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Author Topic: The Hierarchy of Ultimate, the path of a player  (Read 16496 times)
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SirWatsonII
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« on: July 03, 2009, 03:59:01 AM »

So I grew up with basketball.  In basketball it essentially works like this.

1) Elementary School--everyone plays, the more competitive kids do a lil better.  Kids who don't care, well, don't care.

2) Middle School--actual teams form, occasional tournament but primarily just playing other schools...no major standouts.

3) High School--basketball kicks into high gear.  Some kids are aiming for college and look to star...others realize it's their last chance to play and so join the team and give it their all.  This is where the majority of roads end.

4) College Ball--Be it the truly excellent Division I or the less excellent Division II and III, the best players play in college.  The Division I kids aim for the NBA if they're excellent, a lot of them realize they won't make the cut though and so you get the beautiful spirit that is college basketball.  As for Division III, these kids KNOW it's the end of the road and play for fun or like there's no tomorrow, whichever.

5) Euro-Ball--So you don't make the NBA.  You go abroad and play in one of many Euro-leagues.  Games are very competitive, you're paid to play, but it's nothing like the NBA save a couple leagues.  But you have a living playing basketball which means you can afford to devote yourself utterly to trying to stand out and making the NBA.

6) NBA--With the NBA comes a minimum paycheck of $400K+.  You're in the money.  The stars either jumped from college or maybe even from high school but what you can be sure of is that this is a way of life.  You are paid a LOT of money to win games.  The sport consumes you and spits you out once you can't handle it anymore.  But by then you've made a lot of money and just being connected with the NBA brings you loads of lifelong contacts that can help you once you're out.

7) Hall of Fame-- Some players are remembered eternally and are put in the hall of fame for their efforts.  People go and see them at a nice building and fellow and future players remember them fondly.

Now, note that after division III (ie Division I up) i have no experience so my descriptions may be a bit off.  But what is the path of an ultimate player?  Starting as a kid?  I've been very curious about this.  What is the equivalent of an NBA Championship?  From what I can tell just as much honor is to be found in various tournaments around the country as in official nation-wide competitions.  And of course I notice that there are no city teams, but rather club teams that compete, or does that change with the national tournament?

What is the path of an Professional Ultimate Player?
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Tenk283
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« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2009, 04:37:52 AM »

I'll take a stab at the australian path.

Players pick up the game in high school after one of their friends tell them of this new sport.
They attend their local league and start playing regularly.
Then they attend a tournament.
Somewhere in here, they get heavily addicted to the sport. How heavily is measured by how often they touch a disc throughout the day, think about ultimate or start pivoting and faking throws in completely random places like shopping centres or around their home.
Down the road, they head to one of the training camps for juniors and get picked for an australian junior training squad (or don't)
If they manage to make it into a green and gold jersey, they represent australia at worlds in the u/19 category.
If they don't, they head back to their local league and keep playing.
Some players go to uni, from there they join their uni team and represent at the regional uni games and then australian uni games
The others continue playing for their local town/club (if their town is big enough) and attending tournaments
They get picked to play for their town/club at mixed nats
They get picked to play for their town/club at nats (or switched with the above)
Training camps come around, except this time it is for the womens, mixed and opens divisions at worlds.
They make one of the teams.

I daresay some of australia's best players could tick off over 80% of that list and the order would be damn close. That would be only the best players however, the rest of us would cut out the parts about green and gold... There are no professionals in australia (as far as I know), there is a semi-pro team from Japan however...

Most people go through a similar path at the moment. The vast majority of players are 1st generation players that pick it up when they are 17 or so.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2009, 04:40:54 AM by Tenk283 » Logged
SirWatsonII
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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2009, 01:19:52 PM »

Mmm, I started playing at 17 here in the states.  Really accurate depiction of "hearing about this new sport in high school", that's what happened to just about everyone i know.

So the world tournament is the NBA Championship?  Who is David Stern (the head honcho of NBA) for ultimate?  And does anyone know the path of a United States player?

I'm in New York City so the town is definitely big enough to host many club teams but I haven't seen a city or state team.  The only path I can see as of yet is...

Play in high school
Play in College
Attend tournaments and make connections
Play on Club
Attend tournaments and make connections
Play for the US team
Win.
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evanhp
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2009, 02:50:56 PM »

I think the paths of US and Aus are vastly different. Same game but things are set up much different.
Unless you live in a large city in the US you are going to have a lot of trouble finding any leagues let alone anyone knowing what Ultimate actually is.
Australia has a culture focused much more on competition than any one in the US. Australia realizes that competition is very important to society and that it sparks excellence and greatness among its citizens.
America is fat and lazy and thinks that money is the only answer to all the problems that we face as a nation.

...
The path of a US player can be very different. Depending on how much and what kind of Ultimate someone wants to play.
Mixed and Open are the main differences I see for men once you reach beyond College level.

I would say a UPA National Championship in either division would be like an NBA Championship.
As of right now there are no professional leagues but there are some tournaments with a cash purse.
Like the Live Logic Tourney in which Prairie Fire won $4000.

But there are also tourneys much more elite than the Live Logic tournament even though the money is not always there.

The paths can be different for everyone.

This is my path...
played in gym class in Junior High
played a little in High School
Started up a team in college with a few friends who played around
picked up with the state university every once in a while while in college
Helped start a Mixed Open team to compete in the UPA Series (first tournament this weekend)

I would consider my goal for now in Ultimate would be to play in a UPA Nationals Tourney with my mixed team whenever we can accomplish that.
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rrudnic
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2009, 10:39:21 AM »

I think the path for most elite US players goes something like this:

1) Some sort of gym class, pickup sort of experience in HS
2) Playing intramurals and pickup in college maybe jumping straight to 3
3) College team
4) Start playing on a club team during the summers while in college
5) Play on various club teams increasing in skill or the same team that builds itself up until you reach Nationals
6) Get an invite to tryout for the US team

I think there is fastly becoming a 1.5) though which is play on a HS team, that depends on where you are of course but at least in larger areas that is becoming more common. I think there is also a floater in there of league play summer/winter leagues are starting to be more common too but those are pretty diverse in skill so that could be a .5) anywhere in there I think.

My course was pickup type stuff in hs, intramurals, college, league, club, different club.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 10:54:23 AM by rrudnic » Logged
1handsky
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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2009, 11:51:33 AM »

Not sure about others, but I can give my path!  Smiley

1. Play at camp...was amazed by people throwing forehands.
2. Two year gap between the next time I played. Only sport my HS has, and I was a natural athlete so I gave it a try and love it.
3. Practice countless amount of hours. Play at the HS level, always play pickup and joining my local league.
4. High school level in Michigan. Unofficial state tournament, but not UPA organized. Attend huge youth tournaments like Hopkins Hustle.
5. HS level gets relatively easy, same with local competition league, so club tryouts begun.
6. Premier local mixed club team in my area, pretty solid team, makes a regionals run yearly.

That's where I'm at now, which I think is pretty solid for being 16.

Next steps:
7. More club teams, hopefully play open.
8. College level ultimate. Probably will attend the University of Michigan. I know a lot of the players there and live in Ann Arbor.
9. More higher level club teams, hopefully get the invite to team USA tryout.

Somewhere down the line, to go so far you have to fall in love with the sport. Since I couldn't concentrate on any other sports at my school, it was relatively easy to commit to ultimate. Been playing less than a year now, and I've made my first club team, and my HS team is favorited to win our state tournament next year.
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rrudnic
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2009, 02:13:29 PM »

I think your still the exception not the rule, most places don't have HS ultimate the fact that its the only sport your school had is crazy. All the schools around me that have it treat it as a club not an official sport and most have only been in existence around 5 yrs or so.
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SirWatsonII
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2009, 02:12:00 AM »

Great replies, interesting stuff considering how new ultimate is.  I suppose I'll put what my path has been and hopes to be.

I grew up in New York City and my high school had a team.

1)  First time i touch a regulation disc is when my friend drags me to the ultimate tryouts (i was a starter on the basketball team)
2) Decide to stay on the team after the basketball season and dominate play (but it is my senior year)
3)  My college (CUNY Hunter) does not have a team, turn down creating one, so i head straight for clubs
4)  After getting some clubs offering I decide to do what I did with basketball and train a year before playing
5)  Join and learn from various summer, fall, and winter leagues (it's NYC, i have a lot of options)

FUTURE

6) Next year I plan to try out for the top clubs in the city and ideally get on them as a prospect (i'll be 19)
7) Play very competitively with those teams and see where they take me

I don't plan on leaving the city.  It's the greatest place in the world, bar none.  But I'm starting to realize that the normally intimidating task of forming an ultimate team is a bit of a responsibility for people who love the sport.  So I'm considering making a team at my college.

In the meantime, I'm also coaching my old high school team.  Man, coaching ultimate is crazy, but the sport as a whole has leaps and bounds before elite teams will NEED coaches.  I find that to be a good indicator of a well studied and strategized sport.
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rrudnic
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2009, 09:07:12 AM »

Sir Watson you can still play college even if yours doesn't have a team. UPA allows you to play for another school that has a team so long as you maintain the eligibility at yours. So if someone else close by has a team you should check into it.
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SirWatsonII
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2009, 01:51:42 AM »

You, rrudnic, are a LIVING GOD OF HELPFUL ADVICE.  Thank you.  I will seek them out.
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rrudnic
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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2009, 09:26:49 AM »

Also if you don't know what colleges have teams thats on UPA too.
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SirWatsonII
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« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2009, 12:19:21 AM »

I'm afraid that of the 75 colleges and universities in New York City (much more if you consider CUNY and SUNY schools as individual entities) there are only 2 that play ultimate in the UPA.  Of those 2, neither allow outside students to play for them but both will get back to me if their policies change.

a sad reality that in America's largest metropolis i can find no venue, but that's what headin straight for the club teams is for i spose.
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rrudnic
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« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2009, 09:23:52 AM »

What about schools outside of the city itself, or even worse in NJ?
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timill
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« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2009, 11:23:27 AM »

I'll take a stab at the australian path.

Players pick up the game in high school after one of their friends tell them of this new sport.
They attend their local league and start playing regularly.
Then they attend a tournament.
Somewhere in here, they get heavily addicted to the sport. How heavily is measured by how often they touch a disc throughout the day, think about ultimate or start pivoting and faking throws in completely random places like shopping centres or around their home.
Down the road, they head to one of the training camps for juniors and get picked for an australian junior training squad (or don't)
If they manage to make it into a green and gold jersey, they represent australia at worlds in the u/19 category.
If they don't, they head back to their local league and keep playing.
Some players go to uni, from there they join their uni team and represent at the regional uni games and then australian uni games
The others continue playing for their local town/club (if their town is big enough) and attending tournaments
They get picked to play for their town/club at mixed nats
They get picked to play for their town/club at nats (or switched with the above)
Training camps come around, except this time it is for the womens, mixed and opens divisions at worlds.
They make one of the teams.

I daresay some of australia's best players could tick off over 80% of that list and the order would be damn close. That would be only the best players however, the rest of us would cut out the parts about green and gold... There are no professionals in australia (as far as I know), there is a semi-pro team from Japan however...

Most people go through a similar path at the moment. The vast majority of players are 1st generation players that pick it up when they are 17 or so.


It's still a vast minority that start playing in High School. The path for most Ultimate players in Australia would start at College. It seems like there are more younger players because the U/19s get the best coaching in the country and therefore rise to the 'elite' level quite quickly. Most that start playing when they are 16-18 play elite soon after due to the coaching they receive. It is very hard to get this level of coaching in australia when you enter the sport at age 20-24.
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SirWatsonII
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« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2009, 02:28:28 AM »

Mmm, i can imagine that, but coaching in ultimate is a different matter.  Unfortunately i do not drive nor can i get a license for personal reasons.  So going out of the city becomes costly and cumbersome.  And new jersey is new jersey.  thats like saying to god that if there is no ultimate team for you in heaven, why not head on down to hell multiple times a week and play for one of the devil's teams.  it's just how i was raised as a new yorker.
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