The high school Ultimate scene has exploded so rapidly recently that opportunities for youth players have had a hard time keeping up. Spin Ultimate noticed the demand for more camps and clinics and decided to fill the void and tap into this raw Ultimate fervor by creating the Spin Ultimate Academy. The five day, Atlanta-based event is meant to provide players and coaches with the skills and experience they need in order to help the sport flourish at the base level.
Mark Poole: My name is Mark Poole and I am one of the lead instructors for the Spin Ultimate Academy. My Ultimate career started in my 3rd year of college down at Georgia College and State University. I was introduced to the game by a professor at the school, Dr Doug Oetter, who enlightened me to the world of competitive Ultimate. Under Doug’s tutelage a program was started at the university that placed a high value on Spirit of the Game, and we were able to qualify for the regional tournament in our first two years of existence. From college I moved back to Atlanta and played Mixed for one year before trying out for Chain Lightning in 2008. I made the team and quickly earned top-level experience playing in the Semifinals of USAU Club Nationals. In 2011 I was selected to Team USA for the World Championships of Beach Ultimate in Italy, where we won Gold. This season will be my 5th year with Chain Lightning and second year as captain.
How did the Spin Academy come about?
Mark: We partnered with the Atlanta Flying Disc Club wanting to create a structured training camp experience for youth players in the South. As youth Ultimate continues to grow by leaps and bounds, kids are looking for new opportunities to play and improve their games. For a lot of kids, outside of the high school season, opportunities are few and far between. So we wanted to create a camp that’s accessible to high school players in the South.
What are the camp details? (Where, when, who, what, etc.)
Mark: Spin Ultimate Academy will be held from June 19th – 23rd in Atlanta, GA at the Georgia Soccer Park,
The Academy is open to current high school boys and girls (9th-12 grade). Rising 9th graders are being accepted on a case-by-case basis based on their playing experience.
For $300 players will receive:
• 5 days of training and coaching from top-level Ultimate players
• Athletic trainers onsite for injury prevention and treatment all day, every day
• Plenty of food and water to stay hydrated and energized
• Lunch provided each day by Ultimate Culinary (The Pickle)
• BBQ-style dinner on Saturday with a showcase event hosted by Chain Lightning
**Each player will receive a Spin Ultimate Academy jersey, a Discraft camp disc, a cleat bag, and a USAU 11th edition rulebook. There will also be chances to win special prizes throughout the week.
What will the camp focus on?
Mark: The camp will provide youth Ultimate players with an immersive experience in which they will develop their individual disc and playing skills, learn Ultimate strategy, and improve their team and leadership abilities. We will focus on disc skills, one-on-one playing techniques, offensive and defensive strategies, proper training and nutrition, and Spirit of the Game. We want to equip players with tools and knowledge that they can use to continue to improve their own game and also take back to their teams next season.
What makes Spin Academy unique from other camp options out there?
Mark: A couple of things, but the biggest thing is the program for high school coaches. Coaches are the backbone of any thriving high school Ultimate program. So we wanted to create a program tailored specifically for high school coaches. Throughout the week, they will learn drills, game strategy, coaching techniques, and other best practices through discussion and observing our coaches in action. We want them to learn tangible coaching techniques that they can take back to their teams and implement immediately as they build their programs. Coaches are invited to attend during the week free of charge,
Tell us about the culmination practice event with Chain Lightning.
Mark: We will be hosting a family friendly event after the final day of the Academy from 4-7pm. Dinner will be provided along with music, games, and other activities. Chain Lightning will hold a practice to give players and their families an opportunity to see what’s involved with the sport at the highest level. We want to show parents that the sport their kids are going crazy about is just as unique, fun, and as serious as any varsity sport. This event is open to the general public too, so we encourage the local Ultimate community to come out for the festivities.
What else do we need to know about the camp?
Mark: For more information about the camp, including registration, visit our website, http://www.spinultimate.com/academy. We also have a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SpinUltimateAcademy. And we can be reached by email at SpinCamp@SpinUltimate.com.