Air Traffic Control
Air Traffic Control is a co-ed high school Ultimate team started at Bitney Prep over 20 years ago that has always been open to students from other schools in our area. (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 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:45pm – 5:00pm, primarily at Mautino Park in Grass Valley. We travel to various scrimmages and tournaments typically in the San Francisco Bay Area but also in Davis, and most of these are single-day events on the weekends.
COVID-19 Vaccinations Are Required for the 2021-2022 Season – All players are expected to be fully vaccinated before attending ATC practices. Any players who are feeling sick or who may have been exposed to COVID-19 must stay home until they’ve had a negative test.
There is no team membership fee. Each player contributes a modest amount toward tournament/transportation costs (typically $20-40 per event), and for his/her team jersey (another $50-60). Team discs are available for $10 in the Bitney Prep HS office, and it’s difficult to master throwing without owning your own disc. However, 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 you can do to help our team are to ensure that your child:
- attends virtually every practice throughout the year,
- works on his/her conditioning and skills outside of practice, and
- 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 team.
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 sometimes 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.
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 3:45pm 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.
Bitney Prep HS, 135 Joerschke Dr. (Room 7)
Winter practices are frequently canceled due to inclement weather. However, we sometimes seize such opportunities to spend time reviewing Ultimate fundamentals in Room 7 at Bitney Prep High School (aka “Chalk Talks”). 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
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 us 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. We promise not to clutter your inbox with information of dubious merit.
Local Ultimate Community
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 beginning around 3pm or 4pm at Pioneer Park during the dry months, and in the Nevada Union stadium through much of the winter. In addition, Gold Country Ultimate has organized a popular and super fun Monday Night Summer League for the past 8 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 three videos:
|Coach Chris Schneider|
|Coach Nick Bordner|