Friday, September 5, 2008

Hot and Heavy... Chicago Heavyweight Championships


This weekend, UPA semi finalist GOAT will not defend their title at the Chicago Heavyweight Championship tournament. Thus, a new contender must emerge and seize the title, and earn the right to wear the belt.

Haven't used so many boxing phrases since the late 80's... you know.. when boxing was relevant and Larry Holmes was dropkicking opponents off of cars in the parking lot!

The tournament schedule is here and the tourney site is here. Clearly, there is still lots of talent among the 40 teams in the division. Given the amount of relative unknowns in the four elite pools, I think by the end of Saturday there could be some upsets. That is, teams note ranked first in their pool may be sitting in the quarterfinals come Sunday.

The only Canadian team making the trip down is Phoenix from Ottawa. It has been a wild season for the club, experiencing great highs in some tournaments and disappointing lows in others. This tournament will serve as both a tryout for new players and as a team primer for the sectionals and regionals tournaments that are quickly approaching.

On the women's side, there are many teams but few of the elite ones that will be in Sarosata in November. One team that I would definitely love to see is Showdown from Texas. A strong Chesapeake Open and the fact that these ladies are Texas girls is enough for me! Seriously, they could be an emerging team.

Friday predictions for the finals?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Should Throwers have a "Pitch Count"?


It seems like every single one of us, when we start this game and started to take it seriously, was instructed the very same advice by wiser/better players:

"If you want to improve your throws, go outside of practice and throw."

I also heard the following
  • If you want to get better at throwing, you have to throw as much as you can
  • You should emulate players before you who (allegedly) threw thousands of discs a week to improve
Hard to argue at the macro level. Practice and you will greatly increase your chances of getting better. Here comes the but...


I have the following issues with that advice that is given to so many players
  1. Practice doesn't necessarily make perfect, but it surely makes permanent. I see a lot of players learn less than optimal techniques for throwing, and then ingrain them into their throws. Players might be able to throw a lot less if they do it right.
  2. Face it, we're evolving as a sport. It's not just about throwing anymore, one has to improve their overall fitness in order to throw further and more accurately.
  3. Now that we have so many young players who start well before the age of maturity, I worry that the mechanics of throwing big throws in ultimate (the pulls, the flick bombs, and the huck)
The idea about youth and their throwing patterns comes to me as a result of another sport I am passionate about- baseball. I feel very alone cheering and watching baseball these days, but I always enjoy "experts" talking about managing young pitchers. We're talking about the young arms of the Oakland A's in the early 1980's. the Texas Rangers of the mid 80's the Chicago Cubs of this decade (See token Kerry Wood and Mark Prior picture) and the list goes on.

Do you know who Mike Norris, Edwin Correa, and Jeff D'Amico? Probably not. Mismanagement by coaches and managers cut short very promising baseball careers.

Baseball is very slow to change, but after witnessing the destruction of many young and talented arms before their respective times, baseball teams are realizing that they can't stay ignorant anymore- these young pitching stars are too valuable and costly.

I'm not saying that throwing a disc is nearly as tough on the body as throwing a baseball. However, with the amount of former players in the 30's who complain of shoulder and back problems, I wonder if our arms and bodies have only so many throws in them, and what we can do to increase our throwing lifespan. (core training, fitness, proper technique, etc). I also worry that if guys who started in their 20's are hurt in their 30's what kind of injuries can we expect from players who will have over ten year's experience by the time they reach university?

Do you think players (especially youth players) should have a "Throw Count" during practices and outside of games?