Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What's Next

I am going to let the Refs... series die an uneventful death; hopefully this is what actually happens to the idea of refs in ultimate. In the next couple of months I am going to talk a lot more about coaching, beginning with discussion of this book. If you haven't read it, you should. I originally read it in my early days as a leader on Sockeye (99?) and coaching Syzygy. It really set me on the philosophical path I have followed ever since. I am excited to read it again after a second decade of ultimate and see what it has to say.

On a related used book store note, I also found this in the ultimate frisbee section (!?) for $3. It's so outdated that it lives and is thought-provoking in an just-different enough kind of way.


  1. Lou-
    I don't know if you remember me, but we played together in Washington DC back in the early '90s on Marco Polo/Pablo Picasso - I think you were taking a year off from playing at Carleton at the time. I now coach at Watchung Hills High School in NJ. Both my guys and girls' teams competed at HS Easterns last year, and this year I think my girls have a good chance of going pretty deep at that tourney.

    Lately, I too have been really trying to focus on the mental aspect of sports coaching. I got Mind Gym by Gary Mack, but I was a little disappointed with it (too many maxims, not enough practical exercises.) I'll check out the tennis book that you recommend and will be following along as you blog here.

    -Mike Porter

    ps. I often tell my team what you told me about layout D-blocks. You said, "If I get a layout D, it means that someone made a mistake, and it might have been me who made the error." As in, either: 1) the thrower misplaced the disc or misjudged your position as defender; 2) the receiver didn't go back to the disc hard enough; or 3) you had gotten yourself out of position & lost contact with the receiver you were defending, and now were diving to get back into the position you should have been.

  2. Mike,
    I remember that season so clearly even though it was almost 20 years ago. I was so new to ultimate then (having played a mere 2 years) that I just absorbed and absorbed. Some of what I saw back then (Tim Brooks throwing a layout backhand break, the crazy Gimme 5 Bucks/Scrapple politics, the G5B's implosion at Regionals against an athletic, physical Slickers, my first scoober in a game...) has stuck with me. I don't know if those memories made me see things how I do or if I remember them because they confirm what I believe and it probably doesn't matter.

    I think you'll really like Inner Game. It isn't a practical book for ultimate, but it is a practical book of sports psychology and the lessons in it can be applied to most of what we do as coaches. I really use the ideas in it to filter what I am doing and saying at practice and tournaments. An odd irony of the book is that it is a book and is words and so self-contradictory in a way, but our work as coaches is often about the use of words and ideas so it is a good fit there. Good luck - I'd love to hear how it is going.


  3. I remember lots of good times playing in DC. It was a really fun group of people. John LaBarge "drinking in the name of Pablo Picasso." Long road trips to tourneys listening to "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo" by Quest. Renting a beach house in Willminton NC with one of the women's teams. As for the politics, well, it is DC after all.