Monday, December 8, 2008

The Inner Game of Ultimate

Remember when I was praising the writing of Jim Parinella (of Boston DOG fame) and I linked to his blog but couldn't find the link to the essay I really liked? Well here it is:

The Inner Game of Ultimate

This was the essay that got me really thinking about the power of focus (broadly conceived). I know that if any of use thinks about it, we have seen and experienced the situations Jim talks about. Confronted with his analysis, and the recognition of the importance of Focus, it is just willful ignorance to not aim to improve aspects of the mental game in addition to the physical game.

This may be one of the top 3 the most important paragraphs of "Mental Game" writing ever:

The brain needs to keep out of the way of the body. The individuals need to remove judgment about whether something is good or bad, and just be aware of it happening. Trust in yourself, and allow the body to perform actions that it knows how to do. Remember, you learned how to walk pretty well without needing to make conscious statements about how straight your leg should be or where to position your arms. After enough practice, your muscles develop memory of how they should be acting. Equally important, the brain needs to practice winning. Visualize events before they happen. While practicing your throws, visualize the path the disc takes, see the label spinning as it releases from your hand, and see it going directly to your target, all of this happening in your mind before it happens. Then execute the throw exactly as you had envisioned it. Similarly, picture yourself winning a big game, and catching the winning goal, and then going on to win your next contest against another team that is supposed to be better than you.

He explains clearly. It seems hard to misconstrue what he means and harder still to not get anything useful out of the writing.

Check out his exacting synthesis of offensive ideas. I love the five rules:


On an extremely simple level, offense can be broken down into five rules:

1. Take what they give you.

2. If you really want something they're not giving you, try to fake them into giving it to you.

3. If you’re not sure exactly what you want, fake until they give you something, then take it.

4. Actively get out of the way when someone else is making a better cut.

5. Make smart choices with your throws.

Both the mental game and offense ideas seem a little too simple. "Everyone already knows that" you might say. Yeah right. These simple concepts ARE not obvious and people do NOT know them. They only seem obvious now that Jim has pointed them out because he is so correct. I know that most everyone will improve dramatically if the actually think critcally about these things and not just assume we all know how to think about the game

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