28 January 2009

Elements of a ready stance

Following on from the previous post on the ready stance, I want to look at how to hold the disc.

There are many folks who have commented, discussed and taught grips. I have spouted my 2 cents: use the power grips.

But there is very little understanding of how to hold the disc, relative to the ground or the thrower's body.

In a forehand stance (i.e. facing towards your likely targets, usually with a forehand mark on), you could hold it a number of ways.

In a wide, blade stance like Dan (or Jeff). The disc face is roughly vertical.

Or in a wide, flat stance like Liz. This disc face is horizontal.

Or in front of your body, with two hands like Kristy.

Generally, I think the wide, blade stance is best (the first photo). It is ready to throw in an instant. It is easy to hold with one hand since the thumb and webbing support most of the weight (a horizontal disc needs to be held level by fingers working sideways - this flops around for many players). And it encourages throwing with a short, quick snap of the wrist rather than a big body and arm wind-up, which is preferable for any pass under 20 metres.

For a backhand, the grip is stronger, so the "flop" is less of an issue. Holding it wide is still key, whether it is one hand or two hands.

Let's get the new players ready to throw the first time they are taught ultimate. 

26 January 2009

Ready stance

Last weekend, the AFDA hosted a Coaching Development Course.

Idaho, from Sockeye, was the presenter for the weekend, and shared a range of concepts that he uses when coaching in Seattle.

One of them was the ready stance for a thrower - always having the disc ready to be released as soon as needed. This is useful if a cutter suddenly gets open, or the stall count reaches 9, or the marker starts bumping you. You can throw immediately.

Holding the disc with two hands by your waist - generally not good.

Having the disc out from your body in one hand - good.

This ties in with Idris' earlier point about not pivoting, unless there is a specific need to. Always be ready to throw.

23 January 2009


I've played ultimate in 10 countries, and I realised I have 5 more lined up to play in this year. So how many countries is it possible to play ultimate in?

WFDF has a list of member countries: basically a shortlist of where you can play ultimate on Earth.

Skimming through it, ultimate is more global than you realise...
Find out what turnyrai are on in Latvia Lithuania.
See photos of beach ultimate in Busan, South Korea.

Watch a video of Canada winning the World Championships - in a magazine.

Learn whether Gujarat defeated Tamilnadu in the final of India's 6th Senior National Flying Disc Championship. 

 Croatia's first ultimate team back in 2005 (including some Slovenians, Aussie Anita and me).

21 January 2009

Wanted: Defenders

Playing and watching games at Worlds, I saw a need for Australian senior teams to improve their defence. While the Junior Women were a defensive machine, due to well-thought out tactics and utilisation of players,  getting stops in the Open division, for instance, depends more heavily on winning one-on-one matchups.

You need to be able to put players on the field who can really pressure a thrower or cutter, or are are really effective at getting blocks. As an example, when the Dingos played their pool game vs USA, we scored regularly thanks to an athletic offence. But we only produce two turnovers from the opposition. That won't win you the game.

This is a call for us to develop the next generation of shutdown defenders and blockgetters.

What does the Australian landscape of defence look like? 

We have a culture of playing sport in this country.

We have good tactics. Many elite teams have a wide repertoire of man-on-man and junk defences.

We have athletes. We continue to recruit some very athletic people, either 6'4" aerial monsters or very speedy runners.

But there are some basic skills that don't appear often enough. Reading the cut of an offensive player. Guarding the dump. Running to the mark to prevent a huck. Not biting on a throwing fake. Spotting both where your man and the disc is, and where other players are. Not being deceived by a simple jab-step fake. Knowing how much or how little to turn your hips.

This is a call for existing coaches to develop these skills. And a call for more coaches.

19 January 2009

Get famous online

Have you got video footage of a tournament but aren't sure how to share it with a wider audience?

Shane at Asia Ultimate TV might be able to help. Asia Ultimate TV is online video, in regular episodes (similar to what Josh Seamon has done with audio podcasts at The Ultiverse). The episodes include game footage, interviews and reviews of ultimate from Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, the Phillipines and Singapore.

You can see highlights of the Hong Kong Pan Asian Tournament in Episode 3.

And Episode 5 includes a look at the venue for ultimate at the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung, Taiwan: the newly built National Stadium.

Asia Ultimate TV is a part-time, one-man effort, but you can see a lot of potential there, and it is handy to get an insight into current Asian Ultimate from a central source.

13 January 2009

100 strong

I'd like to celebrate a little milestone.

This blog is 100 posts old.

(Cue streamers and fireworks.)

What has been your favourite idea, issue or post raised on Thinkulti?

Photo by plindberg

11 January 2009

The history of your sport

The AFDA held a Gala Dinner back in July.

It was a fantastic event, where past Australian representative teams were celebrated and the current ones were introduced. As an amateur sport, recording the history of the ultimate community in Australia has been sporadic.

The speakers at the Gala Dinner were videotaped, so hopefully members of our community who weren't present will be able to learn about our sport. Where is that footage?

As someone who has worked in public institutions like museums, I am aware these days of how you need to consider not just having a record of history, but sharing it with the wider community, and have them contribute, comment and evaluate it.

With the world, and especially ultimate players, moving online for more and more of their life, sharing history has got easier.

AFDA.com has a list of Australian representative teams and a history page. We acknowledge contributors through the AFDA awards and the Rob Hancock award.

UPA.org has a Hall of Fame.

But the most valuable things are the stories - humans are storytellers, and story-listeners.

The book Ultimate: The First Four Decades is an example of a great collection of stories and characters.

More collections like this would be awesome. And if the Americans barely mention the existence of non-North American ultimate, it is up to those countries to share their history.

One project I have on my Someday/Maybe list is to interview and record the veterans of our sport about ultimate when they were younger. These chats could be published as podcasts. Give Greenie and Garvey a couple of beers and you'd get some great stories coming out.

The 1988 Australian Open team. Notice Michelle in the front row, right.