Here are some tips me and Felix (those coach-y people scuttling around training on Wednesday) have put together to help everyone in the club, but especially our newest members, improve as quickly as possible. They seem pretty simple, but they’ll definitely help you develop your game.
1. Buy a disc, and use it. Don’t treat it like a trophy, but use it like a tool – it will get its share of wear and tear by landing on concrete, hitting walls and such, but it’ll all be worth it as your throwing and catching will improve constantly. Carry your disc around with you at all times, throw it at every opportunity.
2. Practice good technique. When you’re at training and a coach tells you how you need to change your technique or what you need to work on, focus on getting that thing better before the next session! You’ll then get something else to work on, and the improvement will keep rolling, rather than being stuck on that one thing. When catching or throwing, spend half the time striving for perfection (two handed clap catching in the centre of the disc, wide low pivots), and half the time trying new stuff, pushing your limits etc – but don’t linger inbetween these two extremes just throwing and catching in your comfort zone.
3. Play as much Ultimate as possible. Get on the pitch whenever you can, go to every training you’re invited and able to go to, get involved when you’re on the field, get the disc as much as you can.
4. Ask questions. Make use of the coaches by asking us as many questions as you want – we usually have good advice as we’ve been through the learning process ourselves, and may have helped dozens of people with the same question you’re asking. Don’t worry about the question sounding stupid – we all have to start somewhere and it’s always much better to ask than to keep it to yourself. It also helps to build up a rapport with the coach so any future advice we have for you can be communicated very quickly, and so that we know you are eager to learn!
5. Listen to the coaches. This seems obvious, but when a coach is explaining stuff to a group, pay attention and listen closely. There’s a lot of information being given out in a short amount of time, and any small part of it may change your game significantly. If the coach approaches you individually, listen to what they have to say, take it in, and ask a question if you don’t understand. Don’t feel you need to make an excuse or defend yourself!
6. Coach yourself. Overcompensation is the key to improving your own throwing and catching by yourself. If you drop a disc using your off-hand, then catch the next ten discs using only that hand. If your throws are ending up at a sharp angle, get them ending up at the opposite sharp angle. If your release is generally too high, release from ankle-height for a few minutes. By drastically overcompensating, you’ll be able to find the middle ground much easier and faster than making small adjustments.