Chicago Ultimate Training (CUT) is already gearing up for their second year of the CUT Summer Camp. CUT is an organization started by Neuqua Valley High School Ultimate Club coach Arnoush (Java) Javaherian. The purpose of the organization and its summer camp is to teach high-level Ultimate to youth from the Chicago area, and now across the country. CUT will be partnering up with other big-name Ultimate organizations such as NexGen and the Indianapolis AlleyCats to give campers the best Ultimate experience they can. Students will also be instructed by some well-known players:
Georgia Bosscher captained the USA Junior Women’s teams to silver and gold medals in ’04 and ’06 respectively and was awarded the Callahan award while with Wisconsin’s Bella Donna. She has also won three national championships and one world championship with San Francisco’s Fury.
Brodie Smith won two college national championships with Florida, and now plays in the AUDL with the Indianapolis AlleyCats. He is the founder of Everything-Ultimate. You may also recognize him from Youtube videos, throwing discs in to trashcans.
Mario “Rio” O’Brien has played with Rhino in Portland, Oregon since 2008, and has captained the team since 2009. He has also represented Ultimate Peace in Colombia, won the Pan-American Ultimate Championships playing with Sockeye, and currently work for NexGen Network as the lead expert analyst and commentator. He is one of the primary characters in “Chasing Sarasota”, the first feature length documentary on a club ultimate team.
Skyd Magazine: Java, tell us a little about starting CUT. What was the goal? How did you make it happen?
Arnoush (Java) Javaherian: The idea for Chicago Ultimate Training (CUT) first came about when I was running my initial summer high school camp. The two-week long camp was run in the afternoons for my high school club. However, I soon realized that my top players needed a camp that was beyond this. I had been working hand-in-hand with Luke Johnson and Anthony Miocic in helping build youth Ultimate in the Chicago area, and with their support, I developed CUT Camp to encourage the growth of Ultimate in Chicago and help it become an elite youth Ultimate community.
In the camp’s first year, we ran CUT Camp as a day camp, and it was very successful with 23 campers. Grant Zukowski and Geoff Serednesky from Chicago Machine were the head coaches. The campers had an amazing experience, and it only left me wanting to grow the camp and make it bigger and better.
This year, I decided to open up the camp to high school players nationwide to not only encourage the growth of youth Ultimate in the Chicago area, but throughout the country. Additionally, Chicago Ultimate Training created several YCC teams. Last summer, we traveled to Blaine, MN and played with the best youth players. We finished seventh overall in the Open division, and we performed well in the Mixed and U-16 divisions.
How did you pull in such fine coaches?
Java: For the summer of 2012, Grant Zukowski has come back on board as a coach with passion equal to my own and he reached out to Mario O’Brien who then came on board. Jon Helton, otherwise known as Goose in the Ultimate world, is one of my high school coaches. An old teammate of Brodie Smith, he reached out to him to see if he was interested in coaching at CUT as well, and Brodie agreed to join the coaching staff. Goose also helped recruit Georgia Bosscher – which was a huge step for us, as woman’s Ultimate is very important to the growth of youth Ultimate – as well as Josh Shepard. We will have more coaches coming on board as well!
Everyone else, how did you get involved in CUT? Why did it seem like something worthwhile to be a part of?
Georgia Bosscher: I got involved after Goose (or “Coach Helton,” apparently) called me up and told me about CUT. We’d been good friends since my freshman year of college, so I at least moderately respected his opinion. He seemed pretty pumped about the camp, telling me how well-organized, inspirational, and fun it was. It didn’t really take too much convincing.
Brodie Smith: I have always enjoyed Summer Camps, and combining my passion with early childhood development and Ultimate seems like a perfect match.
Mario (Rio) O’Brien: I am committed to working with youth, plus summer camps and Ultimate are my jam. Shout out to my dear friend, Grant Zukowski, on the sweet hookup with CUT Camp. He recruited and recommended me to the camp director, knowing I had spent the past 5 school years teaching, as well as the entirety of the past 13 summers either enthusiastically leading kids at a summer camp or diligently leading my peers playing Ultimate. I had no choice but to get involved.
Tell us a bit about the camp program itself. What are some of the focuses going to be? What is the day to day?
Java: The camp is going to be a complete Ultimate environment. We will have two practices a day, morning and afternoon, where campers will learn from some of the best players in the nation. Each practice will focus on a different aspect of the game, starting with the fundamentals and moving to various offenses and defenses. These practices will be informative and intense but fun. Regardless of a camper’s level of play, he or she will improve as our coaches have a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge to impart on the players.
In addition, we will have a conditioning section of the camp each day where players will learn from Jon “Goose” Helton. He will push the players to improve as athletes through various exercises and activities.
At night, we will run fun evening programs that will sometimes involve Ultimate, and sometimes will just be fun opportunities for the campers to socialize. On one of these nights, the players will get to play Ultimate under the lights of a stadium with the coaches. It will be a phenomenal experience.
As coaches, what are you looking forward to teaching and imparting on these young players?
Georgia: I’m looking forward to getting kids completely addicted to Ultimate. Whatever aspect of the game excites them the most is what I’ll happiest teaching. Personally, pulling and hucking are probably the two most fun things that a player gets to do, but I’m open to other opinions.
Rio: Leadership. I’m guessing most players who attend CUT Camp will probably end up as a team captain at some point in their Ultimate journey. I want to prepare them by fostering growth in their ability to think, act, communicate, analyze, reflect, and make decisions as leaders.
Brodie: Being able to have multiple days to teach these young players is going to be amazing. I think I’m looking forward to teaching kids what it takes to be a champion – the sacrifice and drive you need.
What is one of the most important things young players need to learn about Ultimate?
Georgia: They need to learn that Ultimate isn’t about brute strength and clever ways to cheat. It’s a game that requires unselfish teamwork and a constant willingness to adapt. I’d love to send these kids away with a respect for each opponent they come up against and a desire to work as hard as they can for their teammates.
Brodie: Play ever point like it’s your last. Leave no regrets.
Rio: Defensively, young players need to understand that when playing man-to-man against someone of similar athletic ability, you can’t take away everything. As a defender, you have to prioritize what you’re taking away (as well as what you’re giving up) in order to increase the likelihood of creating a situation where you your team can create a turnover.
Offensively, learning how to break the mark is crucial, as it increases the number of areas on the field your teammates can cut to receive a pass. If you want to be a great handler, you need to be able to hit an open receiver regardless of the mark or conditions, and breaking the mark is one of the critical components.
This is your 2nd year running CUT? What do you expect out of it?
Java: I expect this camp to improve the players no matter their previous experience and also provide them with the “ultimate” summer camp environment. I have worked hard to make sure we cover every Ultimate experience a camper could possibly want to have. This includes learning from elite coaches at each practice, improving as an athlete with exercises from Coach Helton, obtaining quality sublimated jerseys from VC, playing in a stadium under the lights, and experiencing the NexGen Tour. These are all in addition to making long lasting friendships with fellow players and the coaches.
What level of experience should campers have prior to participating in CUT?
Java: Any high school aged player can register for the camp, including players entering high school in fall 2012 and players who will have just graduated high school in May 2012. They need to have an understanding of the game, but we will teach players at any level and improve their skills greatly. This includes high school players who have played for years at the highest levels.
NexGen Tour stop, Indy Alleycats connection. Tell us about some of the partnerships that are unique to CUT this year and how those came about.
Java: As stated, CUT Camp is committed to providing every camper the “ultimate” summer camp experience. This includes learning from the best players in the country, including our coaching staff but also NexGen players. I have developed a great relationship with Kevin Minderhout (the director of the NexGen Tour) as they are doing something that is truly special by showcasing the great game of Ultimate across the country. The players on NexGen will come to CUT Camp and teach all of the campers through a morning clinic. That same evening as the clinic, the entire camp will travel on a bus to downtown Chicago to see the NexGen vs. Chicago Machine game. Campers will even be able to go on the field with the players. This is a great opportunity to learn and hang out with some of the best college players in the nation.
Three of our coaches are Indianapolis AlleyCats players (Brodie Smith, Jon “Goose” Helton, and Josh Shepard). Goose is a coach for my high school club during the year and is now a top player for the AlleyCats. He helped bring Brodie Smith and Josh Shepard on board. Through these coaches, CUT Camp has developed a great relationship with the AlleyCats. We will have AlleyCat discs and jerseys of the players for sale at the camp so campers can get them signed by the coaches.
Finally, we are in partnership with VC Ultimate as they have recently opened up their US headquarters in Chicago. They will provide our campers will a CUT sublimation jersey, white CUT jersey, and CUT shorts.
Java: There are many reasons why CUT Camp is unique when compared to other camps:
- We have one of the best summer camp coaching staffs in the nation, including professional athletes.
- We are centrally located in the United States near a major city so campers from all over the nation can easily travel to the camp.
- We offer a conditioning section to our camp in order for the campers to learn exercises to improve as an overall athlete.
- Our campers will receive a sublimated jersey, white jersey, and shorts from VC Ultimate.
- Campers will play in a football stadium under the lights.
- The NexGen tour will stop through and run a clinic for all of the campers and the campers will go to the NexGen game that night.
- Overnight campers will stay in quality college dorms and the food provided to all campers includes three full buffet meals a day.
- Our evening programs will be fun and will offer the campers a valuable opportunity to make new friends from around the country.
- Our staff is dedicated to helping campers improve not only as Ultimate players, but also as people.
Georgia: Didn’t you see? CUT has Brodie Smith!
Brodie, we understand that you’re offering something special to the first 50 and 100 people that sign up this year?
Brodie: The first 50 get signed discs and the first 100 get a chance to win one of my signed AlleyCat jerseys.
How does CUT relate to the Chicago Youth Club team?
Java: The Chicago Youth Club team is a club team in the western suburbs of Chicago that is for U-19 and U-16 players. One of the goals of Chicago Ultimate Training is to improve youth Ultimate in the Chicago area. One of the ways we intend to do this is to provide all of the high school players in the area an opportunity to play on a club team. These teams play in several tournaments over the course of the summer, including the Youth Club Championships in Blaine, MN.
What else should people know about CUT 2012?
Java: We are dedicated to improving you as a player as well as a person. As the director of CUT Camp, I have developed this camp to provide the best environment that any high school player could ever imagine for a summer Ultimate camp. I am extremely passionate about this game and about improving youth Ultimate. I understand that you, the consumer, have a lot of options this summer. I ask that you realize that this camp was developed out of a passion for the sport of Ultimate unmatched by any other camp. These amazing coaches have come on board because they believe in the philosophy behind CUT Camp. We want to help this sport grow exponentially and this begins with our youth.
Edited by Griffin Muckley