The Beautiful Cake You Baked or How To Enjoy Your Offseason Gains

Dear Team UAP and Other Actively Training Ultimate Athletes,

Let me tell you about the beautiful cake you baked this offseason.  

Many of you used fall and winter of 2016 to set Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAGs, the only kind of goal that stimulates progress, according to Jim Collins) for your upcoming season. Perhaps you were planning a glorious return to competition after several years off, or perhaps you were determined to increase your on-field performance and prove to yourself that you could be a contender. Whatever the case, you set a goal, made a plan (many of you chose the UAP) and marched dutifully toward glory.

 You have invested several months into training. If you were new to focused training, you have learned an entirely new language: the language of performance. If you were trying to reach the next level, you have cultivated a new skill set: the skills of progress. All of you have invested hours of sweat, days of soreness, and weeks of effort into becoming...

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Attacking Lateral Space

coaching Jun 13, 2017

This post is a review of Alex Snyder's 2014 URCA presentation, Dumps, Swings, Breaks: Attacking Lateral Space & Using the Field's Width.

You can see the full presentation by becoming a member of our URCA Classroom


We all know the feeling of being trapped on the downwind sideline. Who hasn’t experienced the frustration of watching your teammates turn it on the endzone line by trying to squeeze it into the corner instead of swinging the disc?

How can you cut better to help your teammates get the disc off the sideline?

What does attacking space laterally look like in a horizontal stack?

In this presentation, Alex Snyder shows us how to do all of the above. Learn some tricks and tips useful for handlers and cutters alike. Alex also diagrams drills you can run to help your team with more effective disc movement.


Basic reset cut that attacks lateral space.


How to attack lateral space in a horizontal stack. Plus a handler weave drill to you can do...

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Sand v Grass Training - What you need to know

Uncategorized Jun 06, 2017

Judith Beckedorf catches a disc at Sandslash 2015. Photo by Agnieszka Skorupka. See more of her work at


As my athletes in the UAP transition from off season to preseason I encourage doing at least some conditioning in cleats on grass. This is because indoor and track surfaces will be slightly different than cleats on grass.

Switching from grass to sand is even more dramatic. We all know from experience that running and even walking on sand is more difficult than doing the same on grass. We also know that change of direction is more difficult.

So how should you prepare for beach tournaments? Because things are more difficult on sand, would training on sand make performance on grass feel easier?

If you play only beach ultimate, most of your agility and conditioning should be done on sand. If you play only grass, most of your agility and conditioning work should be done on grass.

If you play on  a mix of sand and grass, here’s what you need to know...

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Team Stats - From Simple Data Capture to Meaningful Metrics

coaching May 30, 2017

Taking stats can during a tournament is a royal pain. Unless you have an injured player and several pairs of eyes, it’s difficult to keep track of every assist and capture the true source of every turnover. Whose fault is it when there’s clogging in the lane, no open cuts, and the disc gets thrown away on a high stall count to a reset pass? Truthfully, many teams I’ve been a part of have enough trouble keeping track of the score, let alone complex stats.

But what if you could record just four pieces of information that would help you improve as a team?

Well, turns out you can get a lot of useful information without much effort.


In our URCA Classroom, Sion "Brummie" Scone walks us through his method for collecting simple, yet powerful stats that you can collect during games. These stats are so simple that you can actually use them to give feedback to your team between games at a tournament. Process these metrics after your tournament so you can track progress...

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SOTG at home and abroad

Uncategorized May 02, 2017

“Defense ready?” Before I could get out the words a disc slapped my hand and play started. Huh? I was too surprised to say anything. And I was a visitor here at a scrimmage in Singapore. So I played on. Turns out the offense checking the disc in after a stopped disc was common practice at this particular scrimmage, not an aberration.

Ultimate is relatively young and growing rapidly in Singapore. Without a large community of veterans, it’s easy to imagine how a minor rules violation that doesn’t seem like a big deal could be passed down from one player to another within a club. And it is easy to imagine how starting play without a proper check would create a lot of confusion, and some angst, in an international tournament.

I’ll admit to taking rules knowledge and SOTG for granted. But my travels around southeast Asia where ultimate is younger and rapidly growing have me convinced that we need to make a continued and concerted effort to work on self...

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How to Get Open, Even If You're Not Fast

cutting running ultimate Apr 18, 2017

When cutting, some athletes run as hard as possible one direction, then stop and run as fast as possible in the opposite direction. While this can work, it is a brute force method that works well when you’re faster and can change direction more quickly than your opponent. The programs I create have the goal of helping you become faster and change directions more quickly. But we also believe in working smarter, not harder.

Maybe you’re working on your athleticism but aren’t there yet. Or maybe you are athletic. Doesn’t matter, you’ll eventually run into someone who is faster than you. For these situations, try these four strategies for creating and seeing the opportunities to get open.

1. Make the defender accelerate.

To accelerate is to commit.  If your defense is just matching your speed, they are never committed or off balance.

For example, if I want an in cut, I will start going deep at maybe 70% speed. The defense can follow without...

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One Step to Better Throwing Practice

coaching throwing Apr 18, 2017

Years ago when I visited the University of Illinois, I was fortunate enough to have a chat with a former professor of mine and long time motor skills researcher, Les Carleton. We discussed the fact that despite advances in motor skills research, much of coaching in the US is done using the same methods of instruction as those used in the 1930’s.

I asked my professor friend, “What concepts in motor skills research, if better understood by coaches, would have the greatest impact on performance?” The two themes emerged from our discussion were the role of deliberate practice, and the importance of variability in practice.

Variability in practice simply means that every practice trial is in some way different. Many teams I have observed begin their practices with an orderly throwing routine in which partners throw ten backhands, ten forehands, ten hammers, etc. This is an example of one of those things that coaches pass down to one another even though this might not be...

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