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A Constant Stream Of Specific Information

by Colin McIntyre

When I played in college especially, my team made a concerted effort to maintain an active sideline and to communicate efficiently from the sideline rather than simply being loud. That carried over in Club, where I played with many of those same players. 

When I am on the sideline helping teammates on the field, I like to select one player to communicate with and focus on two things: 1) conveying information and 2) being specific. Anyone on the sideline can be your cheerleader. As your sideline teammate, my goal is to help you play better Ultimate by providing you with an extra set of eyes and ears and a constant flow of information. In general, I talk more to teammates on D than O, and though my comments below focus on man defense, the basic theme applies to zone also. 

First, I concentrate especially on conveying information that you cannot easily obtain yourself. Generally, this means watching the thrower (and the whole field) and anticipating how the play will develop. 

  • When your man cuts deep, I will tell you if the throw is coming up or not.
  • When your man begins setting up his cut, I will tell you how to adjust your position to shut him down ("get closer/tighter," "stay under," "go with," etc.)
  • If you are guarding the dump, I will let you know when he becomes a threat ("he’s looking," "Colin, it’s you!" etc.)
  • If you are marking, I will tell you what’s a threat ("inside/around/dump/swing")
  • If your positioning is perfect, then I will let you know, "yes" or "that’s good."

Second, I try to convey information in a way that is specific, but concise. A little extra information can go a long way. For example, while "UP!" is a common call, adding one word onto that makes the call significantly more helpful, yet still quick to say, e.g., "Up – short/low/left/right/break/fast/floaty/hammer!" Similarly, "No Break" is less helpful than a more specific cue like "No swing." 

Finally, I have three rules to help make my contribution 100% positive:
  • I never yell calls by name. "He’s dragging!" is ok to yell, while "Travel!" is not.
  • I almost never yell "strike." I leave that to the dump defender, who generally knows if he’s in trouble. Also, as a thrower, hearing "strike" is my cue to throw a gigantic break.
  • I try to look forward to help stay positive. Obviously, "No Continue" is a much more helpful thing to yell than "No more breaks!"


huddle issue030 Using The Sideline Voice

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Keep It Calm
by Jody Avirgan

Two Things Durings A Point
by Jeff Eastham-Anderson

Standardizing A Team Way Of Communicating
by Greg Husak

A Strong Sideline Voice
by Tyler Kinley

Tangible vs. Intangible
by Brett Matzuka

A Constant Stream Of Specific Information
by Colin McIntyre

Make It Useful
by Jim Parinella

Sharing The Work
by Logan Pendragon

Assisting The Visually Impaired
by Taylor Pope

It Takes Practice
by Moses Rifkin

Loud + Positive = Good
by Miranda Roth

Provide New Information and Reinforcement
by Shane Rubenfeld

The Zone
by Ben van Heuvelen




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