The Ulty Results Coaching Academy Conference (URCA 2015) had a fantastic Tuesday with sessions from Lauren Boyle (Molly Brown, USA U23 Women’s), Josh Hartzog (Saga, East Chapel Hill), and Keith Raynor (Emory, Ultiworld). Lauren and Josh discussed topics particularly salient to newer teams, including player retention and practicing with reduced numbers of players and/or space. Keith focused on cutting techniques and using video analysis to illustrate successful cuts and types of cuts. The conference continues today, so, register for free for other sessions. And all of yesterday’s sessions will be available to registrants for 24 hours.
Takeaways From Lauren Boyle’s “Keep Them Coming Back for More: How to Retain Players and Grow your Program”
- Empowering individuals not only helps grow your program but also has a positive impact on team culture
- You need both short term and long term hooks
- For your short term hook, structure practices to engage the types of players you want to keep
- For a long term hook, foster team culture with roles for players
Hayden: “This is my first year coaching the local women’s team but there are other local colleges who are looking to grow their programs and have asked me to help. I don’t want my own team to suffer, but I want to help. Do you have suggestions on coaching multiple teams?”
Lauren: “I totally do! My philosophy is the only way [University of Colorado] is going to be the best team is if all the teams around us are giving us a dogfight every time. So I have a great relationship with other teams in Colorado.” Lauren then continues to offer examples of running clinics and cheering on other area teams. On time management: “This is something I’m working on! … but also offer up other resources and encourage other people to step up, that it’s worth the time.” She elaborates, “It’s not just your own time management, it’s encouraging others.”
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Takeaways Josh Hartzog’s “The Realities of being an Emerging Sport: Drills, Tips, and Suggestions for Practices with Limited Players or Field Space”
- Be realistic with your expectations based on the resources you have available
- Help get players comfortable playing in small spaces. It provides an opportunity to work on different types of throws and different angles of release.
- Keep in mind that with low numbers – it’s ok to take breaks! A shorter, intense, focused drill is better than a longer, unfocused drill.
- Use fun games to mix it up. Light-hearted, emphasizes different skills. Keeps the players loose.
- Start practices on time, regardless of number of players. Consistency is important for players and parents.
Peter: “Working with players with a larger skills gap can be more challenging with lower numbers. Any tips on working with a large skill gap with low numbers?”
Josh: “One of the main things I would do, I would go to my high school players and talk to them about the goal of practice. What are we trying to accomplish? We want to make sure we are raising up the bottom end of the roster as [the veterans] won’t be able to win us games on their own … So I had [the veterans] helping me bring those newer players along.” Josh continues that for newer players, matching up against veterans can be a great learning opportunity if framed appropriately and with that buy-in from veterans to help coach the entire roster.
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Takeaways from Keith Raynor’s “Thinking & Feeling: The Building Blocks of Creating Cutters”
- Thinking and feeling cutters are a spectrum not a dichotomy
- Feeling cutters learn best from repetition and visual cues
- Thinking cutters tend to be strong communicators and learn from footage, vocal cues, etc.
- We can tailor our instruction to players for how they learn best
- For cutting there are three main elements: speed, direction, and field position
- There are also three broad families of cutting: explosion, commitment, and shoulder cuts
- Important for cutting are acceleration, deceleration, and footwork. Melissa Witmer has a free six week program focusing on this training that might give you some ideas for practice.
Nick: “Do you think cutters should reduce their thinking in-game? Do you believe there’s an ideal in-game state or does it vary between players?”
Keith: “I do believe as a coach what we want is to do all the thinking prior to games. But that’s a different kind of thinking … by the time they’re on the field, all the thinking is below the surface. It translates directly from brain to muscle and doesn’t have to go through that second level of thinking.” He continues, “We have thinking cutters who aren’t going to be distracted by their thinking. It’s just how they see the game and it’s how they learn about the game.” Keith agrees that over-thinking can happen, but that this split between thinking and feeling cutters is mostly about learning style and how cutters view the field.
And congratulations to Sarah, Peter, and Jacob who were randomly selected from all questions on Tuesday to receive some URCA-branded gear from the conference sponsor Five Ultimate. Keep the dialogue going!
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Sign up for free registration now for access to today’s talks:
- Ren Caldwell: 14:00 EDT, “Developing Athleticism in Youth Teams”
- Kaitlyn Lovatt & Carla DiFilippo: 19:00 EDT, “A Team Approach to Man Defence”
- Matt Tsang: 21:00 EDT, “We Are What We Speak: Calling Subs, Team Meetings, and Building Team Cohesion”
- 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.
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