Over at the DiscNW.org Message Boards, there’s an interesting thread developing about the future of Youth Ultimate in Seattle.
Mike Mullen, along with Joe Bisignano, both Ultimate coaches at the Northwest School, are proposing a possible split between the Youth Ultimate leagues in Seattle and DiscNW, the organization that has ran and maintained the leagues for years.
After reading through the thread and its long responses, the one thing that became apparent to me is this: DiscNW may be unwisely frittering away the best thing they have.
If there is one thing that DiscNW needs to hold on to as tightly as they possibly can it is Youth Ultimate. It is a shining beacon for the sport, for the Spirit of the Game. There is no greater example of kids who play at the highest levels competition and with so much respect and regard for their teammates and opponents than the kids in Seattle.
The Youth scene in Seattle is a bastion of champions. From MoHo to the Northwest School, from Asa Mercer Middle School to the YCC teams, you couldn’t be prouder of their performances. Not to mention the kids who graduate to the club scene and win National Championships with Sockeye and Riot and Shazam.
Youth though—not Sockeye or Riot—is the crown jewel of Seattle Ultimate and deserves to be the centerpiece of DiscNW’s mission. If not, Mike Mullen might be right; it might be necessary for Youth Ultimate in Seattle to be lead by people who value its importance.
Another upgrade to The Huddle we have made recently is to ensure that the site looks and functions well for mobile devices, in particular the iPhone and the iPod Touch.
We’ve removed links to RSS feeds and sections of Flash video, which are rendered functionally obsolete by MobileSafari’s constraints. We will also be fine tuning the size of the site to make sure the site continues to be legible.
If you have any suggestions of how to improve The Huddle on the iPhone, please let us know.
Kevin from Jacksonville, Florida writes in regarding our most recent issue on catching:
Granted, pretty much everyone understands the value in stretching out with the claw grab, but I think what often gets missed are the more intrinsic values in the grab. For one, to get the D, in addition to having to extend that much further, the defender pretty much has to go through your hands to get the disc. It takes a pretty spectacular play to get that little piece of the disc that is available without getting the receiver’s hand.
The other element that I think doesn’t get touched on nearly enough is how little the pancake grab translates to other catching elements, while the claw works for everything. Layout grabs? Almost always a claw grab. Personally, I’m not gutsy enough to try a pancake-layout grab. Skies? One handed claw grab. Low shoestring catches are the claw. Attacking a hammer instead of a basket (which is usually necessary unless the defense gives it to you) is a claw grab. So the more practice you get, the more muscle memory you get, and the faster you can get your reaction speed on your hands closing, the more it improves your all around catching ability, as opposed to practicing a pancake which really builds up one, very specific skill.
I had the blessing (or curse) of playing offense with Timmy Halt on Machine. He can throw a flick faster than anyone I’ve ever seen, and at first it caused a great deal of drops for me. The thing would come in so hard and fast that my hands literally could not close fast enough to hold on to it. Eventually, I was able to start catching his bullets, and I think it came from three basic areas.
1, Asking anyone and everyone to throw hard at me, especially on in-cuts. Disc traveling fast, plus Kebo traveling fast in the opposite direction combines for a high speed at the catching point.
2. I started carrying a disc everywhere. I have a disc in every room of the house, in the car, and at work. And any time I have down time, I do little wrist-tosses to myself, switching hands. Eventually I got to where I’m not even really looking directly at the disc, and it gets the hands used to the idea of closing the instant the disc hits.
3. Lifting weights. Doing arm and chest exercises while focusing on grip really helps build hand and forearm strength. That strength translates into grip on the disc, tight grip means less drops. A lot of players do the lifting, but not nearly as many focus on gripping properly and tightly, and so miss out on a valuable element of the exercise.
We would like to thank Kevin for his first-class, thoughtful response to our most recent issue. While we may not have typical comments for our magazine or this weblog, we do appreciate any and all feedback and responses from our readers. These sorts of responses raise the level of discussion, and we encourage everyone to participate.
Today I got around to one of the many improvements on a long list of improvements we have for The Huddle. Today we introduce our new print stylesheet.
Now if you go to print an article from our site, you will be met by a printer-friendly, text-based document, without any of the navigational or graphic clutter that puts a strain on pricey ink cartridges.
This should make it easier for players or coaches or captains to print out articles, and save the reading for later or make copies to pass out to an entire team (which we not only allow but encourage).
Hopefully this makes your experience with The Huddle all that more enjoyable.
An interview with Sam Terry, coach of the Asa Mercer Middle School Ultimate team in Seattle, was broadcast yesterday on Sound Focus, a show on KUOW, the Seattle NPR affiliate. He discusses how he came to be the coach at Asa Mercer, the sorts of changes he has seen in his players, and how Spirit of the Game has influenced them.
Running time is nine minutes eleven seconds.