Thursday, April 17, 2008

Getting the Stars to Buy In- Strategic Deployment


If you want to have a post with a lot of discussion, talk about college! This post is more general, and thus I estimate will receive less posts.

One of the things I have seen over the years in ultimate is the insistence of star players to play games and points that are not meaningful. Unless they are hurt, sun stroked or already dehydrated and tired, it seems every great player wants to play every o point and every d point during a tournament.
Ian Graham-2006 CUC
Source: Ultypics/Cory Berhout

Just to ensure you understand my focus here, I'm NOT talking about bad line calling. That happens a lot in our fair sport, where we see great teams completely fail to utilize a roster full of talent when it matters most. I'm simply talking about the overuse/overplaying of star players and how that can/should be corrected.

We all love teammates who want to play every point. I would say that these ultimate players are doing it to try and help the team and because they love to play, not for ego and selfish reasons. No one needs to pad their stats in ultimate because we don't really take them.. yet. (insert evil laugh here).

I think we all want to play every point at the onset of a tournament, but realities of the strategically inclined soon set in. There are Saturday match ups where your less than great players should play and win some games for you. Every point that you can save your best on Saturday and early Sunday is going to improve your chances on sunday afternoon glory this spring, summer and fall.

You don't know what kind of battle you'll face the next day, just that you'll be fighting. So save your ammo.

And please, stop the "I need my reps" and "I'll get out of sync if I sit off". All players should be properly ready with practice during the weeks and proper tournament day warm ups.

More and more teams have rosters of 25-30 guys/gals per tournament, and the majority of these players think that they aren't getting enough play time. We're always trying to cater to our best players for fear of anger/frustration, but teams have to realize that their best players may not know what's best for their bodies and the team's chances. The road to he$$ is paved with good intentions.. and so on.

Contrast this to other sports, and you'd be surprised to see the mentality of top athletes. Preserving for when they need it most and managing themselves to extract top results is just business.

With an influx of coaches on club teams, you'll start to see better roster management. Not only will stars be better rested, but role players will have a clear role and can enter Sunday knowing they contributed the day before and should be involved on the sideline and on the field as needed.

Selling the best players on this idea will be the hardest part. Ideas?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Defending my Opponents


I haven't had much free time since my birthday last month. The sheer fact that I'm writing at 1:21 am says it all about my work day length. I don't read much in terms ultimate blogs or threads. I honestly can't wait to catch up after my big Olympic Accred deadline tomorrow. That and start the long training road to peaking at nationals.

When I get free time, I read the best I know. (Jeters, Polish Prince, Jimmy P, etc). Looking at Peter Jamieson's site, I see a lot of great posts lately, and one topic seems particularly hotly contested.

Toronto has won two consecutive national university titles. Other teams are a little frustrated with their run. They don't like the fact that U of T has used the CUPA university rules to their advantage. Two national crowns, yet only one sectionals qualification in UPA college series, which lead to disqualification. Elite Club Ringers and questions of true player development within the system threaten to undermine recognition of Tula's accomplishments.

Is this fair?

I say no. I have every reason to be bitter. I helped build Western from bare foot to contender during the time of UofT's run, and I think their team was the only team to eliminate us from regionals and nationals playoffs during my masters. We also had as many UPA regional qualifications as they have, and yet we had only 2-5 players who used summer club teams as way to get better. As captain trying to lead a team full of players who don't/never played a summer season of club ultimate, it's tough to "scheme" an entire line of GOAT players from York and U of T.


At this point I don't think they cheated during this time. I think the rules are flawed and they should be changed. Until so, I won't take away from those who use the rules better than others. I think all other captains might be hypocritical to do so.

I also think the program at U of T is a lot stronger today and in the future because of the work of PJ and the other strong players. It makes a big difference on and off the field to experience winning. If they failed to truly develop players outside of already made club players, they will feel it soon enough. If that is the case, TULA will go back to being %hitty.

You can't belittle titles by a schools because they operate in a big city and have more access to talent. Ottawa has the biggest supply of talent, and failed to use it for years for both schools/genders. Big cities haven't even started to exploit their resources to the fullest yet, so small towns/schools should be happy about that.

What can other schools do?
  • Lobby CUPA to change the University Nationals rules. No more public outcries and bit%hing, go straight to the powers that be.
  • Learn from the success of Toronto/UBC and adapt what is applicable
  • Have a good plan and stick to it
  • Find out the strengths of your school/city/team and cultivate them
  • Understand the stakes have been raised and find a way to get the edge (Fitness? Skill? Player Development? Depth? Hot ladies? Tactics?)
  • Develop transfer of knowledge systems that makes your team strong and continuous long after you're finishing your final exams in grad year.

UPA College Updates- Canadian Teams


Here's a quick post updating everyone on the weekend's latest sectional results (Thanks to Mooney, Haig et al for the updates on my last post)

Any other news?