The Ultimate Conundrum

Every summer, I play ultimate. And every summer, my teams gets an influx of new players – we’re not sure of why there’s so much turnover, but there is, so we sort of start each season from square 1 again. And every season, I face the same conundrum: getting the new players included in the game. See here’s the thing:

New players are less likely to make good cuts. Which means that when I’m throwing, I often only have a low-percentage throw left to make, as the stall-count nears 10. But new players are also less likely to catch the disc, particularly if it’s a difficult catch, on a low-percentage throw. So I often end up throwing to a more experienced player in those situations. Which becomes a sort of catch-22 of new players never getting the experience because they’re not getting the chance, and thus not getting better. So this year, I’ve taken a new tact: I will always try to make the first throw to a less-experienced player. Only when it’s an end-zone play, or someone is obviously clear and free, will I throw to one of the veteran players. And so far, I think this is having some immediate impact. With the exception of one player, I’ve thrown to everyone on my team over the course of 3 games. So they’re getting involved. And sure, we’re losing, but I think everyone’s learning. We even had a mini-comeback at the end of our last game, as people started to cut better, and made those short throws that tend to work better with less experienced players. I suspect we won’t win a game this semester, but probably by mid-next semester, we’ll start to be pretty good, and will hopefully move back up into this division.