- Mixed reaches a plateau
- Some split (elite/not or US/world) or maybe some major consolidation (UPA sucking in all the clubs)
Coaching. This movement is already well in gear. An increasing number of colleges have coaches, so much that virtually every team that hopes to make Nationals has one. However, the number of coaches in the club game is small, and the college coaches are generally active club players who are passively recruiting for their club teams or else they're jonesing for the college kids. I predict that there will be more retired players as coaches, that more club teams will have coaches, and that possibly cities will have coaching staffs that work with players at all levels in a more formal farm system arrangement.
Teaching. Part of coaching is teaching, but by this, I mean that there will be more individual instruction, and that it will exist at the elite level. Hell, Tiger Woods has a swing doctor. Ultimate will see the rise of instructors who will be able to work with all levels of players to work on the mechanics of throwing, cutting, or defending. Golfers, batters, and pitchers do it, why shouldn't we?
Stats. Ultimate will begin keeping track of individual and team stats in large numbers, and there will be a central repository to record these for history. It's already begun with the Score Reporter, but in 10 years you'll be able to get a list of the 10 players who have scored the most goals in the current college season.
Youth.This movement started when I was on the Board, although I didn't really have anything to do with it, and may have even opposed devoting a lot of resources to it since there were so few of them out there (I remember voting to allocate $50K of other people's money to a dependent constituency even though there wasn't any plan on how to spend it and saying, "Now I know how a Democrat feels"). In 10 years, there will be more high schoolers playing ultimate than there are club players.
Mixed reaches a plateau. The quality of play in the Mixed Division has been steadily improving the last few years, but it will peak at, say, 60-65% of the level of Open/Women's. It may continue to grow in size, but a maximum of 20% of the top players will be playing Mixed (current estimate: 2-4%).
Mainstream. 10 years ago, if you called Joe Corporate to ask for minor sponsorship, he'd say, "Ultimate frisbee? Never heard of it. Get the hell out of my office." Now, he'd say, "Ultimate? Yeah, the kid down the street plays on the high school team. Nice game....Now get the hell out of my office." Leagues will have a much easier time competing with soccer and softball for fields, kids won't have to hide it from their parents, and 50% of Americans will know the game well enough to know not to ask about dogs.
Some split (elite/not or US/world) or maybe some major consolidation (UPA sucking in all the clubs). The UPA will continue to grow in size and importance, but this might cause a splinter. The UPA does offer a lot and it's responsive to requests, but the fact is that the members are a captive audience. If a highly-motivated, highly-organized, and highly-funded innovator came along to offer a pro league, I think players might jump. Yes, there is much more loyalty to the UPA than there used to be, but players will vote with their cleats and go where the action is.
The UPA is conscientious about trying to give value to each of its constituencies, and to expand those constituencies. Youth, Colleges, local leagues: each of these could become the dominant force under the UPA umbrella, just as the fall club series had been the major player for the first 25 years. Will some group decide that they're better off on their own? Or will the UPA even decide that WFDF doesn't represent the UPA's interests any more than the UN represents the US' interests, and tell them, "Thanks, we're all set." I don't know what, but something's a-brewing.