I recently got a chance to catch up with my boy Michael Aguilar, and in addition to rehashing his glory days, we talked about the Spin Academy. Aguilar coaches at Catholic High School Bayou Hazard in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and and four of his team’s rising sophomores are currently at the Academy. The team also produced 2012 Junior Worlds team member Garrett Yetman.
I’ve always liked Aguilar’s perspective on ultimate’s growth. As a player and coach, he understands that it’s about baby steps; as a writer and general sports fan, he sees both what we lack and what we can accomplish. Below is a quick look at what’s on his mind regarding the Spin Academy…
The Academy is a great place to establish relationships that will grow the game throughout the South and beyond.
- “I’m hoping first and foremost that their love of the game is reaffirmed by spending time around some elite level players who, clearly, love the game and a plethora of students around their age but outside of their Ultimate bubble that also love the game.”
- “I’m hoping that these guys establish some relationships with some of the Ultimate players in their region. With the recent club and college restructuring, it appears that Atlanta is going to be the hotbed of Ultimate for Louisiana (think college, club, and high school Regional tournaments etc.) for some time to come. So, hopefully these guys will be able to meet some of the players they’ll be interacting with over the rest of their Ultimate careers.”
- “There’s a good chance that some of my players going to this camp will be seeing some players from other schools going to this camp at Club Regionals in 2022. Forming relationships right now shrinks the region and encourages growth.”
- “These guys are going to come back from camp with new drills, skills, practices and attitudes. Those things will at some point be instituted in college programs, and even later, club programs from all over the South. Youth Ultimate is growing everywhere and the faster it grows, the faster the talent level in the sport grows. The faster the talent level grows, the more people become interested in it. The more people are interested in it the more widespread it becomes. You see where I’m going with this…”
Aguilar sees the Academy as a “teach a man to fish” kind of thing: by attending, eyes will be opened to just how much potential there is for both players and individuals to improve. Ultimate’s future gets brighter every time a kid realizes that the sky is the limit.
- “As soon as I started to mentally understand Ultimate, I became a much better player. Sometimes, as just one coach, it can be hard to focus on understanding the WHYs of Ultimate. I’m hoping that the Academy instills some of those thoughts in the players.”
- “I want my players to get an opportunity to see where their ceilings are. For some of these guys, I might be the best Ultimate player they’ve ever seen, and I’m no Jolian Dahl. I would love for these guys to get a picture of just how good of an Ultimate player they have a chance to become. Without seeing true level of athleticism and skill top players have, people are discouraged from taking their prep work to the next level. Hopefully seeing Dahl, Mark Poole and some of these other Chain players in action will be a motivating tool players.”
- “This summer, we have close to 10 guys participating in our school’s Varsity Speed and Strength program. Something that Ultimate players don’t get is that other athletes dedicate 5-6 days a week to their sports in order to be at least average. The ‘off-season’ for high school basketball lasts about a month. Spending this week receiving valuable instruction and practice is going to be big for some of these guys.”