Abhinav Vinayakh Shankar

Why Play Ultimate?

If you aren’t familiar with the sport of Ultimate; you should read this post on understanding the sport. There are many reasons why you should consider playing my favorite sport. I’ll try to outline a few compelling ones here and see if I can get you to try it. Once you try it you’re going to be hooked! (I can already hear you mumbling about how you have played cricket, basketball or football for years now and there is no reason to pick up another sport!) Ultimate is fun Ultimate is an immensely enjoyable sport, regardless of the level of play. Every year, thousands of people try out this sport and have fun playing it because it is truly uplifting. It is currently played in over 80 countries and is already a part of the World Games and is looking good to be included in the Olympics soon!

The Sport of Ultimate Explained

What is Ultimate? How does the sport work?

Wikipedia ‘defines’ Ultimate as a team sport played with a flying disc. The object of the game is to score points by passing the disc to a player in the opposing end zone, similar to an end zone in American football. Players may not run with the disc, and must keep a pivot while holding the disc.

As with trying to understand any new sport, it is important to wrap your head around the basic rules. I’ll try to keep it succinct for the sake of the broader audience. The best way for anyone new to learn and interpret the rules is to get out on the field and start playing the game.

Deposits in the Bank

Former Australian cricketer, Adam Gilchrist, hits the nail on the head in his biography ‘True Colours: My Life’.

Gilly explains beautifully about how pushing yourself in training and in practice games is akin to making ‘deposits in the bank’. He cites the example of how they once chased down 315 runs (a big score then!) He says that it was a very useful ‘memory’ to be stored away in preparation for a world cup because if they ever found themselves chasing a challenging score in the world cup, they wouldn’t be lost. They would know what exactly to do because they have been in that situation before. The confidence that they could draw from it was immense.

Notes & Musings From My Coaching Experience

Agni Nakshatra is Chennai Ultimate Frisbee’s free annual introductory bootcamp + mini-tournament in which volunteer coaches spend time teaching new players the sport.

I got to spend some time with some enthusiastic folks who turned up to try out Ultimate for the first time ever.  Some of them had heard about the sport from our media coverage for Chennai Heat, others had seen us throwing on the beach and there were a few who were, well, just inquisitive after hearing from their friends!

How to Be a Fantastic Mediocre Player

Ultimate is a team sport.

There is no reason to be anything beyond outstandingly mediocre. There are 6 other mediocre  players on the line who can put in the hard work. Why should it be you?

..but why take a chance?

Here are a whole bunch of ways to be outstandingly mediocre:

  1. Don’t be flat-out awful. The way that, well, a lot of players are.
  2. Don’t read the rules. One of the first steps to becoming a mediocre player is to think that you know the rules. Reading them will just kill your creativity. You’ll struggle to come up with your own on universe point. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you!

Looking to Recruit Women?

Just like in most parts of the world, at any tournament or pickup game, there is always a  shortage of women in Indian Ultimate. Even a hugely popular tournament like Chennai Heat seems to often struggle finding enough women for all the teams. This in spite of all the clubs in India focusing on mixed Ultimate only!

Here’s a look at some possible reasons:

Throwing to women

I cannot begin to fully fathom how frustrating it must be to work hard to get open, have a guy look you off, only for him to immediately throw an incredibly difficult I/O break into the grass, intended for a guy.