Wednesday, January 27, 2010

(Non-)Cookie Cutter Cutting

Yesterday at practice we had a guest lecture from Kathy on Brute Squad about the basics of cutting! How exciting and pertinent to my frisbee goal this spring! :) In any level of ultimate, college or club, fundamentals are key and will do wonders for your game. Plus, the demos and drills she had us do were really helpful so I will share her wisdom with you:

1. Change in direction and change in speed

Cutting is all about putting space between you and your defender so that you can get the disc. How do you do that? Two ways: (1) change in direction, and (2) change in speed.

Change in direction is pretty obvious because part of cutting is tricking your defender into thinking you're going in one direction when you really want to go the other. The drill for this is a simple in-cut in the shape of a V towards a thrower. The key to this kind of cutting is to make a hard plant at the "vertex" of the V (no curved cuts or banana-shaped cuts!). Practice running the first "leg" of the V at different speeds, like 85% or 100% of your top speed. Running at 85% of your speed tricks your defender into a "comfortable" speed and then you can take off and they'll never know what hit her ;) Then the second "leg" of the V should be 100% accelerating towards the disc.

Another tactic on getting open is changing your speed. This has many variations like, starting off at a jogging pace and then suddenly sprinting towards or away from the disc, or the stutter step - where you start sprinting, stop suddenly and throw in a quick shoulder/hip fake, and then sprint off again. I personally love the stutter step - low effort and high success rate. :) The drill for this is to set up two cones in front of a thrower (similar to the Grr Drill but with another cone between the line and the thrower. Have players practice different changes in speed at the second cone, like start 85%, end at 100% or start off jogging and then suddenly sprint when you get to the cone.

2. Cutting at your defender

The goal of cutting at your defender is to get your defender on their heels so that they're off-balance. People who are off-balance need some time to get back in their athletic stance to chase after you. (And by that time, you've already gotten the disc!) The drill is a one-on-one offense/defense drill, which is pretty self-explanatory... one person on O, one person on D and the person on O tries to get open, either on an "in-cut" or "away-cut." The defender can chose to force the offense "in" or "out." Have the offense take the more challenging cut (i.e. if the defense is forcing you out, try to cut in, and vice versa). Make sure people practice cuts for both forehands and backhands. Also, the other goal of cutting at your defender is to get the defense to turn their hips. As Shakira says, "hips don't lie" and so it's much easier to get open on a defender whose hips are already turned in one direction. When I first started on sMITe, someone told me to try running straight at your defender and plant your foot right in between her feet (or as close as you can get), before making your cut.

3. Use your body (that's what she said)

Basketball players do this a lot, but basically, you want your defender behind you because she can't go through you to get the disc. If she wants to get the disc, she's going to have to go around you (which takes a lot of time/speed) or through you (which is a foul). The key to this is to turn your hips toward the disc so that your defender is on your back/butt. This applies to both "in-cuts" and "away-cuts." For in-cuts Kathy talked about shifting your body slightly to the "outside" (where your defender is) so you can catch the disc on the "inside" of your body.

For away-cuts and floaty discs, keep your defender on your back and then you can reach up and grab the disc at the last second. This is particularly helpful when your defender is taller than you. I get really excited when I can actually do this correctly. I did it once in yesterday's scrimmage for Meri's huck and Anna(?) was defending me but I didn't catch the disc. :(

One last point about cutting away: make sure you make space for you and your thrower by making your cuts curve away towards the break-side. Kathy said it was an e^x curve... ... Anyway, making room on your away cuts is essential in (1) being able to see the disc and (2) giving the thrower ample space to throw the huck. Everyone has had the experience of running directly under the disc before... it hurts your neck and you can't see the angle of the disc and thus which way it's going to fall. Curving away on your away cuts allows you to see the disc from an angle and thus know where it's going to tilt. And secondly, make it easier for your thrower to huck something pretty to you. If you cut right along the sideline, there is no wriggle room for the thrower to huck and the hucks have to be pretty much spot-on. Curving away gives you space to run the disc down and meet the disc wherever it ends up. Drill for this is cuts from the front of the stack towards the breakside, a.k.a. "the Jesus cut" as Smeri likes to call it (because it's shaped like a J).

Ok everyone, happy cutting :) And thanks Kathy for coming out to teach us!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Engagement Story

Ok, I've been putting off this post for a while (no reason... just putting it off... maybe it's because I knew I couldn't write this post without being cheesy) so here goes, cheese and all:

Bryan and I have been talking about getting engaged and married sometime in 2010/2011 and I knew that he had asked my parents for their permission/blessing when he came to California with me in July 2009. But as it neared the end of 2009 I was getting kinda anxious because I wanted to be engaged before Christmas so I could share it with my family when I saw them in winter break. I wasn't very subtle about it so I sent him links with rings that I thought were pretty and I bugged him to go ring shopping. Most of the time he just ignored me or started talking about puppies and then I'd get distracted, but finally one day out of the blue, he said we could go. (!!)

I woke up on Saturday morning (Nov. 14) and it was POURING outside. You know, it had rained during the fall, and Boston falls are always rainy, but this particular day was pouring like none other.

B: So do you still want to go ring shopping?
K: Yes... ... no... ...maybe not... it's raining...
B: Yes, I know it's raining, do you want to go still?
K: Ok... it's raining really hard though.

After a couple minutes of debating I finally decided that I did want to go, even if it was just to leave the house for a little bit, since it was supposed to rain all day, so we headed out.

K: So where are we going?
B: Let's go to the Cambridgeside Galleria
K: Ok
B: We can walk to Mass Ave and take the #1 bus to MIT and then walk to Kendall and take the Galleria shuttle
K: What? That's dumb, why don't we just take the T from Central to Kendall and then take the shuttle?
B: Oh yeah, okay. That makes much more sense.
K: gives Bryan a "stop-being-dumb" look

We start walking towards the T stop and just when we're going down the stairs to the station, Bryan says:

B: I change my mind. Let's go to the Pru. There's a better selection there.
K: Ok...

So we hop on the #1 bus (actually, we sprinted for the bus so we were both soaking when we got on) and rode a few minutes in silence, trying to catch our breath. Just when we get to MIT, Bryan says:

B: I change my mind again! Let's go to the Galleria.
K: ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?! OMG. **death stare**

We get off the #1 bus and cross the street. I told him at least we could take a trip down memory lane since neither Bryan nor I are around MIT that much anymore. I spend most of my time at the VA Medical Center at the Heath Street stop on the Green "E" line. And Bryan slaves away 15 hours a day at his consulting job. Anyway, I digress... So as you know, Bryan and I met at MIT. More specifically we met in the Course 3 (Materials Science) Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory (more affectionately called UGTL) where we were TAs our first semester. For those of you who are familiar with MIT, Bryan and I TAed in the "fishbowl lab" at the end of the Infinite Corridor. Japanese tourists used to come by, point and take pictures of us. =P

So we're walking down the Infinite and we stop in front of UGTL to look in and then suddenly I look over and see that Bryan is down on one knee in the middle of the Infinite. O.M.G.

My heart starts beating 10x faster and Bryan starts to say stuff and I don't really hear anything. Then he pulls out a little book he made, titled, "Ten Reasons Why We Should Spend the Rest of our Lives Together." I'm not going to show all of them, but some of the reasons were more serious and important:

(7. We both value our friends and families)

while some of them were more funny and silly:

(1. We like to play ultimate together. You like to huck, I like to cut for you.)

I had to put the frisbee-related one in! And it was reason #1! Haha! And it ended with:

(10. We have so many more memories to make together...)

Originally, we were talking about how awesome it'd be to go to Hawai'i but I don't think we're going to do that anytime soon anymore.

Then he said he loved me* and then gave me a box to open:

And then he asked me to marry him! I said, "Of course!" and then I was shaking so much I had a hard time opening the box, but I eventually dug out this:

And here we are, all nerdy and smiley in front of UGTL (the scar on my pinky knuckle is from indoor layout practice two nights before):

Then I called my family and some friends while Bryan sent emails from his Crackberry (he actually has a Droid now but I still call it a Crackberry because he's still addicted to it) and then walked back to his place to make cake and watch Northwestern football beat the Illini. =D

*This was the first time Bryan said he loved me. We decided a while ago that we wouldn't say it until we got engaged so it'd be more meaningful.

// End cheese.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Junk in the Trunk = Healthy!!

(from Doris)

I started playing competitive tennis when I was 12 years old. Ever since then, I have always felt like my butt was bigger than other girls' in my grade, but I told myself it was my imagination and that I had the normal teenage body insecurities. (Now I know and I should've figured it out a while ago, that tennis is a lot of squatting in the "ready stance," sprinting, stopping suddenly and changing directions and this HAD to build up some quad/hamstring/butt muscles.)

I remember sleeping in on some Sunday mornings in high school and my mom would wake me up by stripping the covers and saying "Rise and shine!" and then added, "Your butt is like rising bread! So poofy!" (or something to that effect, all in Mandarin, of course). Way to make me even more self-conscious about my butt, Mom. =P

In college all of my Asian female friends had no butts. Seriously, I didn't mean to stare or anything, but I was looking at their lack of curves and thinking, "How could nothing be there?! That's just anatomically not possible!" I had female friends of other ethnicities and my butt was more shaped like theirs, so I just thought I was built differently. =P

It wasn't under I started grad school and joined sMITe, and met Doris, Smeri, and Catherine, to name a few, that I learned that having a big butt was actually a good thing! And even when we were recruiting at campus preview weekend or the athletics fair, we joked that we were looking for girls with "a high butt to boob ratio." (i.e. large butt, small boobs). Catherine and Doris would often complain in the early spring season (after we'd done the majority of the track workouts... stupid 400s) that their pants didn't fit anymore. And Darlene would brag that we had become "too fast for our shorts." :)

So it's through sMITe that I've finally come to terms with my body. I learned to embrace and even be proud of my big butt.

When I told my dad about the article relating big butts to healthy hearts, my dad replied, "Big butt also sit more steadily and balanced than small ones. No kidding."

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Ok from left to right:
  1. Eugene with his skinny chicken legs
  2. Keith with his really long legs
  3. Charles showing a lot of leg
  4. NG with his monstrosities that he calls calves
Round of applause goes to Weiyang. Good job Weiyang... clap clap clap clap clap.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Frisbee Goals

We had our first practice of 2010 on Tues night. There was a giant scaffolding thing in the middle of the indoor track so we couldn't really do much, but this IAP we're working on basic frisbee skills: throwing and catching (and other things? I don't know) so the scaffolding didn't really bother us.

Jin and Shuang wanted a quantitative measure of our improvement over the next few months so she had us throw and then run after the disc, pick it up, throw again, run after it... all the way around the inside of the track, 4 times around the track - forehands twice and backhands twice. I kept throwing under the screens so the disc slid onto the track where the runners club was running. They were pretty pissed =P

We worked on forehands: gripping the disc tight, angling the disc for I/O or O/I, and accuracy. I was also working on throwing under pressure. Jin said, "Imagine Nurit marking you, and Kathy Dobson covering Smeri." Jeez. To help out, she and Shuangy held hands and became a giant 2-headed mark. =P

We made some goals for IAP to help focus our skills. I'm typically really bad at goal-setting. I need someone to tell me what to work on because I have a difficult time seeing the overall picture. But with some help, I came up with my goals for IAP and probably extending to the rest of the season:
  • To become an awesome mid. Which means cutting... ugh so tiring. =P I want to be a more versatile player than just a handler and to be a threat everywhere on the field! muahaha
  • To vary my cuts as a cutter. I need to branch out from the Asian stutter.
  • To be a reliable dump - be more aggressive, quicker, louder and more effective in my communication. This has been an ongoing goal for the last 2-3 years and I feel like I've improved a lot, but after playing club for 2 seasons I think I have to step it up even more.

Awesome Vacation Day 4 & 5

We woke up and went to Torrey Pines in San Diego:

to go on a mini-hike!

Along the way we saw dangerous sand dunes (not really)...

...and beautiful views

Happy mini hikers on top of the mini mountain:

We also visited the visitor's center and I played with the finger puppets:

And enjoyed the view again:

And on our way down, Charles was running to get into this picture and completely fell over:

Which way to the beach???

The descent to the beach (yikes) It was high tide but we decided to go anyway:

Trying not to fall on top of each other as we go down:

Almost there!

Walking along the beach and the cliffs:

We get out to this area that has some rocks sticking out of the ocean. But the path to get there is partially covered by waves so it's like playing real life super mario!

Keith was the first to make it:

Some people stayed behind because they didn't want to get wet:

On our way back:

Somehow Hansen managed to stay dry the entire time:

And we found a rock that looked like a face. Man-made or natural? What do you think?:

Then some people decided to climb the lifeguard tower:

Some people had more trouble than others:

Then we all went to Roberto's to have lunch (mmm Mexican food):

Then we went to YogurtWorld for more ice cream:

And then walked around downtown SD and stopped by the Ghirardelli store where their tables were giant Ghirardelli squares :D

A few of us then tried on sunglasses at Oakley:

Charles trying to be a penguin (look, the penguins are so tiny...):

We also stopped by the harbor to look at the sailboats:

Eugene being a monkey:

For dinner we had a bonfire on the beach!

Bryan roasted 6 sausages on the same stick:

Later that night we drove home to LA and wiped out. The next morning Charles left for the airport and we picked up Smeri. Then the boys stayed home and played video games while Clare, Meri and I did jump runs on the beach:

The end :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Awesome Vacation Day 3

First, let's play a matching game: Match the calves with their respective owners (please do not guess if you're one of the four guys in the picture)! The guys are, in alphabetical order: Bryan, Charles, Eugene, Keith. First one to guess correctly wins a round of applause from me.

A pic of Keith and the ladies on a porch swing on our deck:

We head over to Hermosa Beach because that's where Keith says all the ladies are. A few people go running on the beach and then we all play some beach volleyball! Our mom took a group picture of us but Charles had wandered off somewhere, so we dubbed him our Grandpa because he kept leaving us.

And then cover Keith in sand:

For lunch we go to Onami which is this Japanese sushi and seafood buffet. We all stuffed our faces... mmm... they also had a disturbingly bright green ice cream that was supposed to be green tea ice cream. I didn't try it because it was so weird looking =P

Btw, we had all bought matching t-shirts in Hollywood to commemorate this awesome vacation. Haha some people were more excited than others to wear them though:

Charles and Bryan playing around while we're filling up on gas on our way to San Diego to visit Sluts!:

On our way down we stop by at the San Juan Capistrano Mission. However the admission price was $9 with no student discounts so we decided to forgo that

And instead go to the llama farm!!! kiss...

...and feed the llamas!

Ok it was really a petting zoo that had llamas in it but it's much more fun to call it a llama farm. Us at the llama farm (right after this picture was taken the llama behind Wuisiew started eating her hair.. haha):

Then we finally made our way to Sluts' house! This is her in her hammock in the backyard - don't you love California in the winter? :)

This is me and Bryan on her tiny couch:

And this is a picture of a picture of Sluts when she was little (isn't she adorable?!):

And this is Keith playing with random things in Sluts' room!

And this is me with her coca cola polar bear! (I don't think Sluts has still recovered from us invading her space.. haha):

And then we decided to take a picture, prom style, on her staircase in all of our matching Hollywood shirts (Eugene is trying to hide behind the light):

Then we settle in for an exciting game of Wii Super Mario (Wuisiew is sad because she lost the rosham to be the first 4 to play):

Then her parents make us yummy burritos for dinner:

Yay San Diego!! :D
(Don't forget to play the calves matching game!)