I recently joined a local frisbee league to get myself back into the game. It’s been over 2 years since I last played and it would help me achieve many of the new year resolutions I had set for myself: to get in shape, manage work-life balance, say yes to new experiences, and focus on building a positive relationship with myself. I was excited to get back to a sport that I was so passionate about through high school and university.
Over the years, playing ultimate frisbee was a small part of my day that allowed me to be authentically myself, that challenged me, and that made me truly happy. You hear a lot about the importance of sports (especially team sports) in self development. Here are a few things that playing Ultimate frisbee has taught me over the years.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again.
Not all throws will be great, not all passes will be successful. You could put 100% into your hustle and still not get to the disk in time. You might fall. You might have to change your route. But at the end of it all, no matter what, you get up and try again. Ultimate has taught me a certain kind of tenacity that reminds me to keep going, no matter what obstacles and shortfalls I face.
Nothing happens overnight, if you want it, you have to work for it.
Sure, instant gratification is wonderful! It’s motivating and makes you feel like whatever it is you’re doing — is working! But the patience to wait and reap the rewards later is often hard to accept. I’ve never been the athletic type so joining Ultimate in my freshman year of high school was a struggle. I had to learn to be patient with myself and remember that fitness levels, skill, and the ability to play a strategic game would take time and practise. Nobody is born a natural Ultimate player. But if you work hard and persevere, you’ll eventually get to where you wanted to go.
Anticipate your next move…
One of the basic strategies in Ultimate is to always aim ahead of the person you’re throwing to, never behind. It makes it easier for the person to get to since they’re running that way anyways, and reduces the likelihood that an opponent will interfere. It’s all forward thinking and about anticipating the next move. It’s not good enough to simply stand still and wait for the disc. You need to think about where you want to go, and go there.
…but readjust your plans when you need to.
If there are no good options forward on the field, a “dump” is opened up behind the player. What this means is, another player will run behind the person holding the disc, essentially moving the disc backwards on the field. It’s not necessarily helping to get the disc to the end zone, but sometimes taking a step back can buy some more time to find better options up the field. Taking one step back and readjusting your strategy is a short term loss for a long term gain.
Ultimate has always been a treat for me. For as long as I could remember, I’ve been very academically focus. My priorities were to do well in school and do well at work. To be physically active, or to take time out of the day to do something just for me with no value to anyone else would be something special I do in my free time. What I didn’t realize was that being happy, fulfilled, and whole on my own allowed me to be a more productive student/employee, a more positive person to be around, and put back a fire in me that often gets burnt out. I learned that taking the time to “treat yourself” is important and necessary.
Go all in.
In high school, my Ultimate coach would always make comments about how the person who gets the disc is the person who wants it the most. The person who goes for it. If you’re standing around waiting for someone to hand you a win, you’ll be waiting forever. The teams that win are the teams who are passionate, dedicated, work hard, and put 100% in achieving their goals. If you want something in life, you have to go for it full force. Simple as that.
If you’ve never played Ultimate frisbee before but you’re looking for a new activity to get into, I highly recommend it. Even if Ultimate isn’t your thing, I hope you find something that makes you happy, that allows you to be the best version of yourself, and that teaches you go whole-heartedly into the things you do.
See you on the field!