USA Ultimate Staff Present and Participate at 2015 Youth Ultimate Coaching Conference

Posted: February 18, 2015 08:46 AM

Colorado Springs, Colo. (Feb. 18, 2015) – Last weekend, USA Ultimate CEO Tom Crawford and Manager of Youth and Education Programs Mike Lovinguth, along with National Girls Outreach Director Heather Ann Brauer, were all part of the program at the second-annual Bay Area Disc Association Youth Ultimate Coaching Conference. Presenters and attendees spent Saturday discussing all aspects of long-term athlete development, this year’s conference theme.

2015YUCC Rotator 602x397
Photo: Laura Cincotta

Long-term athlete development (LTAD) is a continual process of sport and development, from birth through adulthood, that strives to match training regimens and participation with the current developmental stage of each athlete. LTAD has been found to be particularly important for youth athletes, making it a perfect topic for the 2015 Youth Ultimate Coaching Conference.

The conference’s relatively small size – approximately 50 participants made the trip to San Jose – made it easy for everyone to converse, exchange ideas and share what they’ve learned from their own experiences.

An inspiring keynote address from Coaching Peace President Diana Cutaia led off the day with an emphasis on the ability of sport to develop connections and empathy, which in turn creates good human beings. Ultimate Canada Executive Director Danny Saunders followed the keynote with a presentation on the organization’s own long-term athlete development (LTAD) model, the first designed specifically for ultimate. USA Ultimate CEO Dr. Tom Crawford closed out the morning by sharing and explaining recent LTAD developments from the U.S. Olympic Committee and how they relate to USA Ultimate and the national governing body’s future plans.


"Any chance to be in a room with a group of generous volunteers who are advancing the sport of ultimate is a great opportunity," said USA Ultimate CEO Tom Crawford. "The passion and wisdom in the room was fun to be around for the weekend. Valerio and his team did an amazing job pulling this event together and running a great show." 

Participants were also able to network with one another and the presenters during break-out sessions, the first wave of which included talks with Steve Henderson from Positive Coaching Alliance, Ultimate Australia’s Director of Youth Matt Hill, World Flying Disc Federation Treasurer Kate Bergeron, and USA Ultimate’s Mike Lovinguth.

For his part, Lovinguth focused on athlete skills and coaching skills that directly relate to long-term athlete development, including a draft plan for all phases of LTAD. He focused three of the five training categories essential to well-rounded development of athletes and coaches: physical, technical, tactical, emotional and moral. At YUCC, he particularly focused on the technical, tactical and moral categories, covering everything from basic disc skills to strategies and tactics and Spirit of the Game and self-officiation.

Participants finished out the day by rotating through hands-on sessions led by National Girls Outreach Director Heather Ann Brauer, former Fury and U.S. National Team coach Matty Tsang and Bay Area Youth Director and YUCC organizer Valerio Iani.

True to her role in USA Ultimate’s Girls’ Ultimate Movement, Brauer presented on girls’ development and how to empower girls as leaders. Tsang focused on basic philosophies for coaching middle school ultimate players and included drills for developing middle school players that help draw a distinction between good mistakes and bad mistakes. Iani described his three "Fs" for fun: feelings, fundamentals and errors. He described warm ups that develop fundamentals while also creating a sense of fun for youth athletes.

Above all, the 2015 Youth Ultimate Coaching Conference was an opportunity to meet and network with peers all devoted to and passionate about the positive development of youth ultimate players. Great things lie ahead for the growth of ultimate at the youth level, and with continued discussions about LTAD, youth ultimate players will make the sport a lifelong venture.

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