11 February 2014

The RISE UP World Tour

Right now RISE UP is on its world tour, visiting these five countries.

Mario O'Brien is the RISE UP founder. He is joined on certain legs of this tour by Alex Snyder and Ryan Purcell.

RISE UP is all about teaching ultimate communities the skills and drills used by the best teams in the world - through videos and in person.

But there is a second goal in the pipeline: build coaching and leadership skills. Both of these aspects were in play at the Australian clinics.

In their Melbourne clinic, Mario and Alex spent Saturday coaching around 40 female players.

Also, ten coaches attended. They weren't playing. They were observing the coaching practices of Mario and Alex, reflecting on them, and identifying the important features of team culture, drill progressions, focussed scrimmages and providing feedback.

This development of coaches is critical. More and more teams recognise the value of coaches, and have appointed them. Mario writes about this from the American perspective, while in Australia, the Dingoes, STBAU, Heads of State, Chilly Masters and Rabble have all recently appointed head coaches after not having one.

Appointing coaches is only the first step.

There is a need in ultimate to explicitly train those coaches into expert coaches, by giving them communities of coaches. These coaches need to peer observe, and reflect and plan together.

Many aspects of ultimate have lots of time and effort put into them: intercity and international competition, fitness, videos, news/blogs. But what programs or resources exist for turning adequate coaches into fantastic ones?

Well, not much. So Mario is stepping up to that opening. And he has the leadership training and ultimate experience to build something great.

Who else will step up?

7 February 2014

How Alex Snyder throws

The captain of San Francisco's Fury and the 2013 USA World Games team, Alex Snyder, has a pretty good bio in ultimate. I don't know who is a more accomplished athlete in our sport.

So how does a top level player throw a forehand? If you watch a video or in person, it's all over in 1 second.

This gif will let you see the actual mechanics.

What is happening when Alex throws?

Alex steps forward. A lot. She said that she does this even if the mark is there, throwing past the plane of the marker. Most markers will step back, foul her, or allow her to throw through the gap.

For a lot of players, a big step forward will swing their throw to their left or give it too much outside in - their hips will rotate during the throw. Alex doesn't. She winds up her torso before the throw, and this brings her right shoulder a long way back. It then drives forward in the throwing action, but her hips don't rotate relative to her feet.

Her left arm is out from her body, to counterbalance her throw, and create space from the marker.

Alex has a good range of motion - her right elbow is leading her right hand as she starts her throw. She can lunge forward a good distance. She can twist her torso.

Alex is a good example to learn from.

If you come along to a RiseUp clinic in Australia this week, you'll learn many other things from Alex too. She knows how to coach, and is here to share her knowledge of training for ultimate.