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2012-09-04

Like last year, we will spend our first practice doing forehand, backhand, and marking stations. Review the principles of each from the Five Skills list I've sent out (also below). For forehand and backhand stations, just have them partner up (preferably vet w rookie, have the station leaders walk around and help). For marking, groups of 4 and shuffling between cones/yard lines while someone in the line pivots and fakes (no real faking, just forehand to backhand to forehand etc). Ideally the rotation goes from front of line to pivoting to marking to back of line.

Station leaders: Matt (backhand), Charlie (forehand), Malloy+Jacob (marking)? You don't rotate, you stay at your station.

9:30 - returners arrive, set up fields, cleats, chatting up newbies
9:45 - everyone arrives, cleats up, starts throwing
10:00 - introduce captains, coaches (brief intro to ultimate?)
10:05 - warmup jog, plyos, etc, water break

---- THIS IS DEPENDENT ON HOW MANY PEOPLE WE HAVE ----

Plan for four teams:

10:15 - Split into 3 groups and rotate through stations (15 min at each)
Station 1: forehand
Station 2: backhand
Station 3: marking
11:00 - water break, organize scrimmages (4 teams)
1v2, 3v4 (25 min, maybe water break depending on team sizes)

Plan for five teams:

10:15 - split up into teams (5) - begin stations (12 min at each, leave scrimmage after doing it twice)
Station 1: forehand
Station 2: backhand
Station 3: marking
Station 4: scrimmage (2 teams)

Plan for six teams (assuming we can only get 2 fields set up):

10:15 - split up into teams (6) - begin stations (22 min at each)
Station 1: forehand (probably needs extra work for most people)
Station 2: backhand + scrimmage (10 min backhand + 10 min scrimmage)
Station 3: marking + scrimmage (10 min marking + 10 min scrimmage)

---- END SPLIT ----

11:25 - huck drill (2 instances) - lets rookies show off their athleticism. Encourage returners to run, not huck, for exciting matchups for ambitious new guys.
11:40 - cool down, stretch, talk

Basic skills:

Throwing

There is only one skill more important than throwing in ultimate (catching!). It is not particularly difficult to throw a frisbee to someone 15 yards away. It gets a lot harder when there is someone yelling in your face and waving his arms, and the person you're throwing to is moving with a defender. We'll build up from a simple "game of catch" to more game-like situations.

Keys to throwing:

1. Grip - veterans will demonstrate this in practice, but it is extremely important to have the correct grip on the disc. It should also be a nice, firm grip - I like to dent the top of the disc slightly with my thumb.

2. Angle - the angle you hold the disc in your hand will determine whether the disc goes straight into the ground, way over your partner's head, or straight to him. Maintain a flat angle with the disc, or a slightly higher inside edge than outside edge.

3. Wrist snap - throwing is all about an aggressive, strong wrist snap with a good follow-through. You can practice this by doing the entire throwing motion, including the wrist snap, without letting go of the disc.

We will then add in things like stepping out, pivoting, and faking. Another good thing is to remember to keep your elbow away from your body. It's very difficult to throw a flat throw with your elbow at your side.

Marking

The cornerstone of the defense, the mark is responsible for 50% of the defense on the field when your man has the disc. The mark will be responsible for denying the cutters one of the three dangerous areas on the field - the forehand side, the backhand side, or the deep space. When forcing forehand, the mark will not allow the thrower to throw any throws to the backhand side of the field, and instead will only allow throws to the forehand side. This allows the downfield defenders to worry less about that space and instead focus on the other two dangerous spaces. Marking is going to be something we'll focus on all year, as a good mark is often the difference between average teams and elite teams.

Keys to marking:

1. Low - stay low and balanced, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight.

2. Active shuffle - when the thrower pivots, you should be shuffling to get your chest in line with their throwing shoulder. DO NOT LUNGE, lunging throws you off-balance and allows a quick pivot in the other direction to completely get around your mark. We're shuffling, not lunging.

3. Active arms - we want you to keep your arms at a 90 degree angle and generally low, always being unpredictable and ready to shoot out at a fake or throw. Keep in mind that it is much easier to move your arms up to react to a high throw than it is to move them down to react to a low throw. Keep your arms low.

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