Monday, October 13, 2008

Regionals write-up

by Wes Chao

On Saturday, we rolled up to the fields to find that Corvallis, Oregon is not nearly as sunny and warm as San Francisco. Amidst some good-natured grumbling from the Bay Area teams about why we don't have Regionals at home, we warmed up in 40-50 degree weather, leaving footprints in the frost.

We expected our first two pool play games to be fairly easy, and they were. We came out as fired up and on top of our game as any of us can ever remember starting a tournament, and forced 3 turnovers to take a quick 4-0 lead on Night Train from Sacramento. They eventually worked in a score, but our offense couldn't be contained and our defense went back to work, taking half 8-2. We cruised in the second half as much of our sideline was watching the other game in our pool on the next field, looking for scouting information, and closed out the game 15-8.

Having watched some of the other game, we expected our second game to involve some questionable hucking from the other team, and we had also identified a few women who were weak throwers that we could pick on. After some scolding from our captains about losing intensity and focus in the second half of the previous game, we poured it on all game and took it pretty easily, 15-4.

The last game of pool play was against a team of pickups, mostly from Carleton College. We didn't know anything about this team, except that they had blown through their section and there were rumors of some very strong ringers playing with them. Luckily for us, they weren't taking the tournament very seriously and hadn't quite gelled yet, and we made sure to keep on our heads on straight and play them seriously. They seemed disappointed that their good-natured heckling was largely ignored by us (apparently we've gotten a reputation for being less fun-loving as other mixed teams), but we made sure not to let them feel like they had a chance at this game, keeping their ringers unmotivated and off the field. Final score of this one was 15-6 but it could have been a lot closer.

That set up a semi-final game to go against Shazam Remains, the 2007 National Champion and Worlds runner-up. They've lost some personnel since Worlds, but they pretty much owned us all last year, and we'd only barely eked out a 16-14 win in our last meeting in Seattle. As expected, this game was tight; we mostly traded in the first half, with their offense having several quick scores off hucks from mainly two throwers. They broke us on offense to take half 8-6, and did it again on the first point out of half to put us in a 9-6 hole.

For some other teams, things would be looking grim at this point, needing to score 3 times on defense just to get the lead back. But this team is full of heart and fight, and we managed to get a turnover near the opposing end zone. We spotted a mismatch, with one of our fastest cutters being covered by a slower handler, and called a play for him. The Shazam defender committed a pretty egregious foul to stop the cut, and then contested, which only made us more determined. We called the same play, and this time our cutter roasted him to the front cone, caught the goal, and spiked the disc...accidentally hitting one of their players in the chest.

Tempers flared and everyone eventually settled down, but that was the turning point for us. The handler who'd gotten beat had thrown several of their big hucks, and getting beat so badly (twice) took him out of his game -- he didn't play but one or two more points the rest of the way. We also did a better job of forcing their cutters to come underneath, and making them throw more than three or four passes to score gave us multiple chances to get a D. We went on a 9-3 run, and closed out this game 15-12 to earn a trip to the finals, two byes to start the next day, and most importantly, a guaranteed spot at Nationals!

Our coach and captains allow us to celebrate just for a few moments, and then remind us that we aren't satisfied merely to get back to Nationals, but that we should remain motivated to capture the #1 seed. We institute a rule that anyone caught celebrating our win may be summarily tackled, Terry Tate (Office Linebacker)-style.

Sunday comes a little earlier for some of us, who choose to come to the fields to watch some of the 11 am games. Nevertheless, our captains have done a great job keeping everyone focused, and we are there on time and ready to warm up for a finals game against Mental Toss Flycoons, from Montana. Flycoons goes back a long way with us -- we beat them in the game to go in 2005 to earn our first-ever trip to Nationals, they made it the next year, and both teams have been back to The Show ever since. Tall, fast, and athletic, they've been improving steadily over the years, and remind us a lot of ourselves. While some might consider their semifinal win over D'oh an upset, we know we're in for a game.

And what a game it is! Much like yesterday's semi-final, we are down 3 at one point, mostly owing to some great handler movement on their part, followed by pinpoint hucks to monstrously athletic receivers. The points are long, with many turnovers, as both teams are going full-bore on defense, but we battle back, and eventually it is 11-10 Mischief, soft-capped game to 12. We force a bad huck, work it up the field, and a floaty break-side throw goes to captain Mark Smith, who hauls it in despite a broken throwing hand for our first-ever Regionals win!

We're not sure what we'll be seeded at Nationals, but we're pretty confident we will be one of the top four seeds. There've been a lot of upsets this year, and the teams we've played who have qualifed have all been tough, but we've been steadily improving and I think we'll have a good shot if we play up to our potential for the tournament.

We hope to have more good news to report in three weeks -- stay tuned!

A Few Lessons Learned from Regionals 2008

(as interpreted by me)
  • Quiet teams rarely win. Sidelines are so key.
  • Incredible Hulk fists serve many a purpose.
  • Don't spike unless there's amnesty. Or, if you do spike, don't miss the ground.
  • Gu early, Gu often.
  • Believe.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

5% Better Throwing

Remember that throw you turfed in that big game? That throw you "know" you have? What happened?! You warmed the throw up, you practiced the throw all year, and yet there it goes out of bounds. Maybe you got unlucky. Maybe you are 95% with that throw and you happened upon a 1/20 shot of turning it over. I call bullshit.

More likely, you're not practicing the entire situation. All kinds of stuff is different in a game. You're tired. You just caught the disc and are slowing down. The marker is striking and you have to speed up your release and pivot hard. You're throwing to a moving target.

In my opinion, you have to work hard to practice game time situations when you're throwing. Great, you can jack it 70 yards with no mark while throwing from your hip. But can you throw a 70 yard huck in a game with a marker?

These are some things that have helped me improve my throwing percentage in games:

1) Throw off of a fake. Often you'll throw a forehand off of a backhand fake (or vice versa). Do this when you're throwing. Or off a double fake. Practicing different fakes taught me that the backhand-around fake -> IO forehand is a very tough throw and this helped my mark a bit.

2) Pretend you have a mark. This ties into the first point. In particular, if you're working on your around break-mark throw, you may need to practice a different release than your typical outside in throw. Sometimes, you may be stepping slightly backwards to avoid your marker, you may throw it off of an IO fake, or be pivoting from the open side.

3) Throw off of movement. Especially when practicing hucks, I find it helpful to toss the disc in the air, take a few hard steps, catch, and throw immediately. Most of the time when I huck in a game I'm throwing very soon after catching the disc when the marker may be out of position.

4) Throw while tired. During rest time of a track workout is perfect! Get some reps in while your HR is high (like 140-180 bpm or so). This will teach you great focus for those hell points.

5) Picture the throw. Picture exactly how you want the disc to travel and not just where you want to throw it. What arc? What speed? What height? What release point? How fast do you want to get the throw off? All of these factors can be critical in a game and need to be practiced. Picture the throw before you do it, and judge yourself. Don't be satisfied if you hit your target but not your flight path.

When we do focused throwing, challenge yourself to make hard pivots/fakes on the 10th throw of a set. If you mess up, you start over. But that punishment pales in comparison to turning over the disc in a game. Until you're comfortable with 10th pass pressure, how can you be ready to make the throw in a real game?

Vitamin water is crystal meth in a can!

It seems our favorite energy drink is back, but morphed into a familiar mainstream hydration beverage. Personally, I don't think the name "Vitamin water" has as much oomph as "Powerthirst" (only one of these makes me think of a fighter plane made of biceps), but maybe they're saving that for phase 2 of the marketing campaign.

Carrie Underwood Vitamin Water Commercial from Jared Bottom on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

San Rafael One Day

After taking all of July off, Mischief came back together to play in a one day tournament set up so that the Australian National Coed team could get a tuneup before going on to Worlds. The schedule changed a few times and we actually got a new schedule the day of. We ended up having Night Train, bye, Australia, Brown Chicken (a new LA team), and AIR.

Coming out of the gates, we were uncharacteristically strong. Lyndsay and Doyle both reminded the team to keep their heads up for high stall count hucks and to keep our sideline strong. I believe we traded to 1-1 before going on a 4 point run to be up 5-1. We kept up strong pressure the rest of the half to take the first half 8-2 or so.Unfortunately in the 2nd half, we started to lose some focus. We took a lot of silly shots and tried to win the points with our throws rather than our legs. I believe at 11-4 or so we called a time out to settle down and close this game out. We managed to refocus somewhat and finish at 15-6 or so.

We then had a bye and folks went out to get food and amuse themselves by dominating the aussies at flutterguts.

I have chosen to forget the Australia game. They had a 4 man cup and we didn't play particularly well against it. If someone else wants to post more on this feel free.

Our next game was against Alice's Brown Chicken Brown Cow. This team had a few of the Pleasuretown folks and also has a few traitors from Mischief. We knew they'd be athletic and would work hard. Unfortunately, the wind was still up and might have even been stronger than the previous game.

This game became an upwind/downwind game. Both teams would huck it downwind and set up a zone to force the other team to beat it upwind. Neither team was having much success until at Brown Cow pushed the disc up to the goal line and scored upwind. They quickly pulled and forced a turn and got a quick score to jump up 2 breaks. We then both traded downwinds until they didn't get a huck off and with a short field, we finally worked the zone with a lot of swings to score up wind. We quickly capitalized on the downwind and scored a quick downwind goal to even it up. We traded points to take it to 7-7 and were serving upwind to Brown Cow with the soft cap on. They ended up scoring and we got our downwind to make it 8-8 and us serving to them again upwind.

This turned out to be a nightmare point with various turns. We got some good poaching from Sunya and Danielle to force turns close to the upwind goal, but couldn't punch it in. At one point we were a few yards from the line but we tried to jam it into the endzone without swinging it and gave up the disc. While the point was going the hard cap came on, so it was double game point. We moved the disc close to the goal line a few times but weren't able to get it in. They had the disc on the downwind goal line, but our D stayed strong and managed to push them back. Finally we got a few good passes through the cup to Snaggles who put up a 40 yard floaty huck up wind. Mark came sprinting in from behind the disc and pulled it down from a group of defenders. Without wasting any time, he hucked a blady outside in to Kyle in the endzone who skied his defender for the double game point win. Turns out we were one of many teams to beat Brown Cow.

Exhausted from the game, we moved on to AIR. At the start of the game we kept up our huck and Z game but the wind was dying a little and there was some dissension about what tactic we should take. When we were up 4-3, Mark called a timeout to bring us back together and get us all on the same page. He pointed out that our energy was low and it was time for all of us to reach in ourselves and find whatever it took to get intense. He was going to play like finals of Nationals and he wanted us all to do the same. Soon after the talk, we got our first upwind break. We scored the easy downwind and then worked it up again for another upwind break. With our offense moving well and our defense getting turns we started on a roll that gave us 6 straight points and took the game to 14-6? (I believe) We lost intensity a little and gave up a few scores, but then closed it out quickly to end the day 3-1.

All in all a good tournament. We took from it some good things to focus on in practice the next months and also saw some of the new folks step up. Sadly I have no pictures to post for this. Maybe someone who had a camera with them will put some of their photos up.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What, like this is hard?

Yeah, I don't believe you, either.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Welcome Mischief 2008

As the dust from tryouts settles, the team is looking around, welcoming new members, shaking out practice schedules, and generally getting to know ourselves. First things first, a round of introductions.

We've got a smokin' line of ladies this year, starting out with Lyndsay, Steffi, and Shwu, and early additions of Sunya (who first wowed us at Lei-Out - and the wooing began soon after) and Kara (awesome handler from Stanford Superfly). Sunya is a dominating cutter and Kara really shone as she shredded the big LA Metro cup at Cal States. These two superstars are joined by Danielle and Gizmo's athletic defense and cutting, and Hannah and Fresh's all-around awesome disc skills and speed. Emily also returns to Mischief, bringing more confident cutting and ridiculous catches. Kitt continues adding to her lengthy list of contributions to Mischief, this year as a practice player. We are sad to be losing Crystal to grad school on the east coast, but glad that she can keep practicing with us until then!

For the men, we returned Mark, Doyle, Warren, Kyle, Chucky, Wes, Wade, Pickett, Adam B, Will, Ryan, and Andy. To that spectacular list of men's finest, we added several more studs both familiar and new. You all know Paul from his previous Mischief exploits and the famous series on "5%". Yes, folks, the workout nazi is back. You might also remember Dan O, who snuck his way back onto the team in a manner befitting a sneaky handler. There was never an official announcement (until now, I guess) - that's how stealth he is. Perhaps the yang to Dan O's yin would be Adam Leventhal, that larger than life brash talking trash talker. And adding a much needed Goliath is Chris Hyde, aka Snaggletooth. Rounding out this ridiculous roster are rockstar alternates Eric ("LT") and Nick Weiss, who contribute between the two of them a veritable smorgasbord of speed, hops, lefty throws, facial hair, big sunglasses, and je ne sais quoi.

So there you have it, Mischief 2008!

Next up, we'll be testing our mettle against some of the best in the mixed division at the first elite tournament of the year - Boston Invite, June 28-29. Then we've got the fun optional tournament - Potlatch, then Spawnfest in Seattle in late August, and Labor Day, before we buckle down for the series. Should be a fun ride.

Friday, June 6, 2008

5% fewer throwaways

In a tough game, throws are harder. The mark is better and on average your cutters aren’t getting as open. This means that you will probably have to look for your dump more often, but also that the dump coverage will also be tighter.

If we look dump 50% of the time and only complete 90% of those passes, 5% of our total passes are turnovers. And those turnovers in the backfield kill you in transition. We need close to 100% connections and knowing that we can dump easily will let us look off tougher throws upfield. When dumping at close range, a touch forehand can be hard to throw, let alone with a mark that is harassing you. From the dump’s perspective, a forehand can be difficult to read off of your hand.

For this situation, I really like a “flip pass”. I’m not sure what you call it but it’s basically a pizza-pie toss. It’s the throw you would toss to yourself if you’re jogging and want to catch one above your head. The disc is flat and parallel to the ground so it will hang in the air at a particular spot. It’s a very short pass so it’s a lot of wrist. Your arm should be mainly straight at the elbow on this throw, and the lift comes from an underhand ball toss motion. The spin comes from a backhand grip and snap.

As the dump comes around, you can step towards your target window using your body to seal off the mark, and fairly easily toss the disc into the smallest of windows. This pass doesn’t move very fast and is easy to read off of your hand. To practice your dump, try to throw a disc into a laundry basket (vertical, not on its side, maybe on a chair for elevation) from about 10 feet away from your pivot. This simulates being able to hang a disc in a very small window where your dump can go and get it. Personally, the flip pass is the easiest way for me to do this from a number of different body positions. Can you do better with a different pass? If so, please teach me.

The Huddle - the Ultimate advice column?

Ultimate-related websites pop up with some frequency; some are good, some are bad, and some are actually useful. The new kid on the block right now seems to be The Huddle.

The Huddle seems to be inspired both by RSD (in its ideal form) and by a couple of blogs out there that have tried to aggregate the wisdom of Ultimate's elite players. ICUltimate started this off with articles and blog posts contributed by a group of high-level women's players who had insight into the women's college division. Since then, blogs have proliferated, and there are now dozens of them attempting to distill Ultimate knowledge to the less knowledgeable (this blog no exception). The Huddle, however, is an interesting variation on the multiple-author blog theme, combining input from many elite players from all over within an editorial framework that makes it feel more like an old fashioned educational advice column - quite refreshing in this age of DIY indiscriminate content-generation and information overload.

Each issue, The Huddle poses a question or situation and publishes responses from its panel of contributors. Currently on issue 3, they've covered the pros and cons of horizontal and vertical stack offense, the tryout process from those on the inside, and how to defend against a hucker who has also been hurting you as a receiver. They include about a dozen "answers", which I think is sometimes too much, since many of them say the same things. Maybe later on they'll do more to ensure that what they publish isn't too repetitive, but this probably involves an extra layer of editorial oversight that they might not want to do. At any rate, The Huddle is good for a couple reads each issue and is packaged very nicely in a clean-looking website that has sweet pictures by Scobel. Plus, good friend Nancy is an author! I'm working on the 5 yr plan for Mischief.

Some other interesting Ultimate websites are:
OpenUltimate - online learning and coaching environment for Ultimate
BananaCut - a Digg for Ultimate content
UltimateTalk - an aggregator for Ultimate-related blogs
ICUltimate - blog, articles, and coverage of college women's Ultimate
The Ultimate Handbook - rules, educational articles, instructional videos, and forums. The videos (Flash animations) are actually pretty cool, they have step by step play by play with written commentary.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Team Bonding

Posted on RSD, from Dan Savage's advice column on The Stranger:

I'm on a kick-ass coed Ultimate Frisbee team. We are all hot, drink tequila together, go naked hot-tubbing, and reward great plays with lap dances. And each of us is at least 10 percent gay. I want to take the team to the logical next level: an orgy. I brought up the subject at the last team meeting, but everyone thought it was a joke. Can you suggest a way to get a whole team to be GGG? Please help!

Sports Orgies Team Bonding

Maybe the whole team would be down with making a film for HUMP! 4, The Stranger's annual amateur porn festival. The team could win a $2,000 first-place prize—think of all the Frisbees and tequila you guys could buy with that kind of money! More info at www.the

I had to look up "GGG." According to Wikipedia it means "good, giving and game."
My suggestion to Sports Orgies Team Bonding would be to make Nationals as the 15th seed.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The reverse fist pump

Sometimes you don't want to go crazy with the fist pumping. Maybe the occasion is slightly subdued, or showing your enthusiasm could mean an undesired punch in the nuts. There are also times, however, when less is more, and the subtle, so-called "reverse fist pump" may be just the statement you need.

The reverse fist pump is mechanically simpler than the classic full extension fist pump, but arguably harder to master.

  1. (The Fist) Make a fist with one hand with your forearm extended out, elbow slightly away from your side. At the same time, rotate your fist so that your palm is up.

  2. (The Pump) To execute the pump, bring your elbow in to your side, making sure to clench your fist and contract your bicep slightly. This ensures the assertive motion which is essential for all fist pumps.

Exactly how far out your elbow starts results in different degrees of the reverse fist pump. A shorter distance is usually used for more personal fist pumps or extreme subtlety. Farther distances can turn the reverse fist pump into a defiantly public expression of victory. Modest distances of about 4-6 inches are standard for visual affirmation with a small number of people. The speed with which you execute the fist pump can also affect the message it sends to others. A fluid, controlled movement is usually preferred, but a deliberate pause between The Fist and The Pump is sometimes used in more droll situations. The standard reverse fist pump has been used to great effect in sports as well as politics, showing spectators that the fist pumper is happy in a self-assured but not flashy way.

In the picture, Mark demonstrates a passable reverse fist pump caught at the very beginning of The Pump. Although the arm itself has sound technique, notice how important body language can be in bringing across the bigger fist pump picture. Mark could have adopted a more aggressive body stance - straightened back, hips thrust slightly out, feet set a little wider - which would contribute to a more assertive fist pump. Also, there is no smiling in fist pumping. But what Mark lacks in contextual cues, he makes up for in his bold costume choice. In fact, one could argue that Mark is actually performing a rarely seen cousin of the reverse fist pump, the Reverse Chuck Norris Stealth Jaguar Fist Pump.

Many variations of the reverse fist pump exist, including the double reverse fist pump (two fists), and the extreme (double) reverse fist pump (prolonged end pump with fists clenched hard enough to vibrate the forearms). Only superficially similar to the reverse fist pump, the double reverse and extreme reverse fist pumps are usually associated with over-hyped and over-adrenalized people like pro wrestlers and others who have yet to master the art of subtlety.


How important is five percent? Five percent better completion percentage against Slow White and we have 7 extra possessions and they have 7 fewer. Five percent less speed and Adam is just a kid who gets injured a lot and has dashing good looks. I work my ass off all season to improve just five percent. But sometimes I waste energy. I have done workout programs that have had little impact on my game and lose sight of the goal: improving at Ultimate.

Sometimes improving can be as easy as working on one particular throw when you’re already warming up. Sometimes it can be hard like going to the gym and pushing yourself when you lift. Before you embark on a really intense workout schedule, make sure you’re also taking care of the easier five percents.

It’s early in the season. Take stock of your game and try to figure out where you’ll get your next five percent. But balance effort with benefit. It’d be great to add four inches of vertical leap, but is it worth the effort? Maybe you'd get more benefit from working on your throws for half the effort. Are you unhappy with your PT? Maybe you should focus your energies on peak performance instead of sustained performance.

Five Percent Fewer Injuries

Some injuries are unavoidable, but you can work to avoid self-inflicted injury (lead with your LEFT Ryan, your LEFT). Personally, this means shoulders, hammies, and groin. Laying out is hard on the shoulders, so I add 3 sets of standing shoulder butterflys to my workout (not sure what the actual name is). Pivoting is really hard on my hammies and groin so I do leg curls and ab/adductors. I haven’t pulled a hammie or my groin since I’ve been able to leg curl about my body weight and do about 2/3 my weight on an ab/adductor machine.

I hope to do regular five percent posts with techniques that have worked for me and I'd love to hear what has worked for you.

Coming soon: Five percent better chance of scoring on a possession, five percent better completion percentage, getting five percent more out of the workouts you’re already doing, five percent more strength, and my next five percent.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Cal States = 65 fist pumps

Mischief was woot-erific this weekend, going undefeated at Cal States and increasing our tourney championship record to 2-0! No one was really sure what things were going to look like since it was a tryout tournament, but we had the legs and the heart to come out on top even when things got rocky. To recap...

The mixed division was split into 2 pools of 5: Pool A was Mischief (1), CTR (4), Night Train (5), Kill My Landlord (8), and A.I.R. (9); Pool B was Brass Monkey (2), LA Metro (3), Feral Cows (6), Blammo (7), and Joy Huck Club (10). Mischief had a first round bye and warmed up for our first game against Night Train with overcast skies. Night Train's many seasons together worked to their advantage against a Mischief team where many players were playing together for the first time - they moved the disc very quickly offense and we struggled to string together consecutive scores. Eventually, we were able to play more effective D and calmed down a bit on O to pull it out 15-12. Highlight of the game was one of the tryouts making a ridiculous catch over a Night Train defender and then yelling "F*CK!" before spiking the disc to the ground in anger. From the sidelines, we wondered, "Did his defender call a foul?? What happened?" Suddenly a bunch of players on the field dropped to the ground on all fours combing the grass. "Oh... he lost a contact lens...??" "No - it's his tooth!" "Holy crap, he lost a tooth!?" The defender lifted his elbow for confirmation, where there was a spot of blood from what must have been elbow to tooth contact. But, actually, it was a chip off his tooth that he'd chipped 4 times already. *Whew* Ok then. Game on. But that didn't stop Adam L from dubbing him "Snaggletooth", a nickname that stuck immediately...

So after game 1 we had another bye, after which we played A.I.R., put together by our friend Tim Tuttle. A bunch of familiar faces on that team, which led to a fun game that gave Mischief another scare in the first half as we again struggled to establish some consistency against the throws of A.I.R.'s wily handlers. We managed to win this one 15-11 but had yet to hit our groove.

The first real glimmers of greatness came in our last game of day against CTR. We'd been looking towards this game all day (perhaps part of why we came out flat against the other two teams) and had most of our tryouts with us, which made for big sidelines and fresh legs. CTR seemed to be tired and simply couldn't match up against our personnel. I think it was around 8-5 at half and the final score was 15-8. A nice way to end the first day but I think we learned a good lesson from the first two games.

On Sunday we won our last pool play game against Kill My Landlord to earn a bye into semis. Brass Monkey had lost to LA Metro the previous day and so was playing in quarters against CTR, who had also lost to Night Train. Monkey had a lot of difficulty containing CTR's star receiver and apparently this was a significant factor in their quarters exit. So our semifinal game turned out to be against CTR. (Incidentally, Night Train also made it to semis, making 3 of the 4 teams in semis from Pool A.)

Despite the long break between games, Mischief got fired up from the first point in the game. We received to start, and it was a no-turn O point with 2 or 3 quick passes culminating in a long flick to Lyndsay streaking deep to make a spectacular grab with tight coverage from her defender. The sidelines stormed the field and the energy was palpable as we rattled off a couple more scores (helped along by some great D plays by Kyle and others) before a CTR time out. CTR managed to punch a few in but Mischief quickly took half 8-2. The second half was more of the same - it was clearly Mischief's game and CTR simply couldn't answer as the gap widened. The final score was 15-4. The only question was who we would see in Finals.

Over on the next field, the other semi was turning into a battle. When we finished, Night Train was up on LA Metro 9-7. Metro was able to tie it up at 9's and then the two teams started to trade. At this point we had to pack up and head to the lower fields to get ready for finals, but it was not at all clear who would be showing up to play us. They fought to the hard cap, and LA Metro managed to eke out the win 14-13, making for a DUI rematch that was sure to be an exciting game.

For a while, though, it looked like we were going to blow out LA Metro. Maybe they were exhausted from their previous game, or maybe Mischief was just getting better and better. The energy was high and people were connecting and getting Ds. We cruised to half, 8-3. However, LA Metro had already shown that they could fight back, and fight back they did, with a clever switch to zone defense that stymied us for a good 8 points. Although we were able to slice effortlessly through their zone on a couple points, their zone ended up being quite effective and allowed them to go on a 6-2 run in the second half. Mischief's energy started to ebb as they punched in score after score. Things started looking bleak for us as the LA Metro took their first lead of the day at 10-9. Their big guy, Keegan, proved to be a daunting mark in the cup and a huge target for them deep on offense, generating multiple turns and pulling down most of what was put up to him. But another break through their zone and we started trading points. Then all of sudden we were mounting another run and it was 14-12. When our opportunity came on game point, Ryan put up a big throw to Andy isolated in the end zone for a big layout grab to win us the game.

The final game was particularly fitting given Mischief's history, both in past years and at this tournament. We can be prone to getting down on ourselves and often dig ourselves into big holes, but we usually claw our way back out of them with tremendous heart. With our shaky start to Saturday followed by dominating play against CTR, it was good for us to fight through another team rising up to our challenge. In doing so, we showed that we are not immune to the problems that have dogged us in the past, but we have the skill and athleticism to produce convincing victories and the heart and determination to battle it out when things get tough.

All around, we couldn't have asked for a much better Cal States. That definitely calls for more fist pumping.

Today's lesson: extension

Okay, there is actually some skill in fist pumping. A teammate or two may need help in learning this skill. As loving teammates, it is our responsibility to help the lesser skilled teammates improve in the fundamentally essential technique of proper fist pumping.

Today's lesson should really build upon previously learned techniques of the proper way to make a fist and load the arm for the pump. I'll let those more skilled in that specific area to give tips. This lesson is more about how to extend your arm, "to pump" so to speak.

When "pumping" you need to thrust your arm out to its full extension. Direction isn't as critical when initially learning this essential technique. What is important is FULL extension.

An example of good extension:

Note how her right arm is fully extended ("pumped"), while the left arm is cocked to begin another pump. This is good technique.

Let's contrast this to an example of poor technique.

In this example, note the lack of enthusiasm in the pump. This is demonstrated in the short extension of both arms. This is not a good fist pump. You want full extension. Having items in your hands or a pack on your back is truly not a valid excuse for a lame fist pump. In these cases, drop the items in your hands and sack up about the pack on your back. Fist pumpings always have dibs on your attention.

To recap on today's lesson: Full extension on your pump for maximum impact.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Calstates fist pumping!

More fist pumping from CalStates 2008!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Are you ready to fist pump!?

Let's face it. We're a bunch of crazy people. We punish our bodies, punish other people's bodies, fight for the privilege to eat questionable things, dress like walrus astronauts, and basically get into all sorts of mischief. We have the heart, the skill, and the je ne sais quoi that makes life such fun times. When it's time to get the job done, we rock it. When it's time to rock, we bring the noise. And when it's time to bring it - we do more fist pumping, baby.

Use this space to write about anything Mischief, ultimate, or life-related, especially if it encourages more fist pumping. Heck, use it as a substitute for spamming the Mischief list with youtube videos - go nuts!

Happy fist pumping,

(Images courtesy of NJ Beach blog)