Recipients 2008

Revision of the Sports Medicine Section of the UPA Coaching Manual

Jamie Nuwer, Fremont, CA
Awarded: $50

As formal UPA coaching training will be required over the next few years, the training offered in sports medicine should serve as a useful and relevant resource. I propose to revise the sports medicine section of the UPA Coach’s Manual. The revision would expand the section and cover management and prevention of common injuries encountered in Ultimate. I hope to use the research data results from Dr. Leslie Yen’s sports medicine project last year to identify the most relevant topics. I plan to reference the articles from my column in Ultimate News, Injury Timeout. I will also consult the most popular sports medicine text for coaches from all sports. The text is Sport First Aid: A Coach's Guide to Preventing and Responding to Injuries by Melinda Flegel. It is used by the American Sports Education Program (ASEP) in their Sports First Aid course. ASEP has trained over a million coaches in past thirty years. If coaches were able to quickly manage only the five most common medical problems, they could certainly decrease suffering of their players and reduce playing time lost. They could also better understand the implications of various injuries for training and return to play. At minimum I would cover ankle sprains, muscle strains, acute knee injuries, acute shoulder injuries, and shin splints, topics I have already covered in Ultimate News articles. Other potential topics include: first aid kits, concussions, heel pain, asthma attack, sports nutrition, and finger sprains and dislocations. I also plan to revise the training portion of the manual to match the preventative medicine portion of the sports medicine section. This will help unite the two sections integral to preventing and rehabilitating sports injuries properly. If possible, I would also like to produce a small complimentary handbook similar to the rules handbook that could be easily carried and referenced. The information contained in the handbook would be the same as in the coaching manual section; however, it would be reformatted in an easy to read manner for a small handbook. For feedback, I plan to show revisions to coaches at various levels of coaching and experience to elicit feedback throughout the process. I plan to submit various formats of sports medicine topics to be reviewed at this year’s clinics in order to learn which formats are most useful to coaches. This would allow the creation of a sports medicine section with maximal user-friendliness. Ideally this project would be completed within a year.

Ultimate for PE Credit

Jonathan Hillis, Austin, TX
Awarded: $250

In Texas, there is a fast growing Ultimate community. Unfortunately, with the popularity of sports like football and basketball, Ultimate is eclipsed at the high school level by sports offering physical education credit for participation. We are attempting to establish an Ultimate class for PE credit in the Austin Independent School District (AISD) to create more interest in Ultimate and expand the Ultimate community. At the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, there is a diverse population of students drawn from all over Austin. By doing this, we can set a precedent for other schools around Texas to have similar classes that will count towards high school graduation PE requirements.
Digitizing UPA Championship Statistics for Release to the Public By: Alex Peters UPA Grant Award: $250 Project Summary Statistics are taken for the semis and beyond of all UPA championship events as mandated by the board of directors, but have only been released to the public in the form of stats from the finals of Nationals in the Ultimate News magazine. The stats are compiled on paper and stored by the UPA. These papers need to be sorted through and digitized in a manner that can be more easily available, accessible, and searchable by the public, as well as for the UPA's own records. The project will meet the following conditions: * The compiled data will incorporate all divisions for which the UPA has statistics; * The UPA will forward the records in batches, starting with most recent events; * Data will be formatted according to UPA specifications; * UPA will make these statistics available to the public; and * The UPA will retain all rights to the information.

First Season's Statistics

Patrick Peterson, Waynesville, NC
Awarded: $250

When I was a part of Spring League play earlier this year in Efland, NC, my teammates and I on Four Score began wondering out loud why there was no real way of quantitatively tracking a player's progress on the field from week to week. So, I spent a few days coming up with a pencil-on-paper system that came to be called "Patrick's New Ultimate Tracker," or "P-NUT." This stat tracker is a simple and thorough method of notating player achievements on the field by speedily taking note of every "touch" on the disc. After the game, PNUT allows the statistician to produce a score sheet that includes individual player "stat lines"  for further study by players, coaches, the media, and other interested parties. PNUT has already been successfully tested twice in 11th-Edition-rules matches, where it generated a lot of player interest and useful feedback. On May 29 2007, the stats from the spring tournament final were published on the web as part of the spring wrap-up, and PNUT became Ultimate's first in-depth statistical system to publicly release its figures on cyberspace. Now, I want to take PNUT to the next level, but I don't want to lose sight of the collective vision that inspired it- it's time to find out how much boost PNUT can give to the greater Ultimate community.

Which brings me to the goals of The First Season's Stats Project. They are twofold: First is to exercise this system of notating Ultimate game statistics over several consecutive games, where we will follow the same team in an odyssey of league play (specifically, a team from the 2008 Interlink Spring League in Charlotte with consenting captains). Player feedback will assist the 1SS team in generating meaningful new questions while answering the old ones about PNUT, like: Is the system truly solid enough for consistent use in assessing game-by-game performance? What can be changed, without sacrificing data resolution, to make PNUT easier to learn? Optimally, after this project's completion in May, a new Ultimate statistical-assessment product will be ready for beta distribution to other Ultimate lovers.
The second goal of 1SS is to use player comments and PNUT stats in blindly assessing progress of the team and its players over a ten-week spring season. We would like to conduct an hour per week of short interviews (where we will ask for consent beforehand and honor confidentiality afterwards as necessary) with the players and the captains before, during, and after the season to find where they stand with regards to their own progress as players and as a team. We seek to act strictly in an observer role, and not come between captains and players. This project is as much an exercise in journalism as it is in stat-keeping.

The outcome of this project may have tremendous implications on the future of statistics in Ultimate. For example, a statistician equipped with PNUT, a laptop, and some programming skill would be able to generate live outputs in full from the sideline for mid-game study by the coaches, fans, and media.

Tuscon Ultimate Resource Library

Lisa Shipek, Tucson, AZ
Awarded: $300

The proposed project would create a public collection of books and DVDs on Ultimate.  The collection would include a number of instructional books on how to play Ultimate and about the history of the sport, along with a series of DVDs on college and club Ultimate, and Ultimate fitness.  The collection would be housed by the Tucson Public Library system, and therefore, anyone in the community would be able to check out the resources and see what is available online.  In this way, the resource would be free to the Tucson public, and could be used by highschool teams, college teams, club teams, and other interested parties.  Once the collection is started, it would be periodically updated with more recent DVDs and books. 

One of the best ways to learn a sport is to see technically correct examples and high-level competition.  As Tucson hosts a budding Ultimate community, we do not have many examples of high-level play.  In particular, resources are needed to support young teams, like highschool and colllege teams, who may not have experienced coaches or captains. 

To promote the Tucson Ultimate Resource Library, a clinic will be given in the spring that will target highschool and college players.  The clinic will include basic instruction on how to start a team, rules of the game, and simple drills.  In addition, the Resource Library will be advertised on Tucson Ultimate's webpage, club team's webpages, college team's webpages, and through our multiple Ultimate listserves.

Operation Scoresheet

Bob Krier, Boulder, CO
Awarded: $600

No one I know has attempted to compile stats of more than one team in a single database. I'm proposing to not only do that, but to also keep many styles of scorekeeping in a single repository. I'm providing the starting point for standardized stat keeping. It'll serve as a basis for a future system.

Also, most ideas I've heard from players about keeping stats across many teams revolved around standardizing the information. I don't believe standardization of the scoresheets is required. I think we can start by allowing many types of scorekeeping, and slowly over time winnow the list as we learn which methods yield the most valuable information. The database and stats can guide the scoresheet evolution, rather than a scoresheet guiding the stat and database evolution.

The stats project will help grow the sport by creating a new marketing avenue.  Without stats, the UPA is unable to market the elite-level games.  Its hard to describe who the top players are, and engage the casual fan.  But stats can help solve that.  Not that stats will definitively tell you which players are the best - but they do tell a story about the player.  It's a tangible story - and you can market those stories because casual fans can understand the story told by stats.  A tangible story - and you can market those stories because casual fans can understand the story told by stats.

Pioneer Scholars Ultimate

By: Lauren Gardner and Ryan Schwartz
UPA Grant Award: $665

The Pioneer Scholars Ultimate project will be an expansion of a pilot program begun in Spring 2006 as a partnership between the Emily Krzyzewski Center and Brimstone (Duke University Men's Ultimate).  The Emily K Center is a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire economically disadvantaged students to dream big, act with character and purpose, strive for academic excellence, and reach their highest potential as future citizen leaders.  Our core Pioneer Scholars program serves 64 economically disadvantaged students in Grades 1-8 by providing intense academic interventions as well as leadership and character development.  Last year, as Director of Operations I was looking for a program which would engage our Pioneer Scholars during a 6 session Parent Empowerment Workshop which their parents attended.  In partnership with Ryan Schwartz, one of the Brimstone captains, we decided to implement an introduction to Ultimate for our students.

After only 6 sessions using UPA curriculum as well as some of our own drills, our kids were all able to throw and catch backhand, a number of them had strong forehands, and we were able to play a brief game.  We also used the 6 Character Pillars (Heart, Hard Work, Integrity, High Expectations, Honesty, and Respect) which are the basis for our character education program to explain the importance of Spirit of the Game™.  The sessions culminated with the presentation of 5 Spirit Award discs.  We had overwhelming positive feedback from the kids.  Many persuaded their parents to attend the parent sessions so that they could come to Ultimate.  Even now, one of our stars (a 2nd grader with a perfect forehand after only one session) still begs me to take him to Ultimate practice when he sees me leaving in my gear.  A number of students also researched the history of Ultimate and wrote articles for our literary journal about the subject.

We plan to begin the second year of this program in the spring.  We are requesting an Innovation Grant to assist us in purchasing appropriate equipment to use during these sessions so that we can increase the number of kids involved and the depth of their learning. 

Soweto Development Clinic

Ankur Udani, Johannesburg, South Africa
Awarded: $850

The Johannesburg Ultimate Club has maintained a regular Ultimate development clinic in Soweto, South Africa's largest township, for the past year. Soweto's population is dominated by people making a meager living and a relatively high percentage of the population is unemployed. Every Sunday, members from the club volunteer to spend 2-3 hours playing Ultimate with children between the ages of 5 and 12.

The Soweto Ultimate Development Clinic has two goals; in the short term, Ultimate is meant to provide a constructive outlet for children. An approach often taken is to simply hand over frisbees or soccer balls and expect the children to 'go out and play'; the clinic seeks to go beyond that…Our members have invested a lot of time and energy to build a relationship with the boys (and gain the trust of their parents). We are trying to generate a self-sustaining level of interest in the boys. We want the kids to throw around or organize a game even when we are not there during the week. Also, we use Ultimate as a vehicle to transpose its culture and values onto the children. The 'Spirit of the Game' concept has not yet fully taken hold, but we are introducing it in pieces and we can begin to see the kids slowly incorporate it into their game.

In the long-term, we hope the Soweto children will develop into the Soweto Ultimate Team and compete with the other Johannesburg teams in our Summer and Winter leagues. A similar exercise was undertaken in Cape Town with children from Khayelitsha, Cape Town's largest township. After many years of working with the children, they have developed into one of the strongest teams in South Africa, winning the South African Nationals in 2006. This same team also represented South Africa as a junior team at worlds in Finland and is ranked 9th in the world.

Co-Ed Turkish Ultimate

Sean Cox and Andrew Hochstedler, Istanbul, Turkey

Awarded: $910

The translation is roughly this:
Turk Kasi Ultimate Frisbee Presents:  Want to have a great time learning and playing a brand new sport?
For two days, the mixed American and Turkish "Turk Kasi" Ultimate Frisbee Team will be teaching this new sport.
What is Ultimate?
A mix of basketball, soccer, and American football, it's the only sport where men and women play side-by-side on the same team.

Experienced ex-patriot and Turkish Ultimate players will teach the game to new players and train existing players in technical and leadership skills as well as gender equality values at clinics across Turkey. Two two-day sessions will aim to jump start the growth of co-ed Ultimate in Istanbul and Adana’s tiny Ultimate communities. Hosted on college campuses, the clinics will target university age players.

Training will include discussion of the rules, team organization strategies, gender issues involved in co-ed Ultimate and instruction in leading a team as well as practical work on the fundamental skills and strategies of the game.

Camp Spirit of the Game™

Andrew Norman and Sam Bellin, Pittsburgh, PA
Awarded: $1500

Camp Spirit of the Game™ is a Pittsburgh-based initiative bringing the game and ethics of Ultimate to children ages 8-13.  The idea is to make the enjoyment of Ultimate the centerpiece of a camp experience devoted to systematically teaching sportsmanship and conflict resolution skills.  We plan to employ a unique set of "Spirit Drills" designed to teach the fundamentals of respectful engagement, dispute management, and self-control.  Camp Spirit enrolled 18 children its first year, the campers were wildly enthusiastic, and parents loved the concept.  We'd like to expand the program to at least 50 campers in year two, and make Camp Spirit an enterprise that can both sustain itself and grow.

Youth Ultimate is on the rise, but many young people don't encounter organized Ultimate until they reach high school.  This is unfortunate, for younger children, aged 8-13 are fully capable of playing, enjoying, and learning from this wonderful game.  Camp Spirit of the Game™ will help the sport grow by affording young people a chance to learn and play organized Ultimate.  By raising awareness of Ultimate's capacity to promote moral development, Camp Spirit will be planting seeds that will help ensure the long-term growth of the sport.  

Camp Spirit will utilize Ultimate's unique emphasis on self-refereeing to teach and model the broader concept of conflict resolution.  The camp daily schedule will include direct teaching of conflict resolution skills through role-playing and discussion.  Campers will apply these skills in the natural setting of sports competition, and think about what it would be like to apply them in other walks of life. 

For example, campers will be asked to role-play disputed foul calls, and play-act bad ways of working them out.  We'll discuss what happened in groups, posing questions designed to spark reflection: What did the disputants do wrong?  What was the effect of player X's yelling at player Y?  What could they have done better?  Foul-and-contest scenarios will be reprised with the actors furnishing a better example of conflict resolution, and the group will discuss the result.  Which way of dealing with the disagreement worked better?  Why?  How do you feel about person X's way of dealing with the situation?  Did it make you want to be his friend?  With activities like this, we intend to provide powerful lessons in moral development.

We also foresee the campers engaging in structured "Spirit Drills."  For example, campers will take turns cutting for a lead pass while a counselor/"defender" gently jostles for position, sometimes making contact with the camper's arm.  The camper must then decide whether to call the foul.  Did the defender bump me?  Did contact happen before or after I touched the disc?  Did it make the difference between my catching and not catching it?  Players' calls will be discussed by the group: What did you think of that foul call?  Was it a fair one?  Through such drills, kids will learn how their decisions affect the way others view them.  They'll also learn about integrity and impartiality.

We are well-positioned to provide such training.  Andy Norman has extensive training in alternative dispute resolution, and has worked as a volunteer community mediator and arbitrator.  He has taught courses on the history and theory of non-violence, continues to teach ethics, and works to revitalize the deliberative processes that underlie healthy democracies.  Over 20 years of youth sports coaching has made Sam Bellin an expert in identifying and using "teachable moments" to impart critical life lessons.  He has inspired hundreds of young people to strive for athletic and moral excellence.