Friday, July 16, 2010

World Cup Ultimate

I recently had the opportunity to work for Roger Crafts and Mike Mullen at Seattle Youth Ultimate Camps. It was an awesome experience, I learned a ton and I am going to return in August to teach a new leadership in ultimate section of the camp. One of the really cool things they do at SYUC is to make ultimate culture fun and exciting by playing a lot of reindeer games. Using reindeer games is a really nice way to alleviate the hard work and intensity associated with playing six hours of ultimate for five straight days. (Remember, these kids are 8-16.) This year the big games were Galaxy Wars (Super-Boot), Schtick and Ninja Warrior.

Late in the week we decided to play a small-team (fours) ultimate tournament after lunch. Because of all the reindeer games, I felt authorized to organize it into World Cup format. Four pools of 4 teams with games 20 minutes long. Games ended on the whistle, with only pass-in-the-air continuation. Wins were worth 3 and ties 1. There were a lot of ties. Two teams from each pool advance to quarters. Once we got to bracket play, ties were resolved via shoot out. The Gorillas won quarters and semis in shootouts.

The shootout involved five shots, each of which involved three players: a thrower, a cutter and a defender. (Because most of the teams had five players, each one filled each role once.) The disc was placed at mid-field (which was about 15 yds from the goal line) and the thrower had five seconds to throw a goal to the cutter who could set up anywhere they wanted. The defender could also set up wherever they wanted, although all chose to mark the cutter, not the thrower. The Gorillas big semifinal win over the Jackalopes came when back-to-back Jackalope receivers botched their footwork and came down just shy of the endzone. Congrats to the Mice who handled the scrappy Gorillas in the final.

It is a bit hard to see where the shootout would fit into current ultimate practices, but there is a definite application for the hardest-of-hard-cap whistles. Because of the very tight time constraints, when the whistle blew, the game was over, unless it was tied. Didn't matter if it was between points or during points or who had possession; when the whistle blew it was done. The only difficulty for a real ultimate tournament is the problems associated with hearing the horn. We used the cap system again for the end-of-camp tournament and it worked well and created some awesome, exciting finishes particularly the Dog-Riot semifinal. (Teams were named after UPA Champions.)


  1. when you first posted this i thought you were referring to the world cup soccer game kids play(

    ultimate shootout sounds fun were most goals scored/d?

  2. The endzones were short, only 5 yards, so the kids worked back and forth until they had the d beat. All the goals were scored within 5 yards of the sideline. All the throws were flat and to space - they didn't have to be tricky because there wasn't a marker.