The Ulty Results Coaching Academy Conference (URCA 2015) ramped up on Wednesday with sessions from Ren Caldwell, Kaitlyn Lovatt, Carla DiFilippo, and Matty Tsang. Ren discussed an important topic: athleticism in youth athletes, how to develop it, and what are our obligations as coaches are to keep players safe and healthy. A must watch for any youth coach. Kaitlyn and Carla put together a detailed X’s and O’s look at the defenses of Canada’s recent U19 and U23 national teams and at the key concepts that helped those teams achieve success. And Matty Tsang brought his experience and perspective as a long-time coach of Fury (not to mention coaching middle school and Team USA) to discuss the problematic ways coaches often communicate to their teams through substitution patterns. He provides some solutions and, along the way, gives some fascinating insight into the personalities and the stories of nearly a decade of Fury Ultimate.
The conference continues today, so, register for free. And all of yesterday’s sessions will be available to registrants for for 24 hours – check them out now.
Takeaways From Ren Caldwell’s “Developing Athleticism in Youth Teams”
- Kids are different from adults and require a different approach
- Athleticism is developed through team culture and good organization
- Stronger, healthier kids enjoy the sport more, they keep playing
- Athleticism is not a nice to have – it’s a need to have. Coaches are obligated to learn and teach strength-training to protect their athletes
- Specialization is bad. Allow kids to be involved in other sports. Encourage them to do so.
Melissa: How do you try to balance a “growth mentality” with the need to assign kids roles on the team that help them utilize their existing strengths?
Ren: “This goes along with the idea of not wanting to push kids into specialization …. Giving kids a role that fits their existing skills is a great starting place. But you always want to help them have an arc …. to their season. You don’t want them to feel pigeonholed … One way I would do that is a focused scrimmage when they are in their roles.” But, Ren continues, she’d make sure they have opportunities in many other roles. We want to allow kids the latitude to do different things on the field. “Specialization isn’t something we want to rush into with kids.”
Clip Of The Day
Ren on why celebrating the layout D can be harmful to youth athletes.
(Note: Some brief NSFW language in above clip)
Takeaways from Kaitlyn Lovatt and Carla DiFilippo’s “A Team Approach to Man Defence”
- Create a team vocabulary. And define the words. Don’t assume everyone understands.
- Creating a team language is an important part of building a team
- U19 and U23 Team Canada used ideas of “quadrants” in order to simplify field, give each quadrant a different defensive scheme
- Language matters – stay positive (e.g. using “contain” instead of “no break”)
- Shared and understood vocabulary allowed Team Canada to switch defensive looks fluidly during competition
Alex: As a defense, how do you practice to beat the sluff or sag offense?
Kaitlyn: “The way that used to be the way to break it is the give-go that we saw the [US U23 Women’s team run versus Japan in London]. But now we train our players to identify that switch and run the switch. I’d say the best way is to run the jam cut. The open-side player runs a bail cut around behind and tries to get the disc in a situation where they can run onto it and throw a break. It’s important if you have three handlers back that the breakside handler runs a slant up-the-line cut into space.”
Clip Of The Day
Kaitlyn and Carla on using language with positive connotations and how U23 and U19 Team Canada came to own their defensive concepts.
Takeaways from Matty Tsang’s “We Are What We Speak: Calling Subs, Team Meetings, and Building Team Cohesion”
- Sub calling is one of the worst ways to communicate with your team. It’s full of opportunity for miscommunication
- Reality is, on a large team, players spend most of their time on the sideline
- As a coach – need to balance equation with positive reinforcement, check-ins, putting players in quality point situations (i.e. high leverage)
- You aren’t developing depth unless you’re putting many players in high pressure situations
- Communicate through the lens of your team’s culture and values
Ben: What advice would you have for a new coach in how to recognize aspects of team culture you want to bring out? Especially for those who haven’t ever participated in a team with a strong culture.
Matty: “If it doesn’t already exist, I think you should come up with one. If you look at most of the ones out there, they have common themes. They are about teams. Revolver’s could be, I have Beau Kittredge and you don’t. But that’s not a unifying force.” Matty continues, “You can do an exercise with your team and actually come up with your values.” Or, if that’s not realistic for the team due to structure or age, the coach can bring the values. Matty reinforces that it’s best if they come from the team, but doesn’t always have to be that way.
Clip Of The Day
Matty on subbing deep in high leverage situations in order to build a truly deep team.
Join The Conference!
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Sign up for free registration now for access to today’s talks:
- Tiina Booth, 11:00 EDT
- Mario O’Brien, 14:00 EDT
- DeAnna Ball, 19:00 EDT
- Liam Kelly, 21:00 EDT
- 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.