Fewer players, more coaches: Coppell ultimate frisbee taking new approach with smaller roster


Rishitha Penmetsa

Coppell High School senior’s Vinny Vincenzo, Luke Raetzman and Ethan Thompson practice throwing the frisbee among each other while running. They met after school at New Tech High @ Coppell with the rest of the team in order to practice their frisbee skills.

Anika Arutla, Staff Writer

Standing on a field, with seven players on each team, the objective of an ultimate frisbee player is to pass it to their other teammates without the interception of their opposing team and make it to the endzone. Even though only seven players are on the field, the effort behind the club requires many more players.


Although the Coppell ultimate frisbee team is less than 10 years old, it has gained a lot of support throughout the years. In fact, there have been years with almost 90 players on the team.


In contrast, from last year to this year, the number of coed players on the team has reduced from 40 to 15.


“We don’t have new players coming,” sophomore Ultimate Frisbee Club member Juliana Thompson said. “It’s benefiting in a way because we don’t have to go back and reteach basic fundamental stuff and start working on more advanced techniques.”


There are perks to having less players but the situation also creates backslides. With fewer players on the team, there is an insufficient amount  substitutes and the program’s representation at the school is reduced.


“We’re not getting a lot of new freshmen coming and keeping the same core going in,” senior Ultimate Frisbee Club member Jack Wilkinson said.


Having fewer players also restricts the amount of opportunities a player receives.


“Although you can have a team with just seven people, the good thing about having a lot of people is that you can have more than one team,” Thompson said. “In past years, when we had up to 60 people, we had one team with just boys and one mixed team with girls and boys. This increases playing time for everybody.”


With the decline in players, there is an unusual increase in the number of coaches. Last year’s head coach, Jeff Jordan, stepped down this year, leaving the team with four different coaches who take turns going to practice. Among them is CHS IB Economics teacher Jared Stansel, who officially serves as a sponsor for the team. Stansel began the ultimate frisbee program when asked by a student in 2011.


“Our coaches are not as consistent with being at practice, I’m gonna have to attend a few practices,” Stansel said. “While it is nostalgic and I do enjoy being out there in the camaraderie of the team, it creates more stress on me and it’s just one more thing that I have to do.”


In addition to Stansel, Coppell resident Brett Sidebottom and former player Aaron Thompson also help coach the team.


Having multiple coaches has its advantages and its disadvantages.


“Having more coaches will give us a new insight because we’ll have a lot of new perspectives of how to play the game and not just what style,” Wilkinson said.


The sudden addition of coaches also offers an opportunity for the players to embrace leadership.


“At this moment we have four coaches, usually one or two at every practice, but what we’re looking at doing is just having the team captains lead the practice and coaches to offer guidance,” Thompson said.

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