Playing a New Sport = Frustration

To a person who has never seen Ultimate being played, the sport looks pretty confusing. As a fairly new player, I still find myself getting confused sometimes. When I first started playing, this sport was incredibly frustrating because I did not understand the game and I could not throw a frisbee to save my life. Yes there were other new people who were just as bad and confused as I was, but this fact did not ease my frustration at all.

As the weeks passed, I eventually got better and learned the game fairly well. However, I could still not throw an accurate flick throw until about three weeks ago. There are about three basic throws in Ultimate: one is a backhand throw, which is what most people are use to seeing; another is the flick; and the last one is called a hammer. All throws require a lot of wrist action, the flick throw especially. My biggest problem was not snapping my wrist enough when throwing a flick. Whenever I tried to throw a flick, I found my arm trying to throw the disc like a ball. I can throw a ball just fine, but a frisbee was a different story. I was eventually able to adjust, thank God, after hours and hours of practice and can now throw a pretty good flick. I am still working on perfecting it, however.

Ultimate is a fast paced sport. A majority of the time most players, the cutters and their defenders, are sprinting. There are usually two or three handlers that handle the disc. These girls are responsible for getting the disc up the field to the cutters, so the cutters are constantly sprinting to get open. This is all occurring on a field that is 70 by 40 yards with two end zones on either side of the field. The first tournament I played in was an interesting experience. Each game is about 90 minutes long, and each team plays about three or four games back to back each of the two days of the tournament. There is only about five minute breaks in between each game. By the end of the first day I was about ready to pass out. It is exhausting and I am still trying to get use to it.

In this sport there are many different players that have various sports backgrounds. Many girls came to this sport to try something new and continue to be active, like they were in high school – like me for instance. Ultimate is the perfect game for women seeking to be active because it is not very popular on the high school circuit, so it is okay to not know how to play or to be bad at it when you first start. This is different than trying to join a popular sport’s club team because it is assumed that one has experience playing the sport and is relatively good. Because many women who play Ultimate in college came in with no experience, it allows them to have more patience with new players. The veteran players can relate to the new players because they were in the same positions just a few years ago. This creates a welcoming environment for all new players to feel accepted in.

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One Response to Playing a New Sport = Frustration

  1. Sarah McCullough says:

    I like your observation about the importance of players sharing the experience of being novices. Though you say seeing others struggle did not decrease your frustrations, I would imagine that it may have created a feeling of shared camaraderie. It is also intriguing to hear about how you have developed your skills over the course of learning the sport. I’m glad to hear that you have improved the flick! What do you think keeps players like yourself persevering and continuing the sport? How do you feel after games, other than exhausted? Is the exhaustion in any way rewarding, or just tiring?

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