Zip's Tips

Written by Josh Ziperstein '05

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11/05/2002 - "Catch Both Ways"
When throwing on the green or when warming up make sure to catch 'both ways.' Alternate catching with your right hand versus your left hand on top of the pancake. For good throws, this doesn't make much of a difference, but if an errant throw is to the right of your body, it will be easier to catch left on top, and the same goes for the other side, but switched. The more comfortable you are catching both ways, the more natural it will be for you to catch with the correct orientation. I guarantee your drops will go down if you work on this.
11/06/2002 - "Pushups and Crunches"
Start doing 50/50 (pushups/crunches) every night before you go to sleep. In two weeks you will see a difference in your throwing power, cutting power and the type of women you attract.
11/07/2002 - "Always Be Moving"
As some of you may know, I am very big fan of acronyms. Todays; ABM, always be moving, both on D and on O. This serves three purposes. 1) When you are playing d you should always have an eye on your man, but sometimes it is very helpful to be able to check upfield and see whats going on. If your man (or you) has his hands on his hips then a good defender (or your defender) will have a chance to check. 2) For your man to be absolutely beat towards the end of a hell point on the fourth game of the tournament and look up and see you bobbing and jumping is absolutely devastating. you've already gotten the D at that point. 3) The best O cutters are always moving; as soon as a play develops they are ready to react, often quicker than their defender because they were already in motion (why do you think they call false starts in football?)
11/08/2002 - "Power Hour"
If the morning after a power hour with some frisbee buddies you wake up and don't have your Brown ID, call the site of the power hour before you go to get a new ID.
11/09/2002 - "Backhand Power"
To improve the power you have on your backhand throws, find a partner and stand about 10-15 yards apart. Throw on the backhand side, but keep your legs planted at a little wider than shoulder width. You can do a trunk-twist type motion to throw and this will work a lot on your arm mechanics and force you to put good spin on the disc (rotation=stability). After about 10 minutes of this you can step across with your right leg as you normally would and your throwing power and stability should be dramatically increased. When you begin to step across try not to change your arm motion, just add power from your lower body.
11/10/2002 - "Bring Your Disc"
Carry around a frisbee while you walk from class to class or while sitting and watching TV and just mess around with it. One might say, 'well spinning a disc on your finger or flipping it and catching it with one hand don't actually ever come up in ultimate.' To this I respond: soccer players who can juggle the ball well are always very good at trapping and the harlem globetrotters are still nasty ballers. You will be better if you are very comfortable with a disc in your hands.
11/11/2002 - "Water"
Drink a glass of water before you go to sleep and when you wake up in the morning.
11/12/2002 - "Confidence"
Do not cede victory in any way, to anybody before the game begins. When I look across the line at the chump I am about to D up I think exactly that. This does not mean you should not acknowledge an opposing players strengths; if your man is a good deep cutter, recognize thats probably what he wants to do and plan accordingly. But he is certainly not a better deep cutter than you are a deep defender. simply know that you are better. Some may call it cockiness, I call it confidence.
11/13/2002 - "Improvement"
Make a list (preferably on paper) of the things you do well and the things you don't do well. For the things you don't do well, find someone who you think does that well and talk to them about it or watch them play. No one player is naturally good at everything in ultimate. Watch other players that are good and make yourself a mosaic of good ultimate players.
11/14/2002 - "Fingernails"
Cut your nails before a big tournament, but not the night before; the night before the night before. In case you nick a cuticle, you want to give it at least 24 hours to heal up.
11/15/2002 - "Nasal Passages"
When you warm up before a game suck on a good cough drop. It gets your nasal passage wide open and you feel like you are breathing pure oxygen. It's like tiger balm for your lungs.
11/16/2002 - "Low Hands"
Keep your hands low down when you mark. Contrary to what you might think, you can move your arms quicker from low to high than from high to low (gravity doesn't give a helping hand).
11/17/2002 - "My Bad"
Never say 'sorry' or 'f---' when you make a bad throw before it has actually become a turnover. For some strange reason, once you say this you have taken responsibility for the error and your receiver will drop more often or not try as hard. (On a side note, give 100% effort on pick or foul calls, often times a pick throw can get D'd or a foul call will turn out to be null)
11/18/2002 - "Pack the Night Before"
Pack your bag the night before a tournament or early practice. You won't forget your cleats ever again.
11/19/2002 - "Catching High Hammers"
For hammers that are above your head, don't catch them like a normal high throw (fingers on top rim, thumb underneath). Instead bring your thumb up as well (your hand should now resemble a little cup). For a normal high throw there is a natural space for your thumb under the rim, but for hammers this doesn't exist and the disc will often hit your thumb first and bounce away. One might say that you could catch with thumb on bottom and just bring your other four fingers over the top, to rest in the same natural spot under the rim. To do this though you must get 2-3 inches higher (thus lowering the peak of your jump by 2-3 inches) and sometimes this makes all the difference.
11/20/2002 - "Accountability"
Hold yourself to an extremely high level of accountability. Good players will think about what they did wrong after they get scored on or beaten. Great players will think about what they did wrong while their team is scoring and winning. We must continue to improve even when we are playing well. Many times when I play I think games are much closer than they actually are because if my man broke my mark then thats what I remember, even if we got the d on the next pass and scored. Constantly be improving.
11/21/2002 - "Baby Powder"
Before a long tourney (or a warm one) bring some baby powder along to use in your shorts. By day 2 of the tourney you will have realized that it was a good idea. I am partial to Johnson & Johnson as it does not contain any corn starch.
11/22/2002 - "Quick Catch and Throw"
Work on the quick catch and throw following your body's momentum. This is extremely effective when you receive a dump or a swing pass to get the next one off. This is an advanced throw because it is necessary that it is a controlled throw, but you cant set your feet very well to make the throw.
11/23/2002 - "Throw Placement"
As a thrower, start trying to put the disc to certain parts of your receivers body. Make it easy for them to hold off their defender, make it simple for the break throw mentioned above to be in the flow of their movement, make every player love to be your receiver.
11/24/2002 - "Being Casual"
Sometimes people think that superstars look extremely casual and relaxed when they play. Relaxed is good, but casual is very bad. A short anecdote: in one of my first big club games a disc got thrown deep to my man and I was sure I had the D so I went up to get it casually and he skied me straight up. Make sure on every play, be casual at the parties after we've won the tourney.
11/25/2002 - "Rituals"
Establish certain things that let you know that you are about to play a big game: wearing a certain pair of cleats (aka the white pony phenomenon), a song that gets you ready or a warm up routine. Again, relaxed is good, casual is not.
11/26/2002 - "Skying"
A skying summary: 1) More often than not you should not have to sky your man as a receiver. Good players will put themselves between their man and where they want to catch the disc, creating space. One key point: do not play deep game defense and deep game offense the same way. On offense always try to get to the disc at the first possible place you can catch it - no milking it, no catching up high - it doesn't have to be pretty, just come down with the disc. On defense, play the man and not the disc (sounds illegal right?); unless you are 100% sure you can get the D, do not leave your man for the disc. Wait with him and either you will both misread it or you'll have a play on the disc when it comes in. 2) For when you do need to sky: practice catching up high with both your left and right hand and also jumping off of each foot. If you are behind your man and a floaty outside in backhand is coming in, you will want to go up righty. If it is the mirrored throw (outside in forehand) you will certainly want to go up off your right leg and catch lefty; you will have a better angle and be less likely to foul your man (also in each case this means you will not have to catch the disc trailing edge). 3) Lastly; if you are put in a position where your man has boxed you out and a sky is going to be necessary, there is no harm in slowing down your pace so you can get a running start at the disc and time your leap. Your man will probably be jumping solely vertically, and this is when the monster skies occur.
11/27/2002 - "Train Hard Over Break"
Train hard over the break. My 3-on-3 team will DESTROY you come Monday.
12/02/2002 - "Don't Get Beat Early"
Do not - I repeat, do not - let your man beat you deep in the first three points of the game. As a deep cutter, if I establish my deep game early then my confidence bursts and I have my man beat either way for the rest of the game. It is better we get scored on the first three points but they have to work hard and throw a lot than they beat us deep two out of three tries and we are up a break.
12/03/2002 - "Dictate Early"
Many teams, like us, run a four-man play or some other type of pull play to score in under 5 passes. If you stop your man from cutting deep the first five passes of the point, many teams offensive strategy will fall like a house of cards. This does not mean stand ten yards behind him and give a 25 yard-gainer underneath, but think about forcing your man in and then marking hard. When they do get frustrated and huck it deep (note huck, not throw), well get the D more often than not.
12/04/2002 - "High Catches"
When catching with two hands above your head designate one of them that you like to use as a primary and the other as a secondary. I like to think of it kind of like shooting a basketball; you have the shooting hand and the secondary hand that stabilizes the ball. I like to catch righty and use my left as a guide-in for the disc.
12/05/2002 - "Imaginary Lines"
When you are on the green throwing around establish imaginary lines for yourself and try to stay 'in bounds' wherever your field might be drawn. Good athletes look as though they keep their feet in bounds when catching very naturally, but nobody does something awkward like that naturally. Good receivers have practiced the footwork and practiced thinking about the footwork while not losing focus on the catch.
12/06/2002 - "Vary Throwing Speed"
When you are throwing around, try varying the speed of your throws. Great throwers not only can throw well at different distances or angles, but at various speeds.
12/07/2002 - "3 on 3"
If you played this year, then play next year; if you did not play this year then you should play next year. 3 on 3 is just fun; it is simply fun ultimate.
12/08/2002 - "Laying Out"
If you have trouble getting yourself to layout for D's then before a game or practice decide that the first disc that's close you are going to make a bid on. If you miss then get up and mark, but chances are you'll either get the D or your receiver will be more tentative when cutting.
12/09/2002 - "Play, play, play"
Play ultimate. I have had a harder time writing zips tips lately and for a second, thought that I was slipping, but I was reminded by a teammate that it has been hard because I have not been playing ultimate. The best way to get in shape for ultimate is to play ultimate. The best way to get comfortable playing ultimate is to play ultimate. The best way to get better at ultimate is to play ultimate.
12/10/2002 - "Being in Shape"
Never let fitness be your limiting element. Get yourself in good enough shape in the offseason so that it is not even an issue during the season. What a miserable thing to be the ceiling on your game when it is one of the things you have greatest control over. Let your learning curve not catching up with your desire or want or excitement be what limits you, if only for a couple practices.
12/11/2002 - "Long Gains"
If you catch a deep pass and are not in the end zone, the best thing you can do is turn around and dump the disc (if you are following the play, the best thing you can do is give the man a dump). If you run by the man with the disc you are setting up disaster; either you will have to get to the back of the endzone and cut back towards him (a long time) or he will be tricked into throwing to you as you run away from him (looks very promising and wide open, but is the hardest throw in the game). Get the dump and then he can cut and score the goal.
12/12/2002 - "Something Small"
Not including the things I actually need to play, a small hand towel is the most important thing that I pack in my ultimate bag for a tournament. Not only does it keep my hands and face dry, it keeps me unbelievably focused. Whether it be a towel, a waterbottle or a thought, try to get things that keep you in your game or get you into a routine.
12/13/2002 - "Disc Golf"
Go out and get yourself a disc golf disc, preferably a driver (for those of you unaware, true disc golf is played with smaller, heavier discs). Throwing with this will improve your distance and take away any airbounce that might be in your throw.
12/14/2002 - "Two-Handed Layouts"
Practice laying out and catching with both hands. This can be interpreted two ways, both of them important. Practice laying out with two hands and catching (this usually occurs when you are chasing down a disc and you have a good amount of time, you just need to get low - this is the most stable way of catching a layout). When you catch like this you should never pancake, you should go palms up just like if you were laying out with one hand, but its even more reliable. Second, practice catching one-handed layouts with both your left and right hand. This will make it so you can comfortably catch either way so you wont have to make difficult trailing edge catches.
12/15/2002 - "Seeing Through the Mark"
One of the aspects of a good mark is it gets the thrower thinking about the mark more than the throw. Work on seeing the field through your marker when you have the disc. being able to do this is sort of analogous to a point guard being able to dribble down the court without looking at the ball. You can get better at this by faking and pivoting whenever you throw, mark or no mark, and also by having a teammate try to fluster you on the mark so you can work on your focus. On a side note, sometimes when people begin to gain this capability they zone out fast counts or fouls on the mark. There is a fine line between being aware and intense concentration. Call your fouls.
12/16/2002 - "Plays"
Before a tournament look over the different plays that we call as a team. Then put yourself at different places and positions on the field and envision what play call you would make or what you would do for a certain play call.
12/17/2002 - "Jumping Rope"
The best way to improve your vertical, get a quicker moving mark and have your change of direction speed be unmeasurable is to jump rope often. I like to do anywhere from 15-20 minutes total of 1 minute on/1 minute off, averaging about 120 jumps per minute. At 1000 jumps a day you'll be much faster very soon.
12/18/2002 - "Run Fast, Think Slow"
Run fast, think slow.
12/19/2002 - "Hamstrings"
Make sure to stretch your hamstrings very well, even if it is not a matter of injury or speed. When your hamstrings are tight, your entire lower back is tight and it affects your throws on the backhand and forehand side. If you think you are in good shape but tire quickly while throwing, this might be your problem.
12/20/2002 - "Winter Break"
Lifting: - try to lift a couple times a week and mix it up so you are alternating days for exercises on the same region of the body - good exercises: bench, triceps, lat pulldowns, lunges - great exercises: squats, paintbrushes, runners - paintbrushes: hold a 8-12 lbs dumbbell in each hand at your side. with your palms down, lift your right arm up to eye level, without bending your elbow and then bring it back to your side. do your left arm next and then you have done 1 rep. do three sets of about 12 reps (its kind of like a reverse curl, but with a straight arm. it should look like you are painting). - runners: have dumbbells in your hands (light maybe 8-10 lbs) and run in place but only with your arms (you are standing still, just do the motion your arms make while running). same deal as before, 12 reps, 3 sets (twelve reps means 12 right arm 12 left arm). - special note: paintbrushes are especially important. i cant tell you how many people i know who have injured their shoulder laying out. this is the best way to prevent layout injuries. it strengthens your traps and your rotator cuff. Running: try to run as much as you can, but vary it up, go long one day and shorter the next. a good medium length run is 3 miles, and on a longer day you can do up to 5. telephone pole runs are also good, you can do 2-3 miles of sprint one jog one on alternating telephone poles. Plyos: - jump rope as much as you can, especially on days when you do the telephone pole runs (because you've already been working on fast twitch muscle groups). - to strengthen your ankles (or do some rehab) close your eyes and try to balance on one ankle for a minute. then do the other one. try to do this every day, especially if you have a history of ankle injuries. Ultimate: play it, throw it, talk about it, think about it.
01/22/2003 - "Play Through Fouls"
When you throw, cut, jump or catch you must play expecting not to get fouled. All too often players will have weak break mark throws expecting a slap or not go up strong for a disc anticipating the hack. The best players play as if there is no one else on the pitch while still knowing where everyone is.
01/23/2003 - "Warmup Throws"
When you warm up your throws before a game or practice begin by you and your partner being separated by a large distance (30-40 yards) and then after a while move in. Before your muscles warm up your accuracy may not be exactly on point, but a throw that is off by 2 yds to a receiver 30 yds away doesn't matter much. Once your muscles are warm, move closer (10-15 yds) and hone in your accuracy.
01/24/2003 - "Horizontal Layouts"
When you lay out for a disc try to keep your torso as close to parallel to the ground as possible. You can decide which of these is more important to you, but doing this will accomplish the following two things. 1) If you are on offense you will be less likely to drop the disc when you hit the ground, being that there is no fumble caused by ground rule in ultimate. 2) Laying like this prevents short term (burns and bruises) and long term (shoulder) injuries.
01/25/2003 - "Transitions"
If you get a go-to layout D, some might debate whether you should pump the fist to the sideline or just stare down your man. I say the best thing to do is to start the fast break. Your man is physically and mentally outmatched; you are ahead of him in the direction you want to be cutting and you also own him because you just layed out past him for a D. If you then score on him or even just get the disc on a nice cut, he will have been fully broken for the remainder of the game if not the rest of your college career.
01/26/2003 - "Be Creative"
If you burn the bridge of your nose while laying out, make up some kinky/amazonianish/polar bear/flaming marshmallow type story to explain it.
01/27/2003 - "Why?"
For many players, this tip may become more relevant as your ultimate careers move up and on, and for some of you it might change the way you think about the game. Think for one minute and decide why it is that you love playing ultimate and invest time, money, your heart, your body and your mind in it. If in very little time you cannot think of why, then it becomes harder and harder to stay passionate and intense about the game as your involvement in it deepens. I respect both the people who try hard to find what ultimate does for them and those who try to find something else because their soul/body/mind involvement in ultimate doesn't match ultimates involvement in their life.
01/28/2003 - "Lazy Throws"
Never let your throwing habits become lazy. 1) If you want to throw to the forehand side, switch your grip from backhand to forehand and throw a flick. Even if you have a loose mark a little backhand flip to the forehand side is not a good throw or a good habit. 2) If you want to get off a quick throw to the backhand side and your feet are parallel to your shoulders, it is unacceptable to use a wrist shot without pivoting your right leg around. A good marker will shut this down and it is also very hard for your cutter see that a throw is coming, resulting in many miscommunications.
01/29/2003 - "Take a Break"
I got nothing for tips today, Ive been drawing blanks all day trying to come up with something good, trying to make one player a little better, see one aspect of the game in a slightly different light. Todays tip therefore, was quite obvious. Take a break from the things that you always do from time to time. You'll come back more fired up and probably do a better job. If ultimate is your break from schoolwork, great. If schoolwork is your break from ultimate, even better.
01/30/2003 - "Throwing Deep"
All too often, beginning players completely change their form when they begin to try to throw deep, thinking they have to 'kill' the disc or 'jack' it. A good throwers deep throws and short throws vary very slightly in form; moreso in revolution speed and snap at the end of the motion. To practice throwing deep, try to throw hard short throws with a lot of disc revolution (disc revolution is directly related to torque applied on the disc). Once you have mastered short throws where the disc does not wobble at all and stays parallel to the ground throughout its entire flight, then you can move onto deep throws, doing the same things you were doing while throwing short, but increasing your arm speed and the torque you put on the disc.
01/31/2003 - "Be Ruthless"
Dont hesitate to be absolutely merciless in the opening games of a tournament. Especially in longer and more competitive tournaments, getting these games done quickly and soundly helps in terms of escaping fatigue towards the end of a tourney as well as building confidence from the first point of the first game.
02/01/2003 - "Attack the Disc"
When catching the disc make sure to attack it, especially as field and weather conditions worsen. If you watch a good shortstop, they will pick their bounce and then attack the ball when they want to. If you wait you are at the whim of the disc, which is not a good place to be. Also, if you learn to do this well you will almost never have someone layout past you for a D.
02/02/2003 - "Buddy Up"
Find someone on your team, kind of like a buddy, who can remind you when you are falling into a bad habit or in a slight rut. For example, nathan always makes sure that I am having fun because he knows that I play my best when Im having fun. If you check in with this person both of you will be better players.
02/03/2003 - "Music"
When you go to a tournament pack a CD that is composed of entirely instrumental (preferably classical) tracks. This serves a great purpose. If you are trying to get homework done in a loud environment (such as a gate in the airport) then this will act as a nice sound barrier while not distracting you from your work like another CD might. My personal favorite is mozarts violin concertos 1-5.
02/04/2003 - "Eye Contact"
A good cutter will often make eye contact with their thrower when cutting. This will sometimes help to know where a thrower wants the cutter to go, but I think more importantly is the opposite. If a cutters man is seriously overplaying him to the force side, then he can signal to the thrower that he wants to go for a break mark cut. This will allow the thrower to set up a break mark throw by faking and/or moving the mark.
02/05/2003 - "Playing Smart Ultimate"
After asking tom and nathan my question the other night (why do you think you are successful at ultimate?) I thought more about why I think they are successful and came to one conclusion, which neither of them mentioned. Both nathan and tom are incredibly smart ultimate players. Not to shoot them down, but I don't think athleticism carries their game, although they are both better athletes than some of you might think. They think about ultimate in a very smart way and then go out on the field and do all the things they talk about. If you are a sick athlete and you are smart then you are unstoppable. Unfortunately athleticism cannot be taught, but smart ultimate can, and it begins by playing within your own bounds and the scheme of your team.
02/06/2003 - "Throwing to Open Space"
As a thrower, if you have a good cutter then they will create space for themselves. If they have already gotten open, a good throw is to lay the disc out into space and let them run onto it; assume they will maintain the separation they have established.
02/07/2003 - "One Solid Fake"
When you have the disc and are trying to fake your marker so you can get a break throw off, it is much more effective to do one, solid fake than five little jukes, none of which are really faking the marker out. A good marker will not simply respond to movement, they will only respond to movement that could lead to a throw. Practice your fakes in front of a mirror if you want to see whether or not they are believable. A truly good fake is one in which you do everything but throw the disc, forcing the marker to cut off that throw and then you beat them back to the place you actually want to throw it from.
02/08/2003 - "Lifting"
I find that when I am lifting if I expect a set to be hard then it ends up being hard, whereas if I convince myself that Ive got it and its no thing, I pump it out. The same goes for every throw, game and tournament - it is only as hard as you make it. Convince yourself that you are ready, you are better, you know what you are doing and you can do it, and then you will.
02/09/2003 - "Throwing Up"
If you throw up - whether it be because of sickness, exhaustion or drinking - go out and get yourself some gatorade/powerade. You lose tons of electrolytes when you boot, those little things in your body that make you good at whatever you do and sports drinks replenish these very well.
02/10/2003 - "Keep in Touch"
Keep in touch with your friends from home. This semester I have found that I have sort of lost touch with some very good friends and recently getting back in touch with these people has made my life better. If you have trouble getting the go behind your actions, stop pepe anytime you see him, anywhere. He has guaranteed me that he will always have the necessary items (pen, postcard, stamp) on his person. He will also provide the materials and delivery to the PO free of charge, as part of his mission to keep good friends, good friends. I salute you pepe.
02/11/2003 - "The Two Elements of Throwing"
Break your throwing motion into two separate parts. The first is the backswing - get the disc in a position where you are ready to make a throw and the only motion from there on out will be forward motion. The second part is the shot - arm forward, making sure to keep the disc parallel to the ground and follow through in a path also parallel to the ground. Wobbly, uncontrolled throws often occur as a result of there not being separation between these two elements.
02/12/2003 - "Visualize"
When you run, lift, swim or workout in some way that demands that you work hard, have some vision in your mind. Whether it be a guy beating you deep, you running past your man to the cone, or just looking at your man late in the game and seeing him with his hands on his knees, keep that picture in the front of your mind.
02/13/2003 - "Your Body"
Take good care of your body, especially as the season gets more intense and demanding. you will play how you want to and feel good when you are not playing. This long weekend we will have a couple special guest zips tips where each aspect of staying healthy will be examined in greater depths by experts on the subject.
02/14/2003 - "Bring It"
Bring the fire to practice. do whatever you need to get psyched up. If you bring it to practice, you will play better, the man you are guarding will have to play better, we will play better. It is extremely important that our practices are intense and hard fought, for this in turn will make them productive and fun.
02/15/2003 - "Eating Right [from Jon Jay]"
Eating before practice: Try to eat 2-3 hours before practice, maybe even 4 hours before a track workout. Make sure you get some high-quality carbs (e.g., pasta, whole wheat bread, beans, bananas or potatoes - not fries, Kevin). These foods release energy slowly into your bloodstream instead of all at once, keeping you from 'bonk'-ing. Have a little bit of protein, but understand that a hamburger doesn't provide any energy you can use during practice. Do not go on the Atkins diet, especially you, Ben Wiseman. Eating after practice: It is extremely important to eat well, and as soon as possible, after practice or working out; it will help your body maximize the benefits of the conditioning, recover and be ready the next day. If you're eating immediately after practice (within 20-30 minutes) you can go for some of the fast energy sources (juice, powerade, oranges) plus the smart carb sources and more protein. In this short window, your body replenishes energy quickly. If you're eating 1-2 hours after practice, go for a well-rounded meal. A small salad would be good here. It's important to eat well all the time - your body is constantly recovering from your last workout and preparing for your next. Be sure to eat fruits and vegetables (especially leafy green ones) every day. Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. If you can, eat smaller meals several times throughout the day. Eating desserts, chicken carberrys, etc. are not terrible for you, but make sure they aren't replacing healthier foods in your diet. Don't think of Lucky Charms as a healthy breakfast option; however, it has been noted by B-Mo alum Kyle Weisbrod (an expert on getting lucky) that you may want to have some in small doses 'to increase your luck intake.'
02/16/2003 - "Hands [from Josh Champagne]"
Healthy hands are crucial for playing comfortable ultimate. Having messed up fingers can hamper throwing and catching and affect how comfortable you feel with a disc. It's simple but sometimes challenging to keep your hands happy. 1) Never bite your finger nails or the skin on your hands. I have trouble with this. If you bite your nails as a habit while reading, develop a better habit. Mine is drinking water from my bmo/disco glass. 2) Moisturize when you get out of the shower. You heard me, chump, use lotion. In the case of cuts or splits, anything will heal in time; but you can help the process by cleaning and covering cuts when you go out, and by wearing gloves to class. Using Neosporin or BandAid Plus on a cut and then putting a little bandage on helps keep it clean. I hear vaseline is good to use in extreme cases. And isn't that just good to have around? NB: don't use lotion immediately before playing ultimate. It can make your hands slippery, which negates the positive elements of hand happiness. 3) If you're playing in the cold, try out a base layer with holes for your thumbs. This keeps the heat from your wrists from escaping, which helps a great deal. 4) Don't cut your fingers when slicing limes for the rim of your glass. That would be just plain silly.
02/17/2003 - "Stretching [from CJ Hoppel]"
In addition to eating right and sleeping right, in preparing your body to play, it is essential that you stretch, and stretch well. Not only does stretching help prevent injury, loosening up directly benefits your play. And, unlike anything else I can think of, including eating, sleeping, sprint workouts, and even applying moisturizer, you can never 'over-stretch'. What I'm saying is that stretching more will never hurt you. That having been said, here are a few things to remember. Our stretch routine in our circle is pretty decent. But only if done right. It is important to make sure that you are actually stretching when we're doing it. You should stretch each muscle to its limits, nice and slowly. Feel the pull. This also applies to our after practice stretching. We don't do it just so that Ross has an audience for some jokes. Stretch just as well (if not more) as you do before the game. This helps with soreness afterwards and of course, overall flexibility. It is very important to stretch your hamstrings well. If you screw them up, it really sucks. Plus, as I think Zip added earlier, loose hamstrings greatly benefit play. When you're stretching your hamstrings (feet together, left over right, legs spread apart, or sitting leg out) try to keep your back straight. Bending your back does not help at all with stretching your hamstring. This is an unusual position for many people, so you may have to conscientiously arch your back backwards to accomplish this. Many people like to imagine their waists as hinges and bending forward like that. On a side note, bending your back in these exercises stretches your back. When you want to stretch your back out, don't bend down as far, just bend your back.
02/18/2003 - "Sleep [from Kevin Loo]"
Today's guest zip tip of the day pertains to sleep. As many of you may or may not know, I take sleeping very seriously. Sleep is and should be an essential part of everyone's daily routine. Sleep can be incorporated into a number of daily activities, and I suggest you try any or all of the following activities in order to maximize your total sleeping potential. For instance, try catching a little shut eye during class by sitting at the back of the room. A strategically positioned arm used as a crutch for your limp neck will block your eyes from the professor's scrutiny as well as suggest deep thought, or concentration. Be wary though, for if in your moment of sleeping ecstasy your head should slip out from under your hand, you may awaken to find several of your peers jeering loudly in laughter and disbelief. Ultimate parties. They're long, and like any other activity in life they require patience and moderation. Try catching a wink or two at your next ultimate gathering. Couches are usually your best bet, particularly because you can count on your ultimate buddies to keep you from getting too much sleep, as can often be the case. If you're lucky enough, you might even have the pleasure of receiving a danza slap by your most esteemed colleagues. I got one when I was a freshman, and I can only say that it is something I will never forget. The Ratty. This, by far, is one of the least recognized environments for sleeping potential. Talk is cheap; you're gonna do a lot of it in your days. But how many times are we allowed to fall sleep to the soothing chatter of the Ratty dining halls? Do it after a long Saturday morning practice, when nobody's paying attention to you, that way nobody will notice. Everyone else usually looks like ass anyhow since they're just waking up from having partied all night. It's priceless I tell you. As you can see, there are a number of untapped moments in the day where traditionally one wouldn't think it appropriate to sleep. I'm not a scientist, no, but I've adapted this practice to my own lifestyle and have found it incredibly successful. Some call it narcolepsy, I call it time management. Because when it comes down to it, sleep is just as important as eating right, or exercising, or coming focused to practice. Get your work done, party if you have to, but make sure to get your sleep, because your body needs it.
02/19/2003 - "Alcohol"
Do not drink alcohol in large amounts in the week leading up to a big tournament; it is a poison and it is not good for your body. I will not be drinking until stanford, although i do intend to toast ben and cj with a pint of guinness at their celebration.
02/20/2003 - "Thinking"
For each practice, try to keep the things we worked on that day in drills or chalktalk in the front of your mind. Some people say that when you play in a game you should always be thinking; I say you should very rarely be thinking. The best players do all their thinking at practice and while walking from class to class and while eating ice cream with their girlfriends and even while sleeping. If you can constantly practice very good ultimate habits, then you will naturally make the correct cut or move your body into the correct position without thinking - because sometimes that extra millisecond is all a good opposing player needs.
02/21/2003 - "Cuts"
Make your cuts run parallel to the sidelines as opposed to parallel to the goal lines. You will make your throwers job much easier and with one juke you can go from an out cut to an in or vice versa. Players that do this well are unarguably the hardest to guard.
02/22/2003 - "Rec.Sport.Disc"
Do not read, especially as tournament time starts to roll around. If you do not know what rsd is, even better. Anything that is important or that will psych us up, wicks will surely relay along to the listserv.
02/23/2003 - "When Poached"
When you are poached by your man immediately do one of two things. 1) Cut deep. If there is open space and a good thrower, this is the best way to burn your defender for leaving you unguarded. 2) Instead of standing in the stack or waiting for your turn to cut, go get the disc. If there is a lot of action on the force side, go to the break side and call for the disc and your thrower should be able to find you. You know what they call it you have the disc on the break side, unmarked and smiling because you just made your man pay - the power position.
02/24/2003 - "Hydrate"
Go start drinking water right now and don't stop until you go to bed on friday night. When I play in a tournament I can barely drink any water, otherwise I feel sick and slow. If you are like this (or even if you can drink while playing) it is important that your body be extremely well hydrated and this cannot occur overnight or in a couple of hours. If you've ever poured water into water, you'll notice that there are no little bubbles. Theres a goal for you, go and get it.
02/25/2003 - "Vitamins"
Calcium and potassium are two very important nutrients for muscle performance and are sometimes hard to find at a tourney. K: theres a chance that the tournament food box will have some bananas, but it also might not. Either way, its a good idea to find a little grocery store while you are driving around the night before a tourney and split a bunch of bananas with a teammate (that is 1 bunch not 'a bunch'). Ca: make your way over to CVS before leaving for the weekend and pick up a container of tums. If you pop a couple of tums between each game, eat a banana before you start and during the bye and get some salt in you, you will be free of muscle cramps all weekend.
02/26/2003 - "Long Flights [from Will Arnold]"
When you fly a long distance, the cabin conditions subject your body to significant stresses. 1) You are in an environment of low pressure, dry, recycled air; it is very dehydrating. One should drink at least a pint of water for every hour spent on a plane. 2) The seats are very uncomfortable and force awkward posturing. Especially if you are tall, they put stress on your low back and restrict circulation to your extremities. One should not sit still for more than 45-60 minutes at a time, but should take advantage of the aisles and the space in the back of the plane for walking and stretching. 3) Airplane food is neither very palatable nor very filling. Pack at least a sandwich for every meal you will miss. Get ratty to go. Throw in a banana or two. Here is what I recommend for a flight: 1) When you board the plane, drink four to six airplane cups of water. The steward/ess will be happy to oblige and soon you will have developed a friendly, comical rapport. 2) In about 45-60 minutes, you will have to use the rest room. Take this opportunity to drink another 4-6 cups of water, flirt with the steward/ess, move your legs around a bit, and stretch. Stretch seriously for at least ten minutes. There is enough space in the back of the plane to loosen up your hamstrings, quads, calves and groin. Not only will stretching make you feel better the next day, but it will also relax your muscles and make you more comfortable when you return to your seat. 3) Repeat 2. 4) Repeat 2. Note: If you can somehow get your hands on an entire aisle affording you the opportunity to lay down, do so. Note1: Many would say that they would prefer to spend the time on a plane sleeping. I would say you will feel better the next day if you keep your muscles loose and body hydrated. Note2: If you have ever travelled with me, you will notice that I follow this routine religiously. You get used to the dirty/quizzical looks from other passengers. Trust me. Lastly, and arguably most importantly: carry your cleats and jersey on the plane with you regardless of whether or not you check a bag.
03/03/2003 - "Keep Your Head Down"
If you are running deep (either to defend or to cut) put your head down and run. Trust that you will hear an up call and then turn briefly to check where the disc is. As you get better and better at reading the disc, this quick check will allow you to know how fast and where the disc is going and you can put your head back down and run some more. It is extremely hard to run (and even harder to run fast) with your head looking back over your shoulder.
03/04/2003 - "Dictate"
The question arises: what do i do if i am guarding a man that is taller/faster/smarter/can jump higher than me? The answer is dictate. Dictating is positioning your body so that the only direction your man can cut without running into you is the way you are letting him go. Clearly, this involves constantly changing your body position and is the most difficult aspect of good defensive play. As a defender, you cannot completely shut down a very good cutter, but you can stop him from doing the things he most wants to do, which are likely the things he is best at. If you think your man is faster than you, then you should force him to make an in cut (ie. back towards the disc as opposed to towards the end zone). Once you are forcing your offensive player to do what you want him to do, then his strengths become less important because you are playing to your strong points. If you do not know what type of player you are guarding, it is probably better to force him in at the start of the game, because this is a less devastating reception if completed.
03/05/2003 - "Straight Cuts"
Make sure that when you cut deep you do not 'run the curve'. If the disc is coming in at an angle a good player makes sure not to follow the path of the disc, but to intersect the disc at a point when it is easily catchable. If you follow the path of the disc you will end up running much further and may not catch up to it. For you mathematicians out there, running to the place where you think the disc is catchable is the equivalent of running the hypotenuse of the triangle or the chord of the arc.
03/06/2003 - "Throw Extension"
You often have to move your throws out when you want to make a throw around a mark. A common misconception is that to do this you should extend your arm out even further than normal - this causes you to lose control of the disc and it will often not be released parallel to the ground (instead it will be an outside-in bending throw). To throw around your mark extend your entire body out so you can keep your arm at the same distance as if you did not have to stretch for the throw. If you do this correctly then when you are in the throwing position it will look like you are doing a lunge.
03/07/2003 - "Fruit"
Make sure to eat your fruit. It is often expensive to get fruit (for those off of meal plan) and difficult to get good fruit (for those on meal plan). Make sure to keep eating apples (applesauce is good too), oranges and bananas. Also, jos has begun to offer a nice tropical fruit selection and I am especially partial to the baby pineapples for only $3.00.
03/08/2003 - "Deep Cuts"
When you are running for a deep disc (either on O or D) make sure to run on the line that takes the shortest distance to where the disc is catchable (this sounds like a repeat of the tip from a couple days ago, but read on). Not 'running the curve' is a matter of reading the disc and making sure that its flight doesn't outrun you and has little to do with opposing players. In terms of positioning, if you have your body on the line the leads to the place where the disc will be easiest to catch, then even if your man is faster than you he has to go around you on a longer path to get to the disc first. A great deep cutter will combine the elements from these two similar tips; run to where the disc will be, not where it is and take the straightest most direct route to that spot so as to keep your opposing player on your back. Doing these two things will force your defender to make a choice; 1) try to go around and outrun you and get to that spot first or 2) run the curve and try to make a play on the disc at a time/place he'd rather not. if he does 2) you've done your job. Stay on your path and if he makes a spectacular play shake his hand after the game. If he does 1) refer to zips tip on 12/17/02
03/09/2003 - "Capitalize on Breaks"
A good cutter (one who is dangerous on both in and out cuts) will likely 'break' their defender at least once or twice during a game. This occurs when the defender bites big for a fake and either falls over because he is trying to move faster than he can or gets tangled up. If your defender is in this situation it makes sense for you to immediately cut deep, since you are open wherever you want. This tip may seem intuitively obvious, I suppose, but it is something I do not do well and is an easy way to score a lot more easy goals, since you've already done all the hard work.
03/10/2003 - "The Dump"
1) When you hear the word 'six' turn your body and face your defender so now you are being marked straight-up. 2) Make eye contact with your dump and wait for him to make his move. 3) When the dump has made a cut and is open, put the disc out into space. other important points: -to accomplish 3) you will have to make a break mark throw. See zips tips tomorrow for more on making a good break mark throw. -if your throw allows the dump to run onto the disc and catch in the motion of his movement (as opposed to stopping and having to wait for the throw) it will be easier for him to make another throw to the break side. -finally and most importantly: Don't give up on your dump. If you turn at stall 6 and he is covered on his first fake do not turn back upfield. This is what happens: everyone will have stopped cutting and you will turn back to your dump. Now at stall 8/9 most markers will strike around to guard the dump because he knows its all you've got. At this point you will a)get stalled b)get point blocked or c)throw a big, looping dump which will result in an even bigger loss. STICK WITH YOUR DUMP! If at stall 9 he has fallen/has no chance of getting open, turn upfield and throw it in the direction of your best receiver.
03/11/2003 - "Breaking the Mark"
The first thing you need to have good break mark throws is to have good throws. There is nothing 'tricky' about these throws. Next, it is important to work on your fakes (see ZT 2/7/03:solid fakes). Once you have good throws and good fakes, breaking the mark is very easy. Some tips for breaking the mark: 1) The best break mark throwers are often also the players with the best field vision. If a break mark cut is about to develop (assume forehand force) then a good thrower will give a big forehand fake (or even an io forehand fake) to get their mark to move around and try to stop the throw. Once he has moved, it is easy to beat him back to the break side and get the throw off. The key to doing this well is timing - too late and the cut is expired, too early and your mark will likely be able to recover. 2) If a cut develops too quickly or you don't have great field vision, then the key to getting off a break mark throw is using your body. Step around your man and use your leg and hips to seal him off. Now the break mark throw is easy. 3) If you can throw around your marker because he is not very good or you are simply faster than him, then make sure to follow [ZT 3/6/03:throw extension]. It would be quite a shame to ground a throw on a porous mark. 4) This is mentioned in all three of the preceding points, but it need be restated for emphasis. When you turn to face your mark (either to hit the dump or break) your legs are at shoulder width. Never, ever, ever throw from this position. The key to solid fakes is pivoting and the key to flat, controlled throws is pivoting/lunging out into the flat.
03/12/2003 - "Seniors"
I didn't quite realize until this spring season the feeling of last years seniors being gone from the team. My advice is this: appreciate the seniors on the team because in reality we don't have them for that much longer. Invite them to come to jos with you after practice even if it means forking over some points for their food. Give them a high five when you guys connect for a goal and make an effort to spend time with them at practices and tourneys. I promise you, you don't know how much you will miss teammates after they leave the team, so build a bank of memories for each one of these guys.
03/13/2003 - "Rationalize"
Develop certain rationalizations for specific pieces of your play that can explain either your negative or positive performance. These will make you always seem like a better player than you are, especially when used correctly. My three primary examples: 1) I ran hurdles in high school and it changed my stride form which is why I run so fast/just tripped while cutting. 2) My right wrist is double jointed which is why I have good deep throws/just turfed that forehand. 3) I have a heart murmur which is why I am in such good shape/struggling with this last 400. Clearly the less the person you are talking to knows about physiology/athletics, the better off you are. Conceive and use these well, for they will take you far.
03/14/2003 - "Competition"
Use your teammates to push you when you are doing a workout. If you look around and try to go as fast as the fastest guy (and everyone else does this too) then the entire speed of the team will necessarily increase.
03/15/2003 - "Focus"
Go out and try to break the consecutive throws record. It is as much a test of focus as it is of throwing skills. Paul and I did today and it was awesome; there were two great things that came out of it. 1) I realized that it is never acceptable for me to drop a throw - ever - because today when I was focusing on it I didn't drop. 2) I feel like I saw something new about paul today and we now have a connection that will transfer onto the field. It is also now unacceptable for there to be an error when Im throwing to paul or vice versa, because today when we were focusing we never missed.
03/16/2003 - "The Redzone"
The closer you get to the end zone the better a player you should become. Wicks said it today - the difference between good teams and great teams is how well they convert in the redzone and the same goes for individual players. If you would not throw to a man when he is open by one step in the field then you should not do it when he is in the end zone. Three things to remember about end zone offense: 1) We know where we are going and they do not 2) There is not shot clock in ultimate, thus no rush to score 3) The gut cut scores as often as the cone it
03/17/2003 - "Fatigue"
During a long point or a long game your body tends to get physically tired. People yelling at you and pushing you on or telling yourself to keep working are both good ways to keep your physical output high. A much more difficult aspect of fatigue is to keep your mental game on point. Some keys to achieving this and also playing well when you are mentally tired: 1) Only take higher percentage throw options. Your receiver is probably tired as well and he may not be able to leg out a long huck. Also, even the best of the best don't have as good throws when they are tired - instead they just have a very good sense of which throws they still have. 2) Find out what type of player you are; a thinker or a non-thinker. Thinkers remain focused because they are always thinking and do not let their mind drift. Non-thinkers are never actively thinking, but are actually always thinking, and their play is based on instinct and/or good habits. You can usually pick out a non-thinker if you ask them to show you the form on how to throw a flick and then they cant throw it themselves (because they are now thinking about it too much). If you are a thinker then keep thinking, do not let yourself slide - you thrive on this intense mental focus. If you are a non-thinker, do not begin to think, 'should I cut now' or 'I am getting tired' just try to stay in your game. 3) Find some things that individually work for you. For example, during a stoppage I often will take a deep breath and fix my hat. I have classically conditioned myself to associate this with a need to focus. When I do this, I know its time to buckle down and focus in (or actually focus out, I am definitely a non-thinker).
03/18/2003 - "Throw When Fatigued"
After a hard track workout or practice make sure to pencil in 10 more minutes of practice time. Throw thirty forehands and thirty backhands and focus on making them good. It is not often that you get a chance to throw when you are very tired and it is extremely important to be able to maintain your throws late in a tournament.
03/19/2003 - "To Sophomores"
Bring your concentration forms on spring break. Its a great stress free time to do them so you don't have to cram them in among the long hours of school and disc. Paul and I are going to hold a phat cypher one of the afternoons and just bust 'em out.
03/21/2003 - "Fakes Against Poachers"
If you are playing against a team that poaches a lot then the best way to clear the throwing lanes is to uses pumpfakes. When you fake, poaching defenders will jump out into the lanes and at a most basic level you will be able to see where the poaches are so you don't throw into them. Even better is if you can fake in the lanes and get them to bite on the fake and then throw the disc where they just were, likely to an uncovered receiver. P.S. a definition - a poaching defender is one who is not guarding a man, someone who is just floating on the field looking to get a d when a throw goes up. I have used this term before and wanted to make sure everyone knows what it means. If you are being poached, yell 'poach, poach' and go find the disc, as described in an earlier zips tip.
04/01/2003 - "Little Tricks"
Good little tricks that all the great players use: -work on a four-fingered flick; its especially good for throwing short dump passes or to post cuts when you have to put some touch on it. -when you are cutting, close your eyes; it will be even harder for your defender to guard you or know where you are going. -when you layout say the word 'jambalaya,' it compresses your lungs and allows you to layout further. -on offense, right before the pull goes up, lick the tips of your pointer and middle fingers; your forehand will be right on point and you wont ever drop a pass.
04/02/2003 - "Learning Across the Disc"
When you are playing offense think about the things that you find hard to stop as a defender. When you are playing defense think about the things that frustrate you as a cutter. Ive always said the best strikers are ex-goalies and vice versa. If you can learn every time you play, especially learning 'across' the disc, you will become a successful player very quickly.
04/03/2003 - "Lacing Up"
Lace all of your footwear up to the top hole. I started doing this with my cleats a couple of tournaments ago and just recently started doing it with my sneakers . It is awesome. The shoe feels like it is part of your foot and can truly fly. Yes, it takes a couple of extra seconds to lace up, but I contend it is worth it. This is especially good if you have had a history of ankle problems.
04/04/2003 - "Fakes"
When you fake, you do not actually need to go through the entire throwing motion to complete a successful fake. For example, on the force side, you can plant your foot in order to turn to the break side before you begin to fake and then you will nearly always beat your man across, because you are moving before he is. Also effective is if your fake is somewhat circular and its natural motion has the disc already coming towards the break side. Also, a kind of crafty trick is if you know you want to throw a break mark throw on a backhand force, use the forehand grip (or at least begin to position your fingers) while in the backhand position. You can fake by pumping your shoulders or stepping out and then beat your man to the forehand side and already be set to throw a flick.
04/05/2003 - "Off Days"
Pick one or two days a week to make your off days and commit to those. If you play your off days by ear, then usually you either end up never taking a day off or taking several days a week off (neither of which is good for training). With that said, non-practice days are not necessarily off days. Lift, swim, bike, throw, whatever, because you've got to know the other guy is too...
04/06/2003 - "To Grass [from trainer Bryan Doo]"
As our practices move from turf and track to grass it is extremely important to stretch very well, no matter how fit you think you might be. Muscles that you have not used in a while are very important on grass and they will tighten up if you do not do a good job of stretching during this transition period. Along with continuing to stretch well, you might even have to add some stretches to your routine. For example my IT bands often get tight and need good stretching after playing on grass.
04/07/2003 - "The Trailing Edge"
If you are chasing down a disc and you have to catch it with one hand, make sure not to catch it trailing edge. Just so its not unclear: trailing edge is when your catching motion is in the same direction as the disc is spinning. If you've ever been in a mac line, you know that trying to catch a disc trailing edge often results in you hitting the disc on instead of stopping the spin. So, you want to catch backhands righty and forehands lefty (try the trailing edge versions to see how much more difficult they are). Being successful at this tip requires two things: 1) become very comfortable catching with your off hand 2) think about it for just a second while you are chasing it down.
04/08/2003 - "Break Mark Cuts"
The only player on the field that can create break mark offense is a cutter. Once a good cut has been made the thrower is responsible for breaking the mark, but the cut needs to come first. As a cutter once you have established the break mark cut, most defenders will begin to inch little by little to the break mark side until you will be open on either the force or the break side. CUT TO THE BREAK SIDE; we have great throwers.
04/09/2003 - "Off the Pull"
Get down on the pull. Not only is it practically a very effective defensive tactic because you can use the endline as an eighth defender if the pull is good, but it is also mentally devastating to the other team. If they think you are tired (or more importantly think they themselves are tired) then if they see you sprinting down on the pull they will be broken. Remember: you are less tired than you think and we have more players than you think.
04/10/2003 - "Zone Offense"
If you are playing zone offense (not handlers) and the disc gets advanced upfield past you it is imperative for you to work to get in front of the disc. Our zone offense functions because when we get one throw through the cup we often get three and it is because we are moving faster upfield than the defense is.
04/11/2003 - "Viable Cuts"
Make all your cuts viable ones. For example - all too often when a player is trying to make an in cut they will only ostensibly drive their man out, although they never actually intend to cut deep. A great cut is when you turn your shoulders and run deep for 5 steps and then turn on a dime and beat your man back in. If he does not respect your deep cut then just keep going. Good defenders will know when your fakes are just that and wont even respond to them. A side note - this may or may not be why some of the best cutters in the game often look like they don't really know what they are doing until the last minute but are consistently open by 5 yards.
04/12/2003 - "Nutrition"
Eat some protein the morning of a tournament, especially if you have trouble eating food during a day of ultimate. Although some extra energy spent in digestion might make you feel slightly lackadaisical to start the day there are two consolations 1) a good warmup can usually get you going and you wont be all that lethargic 2) later in the day you will reap the benefits of the protein filled breakfast. good protein sources: eggs, tuna fish, beef jerky, turkey slices, rice and beans...for more options ask the man, Will Arnold.
04/13/2003 - "Visualization"
Visualize yourself making great plays in the week leading up to a big tournament. Laying in your bed, eating lunch, sitting in class, talking with your girlfriend... run through the entire sequence in your mind and continue to do it over and over until it is just how you want it. A novice visualizer might respond: 'I sometimes have trouble catching the disc when I play and when I run through the visualization exercises in my mind, every time it comes to me I drop it. should I stop visualizing the play?' This my lads is the very reason you should be visualizing. Most people who have the dropsies from time to time are actually very good catchers and their mental game is what is lacking. Visualize again and again until you are catching the disc, laying out and getting the d, skying your man for the goal, not having your mark broken...and then you will go out and do those things.
04/14/2003 - "Water and a Disc"
There are two very simple things you should bring to every practice: at least 2L of water and at least 1 disc. The latter will allow you to play and the former will allow you to play well.
04/15/2003 - "Spend $ to Make $"
On defense, you gotta spend money to make money. By this I mean that standing 5 yards behind your man and giving him free in-cuts to avoid the risk of getting beat deep is not good defense. If you are forcing your man in, then if he gets the disc on an in-cut it should be a contested catch with a hard mark immediately following the reception. With that said, pick your times to force your man out. If he is thrown to deep you should be on his heels forcing him to play good offense and hold you off - the best defenders in the world get beat deep from time to time, and that is because there are a lot of good cutters and throwers out there. But, those same defenders also get more D's and have their man shut down more often than anyone else and the number of times they are beaten deep pales in comparison.
04/16/2003 - "Break Mark Throws"
Pull the trigger on your break mark throws; the mere chance of getting point blocked should not dictate when you throw to the break side. If you receive a break mark throw as or from the dump and you turn to break and see a cutter, lunge your body out and put the disc into the open space. Most of the time markers will a) not believe that you are going to throw (as crazy as this sounds) and wont actually guard the throw or b) they will be so worried about getting broken IO that the break will be simple. An addendum to this tip: unless you are setting up an IO throw do not fake to the break side. This fake makes your cutter think a throw is coming and he often runs an extra 5 yards in expectation, usually making the break side unavailable for the rest of the stall.
04/17/2003 - "Stopping Short"
When you run a track workout do not slow up short of the finish. If you are running a 400, then run 400. Slowing up short so you can begin resting as soon as you reach the line is as ludicrous as slowing up a cut before reaching the disc, so when you catch you can be ready to throw (not coincidentally there might be some transference between these two habits..)
04/18/2003 - "Hats"
Bring a winter hat when you go to tournaments, even if it might be a little warm. If you wear this while you warm up you will immediately break a sweat and your body will stay warm (you lose 80% of body heat through your head).
04/21/2003 - "Getting Low"
When you are going to make a catch on a low disc, there are two acceptable ways to catch: 1) go into a slide 2) run to the spot where you want to catch and then get low for the disc. First of all, in both cases you want to get your body in front of where you want to catch, aka 'the break basket'. Secondly, you certainly do not want to run for any number of steps with your hands down around your knees. This is as silly as running with your hands over your head to catch a high disc. The former is much more common but just as ineffective - it is extremely hard to maintain speed and balance running in this way.
04/22/2003 - "One-Handed Catches"
Earlier in the tips list, the issue of catching a disc that you were chasing down was examined (trailing edge versus the correct way) but this issue is also important if a disc is coming right at you. If a disc is coming in extremely fast or high (these are the only instances in which it would be necessary to make a one handed catch - otherwise you should get your body behind the disc) then there are two ways to catch. Very good players will maneuver their hand in a way that does not force a trailing edge catch. For example, if the disc is a flick high over your left shoulder then you clearly want to catch it with your left hand. But, if you just go to grab it with your palm facing away from you then this becomes a trailing edge catch and the disc will often spin off of your hand and past you. Instead, if you face your palm more towards you to get around to the back side of the disc, then it is no longer a trailing edge catch (for those of you who lack great visualization skills, it now looks like your hand is a puppet and when you make a catching motion you are talking to yourself). If the throw is a backhand you want to catch palm out. This sounds like a lot to be thinking about when making a catch, but 1) if you practice it, this will become second nature and you wont think 'am i catching this trailing edge or not?' you will simply catch the correct way and 2) this is why the best players are the best and make hard catches look easy.
04/23/2003 - "Sandwiches"
When you eat a sandwich, eat the first half holding it 'right side up' and the second half 'upside down'. Some sandwiches are much better in one orientation, due to placement of meat, cheese, condiments and vegetables. For some of you, this will be an inconsequential tip, for others it might change your life. Either way, try it out, Ive worked in a deli for many years and if there is one thing I know in life it is sandwiches (a side note for veteran sandwich eaters: If you like, you can eat the first half of the first half in the primary orientation and the second half of that first half in the secondary orientation. The second half of the sandwich can then be consumed in the preferred orientation).
04/24/2003 - "Being On Time"
Get to practice on time and by on time i mean 10-15 minutes early. If practice starts at 4, be at the fields at 3:50 so you can put your cleats on and get some throws in before we run at 4. If you have class, then bring your gear and start putting your socks/ankle brace/mouth guard on when your prof goes into the 'theres only 3 minutes left in class but i don't want to let them go early' spiel. We've all made a big deal about how we weren't on fields until mid-april and how we've seen nothing but pools and tracks...well now we are on grass. If we run at 4, then we do marking at 4:15 and drills at 4:25 and 10 pull at 4:45...we get to play more, which is certainly why i do this. You guys?
04/25/2003 - "Goals"
Before a tournament, establish certain goals that you would like to accomplish in terms of personal play. Breaking the mark, setting yourself on deep throws, getting down on the pull, holding your mark...whatever it may be. At the end of the tournament assess whether or not you've achieved your goals (if you did, what was working right and if you didn't, why not).
04/26/2003 - "On the Side"
Go out and support your teammates in their other endeavors. Sometimes it is difficult to see life outside the realm that is ultimate, but many people do some very cool stuff when they are not tossing a disc.
04/27/2003 - "The Hype"
Don't believe it.
04/28/2003 - "Stay Ahead of the Disc"
When playing zone defense, after a pass gets by the cup many defenders get into the bad habit of chasing the disc. The scenario looks as follows: a throw goes over or through the cup to a popper and the defensive wing then puts his head down and runs to the spot in which he would be perfectly positioned to defend if the disc stayed at the man who just caught it. Unfortunately good zone O teams always keep the disc moving so the defender ends up looking like he is running from an alligator, taking a zig-zag path down the field. After a pass has gone past you, it is a much better idea to 1) run with your head up so you can see the disc move, allowing you to change your path as you run 2) run past the spot where you think the disc is going to end up. #2 might give up an extra couple of yards before you are re-set but slightly overcompensating allows the zone to restabilize, which is the key to good zone defense.
04/29/2003 - "After a Score"
Especially in an important/close/highly spectated game, jog back to your own endline after each time the other team scores, even if you know you probably wont be in the next point. This accomplishes two very important things: 1) When a team scores on you they think they have gained the upper hand and now you are broken. If you run back to the line it says 'okay you got that one, I cant wait until you pull it though, so we can jam it down your throats.' Teams see when you do this and it scares them. 2) Have you ever had the feeling of never being tired while playing, feeling like you could play ten more games and then at the days end you take off your cleats and sit down and you are instantaneously exhausted? This is kind of like that; if after a point of hard running you just stop and walk back in, your muscles along with your mind feel defeated. Aside from these two, its never fun to make your way through a cheering crowd of opposing players.
04/30/2003 - "Before a Tournament"
Before you play in a big tournament come to terms with each aspect of your life. Schoolwork, friends, jobs, happy with wherever you plan to leave them and then do just that. This is the final weight that needs to be lifted from your shoulders before you enter the realm of: g-g-g-g-g-gangbuster.
05/01/2003 - "The Jerz"
If you are unsure whether you are about to play in a very big game and need some juice for the mind, ask qp what he's wearing under his jersey. If you see the 2-five on the blue and white, you know its on. This vet has only rocked the jerz for a small handful of tourneys; worlds, nats, senior year amherst invite versus me...this is the real deal.
05/02/2003 - "Favorite Receivers"
Know your receivers but don't have favorites. Knowing your receivers entails: being aware of what types of throws certain players will catch, when to release a throw based on the cutters speed and when it is a good idea to hold back on a throw you might make to another receiver. On the other hand, having favorite receivers is often accompanied by: looking off open men while waiting for your favorite cutter to get open or forcing a throw to your favorite receiver because you enjoy completing passes to him. This is a fine line, and certainly more a mental challenge than anything else, but is often the reason why poor throwing decisions are made.
05/05/2003 - "Pick a Few"
With reading period coming to a close, I thought this would be an appropriate tip. Look over the tips from the past and pick a couple of things that you want to work on in the next three weeks. Before each practice bring these goals to the front of your mind and consciously decide to improve that aspect of your game.
05/06/2003 - "Faster than You Think"
You can always run faster than you think. A couple interesting anecdotes/thoughts on this 1) I was watching a sportscentury classic on jerry rice and one of his ex-coaches was talking about him: 'jerry had the most unbelievable functional speed I've ever seen. When I looked over the 40 times of the cornerbacks across the league, most of them were faster than jerry - never seemed to be able to catch him though.' 2) If you are chasing down a disc that you don't think you can get and pull up early, you are selling yourself short. Run absolutely as fast as you can until the disc has almost hit the ground and then layout for it if you have half a chance at getting it. If you walk away from a disc knowing you did everything you could have possibly done, you leave no room for what ifs. If you do this every point of every game of every tournament, you will have a regret-free ultimate career. A side note on this tip: from what I hear, one of the more difficult things about being a wide receiver is catching a ball that looks like its bobbling even if its a perfect spiral, because while running full speed your head bounces around. During the beginning of his NFL career, jerry worked extremely hard at the track and taught himself how to run at full speed so that his head stays perfectly still, even when checking over his shoulder for the ball... the man.
05/07/2003 - "Scoops"
After a long practice, if you need a little extra boost to your meal but have missed 7:30 ratty/vdub, just head over to the gate for a sandwich with a scoop. Once your sandwich is finished (cut and plated) and the delier is about to hand it over, lean forward a little and say 'could i maybe just get a scoop of tuna on the side' sounding both extremely tired from practice and so hungry that if she didn't give you the scoop you might just jump over the counter and dive into the fixins bar. I advise us all; only ask for the scoop when you really need it. If this becomes commonplace, it will surely be outlawed. More often than not, the worker is so stunned by the question he hands over the scoop before knowing any better.
05/08/2003 - "Weather"
When its a little windy players have the tendency to reel their throws in a bit, and conversely, when conditions are perfect they will often let their throws hang out. The latter is a much worse habit; in perfect conditions there is no excuse for turnovers. Decisions about making throws should be based on a 'perfect condition' scenario and as conditions worsen, decisions should become tighter. On a side note, in great conditions people often try to 'baby' their throws - putting a lot of touch on the disc and trying to hit a receiver perfectly in stride. Although this often looks very pretty, it is a much harder disc for the receiver to read, so shoot 'em in there.
05/09/2003 - "Turn and Face"
When you catch a disc in the open field, if you are not going to immediately make another throw then a nifty little trick is to turn towards your mark and face them up like you are going to break them. Doing this for the first second of your stall makes your mark swing around to protect the break throws and when you turn upfield at 2 or 3 you will have completely uncontested open-side throws (this also makes throwing i-o breaks even easier because your mark swings to protect the break around). This also sets a tone for the possession and the rest of the game: its 'your trying as hard as you can to stop me from throwing any and every throw I want' not 'Im just trying to get a throw off on you.'
05/10/2003 - "Alternate Email Adresses"
Go onto the CIS homepage and get yourself a couple of alternate email addresses. This is possibly the most fun, stupid little pleasure to arise since waking up naturally a minute before your alarm goes off. Since becoming a pastime,,,,, and have all become major players in the email game.
05/11/2003 - "Mother's Day"
Go call your mom or write her an email to tell her how much you love her. If you are reading this tip and its not mothers day, go do it anyway.
05/12/2003 - "Sideline Space"
As a wing in zone offense you should always keep at least 2-3 yards between yourself and the sideline. Otherwise, if a hammer is thrown to you and it is slightly long, you will back right out of bounds trying to make a catch.
05/13/2003 - "Hot Weather"
Before playing at a tournament site which is known for especially warm weather, there are two things you can do that will keep you dramatically cooler. 1) Wear a hat when you play. If you are not used to playing with a hat, then try it out at practice before the tournament and get used to it. It keeps your face cool, less sweaty and you are less likely to get sunburnt. 2) Get your hair cut. Im not joking.
05/14/2003 - "Complacency"
Do not remain content with being a good thrower, challenge yourself to be a great thrower. Often times a thrower will have the attitude 'I got the disc around my mark, I put it into the space where my cutter is - I did my job.' The best throwers (and the best teams) have committed to making every throw perfect. Another level of focus or a half second more of thought turns 'caaatch-able' throws into great throws and good cutters into unstoppable receivers.
05/15/2003 - "Swinging for the Fences"
When things are clicking on offense it is one of the most unbelievable feelings in the game; difficult catches are being made that are usually dropped, cutters have a spring to their steps, throws are cutting a path through the sky that you only see in your dreams and eye contact is being made on cuts where his back is facing you. Conversely, when the O is not flowing there is nothing more frustrating and the opposite effect of the above occurs; cuts you can usually count on are not showing up and throws that are the staple of your offense seem to be finding the ground. When this happens, many will try to get back to the 'good O' in one fell swoop - a very bad idea. When you have fallen into a rut, a foundation must be built before you can stand up again. Dump and swing, only take 100% throws and slowly your squad will reel it back in. Not trying to get it all back in one throw is mentally one of the toughest things in the game.
05/16/2003 - "The Little Things"
Focus on doing the little things correctly. People will comment on great players: 'how does he always get open deep?' or 'how did he make that layout grab look so easy?' or 'how does he always appear in the holes of our zone O right when i want to throw there?' Well, he always gets open deep because he is drifting away from the disc as it is moving up the field, so when he cuts he has 25 yards of lateral field to break his mans ankles. He makes the layout look so easy because as he's approaching the disc he starts lowering his center of gravity so he doesn't lose forward speed when he goes horizontal. He pops into the holes because as you are faking he is bouncing on his toes and watching your eyes. Rome wasn't built in a day and big plays usually begin long before the goal is caught or the disc is D'd.
05/17/2003 - "Hold Your Line"
In between points hold your line on offense. After outplaying a team I enjoy knowing that they can make no excuses as to why they lost. Give them nothing to complain about, no reasons for whining. Teams who walk around on the line are nervous and fidgety; stand up and let them see who you are and then go out and crush.
05/18/2003 - "Catch Like an Outfielder"
When a pop fly goes up, a good centerfielder will immediately take three steps back, assess where the ball is going and then either continue to backpedal or run in and attack. The same goes for catching an overhead pass when at a standstill. Our hammers/blades in zone O are rarely underthrown; more often a jumping, difficult catch is necessary. When the pass goes up, follow the same procedure the centerfielder does. Not only will this prevent overthrows, but if the disc is short, you can attack it as opposed to waiting and letting it make a play on you.
05/19/2003 - "Mental Game [from Paul Greff]"
The physical preparation is over. Other than eating and sleeping well, you're not going to improve your physical status. Now's the time to work on your mental game. The mental preparation during the 10 days prior to nationals is, in my opinion, just as important as the previous 10 weeks' physical preparation. If you care, I'll share my pre-nationals 'mental workout' with you before age takes it's toll on my memory and I'm content to pick lint from my navel. 1. Take a physical inventory. Are you in the shape that you wanted to be in at this time? If not, then figure out a strategy for maximizing your output over the 3 day tourney and make peace with yourself. Whining to yourself (and heaven forbid, to your teammates) b/c you're not in shape is an awful distraction. You cannot have any mental distractions at this tournament. Pure focus. If you have an injury, then figure out a game plan to avoid aggravating it BEFORE you get to Austin. I can't offer much more help with injuries. I played over them. Learn how. If you're content with your level of conditioning then polish that porksword and get ready to do some damage. 2. Take a skill inventory. What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? Define ways to exploit your strengths and simply leave your weaknesses behind. If you don't have a particular throw, don't use it. Someone else on the team has that throw. I guarantee it. One of my weaknesses (that's a relative term btw) was always breaking the mark. I found it helpful to identify certain game situations where it would be important for me to force that throw and in all others I would probably fake the throw and try to go to the strong side. Again, this exercise reduced the number of mental distractions and removed the guesswork while in the heat of battle. 3. Set personal goals. This is purely subjective but it's important to set personal goals to help you stay focused every game. My goals remained fixed over 20+ years: no drops, no throwaways. I know they weren't realistic over the course of the tournament (although no drop tourneys weren't uncommon) but I set out to accomplish those goals every half of every game. It gave me a sense of accomplishment during the game and strengthened my confidence. Other goals included shutting a particular opponent down, never being beat deep in the zone, etc. When the tourney is over you'll be able to look back and evaluate your own performance b/c in the end the only person you need to impress is yourself. 4. Visualize greatness. This exercise yields the most benefits. But it is also the most difficult to perform correctly. Visualizing greatness does not mean picturing which clothes would look best while standing on the victory podium. It has two levels. The first is to visualize yourself executing the team's playbook in various roles. For example, on defense I would picture myself playing different positions within the zone moving as one with the rest of the team while the opponent moved the disc around the field. Kind of like those skiers who picture the course before the race. The second level is all about Glory. See yourself shutting the best player down, staying with him cut after cut after cut until his teammates stop looking in his direction or until he puts his hands on his knees to catch his breath. See yourself getting open at will and delivering every pass on the mark. Imagine it's game point and you're down two goals at the cap. One of your teammates lays out for a diving D and we score. You can feel the opponent tighten up. We come down hard on the pull and they have to work for every inch of soil. Another teammate gets a D and we score. There is fear in their eyes and nothing but hunger in ours. Now it's your turn. You shut your man down the entire length of the field and then you set him up. You let him and the thrower think he's got a step on you and as the disc is released you burst forward, leave your feet and watch your hand sneak in front of his to snatch the disc away. No time for Glory yet. You stand up, take one deep breath to collect yourself and then you're an offensive machine. Untiring and unstoppable. You help work the disc down the field until you throw or catch the final goal. Game, set, match, Glory. The championship has been won and you contributed directly. This is the sort of stuff I still fall asleep dreaming about. If you visualize these things, you'll believe in yourself when it counts, you won't be nervous and you'll want to make the big plays. You'll want to be called in to receive the disc for the final point of the tournament. You will have hunger, not fear. Champions attack - they never protect. If you do this, I guarantee at some point you will be the difference. Leave it all in Austin - except the cup.
05/20/2003 - "Nationals"
Hey brown, just remember: were better than these guys.