Mike Natenberg

Written by Baritsa on . Posted in Coaches

Doublewide, #18


Russian Kate (??): 

At the first day of Nationals Idaho (Jaime ‘Idaho’ Arambula, two time coach from Sockeye Cmaps) pointed at Tank and said that he is a great coach and i should definitely invite him to my third camp. Honestly I was very sceptical about that. I worked on the fields where Doublewide played during the previous Nationals (2011) and I didn’t like them since the first game. Guys seemed insolent in their manner and pretty aggressive (at least comparing to other teams) - I was not good in English and I didn’t understand their southern slang, they pretended that that they didn’t understand my english with russian accent and even after I asked them to use “more simple language” they just laughed and nothing changed. This Nationals I avoided to work on their fields, but when they got to play against Revolver, I agreed because I loved to work on Revolver’s games. 

Revolver crashed Doublewide in this power pool game - 15:3. Everybody was shocked! Me too. But i was shocked because I was looking at very different team. Calm, polite, smiley, self-disciplined and just a good guys. Even losing the game they stayed positive. Yes, they were very disappointed, nervous. Players sat on the bench, went out of the field area, watered their heads, threw away bottles, but didn’t yelled on people, didn’t foul premeditated, didn’t called fake fouls (at least I didn’t notice that from the sideline). 

At the end of sunday half of the team knew me, smiled and chatted to me. And Idaho continued to talk about Tank. 

After the final game Tank suddenly came to me and asked: 

- I heard that you want to talk to me? 
… Idaho! :)
- Yes, I’d like to invite you to Russia to coach at the skill clinic. 
- I’ll gladly come! 

Later we just discussed some details in emails and he sent me this article about himself in a couple of days after confirmation.

Russian Kate


Michael “Tank” Natenberg is Mr. Frisbee. Any tournament you go to with Tank, he knows about 90% of the people there because he has slept on their couch at one time during his world travels. His smile is so endearing that if he asked you to break up with your girlfriend, after just smiling at you, you would do it. As a team captain, Tank leads by example. He makes everyone on the team better because they strive to work as hard as he does he does. As far as his skill on the ultimate field, you would be hard pressed to find someone that is a more complete player. Tank prides himself on being in better shape than anyone that is covering him, so while you might be able to cover him during the first couple points, as the game wears on he will run you into the ground. His throws are pinpoint and his ability to break the mark is first class. Tank is never the tallest, fastest, or highest jumper on the field; however, he is almost always the biggest difference maker.

Max Cook, Doublewide #4




Biography info:

  • Date of birth – October 28, 1980
  • Place of birth - Tulsa, Oklahoma U.S.A.
  • Height - 6’1” (185 cm)
  • Weight - 160 lbs.  
  • University – the University of Texas at Austin

Ultimate Biography

Growing up outside of Houston, TX my parents encouraged me to play as many sports as possible: baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, cross-country, swimming, and football.  In high school I started to concentrate on basketball.  Although ultimate was known on the coasts it hadn’t reached the high schools of Texas yet. 

I found out about ultimate at the University of Texas at Austin.  A high school friend, Chuck Tsen, convinced me to come out to a practice and after laying out for a huck I was hooked.  The defensive positioning and movement on the mark was very similar to basketball and I’ve always loved to run.  Ultimate became more than a sport to me after my first summer of playing in co-ed tournaments like Poultry Days and Potlatch when I was introduced to the amazing community we have.  I don’t really remember how I got my nickname, Tank.  It happened at one of my early practices with Texas.  There must have been too many Mikes, and the captains may have thought I looked like this guy, Tank from the Matrix. It stuck and has been with me ever since.

I wear the #18 because Skip Sewell, one of my Texas coaches, had a pile of #13 jerseys leftover from the previous year to hand out to the new players.  Before the first game at the tournament I used a sharpie to change the 3 to an 8 and stuck with it ever since.


After my first season of college ultimate I tried out for the new club team, Doublewide.  I was lucky to have the support of my coaches Calvin Lin, Tal Tversky, and Skip Sewell and made the team.  I was still new to ultimate and jumped at the opportunity to play with more experienced players.  I’ve played the last 12 years with Doublewide and love the “well nasty”* brotherhood we’ve built

* “well nasty” - it's a saying we have on Doublewide. We changed the meaning of well nasty to something that is extremely good.

Doublewide has competed at the international level twice, in Perth, Australia (WUCC 2006) and Prague, Czech Republic (WUCC 2010).  Although we hoped to finish higher at both tournaments, they were great team building experiences.  Our team has steadily improved since 2001 and I’m proud to be a captain of the 2012 roster that recently won the National Championship.

I play on the offensive line for Doublewide.  I’m mainly a primary cutter looking to get open down field to start the flow of our vertical stack offense.  My main goal is to keep our offense moving and get the disc to my teammates where they are most effective.   This could be by throwing a break mark to one of our handlers or sending a deep shot to one of our big receivers.  

My favorite throw is a tie between the inside break flick and the hammer.

Other than Ultimate…

I teach 5th grade (10 and 11 year olds) in an elementary school.  The job takes a lot of energy, but is very rewarding.  Besides the satisfaction of helping students discover our world it provides an opportunity to travel 2 months every year during summer break.  My wife, Cara Crouch (Team USA World Games ‘09), is also a teacher so we take full advantage of our time off to travel the world.

My colleagues do know I play ultimate and how important it is to me.  It makes it a lot easier to get approved for time off! Although they don’t fully understand it yet they at least know it isn’t disc golf.

In the offseason and while traveling I enjoy getting into the wilderness.  Backpacking, hiking, or trail running I love the outdoors.  I also play in a basketball league with other Doublewide players.


I’m excited to take part in the Russian Training Camp because I love passing on what I’ve learned while playing ultimate on to other eager players.  I started coaching ultimate during my last year of college and haven’t stopped since. 

My experience:

  • Current captain of Doublewide
  • Current coach of LASA/LBJ Vertikills (HS)
  • Great Britain Skills Clinic coach – summer 2010
  • Guest coach at Michelle Ng’s Without Limits tournaments
  • Co-coach of the University of Texas at Austin (TUFF)  - ’09 and ‘10
  • Captain of the University of Texas at Austin (TUFF) – ’03 and ‘04

I learn something new about the game every time I’m around players from other programs or countries.  There are so many ways to approach this game tactically and spiritually. 

I’m so excited to travel to Russia, make new Frisbee friends, learn about your culture, and coach ultimate!  Спасибо and  see you soon. 

You can check out our past travels at http://tankandcarainoz.blogspot.com.  

P.S. The day when Doublewide won Nationals in 2012, Mike turned 32. It's a such a great gift for the birthday.