Jacob Miller's Leap From High School, to College Ultimate
January 13, 2015
Coming to BYU seemed to be one of the best decisions I have ever made, but playing for CHI was the best decision of my life. Okay not really, but I’ve loved it. The game I loved in high school didn’t change when I got to college; it only got better. The intensity increased, the athleticism increased, the precision and skill increased, and most importantly, the overall competitiveness increased without sacrificing the fun. Before, throwing well and being able to move quickly allowed a player to be ahead of the game. Now, those attributes are essential to keeping up with collegiate Ultimate.
One of the biggest differences between Ultimate in college and Ultimate in high school was its legitimacy. In high school, it was without doubt a team sport just as soccer or basketball was, but the attendance to practice and games didn’t feel mandatory or as official as some of the school sponsored sports. Practices attracted many different types of players. People all the way from varsity football players to devout choir kids would come out and try to get on the “A” team. Now, however, no longer do labeled “football players” or “choir kids” make the team, Ultimate Players do. College ultimate is competitive enough and independent enough to achieve this.
Another major change from high school to college Ultimate was the practice setting. In high school, practices were low key. The main focus was on throwing, and deservedly so. Backhand throws were poor, forehand throws were miserable, and scoobers or hammers weren’t even in the vocabulary. Partner throwing drills would almost last the entirety of practices with little to no conditioning involved. Sometime in early October I showed up to my first college Ultimate practice. It looked more official and intimidating than I had
expected. The guys were all athletes and I was no longer the most prominent thrower. I thought about leaving. Luckily, the Ultimate-loving voice in the back of my head urged me to stay. The practice started out with focused stretching and quickly moved on to more intense partner throwing drills. Then we did defensive drills. Something that was never discussed in depth before to me. Finally, after all the drilling was done, we scrimmaged. Different from high school’s crazy, free-lance scrimmaging, this was controlled, sharp, and precise. Afterwards, despite exhaustion, we finished off with conditioning.
Probably the largest change from high school to college, though, was the strategy and scheming. In high school, offense was simple. Either a team used a horizontal stack or a vertical stack, nothing else. There was no continuation or flow to the offenses, either. Once a completion was made to a receiver, they would mechanically dump the disc back to the handler and get back into the offense. In college, however, it is an overwhelming and invigorating difference. The offense always flows and receivers aren’t afraid to make a big
throwing play. Scorch cuts keep the offense from slowing down and getting stagnant. There’s always something to be thinking about whether you’re in a stack or a handler who
is two passes away. These strategic differences, along with many new defensive ones, create a sport that keeps the mind busy, invigorated, and overwhelmed in an exciting way.
As I laid out for a big D and finished the possession with a score in the end zone at the Air Force tournament this preseason, I realized what an amazing opportunity I have to play ultimate at BYU and how much fun the sport is. Because of the comradery of CHI and the accountability the players and coaches set for each other, BYU CHI Ultimate will only keep improving while developing individuals. The future of CHI has great potential and I can’t wait to be a part of it!