One evening on the way to summer league with a friend I was reminiscing about my days of learning to play ultimate at Virginia Tech many years ago. “I dunno, it was different then. Guys wore skirts, the older players coached the newer ones. Everyone was welcome. I feel like we’re losing some of that. Now I’m coaching and I worry that I’m changing the sport I love into something I wouldn’t have liked when I started playing.”
His counter argument was something to the effect of, “Ultimate is changing. Do you want to be part of the change or do you want to let it change without you?”
I can’t say that I’ve come up with an easy answer. The discussion and the doubts stay with me. Are there ways to coach that preserve the autonomy of the players in my charge? Can I preserve the fun and still get things done?
I have been coaching ultimate only briefly, and am probably mediocre at best. But I am inspired by excellent coaches in our community who have put insane amount of thought into not only teaching ultimate skills, but also into helping players become better people of the field too.
That’s why I am bringing together sixteen of these expert ultimate coaches in an online conference called the Coaching Academy on August 17-24th. In these presentations you’ll find things that you can use immediately with your teams.
I hope that this conference will enable you to go into the fall season with new tools and new inspiration!
We’ll have Tiina Booth teaching a mental toughness ten step program. Octavia “Opi” Payne will talk about the art of coaching from a players perspective. Mario O’Brian will discuss best practices in practice and season planning. And many, many more!
The conference is a series of webinars taking place at various times throughout the week.
Thanks to the generous support ofFive Ultimate, the viewing of live presentations will be free!
To register, simply enter your email address on the registration page. Every morning of the conference, you’ll get an email with links to the day’s talks.
Purchasing a VIP pass will give you access to recordings of all of the presentations. You’ll also get some extras like downloadable notes for each talk and access to a private Facebook group with the speakers. I’m really looking forward to the conversations that will happen there.
I believe that by working together we can learn to coach in ways that preserve some of the unique, more free-spirited, and less hierarchical ways of doing things in the ultimate community.
Last season my co-coach and I had practice on a field next to little kid’s soccer. “I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO REPEAT THIS ELEVEN TIMES!” said the coach to the knee-high boys and girls. “Well, aren’t you guys glad I’m not THAT guy?” said my co-coach to the team. Yes, yes I am glad that most ultimate coaches don’t want to be that guy.