The Huddle online magazine is great for ultimate. Both in terms of quality and quantity of ultimate frisbee content.
One recent issue/theme was about role players. As a role player, this seems like yet another great issue idea.
Despite the fact that all of the authors are anything but role players in ultimate, I once again find the articles very good reads. They throw in some conventional wisdoms and the odd cliche, but generally their experiences in ultimate let them shed some tips that the readers (who want to improve in the game and want to hear from those that excel on the field) covet.
One of these articles got posted on my local leagues open forum. Charles Reznikoff's 'What Is A Role Player?' drew praise from a local aspiring player. Indeed, it is a good article, but for one major sentence that irked me.
One of my first captains saw me working tirelessly to fix my weaknesses. "Don't do that," he said. "Spend 70% of your energy improving your strengths." He was right. I'll never win a game jumping.
Huh? Let me get this straight. You're going to suggest to all aspiring players out there to ignore their own weaknesses and focus more on what you're already strong at.
This might work in baseball, where a player can focus on their offence or on their defence. Pitchers work more on their pitches However, ultimate is a HIGHLY organic game, where players have to do everything in order to play a point. You can't just play offence or defence. You can't just mark or jump.
There is a lot of good stuff to take from this article. However, if you're imparting advice or trying to determine how your team can improve its fate and the individual fate of its players, I want (as a guy that humbly tries to geek it up in the sport econ , sabrmetric and sport intelligence realms) to remind you of this:
- A sample size of you or your team isn't necessarily good enough to summarize what works and what doesn't
So please, get your role players to work on their weaknesses more than 30% of their practice time. Keep reading the huddle and listening to the stars, but remember to take their tips with a grain of salt.