Bill Parcells coached for over 40 years and won two Super Bowls. I love hearing thoughts about competition and preparation from people who do those things for a living, and Parcells was one of the best. I’ve been reading these and looking for ways to apply them to my high school team and upcoming club tryouts and I think they’ll be useful for anyone looking to up their mental edge as they head into Nationals. Some favorites:
- “See, this kind of game is just like playing baseball. If your fastball is getting them out, you just keep on throwing it until there’s twentyseven of ‘em gone. It’s that kind of thing. If you get away from that in a game like this, it’s only because you want to show everybody how smart you are as a coach. That’s like carnival football: jugglers to the left, seals to the right, and then everybody says, ‘Look how smart the coach is. This is really exciting.’ But you’re not a coach at all then. You’re a carnival barker.”
“Mock intercepts the ball in the end zone. Now we’re in the locker room and the press is all around him and a reporter asks, ‘Is that the biggest play you ever made in your life?’ and the kid says, ‘Yep.’ Now the guy asks why and Mock says, ‘Because if I don’t make it, they win, but I made it so we win.’“I knew right there I had that kid. I knew he understood. That’s how simple it is. You get your coaches and your players to understand it, you win. You don’t get anything for being smarter or flashier. All anybody wants to know is if you won.”
- “Losing may take a little from your credibility, but quitting will destroy it.”
- “The worst thing that can happen to a player [from a player’s perspective] is for him not to know what the coach is really thinking about him” and “People can’t become accountable unless they understand exactly what you want.”
- “Say something to each individual every day.”
- “Consistency is overrated. A leader is obligated not to be consistent, but to be right—t0do what’s best for the organization.”
In this post, Dusty argues that keeping your arm 90 degrees to your torso is the best way to throw because it generates the most power and it is the most natural motion. His point reminds me of Ben Wiggins’ note about keeping the disc flat throughout your entire backswing, which he articulates in the Wall Resets drill in Zen Throwing. Dusty also talks about the balance provided by the non-throwing side of your body as well as the importance of ignoring the wind. The comments section gets into some nitty gritty, including another point about the “ludicrous obsession with getting under the mark” that reminds me of Idris Nolan’s point that many great throwers don’t pivot because they develop a good sense of where the mark is and simply move accordingly.
In general, I think that throwing mechanics come down to individuals and what makes them comfortable. If a player has hideous form but can get the disc where it needs to go at the right time, I don’t see much of a need to worry about cosmetics. But thinking about form and what works for others is always beneficial. There are always tweaks and improvements to be made.
A specific example: Sean Keegan, a teammate of mine who is an exceptional hucker and wind thrower, recently told me that when he first started playing at Delaware, he was taught to throw on an incline. At first, I pictured finding a hill and, for some reason that I didn’t understand, throwing on it. But once he explained that he meant always giving leading edge of the disc a slight tilt, I got it. I tried it out and for me, throwing on an incline helps compensate for my tendency to throw with the leading edge down a bit; I frequently hit guys in the waste or knees when I want to hit them in the chest. There’s always the feeling that something is working just because it is new advice or a clear version of something you’ve never consciously practiced, but I like this one.
I coached the YHB Varsity Boys at Virginia States this past weekend, where we won the final 10-8 over Woodside High School. In pool play on Saturday, we beat them 12-7. The final was nerve wracking: we took half 7-6 only to go down 8-7, battled back to 8-8 and then took the lead 9-8, and then grinded out a final point that, in retrospect, feels like it had 10 turnovers and lasted 15 minutes.”They’re really athletic” is a term that ultimate players use a whole, whole lot, but Woodside definitely fit the bill. I saw a number of one-handed hammer skies, hucks that were chased down from over 30 yards, and layouts that flew way farther than I expected when the player left the ground. Woodside is coached by Richard Rudnicki and has been around since at least the early 2000s. Carter Mize, a 2010 alum, was on the last Junior Worlds team, and Chase Snead, a current junior, tried out.
In looking at All-State nominees, I think that Snead (the layer-outer and the best dump cover that I have seen this high school season), Trent Cooper (the huck runner-downer with really, really impressive hands), and [I believe] Jason Luster (their main thrower) should represent Woodside. On the YHB end, I think Jay Boyle (tournament MVP as voted on by all of the Open coaches, Junior Worlds 2012), Grayson Sanner (stepped up huge in the air and as a cutter all weekend), and Sam Fenstermacher (another big cutter for us who hucked well and helped a lot on the endzone line) shined the most. I don’t know if that last spot should go to someone from another team (Ben Green from Herndon High School comes to mind, but Herndon didn’t come to States) or someone else from Woodside or YHB.
I wish that I could report on the Girls division, but I only got to see about 5 girls points all weekend. YHB beat WT Woodson 13-3 in the final. The tournament MVP was YHB’s JoJo Emerson, who is heading to Ireland for Junior Worlds.
Luc Richard Mbah a Mute, a top NBA defender whose team, the Milwaukee Bucks, didn’t make the playoffs, offers eight thoughts on the remaining contenders. It’s hard to gauge how candid he is being, but I think it’s sincere and certainly insightful. It’d be sick to get a top ultimate player who either recently retired or missed Nationals to do this in the weeks leading up to Sarasota.