Under the Tent [April 29, 2024]

In our new coaching column, top coaches offer advice for reader-submitted questions. For the first edition, they tackle facing scary opponents and making teams more competitive.

San Francisco Fury on the line at the 2023 Club National Championships. Photo: Sam Hotaling – UltiPhotos.com

This article is presented by the National Ultimate Training Camp! Learn the game and build relationships that last a lifetime with players from all over the country and beyond. More info at www.NUTC.net

The hub of activity at the National Ultimate Training Camp is our large centralized tent. Our trainer, counselors and staff live there for seven hours every day, sometimes joined by campers, parents and ex-staff who visit with their toddlers. The tent is busy, often messy and sometimes magical.

Over the years, this common space has morphed into a sort of think tank, or think tent, if you will. When you gather people who dearly love our sport, and who constantly are thinking about ultimate minutiae as well as the big picture, good ideas are bound to form. The tent has been the birthplace of the Ultimate Coaches and Players Conference, 99 Days of Ultimate Women and the Global Ultimate Training School, as well as untold articles for Ultiworld.

We now invite Ultiworld subscribers to join us under the tent. Send us your questions and we will find one of our tent dwellers to answer them every month. Sometimes we will have more than one answer, as we don’t always agree about everything under the tent, just like in the real world of ultimate.

Have a coaching conundrum? Submit a question to Under the Tent.

If you would like to contact us directly, our email is [email protected].


Managing Intimidation

My team is lining up against a regional rival that they really want to beat but haven’t had a win against in many years. There’s a level of intimidation seeing those jerseys across the field. Last year we got close and the team didn’t appear to feel scared, but we underperformed generally due to emotional baggage. We talk about bringing our best against this team but when the game actually happens, we can’t ignore who we are actually playing and our competitive history with them.

What strategies do you use to handle playing against teams that feel scary and intimidating?

Claire Chastain on Managing Intimidation

My team also struggles with this and this year we’ve recommitted to mental resilience training that addresses how we face opponents. As a coach, I have to think about how I approach things as a player, I can’t say ‘the opponent doesn’t matter’ — it does! But only in a certain context — so something that’s helpful: outlining what is helpful to know about your opponent.

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  1. Tiina Booth
    Tiina Booth

    Tiina Booth is the founder and director of the National Ultimate Training Camp, as well as an assistant coach for the University of Massachusetts women. She founded the Amherst Invitational in 1992 and co-founded Junior Nationals in 1998. In 2006, she published a book about ultimate with Michael Baccarini, entitled Essential Ultimate. She has coached teams to numerous national and international titles. Her ongoing passion is running sports psychology seminars for coaches and players, mainly through the Global Ultimate Training School, which she founded in 2020. More info can be found at www.NUTC.net.Tiina was inducted into the Ultimate Hall of Fame in October 2018.

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