Pages Menu
Youtube Google Plus
Categories Menu

Posted by on Feb 7, 2015 in Commentary, Featured, Strategy | 0 comments

It’s the Time Cap, Stupid

It’s the Time Cap, Stupid


One mistake I see some coaches and captains make managing their teams is not doing a good enough job planning in advance of time caps (particularly hard caps).

There are a number of issues that need to be managed with regards to caps (especially in ‘must win’ games). A couple of the perhaps more obvious examples are:

  • Using timeouts to delay for the cap if your team is ahead
  • Minimizing time between points if your team is behind and the cap is looming

I wanted to discuss two situations in particular I have found many teams mishandling when running into caps in must win games.

Read More

Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Commentary, Strategy | 0 comments

Ultimate Goal Line Stands

Ultimate Goal Line Stands


As usual, the term ‘Monday morning quarterback’ is apropos this week after the Seahawks’ decision to throw the ball on the goal line at the end of Super Bowl 49. Understandably so I guess, though most people only second guess calls that don’t pan out. I found this article (“Game Theory Says Pete Carroll’s Call At Goal Line Is Defensible”) in the New York Times today to be more interesting than some of the repetitive droning about how dumb a call it was. However, the article leaves out an important caveat to the situation at hand. With each possible choice for Pete Carroll on the goal line, what was the worst thing that could happen?

Read More

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Commentary, Skills and drills | 0 comments

Check Your Angles

Check Your Angles


As I’ve mentioned in some of my work, I find a lot of players struggle with release angles when they work on advanced throwing techniques (hucking, upwind hucking, scoobers, etc.). Players also fail to appreciate the release angle (even if slight) many players use to execute flat 40 yard throws (hint, it isn’t flat).

To talk about this further, I wanted to add a few thoughts to Elliot Trotter’s “Scoober of Justice” video (trademarked throwing name,  you gotta appreciate style…).



Props to Elliot for taking the time to put this out there, and I agree with much of what he says. I’m pretty sure Eliott is aware of the following points.

Let’s set aside the ‘helix scoober of justice’ he talks about at the end of the video. Here are two photos of Elliot demonstrating the need to hold the disc with more vertical tilt (these were the most vertical examples in the video, I believe).


Angles scoober 1

angles scoober 2


I think many viewers would think that the angle in the photos above (about 35 and 45 degrees) would be more than enough for the throw he executes.

So what happens in his ‘live’ release?


angles scoober 3

angles scoober 4


Significantly more vertical tilt. Probably about 65 degrees. Now, I’m not trying to nitpick Elliot here, he does a very good job indicating the importance of vertical tilt when throwing scoobers for distance.  I just wanted to use this as an example of how easy it is for players who are learning new skills to assume something is correct based on how they view the throw or how they view a coach’s presentation (and yes, I realize this includes their interpretation of my work as well). We have players seeing hucks fly flat who then try to throw hucks with a level release, therefore not accounting for the phsyics of disc flight (or the physics of their own movement).

As I discuss here and here, even when players understand they need to tilt the disc at a certain angle, they often lose that angle when they try to execute the throwing motion. Hopefully I have laid out some tips in those links to help coaches, captains, and players troubleshoot this issue.

So check out Eliott’s video (it’s good stuff) and check your own release angles. What other interesting release ‘hacks’ can you learn from freeze framing top throwers? For a starting point, here are a couple freeze-frame, huck releases that I used to help a player who was working on throwing for distance.


brody flick huck invert angle

Brodie from his Youtube video on how to huck forehands


furious invert backhand huck angle

A Furious player at Regionals a few years back



And here is a backhand huck from Nick Lance in 2012 showing significant invert on his release, with the disc barely having any invert at the end of its flight (and low wind conditions based on the trees).


Read More

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in Commentary | 0 comments

25 Cheers for 25 Ultimate Tips

25 Cheers for 25 Ultimate Tips


When i started making my skill videos a few months back, Melissa Witmer was kind enough to reach out and pass along some encouraging words. She also was kind enough to ask me to submit a tip for her 25 ultimate tips email service.

I thought the concept for 25 tips (concise, easily digestible pieces of ultimate advice from a range of sources on a range of topics) was solid, so I signed up for the tips myself.

Read More

Posted by on Oct 10, 2013 in Commentary | 0 comments

Your 2008 UPA(SU) National Champs: Seattle Sockeye!


With all the chatter about the new nationals format, I figured it would be interesting to see what (if any) changes would have occurred in past year’s nationals championships if the new format had been used.

And it turns out, the 2008 club open division national championships happened.

I took the teams (as seeded in the link above) and placed them into the pools in the new USAU national championships format (which I would link to with the seed numbers instead of team names, but USAU’s link on this page seems to be dead….). I then ran through the format as quickly and mistake prone as possible (as can be seen below right).


Not a handwriter….(some mistakes were crossed out to increase lack of clarity…)

I processed the results based on the following criteria {1st: head to head results at nationals in 2008, 2nd: higher seed at nationals in 2008, 3rd: regionals head to head results (necessary to resolve a semi-final that determines the change in champion)}. It didn’t seem that USAU score reporter had 2008 regular season results…so including season head to head results in the analysis wasn’t going to happen (especially with the time I wanted to invest).



After pool play

Pool A

Sockeye (3-0)

GOAT (2-1)

Whosechine? (1-2)

Truckstop (0-3)

Pool C

Ironside (3-0)

Jam (2-1)

Chain (1-2)

PoNY (0-3)

Pool B

Bravo (3-0)

Sub (2-1)

Bodhi (1-2)

Condors (0-3)

Pool D

Revolver (3-0)

Ring (2-1)

DW (1-2)

Diablo (0-3)

After the round of 16 and quarters, we are left with Sockeye vs. Jam in one semi-final, and Ironside vs. Johnny Bravo in the other semi-final. This is where history is made changed. Given my criteria, Jam loses to Sockeye (based on Regionals head to head). Ultimately Flatball-ly, I didn’t know how to resolve the other semifinal between Ironside and Bravo. I decided to call it a toss up (since I don’t have regular season results and they were the #2 and #3 seeds entering into nationals). If I pick Johnny Bravo to win (higher seed going into nationals…my 2nd criteria…) , then by my 1st criteria Johnny Bravo would be national champions (they beat Sockeye by one point in the quarterfinals of the 2008 national championships). If I pick Ironside, then Sockeye would win my virtual bracket (as they beat Ironside in power pools in the 2008 national championships). Either way, Jam does not end up winning the championship given my criteria (though they looked pretty good when I watched them play in the final in 2008….hmmm….). Anyway, I played with and against some of the Sockeye guys back in the day, so I bent the results in their favor for this piece. Besides, I’m a Red Wings fan…so Colorado isn’t allowed to win anything.

Obviously, who knows what would have occurred, and this change in history could be an argument for either format depending on one’s perspective.

My thoughts on tanking in the new format (I’m aware you didn’t ask):

No one will be tanking early, and certainly not anyone trying to win it all. Teams might manage their rosters slightly different, but teams always have to decide how aggressively to play their roster in any game. Having coached and captained elite ultimate, I don’t think any of these teams wants to send the message to their roster that they have to get ‘gimmicky’ to get the matchups they want. And that IS the message that will be sent, regardless of nuance. Every team at nationals thinks they can beat the other teams if they play their best disc. Momentum and confidence are probably a better gamble then tanking games to possibly get a more favorable opponent in the future.

I haven’t game theory-d it out enough to imagine what scenarios might face teams hoping to squeeze into the triple crown tour late in the tournament. Perhaps more gamesmanship with rosters will occur at those junctures.

I also, regardless of the affect it has on the series, think it is bad for for USAU to change the format so late in the season (especially after they started ‘extending’ the season with the Triple Crown Tour concept). It seems there should be a clear date set in advance after which there would be no change in guidelines, formats, rules, team requirements, etc.

Exercises left to the reader: 

1. Code something that will take all the results for the past 10 years and run them through the new format and yield complete results of all (1st – 16th) positions to evaluate how much of a difference (in theory) the new format would have made.

2. Complain about format changes.

Read More