28 May 2008

Online learning

This is the first in a short series of posts on technology.

Dan Cogan-Drew has set up a new online tool.

It is openultimate.com

Check it out. You can enrol in a "course", which is a collection of photos, videos, blog posts and expositions built by the public. I believe you pass a course by contributing to the course discussion online.

You can create an online space for your team, where you can structure a course with the content you want. The US Junior teams have their own courses on there.

3 May 2008

Reflections on Nationals 2008

Firstly the fields. Crikey, I'm not sure I'd take the gamble. Excellent fields assured 80% of the time - when there is good weather. But when there is heavy rain - you get a mud farm. And that did not make for quality ultimate.

The Friday morning rain hit as we played the Masters. Our first point involved Cleetus getting 3 layout blocks. This was because a) Cleetus can run faster in the mud than Masters, and b) we turned it 3 times in the terrible conditions in the first point. Not a pretty game.

Its tough finding good fields in this sunburnt country (see Sydney Nats 06). I guess we've got to keep working at it.

On Friday night, it was great to watch the match between the Aussie Firetails and the Kiwi women's team. Australia are fielding more and more athletes these days. It seems to be an aspect where the North Americans really have it over us, so it is good to see us close the gap. However, the number of turnovers was a bit discouraging. Too often the Firetails took 3+ possessions to score, despite the Kiwis not being in the same class as them.

And I must have a word to Tom about their zone offense.

Heads of State had a solid tournament. There were some pretty disappointing moments, in particular losing a see-sawing, winner-takes-all last point vs Fyshwick and the pre-semi to I-Beam. But being the 4th best men's team in Australia (NZ pushed us down to 5th) ain't all bad, considering it is the first or second Nationals for most of our team. This is only year 2 of our journey. But we are hungry to improve and win more.

Surprises of the tournament (though not all that surprising):

Box finishing 6th. Last year they made the final. In 2008 they return with the same young talented squad enhanced by an extra year to improve their teamwork and grow their rookies. So how did Factory Girls and Southside overtake them?

They collapsed. Winning all the games on Day 1. Losing the rest to finish 11th 12th. Wow. We need an insider's story on this. But the results of Regionals held up at Nationals overall. We knew they weren't great after finishing fifth at Easterns. So not the biggest surprise in one sense. In those immortal words "they are who we thought they were"

The men's final
Fakulti looked shaky, unlike every other game they played in the tourney. An unprecedented number of unforced throwaways. Fyshwick on the other hand played pretty much to their potential (a very strong potential I should add), and so were lurking there at the end, despite never being able to take the lead. Perhaps Fakulti felt the obligations of being the bookie's favourite, with a lot to lose. But they stepped up to claim the title in their 5th final appearance, and perhaps their first one as favourites.

I am particularly happy for Kenny, Fatty and James - their first title after so many years of putting hard work into the Fakulti club.

All in all it was an entertaining men's final. Great to watch. I got to commentate. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Kenny and national champions Fakulti