, , , , ,

Essential Ultimate: Teaching, Coaching, Playing
Baccarini, Michael and Tiina Booth. Essential Ultimate, Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2008. 192 pp. 978-0736050937. paper. $20.95

DESCRIPTION: What’s inside?

Essential Ultimate: Teaching, Coaching, Playing, by authors Michael Baccarini and Tiina Booth, covers a range of informative topics over its 10 chapters. Pictures and diagrams on almost every page compliment the detailed descriptions covering techniques, describing skill building and/or coaching philosophy. The first chapter gives a little background about the sport of Ultimate and, like the final chapters in “Your Ultimate Program”, covers ideas for how coaches can pitch starting a program to school administrators. However, the significant elements of this text are chapters 2 through 7, which make up “Part 1”. Over these pages, the principles of throwing and catching are addressed, and individual (and team) offensive and defensive skills are discussed in depth. Marking. Cutting. Defensive Sets. Offense plays. Drills. Drills. And more Drills. It’s all in here.

Essential Ultimate - Baccarini and Booth

For those of you that don’t recognize their names, the authors are school educators and seasoned coaches of youth Ultimate, producing some of the sport’s top middle and high school competitors. I know first hand because I’ve played against their teams way back in High School and have read about their coaching achievements in the (formally) UPA magazine.  They have also each created summer programs, Paideia Ultimate Summer Camp and NUTC, respectively, to continue to develop young players.

DISCUSSION: How is this relevant to the sport of Ultimate?

This book is aptly named “Essential” because it covers all of the basics needed to develop a successful team. Baccarini and Booth present the material in such a way that it provides a great road map for coaches to follow when teaching the fundamentals of Ultimate. In fact, it was extremely useful in preparing for my workshops this past summer.

I’ve been playing Ultimate for 10 years, and I still learned new approaches to teaching skills and new drills to run. For example, in the section about Layout catching (p. 40 – 43), I learned an effective step-by-step process to safely introduce the awesome catch. I appreciated how the text is presented in a clear and professional manner that is very systematic.

I feel that the sport always benefits from legitimate works like this, which can entice many new players, and more importantly, supporters to be part of Ultimate. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is coaching an Ultimate team or wants to start a program with a local school.


There really isn’t anything that I can say by way of criticism. The layout of chapters makes sequential sense, the text is concise and informative, the images and diagrams beautifully add to the descriptions, the tips throughout all of the sections are helpful and the glossary is great for introducing new terms to novice players. It’s a really comprehensive tool! I think the only thing I would’ve loved with this is a companion DVD. Maybe in future additions?

So do you want it? If you would like to purchase this book check out Amazon, Borders and Human Kinetics; or you can view it on Google Books. You could try your local bookstore or even the library, but I haven’t found too many places that carry this title.

If you end up reading Essential Ultimate and like it, here are some similar reads to check out: Ultimate Techniques and Tactics by Parinella; Fundamentals of Ultimate by Studarus.

Please, offer suggestions about the layout of this entry because I plan on posting future “Book Reviews” on my blog. Thanks for checking out this post!