In an effort to acquire input from the growing ultimate community across the United States, the national governing body USA Ultimate, is in the middle of their “2017 Vision Tour” in which they are holding meetings at city’s across the nation. They are coming to Seattle next Tuesday (4/4) and your chance to influence the direction of the sport in the U.S. will be from 6-8pm at the new ultimate gym — Ren Fitness (1404 NW 49th St, Seattle, WA 98107). You can pre-register online.
Agenda and attendees
USAU’s CEO and a few members of the board of directors will present something like the following agenda (from the Mar 23 tour stop in Pittsburgh) in effort to hear from Seattle area players, coaches and parents about our region’s hopes and dreams.
- Welcome, brief outline of the evening, goal of the Community Conversations (5 minutes)
- The ultimate community’s hopes and concerns about the future of ultimate (10 minutes)
- A look back: ultimate’s history (5 minutes)
- A look forward: ultimate and USA Ultimate in the wide world of sports (15 minutes)
- Q&A (10 minutes)
- Considering our next steps: Group exercise, facilitated in six small groups. Then, led by facilitator in large group (60 minutes). Topics and facilitators include:
- AUDL: Henry Thorne, USA Ultimate Board Vice President
- Elite Level Play: Josh Murphy, USA Ultimate Director of Member Services & Community Development
- Equity & Diversity: DeAnna Ball, USA Ultimate Board President
- Olympic Dream: Tom Crawford, USA Ultimate Chief Executive Officer
- USA Ultimate Brand: Stacey Waldrup, USA Ultimate Manager of Communications & Publications
- Youth Structure: Kathy Hendrickson, USA Ultimate Board of Directors
- Guest Speakers: (10 minutes)
- Sarah Lemanski: Gender Equity and Disparity
- Marcus Ranii-Dropcho: Club ultimate vs. semi-pro
- Close, Appreciation and Rating the Output (5 minutes).
2 thoughts on “USA Ultimate’s 2017 Vision Tour in Seattle Tues 4/4”
I’m bummed that I’ll be outta town for this meeting. For the record, here’s my vision for US+ ultimate that I sent to Dan Raabe at USAU today —
0) A continuous mixed-gender progression from K-2 gym classes to the olympics (where mixed is the only event), including mixed-gender in the AUDL (e.g. Cascades Cup!!)
1) USA Ultimate publishing the LTAD model with benchmarks in 2017!
2a) USA Ultimate revising the CDP within the LTAD, ideally differentiating training for elementary/middle school coaches from high school coaches. Every new elementary school (95% volunteer) coach gets not only the sweet FiveUltimate pull-over, but a game-day coaches bag with 15 J-star discs, 8 tall cones, 20 short cones, a curriculum, whistle, timer, clip/whiteboard, white-board markers, first aid kit, spirit prizes, and gameday score/roster sheets printed on write-in-the-rain paper.
2b) USAU developing curricula within the LTAD, ideally ones that “flip the practice” by providing players with video and other online “homework” (for free!?) that covers theory, mechanics, best practices, drill demos, rules, O/D strategy, plays, game clips, etc. Practice time is spent being active, continuously having fun together, playing the game, and practicing fundamentals and other key skills — including gender-equity, team-building, foul call/resolution, spirit/games, cheers. Virtually no time is dedicated to the coach talking about (while players listen passively): the practice plan (it’s already known by everyone who did their homework), the motivation for or logistics of a drill, team management/reminders, rules, strategy, plays, etc.
3) No single-gender options until high school (like Spring Reign; unlike Seattle private middle schools, e.g. Northwest)
4) Score kept in each game, but no standings or playoffs in elementary school leagues, and maybe middle school, too (it’s about playing and having fun, not who will be league champion); no select/YCC or travel to tournaments outside your region until high school.
5) Spirit circles after every game, with parents in an outer circle so they can hear all the good stuff that gets shared. There’s time for cheers and/or silly games afterwards.
6) Meaningful spirit score/comment cards/apps for all games, and spirit prizes given to top 3 teams in each local league/division (at least elementary and middle school). In high school the spirit champion award is noticeably cooler than score champion prizes.
7) At highest levels of ultimate (USAU Triple Crown, AUDL, Olympics) there are no referees or observers. Instead, each player wears a mike (like those now commonly used in theater). Spectators have an USAU app that allows them to live stream audio from the game in three modes: (1) announcers (who would act now like miked observers, essentially mixing into their commentary any players’ foul calls/resolutions; (2) their favorite player; (3) any combination of players, e.g. all mikes from their team.
I think they need to focus on three other things (as well):
1. Focus on continuing to expand the base – more players. The more players we have, the better chance we have of: generating high-level players, creating a cohort of life-long players, and from a revenue perspective creating more paying customers.
2. Treat local organizations as partners – leverage the things they do well and trying to work with them as much as possible.
3. Remembering that most Ultimate will be played on mixed teams, keeping the focus on mixed and gender-equity.