I’m often asked by players who have just started playing ultimate if I have any tips for how they can get better. I have answered this question enough that I felt it was worth posting it as an article. Leave a comment and let me know what your best tip is for a newbie!
Throw, throw, throw. Either on your own or with a friend. The best way to improve your throw (and the muscles used for throwing) is to simply go out and throw. Be aware of your body and don’t push it so you get hurt. Figure out what technique works best for you for certain throws and work to improve your throw – if there’s something going weird with it, ask for advice. Keep working on it…you can never stop learning!
Watch videos, watch games, talk to people, ask questions…and then go and do it. It’s one thing to understand how a strategy works but it’s an entirely different thing to be in the middle of it and experience it for yourself. You will learn best by studying the game, learning the game and then applying what you’ve learned to a real game situation.
Try things. In practices and league games. Don’t try a throw or something new that you haven’t practiced before for the first time in a game at a tournament. Make sure you’ve practiced it hundreds of times before you do it in a game that matters. Develop muscle memory and trust yourself then you can do it with confidence in a game. As much as you are an individual player, your team does rely on you. And so don’t hurt them by being a rebel and trying something totally brand new.
Play, play, play. Go to as many tournaments as you can. While it’s great to practice, you will really see your game take off by playing and being in situations that put you under pressure and force you to do something in an instant. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and gain a lot of confidence.
Learn the rules. Read the rule book. Then read it again. Role play through some of the rules you’re not sure about. Ask someone what they would do in a given situation. A big part of this game is spirit and spirit begins with knowing the rules and knowing how to apply them.
Have fun. Realize why you play ultimate. For the disc, for yourself and for your teammates.