So much has been going on in AGE UP this summer—fundraising, planning for next year, making zombie videos—that blogging about the spring clinics was put aside. But now that there is a break in the excitement, we decided it’s never too late to tell you about our coaching adventures…
AGE UP coaches, 1st years, and 2nd years put on twelve clinics throughout the spring at five different locations across the greater Seattle area—Kimball Elementary, Bailey Gatzert Elementary, Southshore K-8, MLK Jr. Elementary, and Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club. Taking a different approach than last spring, we returned to schools two or three times to give a more progressive and valuable learning experience to the well over one-hundred kids we taught.
Children’s enthusiastic grins and visible improvement, as well as the surveys after each clinic, showed us we were achieving our goal of passing on our expertise and love of Ultimate to a younger generation of Ultimate stars. Almost every participant said they had lots of fun, learned many things, and would definitely want to play Ultimate again! One kid wrote on their survey “you guys are great coaches” and others echoed the same thoughts. Children said they learned the importance of cutting, how to throw, and how to “fake throw to make [the mark] turn around.” The 2nd years improved their coaching skills and many 1st years experienced coaching children for the first time. 1st years felt successful when they were able to help children learn to throw.
However, the clinics did not always fly by with ease and grace—there were challenges to overcome, of course. We faced soggy weather, rambunctious children who WOULD NOT LISTEN, and the betrayal of vegetarian vows (coughleahfurycough). Some clinics had many more kids than others and there was always a wide range of skill levels among them. We had to balance teaching the basics and still challenging the more experienced players. The patience and thought it takes to coach is seriously hard to appreciate before you try it. You see how much it is worth it, though, when the children are getting better and having fun.
We have all learned a lot throughout this process—coaches and coached alike. We ended every clinic with a discussion of plus/delta (or a messy +/Δ in Samscript, Samskrit, or Sams Serif, whichever of Sam Terry’s fonts you prefer). Frequent positive elements were the enthusiasm of the children and their eagerness to learn. Thinking about next year’s changes, we want the first years to be even more involved and, of course, we need to keep Tiffany’s attitude in check.
P.S. Sorry there are no pictures of the clinics. We would love to show you the cute elementary kids learning to play ultimate, but we can’t post pictures of kids without photo releases.