GUM Clinic Reflections - Asst. Coach Suzy Jivotovski
When the game day volunteers and coaching staff arrived at the fields 4 hours before the start of the New York Gridlock versus Columbus Pride game on May 4th, two middle schoolers and their families were already waiting on the track. They had come early and eager to participate in the pre-game Girls Ultimate Movement (GUM) clinic hosted by Gridlock for local youth players. NYGL is committed to increasing the number of girls and womxn playing ultimate by offering clinics and building community partnerships, and we are grateful to USAU, Kylie Sterling (Regional GUM coordinator), and the high school/middle school coaches who organized and supported their players in attending our clinic.
25 youth participants and 11 Gridlock players teamed up to work on throwing fundamentals, deep cutting, and scrimmaging. The clinic kicked off with two emerging Gridlock traditions: discussing the X in womxn's ultimate and sharing our pronouns, and the Game Point Performance warm up routine. The youth players were receptive to and familiar with naming their pronouns, but most had never before activated their cores prior to playing ultimate. Thanks, GPP! We completed focused throwing in small groups to take advantage of 1-on-1 time with the Gridlock players, and then split into groups by age to do a deep cutting drill that answered the question: "What is the deep space and how do we get there with good timing?" Participants got to practice a cutting pattern and go up for hucks from Gridlock players while practicing positive energy/cheering and helpful sideline talk from the cutting lines.
As more fans began to arrive and the clock counted down to game time, the Gridlock players departed the clinic to warm up and prep for their game. Gridlock Assistant Coaches Megan Randall and Suzy Jivotovski led the youth players through scrimmaging to apply new knowledge about deep cutting followed by a final huddle with a special invitation: GUM participants would get to high five the professional players from both teams as they took the field before the game and help with the disc flip that determines offensive possession at the start of the game. The invitations were met with wide eyes and giggles, but under the lights before the starting pull, the GUM youth passed out high fives with total confidence and swagger.
If you are in the area, our upcoming clinics are the 5/29 Community Clinic from 5:30pm to 7:00pm in Bayonne, NJ at 16th St. park, and a DEVYL high level clinic in Westfield, NJ on 6/15 at 2:00pm for high school and early college athletes. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. .