Missed the SkydFund AMA we ran with Danny Karlinsky yesterday on r/ultimate? Danny did a fantastic job answering questions and gave a lot of specific advice at how to get better as an individual player. Below are some of our favorite answers.
On being successful as a shorter player:
Throw away any notions about size being a limit on your skills. Focus on your strengths 75% of the time and your weaknesses 25% (unless you’ve just started playing in the last 1-2 years). My strengths centered around quickness, change of direction and throwing. Customize your track workouts to focus on those and make you more dangerous. Throw with friends who are taller and/or have large wing spans. If you are getting blocked, or shut down a lot..stop and reassess your release points, release speeds, your cutting style and your footwork.
On what captains look for at tryouts:
Grit, defense, and a super power are things I look out for most. To explain grit a bit more–I personally love seeing the guy who plays his heart out every point, who goes full speed, attacks on offense without an ounce of effort being wasted, and attempts to out hustle everyone on the field. Watch video of Derek Alexander from GOAT or Cassidy Rasmussen from Revolver and you’ll see the amount of effort they are delivering is often times unstoppable.
In a field with +100 people also consider what impact you are making off the field. Being a great player while also bringing energy and fun to your team is exceedingly important and can often times increase the quality of play from those around you. In specific terms, always be part of the play on the sideline, lend a voice to the mark, grab teammates who are zoned out and get them keyed in, slap hands with the O/D lines if they score, but especially when they get scored on.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given you about how to play?
I once (stupidly) told Chris McManus, one of the first captains/founders of Revolver, that my goal in 2007 was to try to average 1 turnover per game v. the ~2 I believe I averaged in 2006. Shocked, he turned to me and said, “Danny, if everyone averaged one turnover, that would give us 27 turnovers per game. Could we win any games if we turned it over that much?” For a college kid who was pretty naive, I was just blown away at how incredibly true that was and how I needed to completely change my own player philosophy and figure out better goals.
Favorite drill at practice?
4 lines of people about 5 yards apart facing the same direction on the same line. Across from each line is a cone with one person at it about 10 yards away. Each line throws a disc to the single person and immediately run to mark for 6-8 seconds. The person with the disc tries to break a straight mark back to the line it was thrown from. The marker then sprints to the back of the next line (each line does this in the same direction) until he gets back to the front of the line he started at. Thus he throws, marks and sprints back 4 times. That person then replaces the single person who joins the end of that line. You do this until you are extremely tired and it’s exhausting to mark. You can change up the focus, like marking low, marking to one side, coming at the mark from an angle etc etc.
On handler defenders:
Handler defenders have a tough job..basically trying to guard somebody in small space 1on1 for 4 seconds. I always coach/preach one thing: take away the handlers A option. If they get their B option, that’s a win. If you get a block, it’s a huge win. Without having any data to back this up and going off just my own intuition, I’d say 85% of blocks occur outside of the handler set. (Note: I’m terrible at math)
On dealing with big game pressures:
Just be confident in yourself, know you can be great and bring energy to your team. Pressure is something you create internally even if there are external factors at play.
I’d also recommend reading the book “Reversing the Senses” by Martin Hubbard which helps you understand how to change the internal battles you have that have external impacts.
On handler workouts:
Chris Kosednar created some awesome handler workouts. Stagger cones (the final structure looks like a lightning bolt) so you are running at about 10-12 yards and are weaving/changing direction. Introduce a disc in the middle or end that requires you to break a mark or hit somebody in motion. Boom, fun and interactive drill that works on footwork, quickness, change of direction, disc skills and execution when tired.
On the hardest player he’s ever had to guard, and the player that did the best job of defending him:
When he was still playing I HATED guarding Nick Handler. Guy was the King of Squirrels and was a goal scoring machine…plus a great dude.
I love playing against Rusty Ingold-Smith on Ironside as he is a great competitor, works hard and plays honest. His mark is pretty legit too.
Enjoyed the AMA? Please help keep Skyd running in 2015 by donating to the SkydFund, our yearly fundraising drive, running throughout the month of November.