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Q+A with Jason Chow

November 2, 2009

With just two days left to vote in the 2009 UPA Board of Directors elections, we thought we’d bring one candidate to you and encourage to vote for whichever UPA Board of Director candidate strikes your fancy.

One candidate wants 50,000 folks in the Rose Bowl to see Ultimate in 2015, while others want to focus on outreach or the college series.

Jason Chow stood out to this blogger for his work on in the virtual world, his coaching at ARHS and the National Ultimate Training camp, and his candidate platform focused on the growth of youth programs, injury awareness & prevention, and developing awareness of the sport of Ultimate.

Tell us about yourself.

I started playing ultimate in high school at Amherst, spent four great years at Syracuse, and have been playing and coaching ever since.  This year played on Dark or Light for the series, a team of current ARHS players and alumni.  Coaching at the National Ultimate Training Camp has to be one of my annual highlights.  The community of players and coaches who come together for purpose of growing in skill, fitness, and competition is unlike anything else I know.  I currently teach at ARHS, run the fall intramural league, winter indoor league, and coach in the spring.  I plan on pursuing my M.Ed this coming spring and am really excited to go back to school.


Q: What are the two most important goals you’d like to achieve while serving on the UPA Board of Directors?
One of my goals is to increase legitimate rule knowledge at every level. Too often I feel there are conflicts and situations on the field that are purely a result of ignorance. Other times teams who do not know the rules get taken advantage of. In addition, it is astounding how many young players have great skill and athleticism without any rule knowledge. The growth of the sport depends on the players and coaches of the game to make rule knowledge higher up on their list of priorities.


Q: Why are you so concerned about injury prevention?

I am concerned about injuries in our sport.  I am concerned about the lack of education out there for players who want to (or should) take care of their bodies but don’t know how.  The longevity of our sport depends on our responsibility as players, coaches, and a community to prioritize and respect our bodies.  As a growing sport, we need players to keep playing.  As players we ask our bodies for tremendous output; we have to put in what we want to get out.  Stretching, hydration, eating smart, warming up at every level is so important for your body as an athlete.


Q: Any thoughts on the Youth Playing Limits debate? (

I skimmed both sides of the argument and my thoughts lie somewhere in between Mike and Adam’s.  I believe that regulating play like Mike is talking about (maybe not as extreme) is a fine idea.  I like the value it puts on safety and responsibility.  I think that limiting play should be league-based.  I don’t think it should be an all-encompassing rule that governs youth over all levels.

Q: Any advice for Ultimate coaches?

This is done much more easily at the youth level, but my advice for coaches in college and club would be to maintain early, strict, and clear boundaries between coaches and players.  This is tough when your captain last year is back as coach, or if you join your significant other’s team.  Boundaries are often overlooked and underestimated.  Maintaining a role that separates you from those that you coach is a fundamental and powerful advantage.
It is also important to be able to separate yourself emotionally from the team when you are coaching, particularly in the decision-making process.  If you are coaching a team that is having tryouts, you run the risk of sacrificing your overall team depth for friendships.  This happens all the time.  As a coach at any level, clarity and purpose is essential if your goal is to maximize your team’s potential and the work you all put in.

Q: Besides and materials such as the Ultimate Fitness DVD, where would you point players and coaches to that want to learn more about rules, injury prevention, coaching resources?

There is a good book out now called Essential Ultimate, written by Michael Baccarini and Tiina Booth.  I think it’s a great resource for coaches and players who are looking for support.

Thanks Jason!


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