The UAP Conference for Coaches 2016 Halftime Report

This updated article was originally published in on Skyd Magazine. You can find the original article here.

Our Conference started this week. Now in its third year, the UAP Conference (also known as URCA) is bringing together coaches from all over the world to share experiences and expertise. Attendees learn from expert coaches about how they tackle challenges, structure practice, facilitate the growth of team culture, and more! And each talk is hosted via webinar.

Now that the Conference has reached the halfway point, here are a few highlights and details of the action so far.


This year’s conference brings in 12 speakers representing the US, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, and Australia. The audience of 938 attendees represents players and coaches from all over the globe.

Monday and Tuesday’s talks featured:

  • Melissa Witmer – Player Motivation – Increasing your team’s compliance to your training program
  • Jools Murray – Ensuring Training Transfers to the Pitch: How to structure sessions and drills to drive differential learning
  • Alex Davis – Practice Planning, Habit Forming, and Drill Design
  • Mauricio Moore – Achieving Mental Toughness and Consistency on the Field: Managing the ego
  • Ben Van Heuvelen – Using Spirit of the Game to Improve Mental Toughness and Gain a Competitive Advantage
  • Manisha Daryani – The Relationship Between Coach, Administration, and Captains


Melissa Witmer
Melissa provided a six part matrix for helping you to think of different ways to motivate your players to comply with an athletic development program. In the Q&A session, Melissa spoke about the potential benefits of post-workout selfies.

Jools Murray
Jools started by saying, “I don’t have the answers but what I hope to give you is a better toolbox for achieving your own answers.” And she delivered. The audience got a six-part toolkit for creating games and exercises that would be much more likely to elicit the desired behaviors on the field. She provided some interesting thoughts on nonverbal cues and the Japanese style of defense.

Alex Davis
As usual, Alex brought a serious analytical flair to his presentations. In designing drills we often accidentally reinforce bad habits. How are ant death circles similar to the behavior of ultimate players swarming and inexperienced player with dump cuts? Both are automatically reinforcing unwanted behavior with positive cues. Alex also gave an excellent three point framework for evaluating your drills.

Mauricio Moore
With a mix of fun and philosophy, Mauricio laid out how to use your personality and awareness of the ego to support internal and external victories for your athletes. He challenges us to think about what’s better, a trophy or medal that you strive for and then put in your drawer for the rest of the year, or the interval victories of achieving your own performance goals.

Ben van Heuvelen
For all of you Star Wars fans, Ben spoke about the strengths and weaknesses of using “the dark side” or “light side” mentality. Turns out SOTG can exist at a high level of play and may help with consistency of performance.

Manisha ‘Slap’ Daryani
How do you help you players choose captains that are right for the team? Manisha brings her moderator skills to this important process that shapes a team in the short term, and the program as a whole over the long term.


  • Keith Raynor – Stack Talk: Understanding three common offensive sets
  • Ráchel Tošnerová – Girl Talk: Developing a young women’s team
  • Ren Caldwell – Simple Ways to Create an Athletic Team Culture
  • Mario O’Brien – Keep it Simple: The do’s and don’t of talking in the huddle
  • Mish Phillips – How to Generate Buy-in and Commitment
  • Qxhna Titcomb – Lessons from the All-Star Tour

Want access to recordings of all of our 2016 Conference (along with every other year since 2013)? Join the Classroom.