The Ulty Results Coaching Academy Conference (URCA 2015) continued on Monday with sessions from Melissa Witmer (Ulty Results, The Ultimate Athlete Project) and Alex Snyder (Fury, USA U23 Mixed). Melissa provided concrete ideas for using focused scrimmages to improve individual and team skills, and Alex offered insight into moving the disc laterally, including providing some tips that subvert the way that the dump/swing set is often taught. The conference continues today, so, register for free for other sessions. And all of yesterday’s sessions will be available to registrants for for 24 hours.
Takeaways From Melissa Witmer’s “How to Plan Focused Scrimmages Your Players Will Love!”
- The point of a focused scrimmage is to create an environment more conducive to deliberate practice of complex skills
- Focused scrimmages communicate specific standards or goals, increase the opportunity for more repetitions of the desired behavior, and create easy ways for players to measure whether or not they’ve achieved the goal.
- Deliberate practice occurs at the edges of ability. Focused scrimmages help to increase player focus and they push players slightly outside of their comfort zones. Scrimmages that don’t make this effort (that don’t have a goal or stretch player outside of their comfort zones) often devolve into pickup style play with low intensity and less than optimal learning potential.
Q: How do you have a focused scrimmage with new players or players of different ability levels?
Melissa’s Answer: “Coaching a team of various skill levels is always a challenge. A drill may be too far outside the comfort zone of one player while being too easy for another. The same can happen with focused scrimmages. For some types of scrimmages, different players can be working on different things. A new player playing mini is just getting in lots of reps of catching and throwing – getting more comfortable with the disc. For an experienced player, mini can be an opportunity to try out more creative throws without judgement.
“In a 5 pull scrimmage, your handlers may be focused on trials of receiving and centering the disc. Less experienced players are working on simply getting to the right type of stack at the right depth. So, while in general you only want one focus per scrimmage, different players may be working on slightly different skills.”
Takeaways From Alex Snyder’s “Dumps, Swings, Breaks, Oh My: Attacking Lateral Space and Using the Width of the Field.”
- Attacking the lateral space makes offense easier (no matter the gameplan)
- Different arenas for moving the disc laterally
- Trapped on the sideline
- On the sideline after a continuation
- Middle of the field
- Always follow the disc’s momentum – don’t turn back into the path of the disc after catching it.
- Teams need to deliberate about attacking lateral space
- All players need to work on the footwork of moving to hit quick, easy lateral throws after an in-cut. Too many players’ footwork prevents the lateral attack upon catching the disc.
- Be opportunistic – regardless of where you are on the field
Q (from Michelle): How do you teach timing on continuation cuts?
A: “The number one point that I always make, is that it’s almost always better to leave late than to leave early … as a cutter you never want to wait for the disc. You always want to be cutting to the space where the disc is being thrown to. And [thrower]’s you always want to put the disc to space.”
Congratulations to Greg and Benyamin who are our randomly selected winners of all the questions asked in both sessions. They will receive some free gear from conference sponsor, Five Ultimate!
Join The Conference!
- Get the whole story with a VIP pass
Sign up for free registration now for access to today’s talks:
- Lauren Boyle: 12:00 EDT, “Keep Them Coming Back for More: How to Retain Players and Grow your Program”
- Josh Hartzog: 14:00 EDT, “The Realities of being an Emerging Sport: Drills, Tips, and Suggestions for Practices with Limited Players or Field Space”
- Keith Raynor: 19:00 EDT, “Thinking & Feeling: The Building Blocks of Creating Cutters”
- See Full Schedule
What Is URCA?
URCA is a free online coaching conference. We believe coaches will determine the growth and trajectory of ultimate. Through URCA, we hope to inspire more people to become coaches, especially at the youth level in the US where a lack of coaches inhibits the growth of the division. Most importantly, we hope to foster discussion about best practices in coaching not just for teaching skills, but also for passing SOTG on to the next generation of players.