Take the Field

This Saturday I had the extreme pleasure of helping out with a Take the Field clinic. TtF is a great new program started by a few of my teammates to empower middle and high school girls through ultimate. Go now and like them on Facebook!take the field

The program is split up into clinics on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoon. Each clinic session focuses on a different leadership skill and ultimate skill and is led by different women from the ultimate community in the Triangle area. Our session took place at the Emily K. Center in downtown Durham. They have a fantastic facility, and some really cool staff members who might also be my teammate 🙂

I co-led with Britta Jones, a PhD student at UNC and long-time ultimate player at both Florida and UNC. Here she is imparting some frisbee wisdom:

Britta teaching

The topics we covered were written communication as the leadership skill and man defense for the ultimate skill. Naturally I was pumped about written communication because I got to cover social media!

We focused the written communication session on knowing your audience on any form of communication, whether that be social media, email, or phone and texting. For social media, our audience is everyone so I asked to the girls what they used social media for and then talked to them about who was eventually going to see these profiles. Because social media data and profiles stay with us basically forever, I gave them some ways to curate a social media profile that said something about who they are that would stand the test of time.

Written Communication
Talking about written communication with the girls

To get the girls thinking and participating, we broke up into small groups and came up with example Facebook  posts and Tweets for one person in that group  . Then we got back together and shared what we came up with; the girls had some great ideas! In the group I worked with, one of the girls was a leader in her school’s LGBT group and we talked about what kinds of updates she could post via Twitter and what kinds of video and photos she could post to show her involvement and passion for the group.

Brita covered email and phone communication, and even I was reminded of some e-etiquette points! We talked about BCC vs CC in an email and when it is appropriate to reply vs reply-all.

To sum everything up we did a little interactive storytelling activity. I told them the story of how my sister posted a speeding ticket on Facebook and at critical junctures in the story, I asked them how a certain situation should have been dealt with. They seemed to really enjoy it, since it was something with which they could all identify.

Finally we got to the fun part! After a quick lap around the gym we dove into walk-throughs and drills to teach the girls about man defense. Here are a couple pics of the girls getting their D on:

Throwing on a big mark
Throwing on a big mark
A gym full of Take the Fielders
A gym full of Take the Fielders
Taking a break while playing protect the disk
Taking a break while playing protect the disk

Thanks to the fantastic coordinators Janna, Meg, and LG, my fabulous co-leader Britta, and to all the girls who came out. I had a blast!

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2012 In Review

I may have failed to finish out the year in blogging. Ok I definitely failed to finish out the year.

But a LOT of really exciting things happened: travel, jobs, delicious foods and fun projects. And because I finally downloaded all the pictures of these exciting things off my phone, I’m doing a series of 2012 in review blog posts.

HOORAY!

#1- Phoenix Women’s Ultimate Season Wraps Up

Phoenix finished out the season with a trip to USA Ultimate Nationals in Sarasota, Florida. Though we didn’t finish as highly ranked as we would have hoped, it was a great season.

The USAU nationals fields in Sarasota
The USAU nationals fields in Sarasota

We got to go to Santa Cruz, CA and play at fields that looked like this:

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And we got to have practice with the UNC-Wilmington girls, running some drills and scrimmaging with some (possibly?) future club teammates!

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There were some Kan-Jam “games”…

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But mostly a lot of “phun!”

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Counting down til another season “phriends!”

Phoenix 2012

One of my biggest ultimate frisbee goals for the past two seasons has been to make it on a competitive women’s club team.  Six days ago I achieved that goal. After a long two- day tryout with 30+ other talented women, I got a phone call inviting me to become part of Phoenix, the elite women’s team out of the Triangle, North Carolina.

I am so excited to learn high-level ultimate from this fantastic group of women. We will be traveling to the US Open Ultimate Championships in July, tournaments around the country, and hopefully will make it down to Sarasota, FL and bring a national title back to North Carolina.

Amidst all of the excitement of making the team and writing in practices and tournaments on my schedule, I have become incredibly nervous about  performing well at practice, getting into shape, and becoming part of this tight-knit team.  So i have decided to write posts throughout the season to center myself on the experience, learning, and achieving my personal goals.

Last season all of my goals were working toward this tryout, becoming a better player, and being a role model for the younger girls at Elon.  Now I am back to being a rookie, and have some things to learn from new role models.  This year, I’m focusing on my mental game and being a great teammate.

GOALS!

1. Work on mental game and confidence.

2.  Leave it all on the field for every practice, not just every game.

3. Get in extracurricular strength/cardio conditioning to play faster O and harder D.

4. Find new diet regime to maximize energy stores at tournaments.

5. Get to know one new person at each practice, workout, or tournament.

Hopefully posting blogs throughout the season will keep me accountable to these goals, and I can track my progress and what I’m learning.

PHX!

Being a better teammate

I just read this article on Skyd by Ultimate Rob about being a better teammate that really motivated me.  He broke down  5 things to help everyone be a better teammate:

  1. Learn to listen (be coachable).
  2. Throw on your own.
  3. Be supportive.
  4. Be accountable.
  5. Set goals.
His advice to players was to write your goals for your captains to cement them for the season, and I really like this idea.  I have been thinking a lot lately about what I want from this season, my last season of college ultimate.  Ultimate is a lot more competitive up in North Carolina, and I can really learn a lot and improve my playing if I focus.  Goal-wise I have been really focused on improving in order to make a certain nationally ranked club team (coughphoenixcoughcoughcough), but I never really sat down and decided what I needed to work on.  So here it is, my goals for the rest of winter practices and the spring season of college ultimate:
  • Work on consistent throwing by focusing on this in practice, getting to practice early to throw, and throwing on off-weekends. (We practice 4 days a week, so there really aren’t and off days).
  • Bring consistency on offense by not dropping catches, and keep consistency on defense by sticking with my man.
  • Be a leader through good spirit and chilly playing on the field.
I’m really looking forward to this spring.  The Elon women have only improved over this fall’s tournaments, and I know this spring will only bring more improvement and hopefully more wins!  In terms of accomplishing my goals, I’m lucky enough to be living with my ultimate-playing boyfriend who is a really great coach and throwing partner.  The coach of the Elon women is in my grad program, which is great to have someone to talk to on and off the field about strategy and areas improvement.  And I’ve got this blog! It’s a great diversion from the craziness of grad school and will keep me thinking about ultimate while I’m not at practice, another step in improving and accomplishing the things I want for spring season.
To be continued….

Southern Ultimate

I can’t believe this is the first time I’m sitting down to write a blog about ultimate frisbee.  It’s quite long overdue, especially since the coverage of ultimate is a bit spotty.  Down south, bamasecs.wordpress.com was the only place to get ulti news for the southeastern, now gulf coast, conference and they’ve since had a change in writer and (I can only say this because I know him personally) while the blogs are more frequent, they are not necessarily higher quality. Skyd magazine online is pretty good about team previews and some gear review, but with their limited staff and budget, they can’t write enough to satiate the needs of the ultimate-obsessed like me.  Then there’s USA Ultimate.  The reason ultimate can exist and the bane of players’ existence.  One job I would take in a heartbeat would be to completely overhaul the organization’s website and magazine.  The content is pretty good, when they actually write anything.  But there is never enough.  And as always, focuses on the talent-rich pacific northwest and northeast, so with the exception of a few hotspots the south and its players are mainly overlooked.

So here I am, writing a post about ultimate in the south!  Here it’s an understatement to say that the tournament is about winning the party.  Our region has seen more than its fair share of good teams go down because of heavy partying Saturday night.  The Ole Miss women’s team suffered from this at Sectionals last year, where after a 4-0 day on Saturday, the team was too tired/hung over/still drunk on Sunday to get a win against Tulane and have an easy game against Auburn to go to Regionals.  And this past club season a highly talented mixed team, Tune Squad, who were expected to go all the way to nationals suffered the same downfall.  Too many southern teams win the party hard and then can’t pick up the pieces on Sunday to finish the tournament.

I’m all for having fun on and off the field, after all ultimate is a game and has one of the best communities of any sport or activity anywhere.  But after a short stint on the women’s club team Desoto, I found out what discipline can do for a player’s game.  After following Desoto, and the North Carolina women’s team Phoenix, through their runs at nationals (Desoto placed 15th, Phoenix tied for 3rd), it was plain to see that this kind of discipline can produce awesome results.  And I think it’s really matured my game.  In college I could get a little feisty over calls, since I am a competitive player and know the rules pretty darn well.  But now I can play a much calmer game, retain my composure on the field and wait to vent until after the point is over.  Part of this new outlook comes playing as a grad student on the Elon women’s team and having to adopt the role of the “good example.”  Since I’m not a captain or a coach, it’s my job to back up these leaders by doing everything in my power to play the best, most spirited game I can.  The results thus far are this: Elon is 16-4 after two one-day tourneys, coming in 5th at the Wolfpack Invite, and winning Blue Ridge Blowout.  I feel like my playing has really improved since last spring, both in skills and in my mental game.

So don’t write off us southern players just yet.  We have a lot of potential and a lot of talent down here as evidenced by incredibly talent-rich states Texas and North Carolina, and hot spots in Tennessee and Georgia.  Plus, we’ve got the best climate for ultimate, so it’s no surprise teams from all over the countries flock to our  balmy winter tournaments.  And we’re slowly but surely going to figure out how to balance discipline with winning  the party.  Ultimate nationals, you won’t even know what hit you once the southern teams start coming regularly.