Welcome to Air Traffic Control, a co-ed high school Ultimate team. (Middle school students are
also welcome, and we sometimes even have middle-aged players joining us for practice.)
The Ultimate Sport?
(First, please don’t confuse Ultimate with Disc Golf, which is another great disc sport.) Ultimate
is a high-energy, competitive team sport invented by a group of high school students from
Maplewood, NJ, and the original rules they drafted back in 1968 enshrined a concept known as
the “Sprit of the Game” which puts the responsibility for fair play into the hands of the players
on the field. The sport remains primarily self-officiated worldwide, even at the highest levels of
competition (with the exception of the U.S. professional league). Another thing that distinguishes
Ultimate (and which has apparently caught the eye of the International Olympic Committee) is
the popularity of the Mixed Division, where men and women play alongside one another. In our
view, these two key differences help create a uniquely constructive environment for young
athletes to explore both sportsmanship and gender equity/empowerment issues.
Our team practices throughout the entire school year (typically on Tuesdays & Thursdays
from 4:45pm – 6:00pm, but on many Sundays as well). We travel to various scrimmages and
tournaments most often in the San Francisco Bay Area but also in Davis, and most of these are
single-day events on the weekends.
Season, Jersey & Competition Fees
There is a $50/player/season team membership fee. Each player also contributes a modest
amount toward tournament/transportation costs (typically $20-40 per event), and for a team
jersey (another $50). Team discs are available for $10 in the Bitney Prep HS office, and it’s
difficult to master throwing without owning your own disc.
IMPORTANT! Financial hardship should never interfere with any student’s participation
(please contact the coaching staff directly if necessary, so that we can arrange for the team to
cover some or all of these expenses.)
The most important things each parent can do to help our team are to ensure that your own child:
• attends virtually every practice throughout the year
• works on his/her conditioning and skills outside of practice
• commits early and then delivers the paperwork & fees on time for each tournament.
I really appreciate those parents who pool their resources to help get each other’s kids to practice
on time and pick them up afterward; sharing this responsibility solidifies your connection to the
Please avoid scheduling doctor’s visits, etc. on practice days and maintain a family
calendar on which tournament dates are recorded as soon as they are announced (and then
respected as other responsibilities and opportunities arise). Note that we only register for an
event if enough players to field and support a team commit early enough, so maintaining a
family calendar will help your child identify any potential conflicts.
In addition, we’d love for you to join us at our tournaments! Bitney Prep typically loans us their
14-passenger van, but we also depend on parents to help out with transportation. If you’ve never
been to an Ultimate tournament before, we predict that it will be a transformative experience for
you. Parents are also welcome to spectate (or even participate) at our practices.
Finally, please encourage your friends and their kids to join the team. We’re always looking for
new players (even in the spring), but the best time to join is early in the fall when we’re bringing
a new crop of recruits up to speed. (Bonus points for female recruits!)
Preparing for Practice
All players should arrive at the fields already wearing athletic clothing (shorts!) and be ready to
participate (e.g., cleats on) at 4:45pm sharp. Each player should bring his/her own water bottle
(min. 1 liter) and wear sunscreen every day. Cleats (no metal spikes) are optional, but often make
an enormous difference. We also recommend wearing a hat.
Indoor Chalk Talks
Winter practices are frequently canceled due to inclement weather. However, we sometimes
seize such opportunities to spend time reviewing Ultimate fundamentals (aka “Chalk Talks”)
inside a classroom at a local school. Although much less fun than actually playing Ultimate, we
consider Chalk Talks essential for learning these fundamentals, particularly since most players
have very limited prior exposure to the sport (either as participants or spectators). All team
members are expected to attend Chalk Talks just like our outdoor practices.
Team Email List – ATC-Ultimate@GoogleGroups.com
When weather threatens, we prefer to wait until noon on the day of practice before deciding
whether to risk getting a little wet on the fields, holding a Chalk Talk, or canceling practice
entirely. (Note that we often have to avoid soggy fields even on a clear day just to protect them
from getting torn up.) Coach Schneider will post an email to the team distribution list whenever
we cancel practice or substitute a Chalk Talk. If you don’t receive such an email by 12pm on a
given day, you should assume that we’ll be practicing at the fields. You can also call the Bitney
Prep HS office (477-1235) after 12pm to find out, but please don’t contact Coach Schneider
directly just to ask what’s going on with practice on a given day.
We typically cancel practice during school holidays, final exams, and very occasionally due to
unavoidable personal conflicts. In each case we will not only send an email to the team
distribution list; we’ll also announce these upcoming cancelations at practice (and this is yet
another reason to avoid missing any practices).
We also announce upcoming tournaments and other important team information via the email
distribution list. All parents and players should ensure that we have their current email
addresses, check their accounts frequently, and carefully review emails sent via the list. We
promise not to clutter your inbox with information of dubious merit.
Local Ultimate Community – Gold-Country-Ultimate@GoogleGroups.com
Just like most towns in the United States (and the larger cities in other countries), there is a
vibrant local Ultimate community existing just below your radar. The best high school players all
participate in their local pick-up games and community leagues. There is a pick-up game most
Sunday afternoons, and we’ll probably be scrimmaging with them throughout the season before
those pick-up games begin. In addition, Gold Country Ultimate has organized a popular and
super fun Monday Night Summer League for many years. We encourage you to join the Gold
Country email distribution list above (just send Coach Schneider an email requesting to be
added) so that you’ll hear about any pick-up schedule and venue changes, etc.
More about Ultimate – USAUltimate.org
There’s tons more information about the sport at USAUltimate.org, but perhaps you might also enjoy the following videos:
• WFDF Ultimate Frisbee
• This is Ultimate
• Spirit of the Game
• Best of World Junior Ultimate Championships
• (Please see the Fundamentals handout for instructional links as well)
Coach Chris Schneider