I can’t tell you how often a new player tells me that they think they can’t contribute because they can’t yet throw very well (or at all). But this is fallacious thinking, my friends.
Every captain knows that a beginner isn’t going to have perfect throws. Throwing is a skill that simply takes time to develop. In the meantime, there is a long list of qualities and attributes that captains look for in a new player that supersede any throwing ability. I had a friend, brand new to the game, who played in a LUDA league and believed he was a liability on the field because his throws were terrible. Although it’s true that he couldn’t make a decent throw to save his life, he was absolutely an asset on the field. He hustled like a demon every minute he was out there and used his height and size to terrorize his opponents when on defense, challenging them for every disc throw their way.
On offense, he made good cuts and bid hard for every catch. In fact, he made several clutch catches in tight games (on awful throws that may or may not have come from yours truly). And when he caught the disc, he did pretty much the same thing every time: he dumped it off to a handler. Sound like a player you’d like to have on your team? Yeah, me too. The strategy my friend wisely employed is the old cut/catch/dump. A dump is just a short, backwards throw, usually to a handler. Although it may seem as though such a throw is counterproductive to getting the disc downfield, sometimes a dump is the best throw you can make. Not only does it reset the stall count, it often sets up a handler for clear throw downfield. At the very least, it keeps the defense moving, which is paramount for getting an offense to flow.
But first, you need to make a good cut. The end result of a good cut is most likely that you’ll be open. In turn, that means you’ll probably get the disc.
Once you go to the trouble of executing a good cut, catch the disc. Catching is not difficult; mostly, it requires a little hand-eye coordination, and that’s about it. Furthermore, you don’t get style points for slick, one-handed catches, so securing the disc with a bobbly, full-body bear hug is fine. Just don’t drop it. And if you’re willing to get a little dirty and dive for a poorly thrown disc, you’ll get a lot more touches. As soon as you catch the disc, look for a quick dump. Now, there are two components to making a good dump. One is being aware of where the dump is and looking for it. If you don’t see an easy throw you can make downfield after one or two seconds, start looking for your dump. Usually, the dump will let you know he or she is there, so you won’t have to look very hard.
The other is making sure you time your dump throw correctly. It doesn’t have to be crisp, and it's not a big deal if it wobbles, but you’re probably going to be throwing to a player on the run. (After all, they have to shake their defender first.) Lead the dump a bit to ensure that you make a throw that the defender can get to. Then, get back in the stack and prepare for another go.
If you aren’t confident in your throws yet, just employ the cut/catch/dump strategy until you polish them up. You’ll be an asset to your team in the meantime, I promise.
Congrats to Horton Hucks a Hammer, winners of the LUDA Cup following the 2009 Summer League!
Horton defeated the top seeded regular season champions, the Squishy Bananas, in the final game of the season to cap off Lincoln's first ever Summer Ultimate League. The end of Summer League was significant for several reasons, marking the one year anniversary of LUDA's formation, and the completion of a third consecutive seasonal league (after Fall 2008 and Spring 2009) with consistent growth from season to season. In LUDA's third league tournament, this was also the first time that the finals matched up the two top seeds from the regular season.
The tournament began with the Squishy Bananas, captained by Scott Frohn, beating Adam's Family, led by Tim Montgomery. While Adam's Family was the fourth seed, they ended the season on a hot streak before falling in the tourney. Horton, captained by a committee of veterans throughout the season by Brad Franklin, Collin Baer, and Ryan Tiedeman, beat Wasabi Spicy Tuna, captained by Scott Curry in the regular season and led by Kyle Orians in the tournament, in the first round of the tourney.
The stage was set for an epic match-up of the two top LUDA Summer teams. The Squishy Bananas had run roughshod through the regular season, losing only to Horton in two injury-plagued games all Summer. Scott Frohn performed masterfully as a captain, teaching his young team well, consistently getting the most out of his players and showing the best overall attendance as a team all season. But Horton, while the oldest team (on average) in the league, was stacked with veteran leadership and enough youthful energy to carry the day.
The championship game started off as advertised, going back and forth for the first several points. The Bananas took a 4-3 lead early before Horton came back and took half 7-5 (in the game to 13). By halftime, Horton was clicking, with main handlers Tony Savage and Austin Wehrwein asserting their leadership. Wehrwein actually played every point of both games, playing in dominating fashion at times. The Bananas hung tough until the end, until giving up the final marathon point to end the game 13-8 in Horton's favor.
The Squishy Bananas were awarded some sweeeet and well deserved schwag for their dominance in the regular season. The LUDA Cup, the most sought-after trophy of the sporting world, was presented to Horton co-captain Ryan Tiedeman, who was then joined by the rest of his team in celebration.
Meanwhile, Adam's Family knocked off Spicy Tuna in the consolation game to put the wraps on another great season.
Congrats to all LUDA Summer League participants! Many thanks are owed to the Nebraska Lottery for their generous sponsorship of LUDA and Ultimate in Lincoln! Fall League is on the way, along with more events and big plans for the local Ultimate community.
Below is a slideshow of the championship game and video of the awards "ceremony".