year in open? How long is the window of opportunity?
  • Does Edmonton play open at nationals, and how good will they be?
  • What happens to Team Alberta (women's) this year?
British Columbia
  • Furious George
    • Who joins them for worlds?
    • Can they repeat?
    • Do they go to worlds and win?
    • Do they go to nationals?
  • Traffic
    • Are they Canada's best women's team?
    • Can they beef up and take down the US?
  • Team Fisher Price
    • Do they pick up the right players for Worlds?
    • Can they stay healthy?
    • Are they too young to win worlds?
  • Can Blackfish be as good as last year without Matt Cole
  • Is Victoria a force at nats? Do they appear?
  • What city emerges at nationals outside of Vancouver/Victoria?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

To be Coached or not to be Coached... that is my poll question!


First it was captains. Someone needed to organize rides and collect money
Then it was player coaches. You can't expect them to sit on the sidelines all weekend
Then it was youth and college coaches. So much to teach.

Coaches for club teams.

It's a trend that's growing. First it was the injured player, the boyfriend of the female star captain, or the retired star. These people were really managers in leaders clothing. Now we're actually seeing strategic people being brought in with a background in player development and/or real world leadership experience.

"Flanders"! (Source: Wikipedia)

I've played for a good coach for several years, and although I have never been a favorite (probably for good reason) I think my team and myself are much better for it. Having a coach has many advantages and perhaps disadvantages:

  • One voice
  • Knowledge from a good coach can make a greater difference on ultimate teams (given the sport and the level of play/expertise) than more mature sports. For example, the expertise of a great mlb baseball manager can affect his team by +- 5-10 games. I hypothesize ultimate teams can get much more improvement.
  • Organized practices
  • Sober second though during games from someone not in the state of physical exhaustion
  • Someone who has no bias to play time
  • Coaches can last longer than players.. so it adds continuity to a team/program
  • Good coaches are hard to find
  • Good leaders are even more scarce in every walk of life
  • Athletes have a very tough time figuring out what kind of coach they need, as opposed to what they want
  • Coaches are rarely appreciated or safe in volunteer positions from politics and conventional wisdom
What's your preference? For club teams, should the leadership structure be
  • Coach?
  • Player Coach?
  • Player Captain(s)?
  • Captain(s)?
  • Other?

We're talking bout Tryouts..


I've been really sick with the flu since my birthday on the 15th. If anyone has some remedies, send them my way.

Really sorry for the lack of posts, and sorry to my teammates for missing workouts.
Tryouts are a very important part of the season. It's a chance to bring new talent into a team or system, and it is a time of commitment for all wafflers. I used to dread these things, but now all I want to do is pass the Andy Stewart fitness component of tryouts which threatens to consume us all in Ottawa. :)

A lot of people can't stop talking about tryouts at this time of year. This is the only time in my life I'll paraphrase Allen Iverson:

I mean listen, we're sitting here talking about tryouts, not a game, not a tournament, not a final, but we're talking about tryouts. Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game as if it's my last but we're talking about tryouts man. How silly is that?

Scotty Westwell Helps Mephisto Player get into the Endzone
Photo Source: and Carl Sharpe

Iverson and I differ greatly on the value of practice. However, we might be able to agree on the overhype of tryouts in ultimate.

To all of you who live in big ultimate cities and go through the big tryout process, I offer these words: Relax! It seems like such a big deal when you are with your ultimate friends, but it's really not.

You'll also get tons of advice for tryouts. "Keep it simple" or "You have to make big plays on defense/offense." The only consistent theme will be the inconsistency. Do I try to make big plays, or do I try to do the little things?

You'll either fit into a role or a need, or you won't.

And to those of you who can play for any team and have your spots locked up, well done. But I'd like to challenge those players to be better than what they currently are. It's so easy for the best player on a team to stop setting benchmarks and pushing further. You can get away with it because you're better than your team, and they don't want to lose you. I don't care what your entourage of hype says, there isn't a player in Ultimate who couldn't be better at the game or as an athlete. Don't wait until a major injury to find out how vulnerable your "untouchable" status is.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Clothing in Ultimate- Part Two


Mr Haig brought up a very valid point regarding my last post. I created a poll asking for the best clothing company in ultimate, and I made a few errors. I didn't articulate exactly what I meant by "best" and I failed to mention a lot of ultimate specific companies (Breakmark, Fiveultimate, Daredevil, etc).

What I was really getting at was: Who will/do you want to do business with this year?

I fear that although the consumer wants to reward our ultimate businesses, we're finding it increasingly hard. The sport is getting bigger, and it is becoming increasingly more attractive to the larger non ultimate companies. More importantly, we're experiencing/hearing about many ultimate businesses which are not doing good business:
  • Poor choice and style (Anyone tired of seeing the same mesh hats??)
  • High prices and price gouging
  • Poor quality
  • Lack of communication
  • Slow delivery times, Not honoring coupons, subscriptions or orders
  • Lack of exposure and sincerity to help ultimate
With that list, how can the consumer be expected to "support the community"?

I've pointed out the bad. Hopefully other readers will be able to share some good stories about good service. Or start vocalizing what's wrong with our ultimate business.


Daredevil Discs and Apparel