Category Archives: Conference

2017 Youth Ultimate Coaching Conference theme: building to win

The 4th Annual 2017 Youth Ultimate Coaching Conference is returning to the Bay Area on Sunday, March 12th, 2017.  Early registration deadline is March 1.

This year’s conference theme is “Building to Win,” which will focus on team strategies and increasing player & team competitiveness. Our highly trained and elite-level Instructors will lead you through how to plan your season and individual practices, how to best utilize your captains, and managing your team during a tournament. Gain hands-on experience teaching drills and working through critical player/team scenarios. All coaches, players, and captains, whether new or highly-experienced, will gain valuable skills and strategies to help your team flourish!

Date: March 12th, 2017

Time: 8:30am – 4:30pm

Location: TBD (web site says Palo Alto, CA, as of 2/8/2017)

Cost: $85 early bird (before 3/1/2017), $95 regular

Financial Aid: Financial aid is available upon request. Please complete this application by 3/1/2017.

See other posts tagged with YUCC

Early 2016 coach training options in Seattle & beyond

As we prepare for another spring season of youth ultimate, a growing menu of “professional development” opportunities have arisen.  First — a new, potentially annual, coaches conference is being offered in February by RiseUp in south Seattle (WA).  Then in March the third annual Youth Ultimate Coaching Conference will take place in San Jose (CA).  If you can’t make these in person, both will offer video content from the speakers after the event: RiseUp for a small fee; YUCC for free courtesy of Bay Area Disc and all the YUCC partners (see Skyd Magazine for archived YUCC talks from 2014 and 2015).

The first (annual?) RiseUp Seattle Coaches Conference will happen on Saturday February 13, 2016, from 11-6 at the Rainier Beach Community Center (in south Seattle).  The cost is $100 and registration is prioritized for female coaches and coaches of females and/or disadvantaged Seattle communities.  While the web site speaker list and topics suggest the content may be most useful to higher-level coaches (e.g. high school and above), the conference Program Director Mario O’Brien assured me that it would also be “valuable for coaches who work with the youngest spectrum of youth” (elementary and middle school coaches and teachers).  He pointed out that it would be a great networking opportunity for any coach — which I believe after reviewing this impressive speaker list:

  • Heather Ann Brauer (YCC coach, GUM chair)
  • Age Up (Seattle Youth)
  • Ren Caldwell (Ren Fitness) – 3 Strategies to Promote a Team Culture of Better Health and Performance 
  • Melissa Witmer (Ultimate Results, Ultimate Athlete Project)
  • Frank Nam (Franklin HS, South Korea National Team)
  • Dr. Ben Wiggins (Sockeye, Riot, RISE UP)
  • Mario O’Brien (RISE UP, Sockeye, Cascades, University Prep)
  • Other Seattle coaches

The 3rd annual Youth Ultimate Coaching Conference will follow the theme of “”Gender Equity and Girls Ultimate” and is scheduled for Saturday March 5, 2016, from 8:30-5, at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, CA.  The cost is $65 before Feb 29 and $95 thereafter.  The keynote talk will be by Marlene Bjornsrud, Executive Director of Alliance for Women’s Coaches.  The conference looks like it will be very valuable for coaches at all levels of youth ultimate — primarily because the program portends a broad contemplation of girls and youth sports:

The 2016 exciting program includes:
– USA Ultimate unveiling the latest on Gender Equity and GUM curriculum
– A panel featuring non-Ultimate organizations working with girls
– Qxhna Titcomb reporting on her successful All-Star Ultimate Tour


8:30-9 | Registration
9-9:45 | Keynote
10-11 | USA Ultimate Gender Equity Guidelines
11-12 | Panel: Non-Ultimate Girls Organizations
12-1 | USA Ultimate GUM curriculum
1-2 | Lunch Break and Networking
2-3 | All-Star Ultimate Tour
3-4| Panel: Girls Programs and Play opportunity
4-5 | Panel: How to Grow
5:00 | Closing 

As of Jan 28, round-trip tickets to San Jose from Seattle look to be about $200-250 ($220 same day flight, or $170 Fri pm – Sat pm RT + hotel)…

William Bartram’s Perspectives on Youth Ultimate Programming for Coaches

William Bartram (aka “Bunny”) had been Executive Director of the Northwest Ultimate Association (aka DiscNW) for almost 10 years when he gave the following presentation at the inaugural 2014 Youth Ultimate Coaching Conference.

Below are the notes I took (along time stamps) while watching the recording archived by the Bay Area Disc Association and Skyd Magazine’s YouTube channel.   The first slides offered a little background on Bunny (which is otherwise hard to find):

Brief ultimate bio of William Bartram
Brief ultimate bio of William Bartram

“Perspectives on Youth Ultimate Programming for Coaches”

Overview of youth ultimate in Seattle

  • Time line — Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 11.14.32 PM
  • Early youth scene in Seattle was all coach-driven.  Key coaches were teachers who formed teams independently at their schools and eventually organized scrimmages
  • Mary would photocopy rules & newspaper clippings and send to PE teachers around town
  • Over time a league developed (MS in lat 1990s)
  • Those middle school players drove development at HS level because they wanted to keep playing
  • Jeff Jorgensen, Mary and Joe started Spring Reign [in 1998?]
  • Joey Gray and others formed DiscNW (mostly focused on adult players)
  • Mike Mullen and Roger Crafts start summer camps (originally in partnership with Seattle Parks with 40 players; 10 years later it would partner with DiscNW serving 900 campers each summer )
  • Over time, DiscNW took on administration of youth programs (web site, registration tools, insurance, communication, scheduling, etc.)
    • 2004: first full-time staff
    • Eventually hired admin assistant
  • League thrives due to DiscNW handing logistics so coaches can focus more on coaching
  • Financial story
    • Originally subsidized by adult leagues
    • Now many youth programs are self-supporting
    • Youth Development Fund provides financial aid and important programs that might otherwise be unsustainable
    • Fall Bid fundraising event
    • Hosted youth summits (to get feedback from community)
  • (6:10) Overview of DisNW youth programs
    • (6:30) Leagues
      • Good financial performer
      • Spring elementary and middle school
      • Fall boys HS; spring girls HS
      • Fall middle school league with Seattle Public Schools
        • Started when Joey Gray & others lobbied District to use funds from the Families and Education Levy
        • SPS pays for fields and coaching stipends
        • Principals love it because $ comes from District budget, not their own, and it’s a great after-school program
        • DiscNW provides expertise, scheduling, free discs
      • Spring club league (but most teams still based on school affiliations)
      • Summer league leads towards YCC; 2014 new winter club league also popular with the U16 crowd
    • (8:45) Camps
      • Very successful as a learning program and financially
      • 2013: 255k$ revenue, 150k$ in expenses (100k$ profit supported $16k financial aid & 4k$ for south Seattle free camps [led by Sam Terry])
      • Camp directors, counselors, leads all paid
      • More popular with MS than HS, but elite HS players getting new elite & leadership training during summer 2014 implemented with Lou Berris (sp? skilled coach)
    • (10:33) Tournaments
      • Many run but most discontinued because they aren’t profitable & sustainable
      • Usually take a lot of energy and serve teams that already have regular playing opportunities
      • Trying now to serve teams that have fewer options?
      • Spring Reign is largest
        • 96 teams (8 elementary, 40 MS, 48 HS)
        • Last week of April
    • (11:45) Elite Club
      • Started with MoHo in late 1990s
        • Not affiliated with DiscNW initially
        • Started when NOMS MS players wanted to keep playing together as high schoolers
        • Interest has waned, but spirit of that program guides current programs
        • Elite player development centered on Youth Club Championships
          • Early summer club leads into Championships in Minnesota
          • League incorporates YCC and other high-level teams
          • Hiring committee for coaches who select assistants
          • Coaches paid by DiscNW and travel with teams, manages player fees, order uniforms, logistics
          • Rusty Brown serves as general manager
    • (14:25) Beyond DiscNW (filling gaps, developing new programs)
      • Fryz – Started by Randy Lim (over 200 players in 2014; travel to play teams across U.S.)
      • RiseUp
      • Ultimate for Peace
      • All Girl Everything
      • Future YUCC focus?
      • Up Dawg (UW Element)
      • Fall Drizzle (WWU Chaos)

(16:20) Conceptual Framework for Events

  • Build it and they will come works for a while; but long-term growth requires more planning
  • Focus here is on local or regional level (not National like RiseUp)
  • Ultimate does not yet enjoy “Varsity Status” — Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 12.05.22 AM
  • Ultimate can grow within a club sport setting with key advanatages:
    • Self-officiation, Spirit of the Game
    • Strong community
  • (22:19) Youth ultimate event components
    • Spring Reign as an example with goal being “celebrate community”
    • State Championships
      • in fall for boys and spring for girls
      • (31:30) tried co-ed a couple times, but interest wasn’t there

(32:00) Building a Coaching Community

  • “Finding coaches to meet player demand is one of the biggest hurdles to growth in our area.”
    • We try to find coaches within our membership
    • Low rate of success, but matches are valuable!
    • Learning ops for coaches
      • Host USAU clinics
      • Educate PE teachers
    • Development ops
      • YCC coaching ops
      • Many returning players choose to coach
      • Fall 2015 Disc NW starts paying stipends to fall HS boys coaches
    • Role of coaches to make organizing easier — Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 1.04.14 AM
    • (40:00) Couple anecdotes about coaches
      • Ken Round
        • Didn’t know ultimate when he formed MS team and brought to Spring Reign (caused friction)
        • Parents brought RVs, set up tents
        • Took 6th grade cohort through 12th grade
        • Some players went to YCC and Westerns (2nd)
      • Fighting in ultimate!
        • Seattle team and less experienced Vancouver team
        • Fisticuffs in 2nd half
        • Spirit circle later in the weekend (including some parents)
        • Vancouver team made finals on Sunday playing OR team
        • Foul called on final point; resolved without violence; came back to win!
      • Help find more coaches! Builds resiliency
        • Mr. Jamsheed
          • Large program at Bailey Gasherd (sp)
          • Terrible at administration (e.g. Spring Reign registration)
          • Started team at Jane Addams and recruited team parent to handle logistics

(45:00) Q&A

  • (47:00) How do transition from volunteer to staffed organization?
    • (47:25) DiscNW example
      • Managing DiscNW was done by operational Board and voluntary E.D.
      • Lot’s of uber-volunteers doing things, but buy-in from Board and understanding from the community that there was going to be a paid leader
      • 2001: Part-time E.D. Mike Keiran (main job was to figure out how to fund his position!)  IT guy, so he made changes to web site and forced payments (via a waitlist).
      • As you get organized, you can deliver higher-quality events and therefore raise fees.
    • Youth director was hired because Bunny was doing it on his own, but youth was a different customer!
      • Hired a part-time organizer and lost money, but promoted youth programs, and hired Wynne and later an assistant to 3.5 FTEs…


Tom Crawford on Athlete Development Models in the U.S.

CEO of USA Ultimate, Dr. Crawford, discusses athlete development models in the United States in this talk given at the the 2015 Youth Ultimate Coaching Conference, thankfully archived by the Bay Area Disc Association and Skyd Magazine’s YouTube playlists.  Below you’ll find a talk outline (with time stamps) and a few notes I took while watching the video…


3:46 — Serving on a Council at the US Olympic Committee which is studying an American Development Model  (led by USOC, NCAA, Nike, coordinated by Aspen Institute) and is about to initiate a major push to implement it.  Ultimate is being held up as an example for other sports to learn from…

5:25 — Has worked with many professional sports and believes that when sports are done right, they can enhance the human experience.  When they’re done wrong, they don’t.

7:30 — How does ultimate fit within the framework of sports in the U.S.? [first slide]

  • Structure of sport in the world
    • Top: International Olympic Committee (IOC) works through
      • National Olympic Committee (in the U.S. that’s the USOC = our Ministry of Sport (including a family of organizations like NCCA, YMCA, JCC, CYOs, Boys & Girls clubs, and now USA Ultimate)
      • International Federations (for ultimate that’s WFDF [pronounced “whiffdiff”], the World Flying Disc Federation)
      • Those bodies work through National Governing Bodies:
        • USAU, Ultimate Canada
        • US Tennis Association, USA Hockey…
      • which facilitate athlete development, e.g. USA Ultimate is trying to work though
        • Affiliates (Bay Area Disc, Disc NW)
        • Chapters
        • Youth Service organizations (JCC, CYO, Boys & Girls clubs), so expect an influx of 1000s of kids!

17:45 — The aspects of ultimate that are most attractive to the IOC , USOC, and ESPN (and parents!) are:

  • Spirit of the game
  • Self-officiation

17:56 —

“The reason ESPN has the observers miked up is not because they want to listen to the observers, it’s because they’re trying to figure out how to get that discussion between the athletes clearly on the ear — in a way where it becomes a unique element and makes the sport totally different from other sports.”

19:30 — the American Development Model (ADM)

  • Built on the Ultimate Canada’s LTAD model
  • Translated the Canadian development periods into US grade and age ranges:
U.S. grade & age levels associated with stages of the Canadian Ultimate LTAD model
U.S. grade & age levels associated with stages of the Canadian Ultimate LTAD model


  • Note: no specialization in single-sport until high school!
    • 3 sports for 9-12 year olds
    • 2 sports from ages 12-16 years
  • Sports are applications of fundamental movement skills (run, leap, throw…)

23:15 — Differences in the U.S. relative to other countries

  • We have parents that think $25k/yr investment in worth it to get NCAA scholarships or success professional sports.  There is early specialization inertia that we’ll have to overcome through education and marketing.
  • Kids get more exposure to sports and opportunities
  • NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, Pro Soccer, Winter, X-games, Olympics, Triple Crown Tour
  • School based system (27:25 — V/JV tradition with only 15ish kids per team drives the steep drop-off in sports participation at ages 13-15…)

25:10 ADM Statement and 5 stages to a better sport experience:

  1. Discover Learn Play (0-12 years)
  2. Develop and Challenge (10-16 years)
  3. Train and Compete (13-19 years)
  4. Stage 4 has two modes (13-15 year, when most attrition happens)
    1. Participate and succeed (15+)
    2. Excel for high performance (15+)
  5. Thrive and mentor (for life)

27:27 — Ultimate’s big opportunity is receiving those kids that didn’t make the J/V cut in other sports!

28:55 — Key principles that will drive the ADM

  1. Universal access (USAU Foundation: raises $ to allow everyone to play; e.g. GUM aspiring to have 70% girls and 30% boys!)
  2. Develop motor and skills thru appropriate activities (teach parents and teachers to create opportunities)
  3. Encourage multisport participation (economics makes this tough: e.g. US Tennis [$200-250M/yr operating budget] is bigger than the USOC [US Hockey (30-40M$/yr)] and employs many professional coaches who don’t want other sports.  They want year-round participation!  This means a huge opportunity to create economically-viable multi-sport facilities.)
  4. Fun, engaging, challenging atmospheres (not just “good job,” but “this is how you can be the best that you can be.”)
  5. Quality coaching at all levels (Coaching is the delivery system of sport.  [SV: What if it was just peers through play, e.g. neighborhood pick-up?]

38:45 — Key outcomes

  1. Grow general pool of athletes and pool of elite athletes (Olympians)
  2. Develop fundamental skills that transfer between sports
  3. Appropriate avenue to fulfill athletic potential (maximize potential; not get a scholarship, or play in the NBA)
  4. Create a generation that loves sport and physical activity and transfers to that passion to the next generation (Nike’s involved because there’s a huge drop-off in youth participation.  Why?  The focus on winning, lack of fun, and increasing injury.  “My coaches are teaching me how to cheat!”

44:50 — Next steps for USOC and ADM

  • USOC get support from all NGBs and logos on ADM site
  • Aug 2015: Workshop to implement ADM/LTAD concepts through US NGBs
  • Continue to support research and awareness

46:00 — interlocking finger model of sport (one hand players, one hand coaches)

48:00 — Exciting stuff!

  • USAU just moved to Colorado Springs where we had meetings that suggest ultimate can get onto Olympic Program way earlier than any of us dreamed
  • IOC just finished 2020 reforms (Olympic program will change to be by discipline, not limited by sport, and will illiminate sports that are no longer played and replace them with hip/cool ones that are also inexpensive [facilities, easy access, entertaining=ESPN, and mixed gender])

52:00 Q: How to increase access?

Youth serving agencies are putting us on their menu and then delivering those kids to us!

  • CYO = East coast sports organization plans to introduce ultimate to their 7,000 player basketball program
  • Boys and Girls clubs
  • JCCs

USAU Foundation

  • Help us find donors
  • Highest priority: Build network of entreprenurial partners who deliver the coaching!




2016 Youth Ultimate Coaching Conference (YUCC) theme: Developing Girls’ Ultimate

The new Executive Director of the Bay Area Disc Association announced in his 9/30/15 welcome letter that the theme for the 2016 Youth Ultimate Coaching Conference (YUCC) will be “Developing Girls’ Ultimate.”  The conference is to be held next March (2016) in the Bay Area and plans to “convene inspirational role models from around the country like Qxhna Titcomb (All-Star Ultimate Tour founder and World Champion) to present…”  Watch their youth ultimate event calendar for further details.

In anticipation of learning more about how to coach girls, here’s a related presentation from the 2015 YUCC by DiscNW’s Heather Ann Brauer entitled “Giving Girls a Voice: Tools for empowerment and confidence on and off the ultimate field” with my notes appended —

1:05 Asked 7 girls and 7 boys why do you love ultimate

  • girls: community, spirit, friends, athleticism, fun
  • boys: similar themes (though also + layout, callahan, greatest, aggression, intensity)

2:00 More important than these differences is how we approach the off-field culture and connectedness of the team.

Girls (and women) often under-rank themselves

How do you empower them?  CLEAR

  • Culture – giving girls tools to create a culture they want to see in their team
  • Language – e.g. not saying “sorry,” saying “person-defense” instead of “man defense”
  • Emotions – talking about empathy, connectedness; being able to be where you’re at and valuing those emotions
  • Agency – giving girls a voice or say, adds to the buy-in they have in the team
  • Role models – getting women to be role models, but also giving girls a chance to be role models themselves (e.g. GUM clinics)

4:55 Tips and tricks

  1. Create a team charter
    1. How do you want to feel as an individual (at practices, at games)?  [Challenged to learn; happy and social; enthusiastic, excited; valued; accomplished; improved/better; successful]
    2. Narrow down to 4-6 words and create actionable items, e.g. for “confidence” the high school girls came up with: “We will consistently attend practice and hold one another accountable.  We will not say “I’m sorry.” We will be stars.  We will give one another positive feedback. We will give each other high fives.  And we will conduct ourselves with the utmost swagger.”
    3. (11:55) Establish a buddy system
      1. Usually not established friends
      2. Check-ins throughout the season; ask buddy if you missed practice; share personal goals
    4. Coaches can help create tangible goals (e.g. 50 completions in a go-to drill) and remind team of the goal, especially if they are straying away from the key-words of their charter
    5. Attendance at practice went from ~8 before charter to 12-14 afterwards because they felt bought-in
  2. (15:40) Check-in/Check-outs
    1. At beginning of practice let each player say one word describing how they’re feeling (or using thumbs up/down/sideways)
    2. Check-out? [presumably the same process, but at the end of practice…]
  3. (17:35) Interactive warm-up
    1. Variation of team USA U23 warm-up
      1. (19:30) Demo of paired, interactive plyos
      2. hi-5s are the most important part!
  4. (22:35) I’m a star!
    1. If a player makes a mistake and says “I’m sorry”
    2. Teammates say “What did you say?”
    3. And player jumps up and says “I’m a star!”
    4. To which teammates respond “Yes you are.”
  5. (23:35) Collaborative challenges work really well
    1. Try to meet a goal.  Each time you make it as a team, reduce your 10 planned 40-yard sprints by one.
    2. Create drills that have progressions to create challenge: dishy pass + look to huck + add defender + a fake + under pass…
    3. Supportive drills: e.g. 3 or 5 lines with people cutting towards you.  By saying names and making eye contacts, you make a social connection every time.