Lessons that I have learned from Ultimate:

Ultimate Frisbee tests your ability physically but also, mentally. It truly pushes you to strategize and balance who you are a person.

I have learned:

To strategize.

To time-manage.

To balance priorities.

To lead.

To question.

To push myself.

To listen.

Out of these lessons, I think one of the most important ones is to listen. Listening will help you make decisions and will help you become a better leader and player; but no one is successful by themselves. If you listen to problems people bring to you, or listen to the solutions that people suggest, it will only make your whole team stronger and grow. This can obviously apply to real life as well; listening is key. Listen and become the better person and team together, you¬†will be happier ūüôā

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The Levels of Ultimate

One thing to know about Ultimate Frisbee is that the sport is split into several different levels of expertise. There are youth programs, summer leagues, college level, club teams, professional, then masters league. The professional league and club leagues are very similar if not the same. It is the most upper and skilled level of ultimate.

I say similar If not the same since there is a divide in the programs. There are several different club teams across the nation, some more recognizable than others. The reason why some are more recognizable since some club teams go to club nationals. Club nationals is one of the most prestigious and skillful events in the ultimate community. If you’re on a team that qualifies for club nationals, you’re more than likely one of the best players in the nation. To qualify, teams have to compete each other by regions, and the best of the best teams in your region get to travel and play at club nationals. This year ESPN3 even covered some of the games and streamed the event live.

Last summer I played on a club team called Free Ride. We were not the best of the best and did not qualify for club nationals, but this is just one example of a club team that is still quite skillful, but not at club nationals level yet; maybe one day. Club Ultimate Frisbee is different than college level since there is a more distinct age range and skill range. I remember first starting on the team and everyone had a few years on me, and were excellent at the sport. They truly challenged me to become better in a short period of time since they were not going to wait and explain everything step-by-step as we do in college Ultimate.

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Especially playing on a mixed team, I needed to advance and get on their level quickly. The summer that I joined a club team allowed me to grow so much as a beginning player. Therefore, if you’re a rookie or young player reading this, join a club team! You will not regret it and will meet so many new people in your community. Club Ultimate is its own sub-genre of Ultimate Frisbee, and is something that all Ultimate players should try!

Being injured and the precautions of Ultimate Frisbee:

Ultimate Frisbee is the type of sport that consumes you. You find yourself researching how to become a better handle or cutter. How to improve your defense, offense, zones; there is no stopping your guilty pleasure of expanding your ultimate Frisbee knowledge. I personally find myself procrastinating homework and searching stories covered on ultimate Frisbee or, actual footage of past games that are over, just to watch their strategy; what worked and what did not work so my team does not may the same mistakes.

When injured, there is a disconnect. The sport you love has harmed you, and your trust is shattered. You have so many fond memories of the sport, but one bad twist or turn or fall is season ending. Now this may sound extremely dramatic, but when you center your college career around one team, it can be traumatic to be out one whole season out of four total seasons.

 

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Last season, my roommate was a senior and tore her ACL the first week of school. This caused her to miss all of her last senior year of Ultimate. Of course there are other teams you can play on after college, club teams, but these are more competitive and

 

less free and fun than the collegiate level. She tried to stay in touch with the team, especially being our organization President, but watching her teammates play while she had to remain on the sideline was too heartbreaking. She continued President duties, but left the team and did not go to tournaments or many social events. The injury caused a huge disconnect that no one could fully understand or relate to; therefore, she left the team as that was an easier option for her.

 

There are ways to prevent injuries however, and my team takes these steps very seriously. Before every practice, we stretch for a solid 20 minutes of intense stretching. We also make clear that if pain is felt at any time, to stop playing and go to the sideline and stretch/do what is necessary. Another way is to take water breaks during practice to offer a chance for a break and hydration. During the winter, we also set up times in the rec to strengthen our muscles. And of course, at every tournament we have trainers to help wrap, ice, and give advice on what to do next. Trainers are important for on-site immediate attention to minor injuries.

Playing a sport you love is an amazing feeling, but you must know your limit and not push yourself to injury. This is because in the long run, you will harm yourself more, causing more time away from the sport. Don‚Äôt be a fool and rest when necessary! ūüôā

 

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Teaching Ultimate

I have been asked by several different people, mainly alumni from my current team, how being a captain is, but mainly how teaching is going. It is hard to balance teaching a sport with such a high learning curve, as this sport moves fast, with or without you. I am currently enrolled in a few education classes here at Truman State University, and so I have taken some key terms and skills that I have learned from that class into being an effective teaching Captain. For example, there is a diagram on how to be an effective teacher:

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This Venn diagram has been the source for many of my strategies for teaching ultimate. Another source that I use is mostly the other captains and coach. We all strategize together and play to our strengths. We play to our strengths by having the person with the most skill in that particular area teach that element of Ultimate Frisbee to the rest of the team. If we all lack in that area, or we are equal in strength, then we do research on how to teach it efficiently and effectively, and we draw knowledge from the rest of our team! Ultimate is a team sport, it would be unnatural to not allow the veteran players for their input on a particular element of Ultimate Frisbee.

Now, these strategies do not only relate to ultimate, even though this is an Ultimate Frisbee blog. You can apply these strategies and diagrams to being a successful leader or team player. Team player can also range to simply a group project at school or work. Essentially, use your resources surrounding you and ask for help. It will not only strengthen your team, but also show transparency that you’re not afraid to ask for help, it will make you a stronger leader in life.

Tournament Culture

If you were to ask an ultimate Frisbee player what a typical tournament was like, you’d likely get two very different answers depending on the season. In the fall, tournaments are fun, carefree, and¬†more than likely a party atmosphere. But, if you were to ask a player in the spring, tournaments are more serious and competitive. Fall and Spring college ultimate are on polar sides of the competitive sphere and I am here to tell you that both are fun in their own way.

Fall- most fall tournaments are dress up/costume tournaments where you wear an o15025129_1368002206546413_7740720541845847667_outfit while playing. Hence my corn outfit on my about me page of this site. People can wear anything at all as long as you can somewhat play in it. Fall is more commonly associated with the old Frisbee lifestyle wear people just toss discs and have fun. There is of course, more structure than in the past, but it is more just hucking and seeing what rookie can run the most so the vets do not  have to play. People are typically more laid back and willing to have a conversation with you. I always meet new people from all over the nation at fall tournaments, and its fun to see them again at a later tournament.

Spring- spring is where our competitive culture comes out. This is where we call lines of the most skilled players in order to win the most amount of games. Tournaments are sanctioned, meaning the games we play affect our ranking in the nation. The best Tsunami has done is third place at Nationals in 2014; this year, we are looking to do just as well. In the spring, teams and players, myself included, look up strategies on how to become better players, and how to improve the team as a whole. Truman is a DIII ultimate team even though their other sports are not DIII. DIII ultimate is considerably small, therefore, our team has been in the spotlight before and feels the pressure to do well. Come spring time, there may be an intense change of pace of things.

Being Captain

In the late spring of 2017, Tsunami held elections to choose the executive members that will help keep our collegiate team on track and successful. One question that became apparent was who was to lead the team. We held nominations and to my surprise, I was nominated for the important role of Captain. Being a senior, I always thought about running for the captain position, but was nervous due to the overwhelming tasks and decisions that need to be made for the good of the team. Another thing I would need to work on is being a leader. Captains lead practice and tournaments, they call lines in intense and important games, and of course, I need to make sure I am one of the hardest working people on the field at all times in order to lead as a role model.

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This post is about my experience thus far, but it is only fall, so what I say now may change over the course of the entire season. But so far, so good! There of course have been some hard decisions and self-discovery moments along the way, but one can expect that when given this role. I am not the only captain of Tsunami, there are two other captains who are both Juniors, Bud and Posh (Nicknames to keep anonymity) and a coach Willie. We have to work together and meet once a week for hours at a time in order to plan and organize the team. This way, we have a checks and balance kind of system to keep this team with an equal leadership.

 

 

 

Things to keep in mind:

If you’re considering becoming a captain, I recommend it! It may be a hard task that will challenge your leadership skills, but it is truly rewarding when you see a rookie throw a perfect flick that you taught them. One thing to keep in mind, or some advice from a new captain, is to reach out to your teammates individually. You want to make sure that all your teammates feel comfortable enough to talk to you if there is a problem. And one way to do that is to initiate that platform and approach them first. We sent out a survey to our team that asked for complete honest feedback thus far, and it has truly helped our captain-ship evolve to the people our teammates need to be successful.

 

More than a game

Firstly, I

I would like to apologize for the lateness of this post. I had a family emergency and needed to travel back home to STL in order to be with my family. The post for tomorrow will not be late, and you can expect it by the usual time, 6 pm.

The Impact of Alumni

Tsunami has quite the alumni base that are all supportive and continue to reach out to the current active players throughout each season. On our social media pages and website, our PR representative updates our fans on our successes at tournaments. There have also been many times where our team has been able to travel far across the nation and able to stay with alumni who have homes.

Not only do Alumni have an impact on Tsunami, but Tsunami has a prominent impact on people! At first as a joke, but turned into something real, a friend and I reached out to all alumni in Fall 2015 to see how many alumni had a wave tattoo due to the impact of Tsunami. After an overwhelming amount of responses, we found that 44% of Tsunami graduates get a wave tattoo in order to commemoration the amount of fun they had throughout their college Ultimate Frisbee experience. And since, many more graduates have done the same, therefore, I would not be surprised to see that percentage rise.

Here is a photo from my freshman year where everyone in this photo, except myself and one other girl, has graduated. 10641213_870922282921077_954199804714054445_n

This post is not only about Tsunami though, Tsunami is only a college level team, and to many of our players, its the first Ultimate Frisbee team that we play on. Many of our players, either during their college years or after graduation, join club ultimate teams. Club is typically more competitive and have players who have been playing for years. Ultimate is one of those sports where after you join, you do not want to stop playing due to the community and friendships that you make. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true! You get to meet people from across the nation in a familiar setting and bond over the sport that we love.¬† ūüôā

 

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The Rules!

Ultimate Frisbee today follows the 11th edition of rules. The rules are simple and not too complex, but they are the utmost important in order for the game to run smoothly. Here is a list of the most important rules:

  1. The field is a rectangle shape with dimensions of 70 X 40 yards with end zones 25 yards deep.
  2. To begin, each team has seven people on the end zone line and the defense pulls the Frisbee across the field as far as they can throw it.
  3. To score, similar to football, the team must cross the end zone of the other team. The end zones alternate each point however; offense stays.
  4. To move the Frisbee, the offense must throw the disc from player to player. The player in possession of the Frisbee cannot move without throwing it, otherwise it is a travel.
  5. When the Frisbee is dropped or thrown out of bounds, there is a change in possession. When one team has possession, the defense will have someone on the Frisbee holders side, and count¬†up to ten. This is called a “stall.”
  6. To get fresh players in the game, you can substitute your players. But there must always be seven players on each team on the field. Substitution occurs in between points, or if there is an injury.
  7. Ultimate is a non-contact sport, meaning that you can not touch another player on the field aggressively.
  8. When contact does occur, because it happens, there is a foul call. When foul is called, the defense can either “contest” or “non-contest” the call, this determines what the stall count will be.
  9. Another thing to keep in mind is that Ultimate is usually self-officiated. The only time ultimate is not self-officiated is when the games are high-staked at regionals or nationals.
  10. Lastly, but most importantly,  ultimate differs from other sports due to Spirit of the Game. (SOTG) Sotg is essentially high sportsmanship. The Ultimate community is a very calm and chill community where players all respect each other in impressive manners. Basically all players express the joy of the game rather than being too competitively.

 

Tsunami and Ultimate Positions

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At Truman State University there is only one Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team called Tsunami. Tsunami was originally founded in 2004 and has been growing ever since! Tsunami started as a small but mighty team and traveled to tourPicturenaments across the nation, including one to New Orleans. Since 2004, Tsunami has gone to nationals the past five consecutive years placing either 3rd, 5th, or 7th.

Positions

To further explain Ultimate, I thought it would be beneficial to discuss the two different positions that you can play as a player. There are seven people on each team that play at once, and usually four of the seven are called cutters. A cutter’s job is to run a strategic pattern with their fellow cutters up-field. Their job consists of running away from their defenders and catching the Frisbee from the handlers. Handlers are the other position and are typically played by the other three players on the field. Handlers move the disc from side to side of the field in order to find the best open looks at the cutters. Handlers are usually the players who hold the disc the most and who have the best throws. Even though this is only the basic understanding of the positions to Ultimate, Ultimate is a pretty simple game and does not get too complex beyond this; next week I will be talking more about the rules and expectations as a player.

 

 

Is Ultimate Frisbee a sport?

If you were to type this question into the google search engine, you would find the first result saying “No, but is included in the World Games, and also recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).” Meaning that since August 2nd, 2015, the IOC has claimed Ultimate¬†Frisbee as a sport with international¬†impact and is now¬†in consideration¬†for¬†being integrated¬†in the official summer Olympics!

If you were to ask any Ultimate Frisbee player this question, they would say “of course!” Ultimate Frisbee is a physically demanding sport and involves a lot of strategy and accuracy¬†in order to beat your opponents. Ultimate Frisbee is played with two teams, seven people per team on the field at once, who have a common goal of scoring the disc in their respective end zones. One reason that Ultimate is a controversial topic on whether or not it is a sport is because it is a¬†non-contact sport. This¬†means that players cannot¬†come in contact with¬†each other. Contact sport examples include¬†football and basketball. In ultimate, the disc is moved up field by throwing the disc to your teammates in a clean, spirited, and¬†strategic manner.

As I progress through this blog over the next semester, I hope to gauge your interest in Ultimate Frisbee and explain why ultimate has a big impact on my life, as well as many others in the ultimate community. Ultimate is more than a sport, its a lifestyle.

At the top right¬†of this post, there is a “leave a¬†comment”¬†link. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, post them there, or in the contact tab of my blog.

Attached is a link to some extremely intense highlights from past years to help defeat the stereotype that Ultimate Frisbee is not a sport… Enjoy!