Sorry to tell you this…

But, if you’re intending to tryout for a team this spring:  you’ve been trying out since you started playing Ultimate.  I find it difficult to understand the decisions that players make in league play or during the regular season (I sometimes find my decisions difficult to understand as well).  If you play with me then perhaps you now understand why I tend to question my decisions.  Or if you encounter a conversation between myself and Geoff or Rahil or Greg Lang (happy birthday) or Elliot or Bryan or Alex (congrats on putting the ring on the correct finger) or really anybody that plays high level Ultimate you’ll understand why we constantly discuss game situations.  You’ll also understand why I’m so open for criticism and why after a bad game you must play five good games.  Why?  Our seasons are too short to tolerate bad decisions (in competitive markets) and therefor a tryout is not really a time where everybody has an equal chance.

Regardless of what you hear, tryouts are not equal opportunity for selection but rather equal opportunity to demonstrate skills to the selection committee.  Rare is it that the selection committee does not know who you are, how you’ve played, how you’ve developed, or has not coached you.  This is terribly important for you to understand and recognize but also implement.  That means if you have a bad league game you must have a string of good games.  If you constantly make a throw just because a player is there but you cannot execute that throw then you are adversely affecting your resume.

So what’s my advice?  Stop making bad decisions.  Really, just very simply, stop making bad decisions.  Get better at throwing and for goodness sake:  Learn how to dump or swing early in the stall count.  You are not at a league game, you are not at just another skills clinic where it’s ok to throw things away, you are constantly in tryouts.  Constantly.

I offer this small bit of advice not to stop you from playing league (you won’t get any better if you stop) or going to skill clinics or to tournaments.  I offer it so you stop being frustrated when you get cut from teams.  I have gone through the same process, been cut from teams, because I did not understand that you’re always being tested.  We are no longer playing a sport where there are limited opportunities or players.  There are hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of players competing against you for a limited number of spots and it’s only going to get tougher.  The above is what competitive elite players already know and that’s why even in a tournament that isn’t worth anything they’ll go hard and try to play their best.

So before you get any ideas:  dump or swing; your competitive season is riding on it.

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