The sport of Ultimate will never be the same. One company called Rise Up is beginning to paint a new future for Ultimate with a set of online instructional videos featuring expert tutorials on how to improve both individual and team skills.
Creative Director and Producer of Rise Up, Mario O’Brien, said this is a “huge step in that it provides useful resources to people who want to improve themselves and their team.”
In any other sport, instructional videos hitting the market may not make news. Yet, Rise Up will be the first professionally made videos Ultimate has ever seen, a historic landmark for all teams that have relied mostly on advice from other players, books and personal judgment.
These aren’t hippies with smokers' cough tossing around a disc anymore. Anyone who saw the College Championships in May, or the AUDL recaps on Youtube, knows Ultimate has evolved into a high intensity team sport played by world class athletes.
Those teams in Boulder, Co, the ones like Carleton College and Wisconsin, they don’t just make it because of talent. They make it because their schools have had longstanding Ultimate traditions, the older dudes who teach the freshmen how to properly execute the dump swing (a skill learned in episode one), how to properly execute an offense and how to defend—not just how to drink.
Many schools, like the one O’Brien went to, don’t have that luxury. This creates a gap in the competition level among the college and club Ultimate leagues. It's a gap created mainly because a lot of teams just don’t have the guidance to train their players, not because there is a lack of talent.
“I had been a successful multi-sport athlete in high school, but I did not want to commit to college athletics,” said O’Brien. “Rise Up would have been a godsend for my team. We would have believed in it like the Bible. We didn’t have anyone who played at a high enough level to teach us what was right, wrong, good, bad or otherwise. We generally taught ourselves.”
Ben Wiggins is the coach of the first two seasons. Wiggins won three club championships with Sockeye and a Callahan award in 2003.
This remains a reality for teams not just in the US, but in other countries as well. Ultimate continues to grow internationally as its popularity has spurred talks about being added as an Olympic sport.
“The international market has been extremely intriguing so far—funders from over 15 different countries, five continents,” said O’Brien.
The videos are will be available solely online at RiseUltimate.com, where
“subscribers will have to pay for access to thematic seasons of 10-12 videos," O'Brien added.
In the videos will be four-time club champion Ben Wiggins, coach of the first two seasons, who will methodically teach and demonstrate individual and team skills based on the theme of the season. One of the appeals will be the high production quality.
From the promotional video, it is clear Rise Up will be the go-to resource for all teams looking to get better. They’re going to have the expert testimony from the best players in Ultimate, game play demonstrating the particular skill or strategy being taught, all in crystal clear streaming videos.
Once these videos become available, there’s no question a lot of teams out there will be getting better.
And who knows—maybe a new school gets a chance to shine at nationals?