6 Free Online Tools for the Quasi Savvy Ultimate Frisbee Coach

So you’ve signed up to coach Ultimate.


You are in fairly decent physical condition, been learning some drills and think you are all set. But then SURPRISE the administrative side of things takes over your life and you are up late trying to keep track of jersey orders, planning practices, getting waivers in and so much more.

Below are 6 free online tools for the quasi-web savvy coach. These range from tracking tasks, to planning practices to creating flyers and posters for recruiting.

  1. Canva: Ever need to make a poster or maybe post something on a Facebook group and find yourself lacking in your design skills? Well if you are not a designer or don’t have access to one, Canva is free and makes graphic design easy. Canva has an interactive web canvas that is brain dead simple and can be used for most of your design needs.
  2. Google Docs/Google Apps: Nothing beats Google’s free suite of tools for spreadsheets or word processing. You can use Google Docs to track your jersey orders, plan practices, write cheers, and so much more. If you want to see this in action, check out these Youth Ultimate Resources.
  3. Trello: Trello is a free project management tool that is based off of a model known as Kanban, made famous by Toyota in the ’80s. Create tasks and have them represented as cards, which allows you to create a visual representation of what is happening with a project. It may sound heavy handed, but Trello is great for tackling a house project, mapping out your vacation and of course for planning your season. Use Trello for all the various tasks that come in during the ramp up to the season.
  4. Drop Box: If you have stored a bunch of photos from practice and games or need a place to put your team logo or assets from your school, Drop Box is a free service that lets you store all sorts of things.
  5. Evernote: Evernote is a note taking application on steroids. With an app for Android and iOS as well as a desktop client and a nice web interface, Evernote has it all. Use it for that annual coaches meeting or to take notes during a clinic or to line up your practices. It has a premium option, but the free version is more than enough for basic needs. One caveat, if you are a Mac addict, the Notes app on the Mac and iOS makes for a nice alternative.
  6. Doodle: Do you need to schedule a parents’ meeting before the season starts? Trying to setup that end of season pizza party? But  schedules are all over the map and there is no way to get people on the same page. Fear not, use Doodle. Doddle is a quick and dirty scheduler that is easy to use. Just setup a meeting, propose a few possible times for the meeting and then invite people to choose when they can attend. There is a clear tally of the number of people for each time and date available. You can see when the most people can attend an event at a given time. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Have a tool that is a life saver? Let us know in the comments.

Seattle DiscNW spring elementary league coach meeting

Notes from the mandatory pre-season meeting run by Jude Larene, Youth Coordinator for Disc Northwest, on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 from 6-7:30.  Impressively the number of teams has increased by ~20% this year (including 5 new teams within Seattle) — the fastest growth of all the youth spring leagues run by DiscNW.  The meeting was attended by ~40 coaches, as well as Jude and the DiscNW Account Manager, Kate Speck.  A highlight was receiving 5 free J-star 140-gram discs with an entrancing rainbow print of the DiscNW logo!

140-g J-star youth ultimate disc with RAINBOW DiscNW logo!
140-g J-star youth ultimate disc with RAINBOW DiscNW logo!  You can buy more for $7/each!

Here is a (low quality) audio recording of the meeting…

Jude on spring season orientation

  • Private Facebook group: DiscNW youth coaching forum
  • 11th edition rules
  • Gender ratio
    • Always at least 3 girls on the team in 7v7
    • In 5v5 teams, offense chooses 3:2.
    • Goal is to ensure equal playing time for girls and boys
    • Jude’s team has an all-girl line
  • Non-contact sport
  • Encourage egalitarian subbing (no “kill lines”)
  • Kids make the calls (coaches need to educate parents about this)
  • Coaching Code of Conduct (Archived PDF of 2015-2016 DiscNW Coaching Code of Conduct)
    • Revised last year after a lot of work
    • Please read it before you sign it!  (Feedback is very welcome)
    • Consider the role you play as a coach in the lives of your players
    • Set the coaching bar very high!
  • You may also need to sign a coach’s liability waiver
  • Spirit scores
    • Average will be visible after 3rd week of play
    • Please enter after each game, along with point score
    • Get your team together at end of game and ask their opinion
    • Provide feedback to the opposing coach via on-line form
    • Score of 2 or 1 will require a comment this year; please provide a detailed explanation; Jude will contact the other team and help educate.
  • If you can’t field a team for a Saturday game, please notify other team and Jude by Thursday
  • Games to 11; 75 minutes; hard cap at 60 minutes.
  • Only one field marshall hired for whole league!
    • So, don’t expect timing horns (except at Magnuson); bring cones & keep time; know field dimensions (It’s OK with Jude if agree with other coach on smaller field, e.g. in high winds!!)
    • Send responsible high school seniors to Jude to be additional marshalls!
    • Please manage your own lost and found items (use Facebook group if necessary, not Jude!)
  • Weather hotline

Kate on rosters & waivers

  • Hard copy hand-out
  • Minimum roster requirement is 3 girls and 4 boys (by Saturday deadline)
  • There is sometime a ~1-2 hour delay between roster additions and waiver availability
  • Advice if you are still placing kids (e.g. by skill) onto teams: put them all on one roster so they can sign waivers, then re-organize later.
  • Paper waivers can be scanned and emailed, or snail mailed; be sure to use current version of waiver!
  • Encouraged but not required: Have medical authorizations on hand; there is a template on the DiscNW web site
  • Report incidents to Jude so he can check in and utilize DiscNW insurance coverage (can help improve access for future emergencies)


Jude on other topics

  • J-star discs (one for free to each coach tonight!)
    • Can get thumb further on top to help stabilize forehand
    • New throwers have a lot of success with them
    • May be less stable in high winds
    • Kids may develop better form and throwing mechanics using smaller discs
    • Buy more (rainbow!) for ~$7 through Disc NW
    • Vision is for all 3rd and 4th grade teams to use
    • If you like them want more, there are some emerging options for buying J-star discs in bulk (but they’re much less pretty than the DiscNW ones)
  • Issues with our growing youth population
    • Field access
    • Coach shortage
      • If one coach of multiple teams needs sequenced games in one location, it increases scheduling challenges
      • Working on Coach Development Program (but may be ~5 years behind)
    • May need to make league changes
      • E.g. go to 5v5 in elementary
        • fixes field problem by allowing
        • but requires even more coaches
      • E.g. go to 4v4 to for gender equality
      • As one of biggest youth program in world/U.S. we have a chance to influence

7:30 end

  • More growth and teams will require more financial aid to maintain access for all
  • Save the date and start planning bid items — 2016 Fall Bid is Saturday Nov 12 is Fall Bid


  • Are there AEDs available at major fields like Magnuson?
  • Phillips deal through Michael Lapin on AEDs for kids (cardiac risk is relatively low for elementary students; risk increases dramatically around grade 9)
  • John Leahy: is going to 5v5 a sacrifice or not?
    • Jude personally thinks it works better for elementary kids
    • Scores are higher; more touches per game; more success
    • Jenn
      • voluntarily signed up new 4th graders
      • expectation is that girls will have a more equal experience
    • Shannon’s 5v5 fall league packed a lot of kids onto the Roosevelt field


  • What about playing on other days of week, e.g. after school?
  • Could elementary teams play in other seasons?  (Conflict with soccer?)
  • Field advocacy group (in 80s?) used to go to city council meetings and wave discs around (John Beal is still at Seattle City Parks)
  • Jude: City wants to put turf only where lights already exist (due to NIMBY light pollution concerns)
  • Sometimes less is more
    • Maybe 3 game tournament once a month is as good as weekly Saturday games
    • Do playoffs make sense for elementary school?
    • Maybe play 2 weeks out of 3?  Weekend conflicts are tough, e.g. jazz
    • Fridays?  Some elementary soccer teams like a Friday evening practice
  • Could fields along I-5 corridor expand capacity (e.g. Shoreline)?