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participation at clinics

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participation at clinics

Postby Wartank » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:56 am

tuc offers so many clinics, and with the fine system of touring players giving back to obtain funding credits, there's no shortage of coaching to keep them at a high level. i've attended a good number of them over the years, and many of them have been plagued by a lack of participation.

why is that? how can we increase participation? it seems like this is precisely the type of event that furthers our sport in the right ways -- it boosts the level of ultimate in the city, it strengthens the ultimate community socially, and it inspires and motivates players to improve themselves. Setting up role models and lots of positive reinforcement are great ways to further these three goals.

A major influential figure for most people are their league captains. they administrate, they lead, the coach, and they set the tone for the team. it seems like it would be great to get their buy-in and enthusiasm, which they can pass on to their team.

so:
Idea #1: have clinics more strongly marketed in the season opening captains meeting
Idea #2: hold a captains-only invite clinic that touched on any/all of a) ultimate skills (individual and team), b) administrative tips, c) coaching strategies.

Other ideas (or comments) out there?
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Postby -JR- » Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:33 am

This sounds like the exact sort of questions our CLINIC CHAIR should be asking, and we are currently seeking a passionate and knowledgable person to fill that role.... will that be you?
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Postby BJ » Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:00 am

Another suggestion might be to ask/poll the team captains or members about what they would like to learn about? Sorry if we already do that.
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Postby tjweir » Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:44 am

I'm showing my ignorance regarding the clinics that are offered, but I tend to view them as beginner-level, and as such not applicable to me.

I'd prefer higher-level clinics as I'm going to attempt to tour this year. So advice or coaching for playing at touring level would be great.

I suppose the difficulty is that these skills may be hard to teach.

And I agree with JR, it sounds like Warren is volunteering for the Clinic Chair position. :)
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Postby march » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:34 pm

high level clinic? I assume you want this because you want to learn more than the basics, but I recomend that you just play lots. Come spring time I recommend you go to as many open tryouts (for coed and open teams) as you can and see what happens. Playing as much as you can (tryouts, tournaments, league) is the best way to get better, game experience and field sense are key things that can't be taught in clinics.
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Postby tjweir » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:48 pm

march wrote:high level clinic? I assume you want this because you want to learn more than the basics, but I recomend that you just play lots. Come spring time I recommend you go to as many open tryouts (for coed and open teams) as you can and see what happens. Playing as much as you can (tryouts, tournaments, league) is the best way to get better, game experience and field sense are key things that can't be taught in clinics.


I agree, and I wrote that in my previous post, but clipped it as the language was all awkward and weird.

I have a feeling that less clinics and more play play play is the better answer for higher-level skills.
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Postby rahil_s » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:53 pm

To a certain degree Tyler, play is important, but you can always learn more from a clinic. Whether it's how to play quadrant D, or how to square your hips when hucking a flick. As you said it's practice that makes a person a better player... but the good thing about clinics is that you're practicing a specific aspect of the game for a longer period of time, and therefore getting better at it due to repitition.

I would encourage everyone to attend as many clinics as possible, especially if you wish to tour in the next year.
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Postby joguib » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:24 pm

I agree with Rahil. If only playing lots were required, then why would touring teams hold 2 practices a week during the whole summer and the fall? Sure there is scrimmaging that occurs at practices but often a large portion of the practices - at least early in the season - is dedicated to drills, skills and strategy. And there is so much you can teach and work on improving even with high level players. Even sharing information and coaching between touring teams (even in different divisions) is beneficial. Other cities have done it and Toronto could benefit from it too. But I agree, definitely some skills clinics should be geared towards intermediate/higher level players. As mentioned below, it's getting people to attend that's the challenge - there are plenty of volunteers who would be willing to run it.
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Postby Wartank » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:26 pm

march wrote:high level clinic? I assume you want this because you want to learn more than the basics, but I recomend that you just play lots. Come spring time I recommend you go to as many open tryouts (for coed and open teams) as you can and see what happens. Playing as much as you can (tryouts, tournaments, league) is the best way to get better, game experience and field sense are key things that can't be taught in clinics.


wow, i totally disagree. are you serious? i can't be reading this right. sorry, i dont mean to mince my words: what i mean so say is, marc, you are wrong, wrong, wrong.

there is a lot to be said for playing and getting better, but there's a reason why touring practices aren't just 2 hour scrimmages. this sounds like the flawed mentality of any amateur sport that you think that you just need to play a game to get better at it. and tryouts? yes, you'll be practicing and playing with top players, and yes, that can be a great way, if you're diligent, inquisitive and perceptive, to learn. but that's a competitive scenario. you're competing for spots with other people. the really experienced players are there to judge you, not to teach you, and that's not even taking into consideration the absurd idea of waiting until tryouts to practice.. for tryouts??

drills are meant to help you define and practice good habits and good skills, and to simulate and isolate specific game situations. 90%-100% of all TOURING ultimate players can benefit from specific instruction (and the only reason it isn't 100% is because the sport is so young), and they all benefit from doing drills.

there have certainly been clinics in the past that have been weaker than others. but that is the flaw of execution, not process. the potential for individual feedback and instruction from top players is inescapable. playing against players who are better than you is certainly a good way to improve, but having those players specifically instruct you is far, far better.

tyler, your point is well-received though.. by.. powers that be? advanced clinics are definitely a good idea. and make sure there are top level coaches there. another option for you is to post questions on this website.. and see if people have advice for any specific problems/concerns.
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Postby BJ » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:44 pm

yep, I totally agree with Warren, Rahil and Josee. I totally disagree with Hodges and Tyler.

Just so I am clear, thats TOTALLY disagree.

Just thought I'd put my 2 cents in....again.
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Postby HotSauce » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:50 pm

I think it would be a great idea to get captains more involved in promoting the clinics. And a captain's only invite clinic would be a great way to get captains to see what is taught at a clinic. And I think clinics of various levels would be fantastic. Players at every level need some work on his or her game. As another possibility, if a few captains get a few teams together, would they be able to request a couple of touring players to run a clinic separately? This kind of clinic would focus more on team play concepts rather than individual skills. I assume that the touring players would still earn volunteer points.
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Postby march » Wed Jan 24, 2007 4:05 pm

It seems that people were mis-interpreting what I was saying a bit... I said nothing about practices... I regard them as being different from clinics (I see clinics as more instructional on the basics where practices are just that, practices). When I read the original post it seemed to me that Tyler was asking about high level clinics because he thought that would make him able to join a touring team, I was just trying to imply that it's one thing to have the basic skillz and another to be able to apply them in game situations (which is where playing heaps comes in). Speaking from personal experience... I feel like I learned more from touring (which means going to tournaments and plactices) and playing on a regular basis (2-5 days a week) then from any official clinics. I've never been to an official clinic... (and it probably shows)

The message I was trying to get across is that you don't get better from just going to advanced clinics (which is what I thought Tyler was implying), you need to play a lot and practice your skills in game (and game-like) situations. I think that you also have to have a willingness to improve, it's one thing to play a lot but it's another thing to go out and seak improvement and learn more about the game, which I got from talking to people on my teams.

Whether my original message (and this one) was poorly written or mis-interpreted doesn't matter... I think that it does help to illustrate that different people have different ways of learning the game of ultimate. For me, touring and playing helped the most.

But it seems like I've already stuck my foot in my mouth (probably even further with this post) so I should probably just shut up.
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Postby tjweir » Wed Jan 24, 2007 4:20 pm

Because some of the confusion in this thread was borne of my original post, I'll post again and try to summarize.

I don't think that anyone that posted is trying to say that one should focus
on a single method of improvement. Playing, practicing and clinics all have merit when trying to up your game.

My original post was a response to the question; why don't more people attend clinics? I wanted to point out that I don't go because I've being playing since grade 9 and the "Ultimate 101" lean of clinics doesn't interest me. And rather than point out a problem without a solution, I proposed the idea of clinics targeted at medium to upper level players. Touring came into the
picture as a personal anecdote. I hope to make a team this year and figured that an upper level clinic would help.

Edit: formatting
Last edited by tjweir on Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby GregS » Wed Jan 24, 2007 4:52 pm

Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that there have been both indoor and outdoor intermediate level clinics in at least each of the last two years.
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Postby Wartank » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:32 pm

no worrries, tyler. i jjust like razzing hodges and you got caught in the crossfire. but i also think it sounds like you'd be a prime candidate an intermediate or advanced clinic.

greg lang used to run a strategy 'in-class' session which was phenomenal the one time i went. didn't always agree with what he said, but it was captivating and thought-provoking. since something like this is much more involved and preparation intensive, perhaps it could be incentivized with a bunch of touring volunteer points.
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Postby mastahmeth » Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:02 pm

I believe that sort of 'in-class' session will be going on in the States quite shortly, with at least one Toronto rep on his way down to present... I'm sure there are people who'd love to discuss ultimate theory here as well. Perhaps they could be persuaded to deliver in-class sessions if there's interest.

An alternative option for theory is to have theory posts on strategy. The problem with such posting is the amount of bickering that occurs immediately after someone expresses an idea (please refer to this thread for an example). While people would argue that this bickering often helps to refine theories, I think more often than not it can obscure the original message.

It would be really cool however to have a couple experienced players write short essays on a topic and have them simultaneously posted for mass consumption. People can then 'discuss' the ideas in forums of their choosing. TUC could sponsor these essays as they see fit.

In terms of actual 'on field' clinics, I think advanced clinics are a great idea and can be effective so long as they focus on skills rather than the 'right' strategy (see above note on bickering). Deep disc reading, break throwing, effective hammer usage, 'why we hate the air bounce', dealing with junk defences, setting up different zones, etc. are rarely covered in the current clinic structure that I've experienced. In the end however, it seems like what an advanced clinic series would start to look like is summer touring practice. If people can agree on this definition, it should be relatively easy to poll touring captains for the drills they ran and come up with a curriculum. This would also be good prep for those interested in touring.
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Postby Oliver » Thu Jan 25, 2007 12:26 pm

I definitely want to see higher level clinics, but it's always hard to judge what level someone (even yourself) is at. I get excited every time I see a clinic announced, and then disappointed when I read the details that say it's for the sort of beginners who have little or no flick.

I would love a clinic to teach things like low and high release flick and backhand. Perhaps it's just me, but I was never taught these things formally, and it seems like I'm missing something, cause practise doesn't seem to be helping that much.

I think everyone here agrees we should hold higher level clinics, so I guess what we should discuss is what it should teach and how to promote it (as it seems as though finding the people to lead the clinics will be no problem).
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Postby Sam » Thu Jan 25, 2007 2:06 pm

Throwing a lot of discs is the best way to become a better ultimate player. Just throw all the time and try all sorts of different throws. And play disc golf- that helps your throws a bunch. And I mean just throw in the park with someone, you don't need to play in a game.

I think it is tough to teach someone how to throw. There are fundamental mechanics, but everyone has a different style. Strategy, fitness and all that other awful stuff is pretty useless if you can't throw with consistency in most conditions.
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Postby HotSauce » Thu Jan 25, 2007 3:26 pm

Wow! I didn't know it was that easy to become a top ultimate player.

I'm hoping that last post was tongue in cheek because I would argue that being able to throw with consistency standing still in a park would be pretty useless when it came time to tryout with a touring team and you had to do a whole lot of running, cutting, and playing defense before you had a chance to throw anything. I don't know how many times I've watched an opponent warming up and thought, "WOW, that guy's got some cool throws!" only to find that he can't make those throws with a mark on or after running around for 10 minutes.

And I guess if you can't teach someone how to throw, NFL quarterback coaches would be pretty well unnecessary. I'm sure there are players out there who have put a lot of conscious work into improving other player's throws. Sharing that knowledge in a clinic would only serve to improve the quality of our league.
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Postby Wartank » Thu Jan 25, 2007 4:09 pm

i actually agree with sam, and not just b/c he plays for goat. the point of this whole thread has been things in moderation. but what gets very often overlooked in ultimate is the ability to throw consistently.. actually not that, but the value of going out and throwing for an hour 2-3 times a week to contribute to that consistency. it's an undeniably critical part of ultimate. and in your typical scrimmage, where you're learning "game scenario" skills, you're probably throwing 1% as much as you would just hanging out in a park with someone and throwing back and forth.

that being said, i think there's a lot to be said for diligently throwing and practicing new and difficult things. and i think there are mindsets and focus points that are worth teaching and learning. warming up effectively and throwing for development are two things taht i think could/would belong in a 'captains' or otherwise advanced clinic.

it's actually something that we've been coming to grips with on my league team (disciples). as much as we have to learn, we recognize that right now our throwing skills are holding us back much more than strategy or anything else.
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Postby mastahmeth » Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:17 pm

we recognize that right now our throwing skills are holding us back much more than strategy or anything else.


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Postby dime » Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:38 pm

I have to agree with Sam as well. Unless you are some sort of freak who can catch anything and has world class speed, then throwing is what will bring your game along the farthest.

There is no relacement to seeing someone you admire on the field, watch how they throw, watch video and head off to the park and throw with a couple of friends everyday. There is no substitution for a LARGE number of repetitions when it comes to throwing. Years need to be committed to this.

Clinics can help to set you in the right direction, but doing it on a daily basis is most important, in my opinion of course.

" Deep disc reading, break throwing, effective hammer usage, 'why we hate the air bounce', dealing with junk defences, setting up different zones, etc. are rarely covered in the current clinic structure that I've experienced""

As far as the "air bounce" goes I just had to add my 2 cents. I don't think there is any reason to hate it. To throw a good low back hand, a little bounce enables you to release it very low and rise to chest level for your receiver. Don't get your hate on!
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Postby Shamus » Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:47 pm

Start with park throwing to improve accuracy and to experiment with different tosses. I suggest that you progress to having an active mark on you while you throw if you really want to develop. Sounds simple....because it is. I have seen players improve in strides after a summer of practicing throws against good, active marks. You can't knock the 3-man (or woman) drill.
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Postby GregS » Thu Jan 25, 2007 6:22 pm

buddhalicious wrote:I don't know how many times I've watched an opponent warming up and thought, "WOW, that guy's got some cool throws!" only to find that he can't make those throws with a mark on or after running around for 10 minutes.

You and I have played together enough that this should probably read "opponent or teammate". :D

The real question in this thread is why, in all his followups, Warren hasn't yet answered this:
-JR- wrote:This sounds like the exact sort of questions our CLINIC CHAIR should be asking, and we are currently seeking a passionate and knowledgable person to fill that role.... will that be you?
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Postby Wartank » Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:27 pm

willful ignorance. what question?
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Postby Nigel » Tue Jan 30, 2007 6:31 pm

In lieu of warren doing anything productive, here's a link to the ucpc conference presentations. There may or may not be anything useful there.
Also, in terms of clinics being good or bad - they are often run by the high-level touring players and can expose you to new drills. These drills are often used in the early parts of tryouts, and familiarity with them is a good thing (after all, you don't want to be the guy asking "where am I supposed to run?")
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