17 December 2012

Five days into the Explosive Ultimate clinics

Tim Morrill has come out to Australia to deliver his Explosive Ultimate clinics.

So far, it has been a real eye opener.

Tim giving advice
Tim has delivered a clinic to my club, Heads of State, as well four weekend clinics to many other Victorians.

His style is passionate, encouraging, and high-speed. He considers all questions carefully and has extensive knowledge gained from working with hundreds of elite athletes, from reading the literature and personal experience as an ultimate player, surfer and athlete.

Tim starts by outlining the demands of ultimate, identifying the movements we use in our sport, then explaining how to be train them. He has lots of appropriate cues.

While you are trialling the activities and movements, Tim is dishing out feedback and observing how you are going.

The clinics have covered the basics of speed, agility, strength and power.

  • Basic Ideas and Concepts for Weightroom
  • Exercises and Categories
  • Program Design
  • Knee Stability & ACL Reduction
  • Self Myofacial Release (Lacrosse balls)
  • Flexibility, Mobility & Warm Up
  • Activation & ACL Reduction (Bands)
  • Jumping Mechanics
  • Agility: Jab Step and Crossover Progressions (Ladders)
  • Conditioning

It's been really valuable having exposure in Australian ultimate to new ways of thinking about these issues. Historically, our knowledge about fitness and training has been piecemeal. We haven't had comprehensive expertise before on weight training, physiology, recovery and biomechanics from someone who understands the sport of ultimate.

Connect with Tim online, or attend a Explosive Ultimate clinic as soon as you can.

3 December 2012

Explosive Ultimate clinics - register now!

Here is an event for all Aussies to come along to!

This month, Heads of State Ultimate, in collaboration with the AFDA, Ultimate Victoria, UFNSW, ACTUA and QUDA are hosting Explosive Ultimate clinics.

Tim Morrill, elite fitness coach for ultimate athletes, will deliver two different clinics: Speed & Agility 101, and Strength & Power 101. This is his first, and possibly, only visit to Australia.

Tim will be sharing loads of expertise on how to be a better ultimate athlete.

Clinics are being held in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane.

The full calendar for the Explosive Ultimate clinics is here

Sign up through the link on the relevant clinic page.

You can also follow Tim through these channels. Check them out!

2 August 2012

2012 Worlds - the media

Here is the first in a few posts about 2012 Worlds. Better late than never.

The media coverage took a significantly larger step forward than any Worlds or World Clubs that I can remember, thanks to those who helped invent the internet...

Ultimate's profile and connection to audiences will not be built on the back of traditional mainstream media such as newspaper stories and TV 60 second segments (though we don't want to ignore those). Those media are for telling the world - "Hey! We exist".

Our sport will grow and connect with people though the media that people inside our community build. You could follow the action through the tweeters and Facebook followers.

Skyd Magazine had insightful commentary and updates on what was happening. This is journalism for our community. 

And most significantly you can watch games online.

NexGen Ultimate have emerged in the last two years as a group who are prepared to invest over several years in building a channel where ultimate fans can watch live and on-demand footage of games from major events in the US, and a few others from around the world. They took steps we haven't seen before in our sport, such as flying Lou and Chase across from the US to commentate, who then interviewed teams on their plans and expectations before games.

The coverage had replays, live scores and multiple camera angles - the features we take for granted in mainstream television coverage.

Also at Worlds were Ulti.tv are an Australian outfit who trialled their systems last year at Adelaide's weekly city league. Dan, Mike and Declan have refined their polecam. They could film on any field and did - over 40 games were recorded, with every country represented.

If you like being able to watch professionally presented ultimate games online, on demand, then these are great organisations to support. Throw a few dollars their way, and buy a subscription.

Even the Swedes had some basic footage of games from Worlds, such as Australia vs Sweden and the GB vs Sweden semifinal. Its free on youtube.

The little things involved in running a tournament now become more important. When the acoustics of the audio system make the opening ceremony speeches impossible to hear, it isn't just a thousand ultimate players who can't hear - it is everyone who ever watches the footage online from now onwards.

Only a few years ago, I was wondering why ultimate seemed behind the times in terms of organised internet presence, but it seems like we are making up for lost time.

27 April 2012

A review of the 2012 Australian Ultimate Championships

The 2012 Australian Ultimate Championships have been run and won.

On field, Aussie Nationals had impressive depth in the open and womens' divisions.

Plunder met Pillage in the open final as some expected, in a game spoilt by wind and lack of focus. Plunder triumphed in a battle between the two Colony teams. However, all their previous games confirmed their strength, each going undefeated with the exception of Plunder losing their match-up in the power pools to Pillage.

Bronze medal for AUC 2012.
My club, Heads of State, took out 3rd and 12th place with our two teams, Burgundy and White.

Perennial powerhouse Fyshwick United (ACT) took 4th, while New Zealand were 5th (though disappointed with losing to Heads of State in the quarterfinal in golden point). New Zealand take many things from this tournament in their lead up to Worlds in July.

Firestorm (Queensland), Sublime (Western Australia) and I-Beam (Newcastle, NSW) rounded out the top 8. Chilly (Victoria) defeated the Australian Masters team for 9th - a poetic occasion as many players from both teams were in the Chilly team that came 2nd last year. The Masters would have been disappointed with their final placing compared to their 2nd place at the BCI tournament only 3 weeks prior. It was an indicator of the parity and depth.

On the women's side, the final was an all Victorian affair. Honey trailed 5-1 to Team Box early. The depth of athleticism and throwing from Team Box seemed destined to carry them to a win over Honey as has happened many times in the last five years between the two clubs.

Yet Kelli, then Mama, then Steph, then Kerry, then Cath, took charge. Accompanied by their hard-running teammates they outmuscled Team Box in a gusty final full of gambling hucks. More catches (by O and D) seemed to be made than in the open final. Honey went on their own 5-1 run, and finally prevailed by 2 points. An amazing finish for a team that has grown and grown over the years with player development and a strong work ethic.

Sand Dunes (NSW) took 3rd over Kaos (Perth, Western Australia) after Sand Dunes flopped in their semi final. Kaos seem to be on a similar path to Honey, impressing people this year with a first appearance in the semifinals.

Factory (ACT), Wildcard Bellagio (Sydney, NSW) and New Zealand also finished in the top eight.

Split this year into two equal teams, Wildcard couldn't make it back to the final. Factory also fell short of returning to the final.

Australian ultimate evolves as the years tick on: scoop passes, physically holding your space on defence and new variations of zones are widespread now. The top open teams regularly have structures or lines that depend on whether they are pulling or receiving, though only some clubs have strict O and D lines. None of these approaches were visible 7 or 8 years ago.

Offence is improving - the Heads of State vs I-Beam showcase game ended with around 14 consecutive offence scores, despite hard working defence. As in North American ultimate, the progress of a game is now discussed in terms of how many breaks are given up or earnt.

It was pleasing to see several instances of calls being discussed then withdrawn or not contested. For instance, Pete Gardner withdrew a receiving foul in the last minutes of the open final.

In terms of organisation, Newcastle were great hosts. All fields except two (due to heavy rain affecting original fields) were in the same venue. The showcase games and finals were played on a picturesque, lush cricket oval in front of a covered grandstand.

The open final
Heads of State were able to play on it twice, and the standard of ultimate improves several notches when you can turn on a dime. I will always sacrifice more to play on high quality turf.
Food, draw, volunteers, presentations, schwag and proximity to town were all great. Poor weather and some patchy grass meant fields weren't all fantastic, but all could be laid out on.

Thank you Newcastle Ultimate.

13 March 2012

The throw that the good players are using

The throw to add to your repertoire is the backhand, from a forehand stance.

By forehand stance, I mean facing downfield, with your knees, chest, nose all pointing towards the endzone that you are attacking. Then throwing a backhand: right-handers bring the disc to the left side of your body in a backhand grip, and throw.

One advantage is that you don't need to pivot to throw a forehand - you are already in a good stance for a forehand. So the marker has to respect that forehand threat. Additionally it is quicker than pivoting out to a backhand stance before throwing a backhand.

The disadvantages are: you don't release as wide as when you pivot out into backhand stance for a conventional backhand, and you also lose the rotation of your hips and shoulders. Your range is limited to 10 - 20m for most players.

But that is all the range you need for 90% of your throws.

Watch Sockeye use it on almost every pass in this point (at 23mins 50sec), in particular the assist. Then start practising it - it will give you more wrist snap on all your backhands.

14 February 2012

How to switch grips

A little while ago, Brodie Smith put out a great video on how to switch grips from backhand to forehand.

In my view, there are 3 key steps for going from backhand grip to forehand grip then returning to backhand grip.

Start by having the disc in both hands in front of you, with the pattern side facing up.
  1. Flip the disc over in your hands, moving into a forehand grip (don't raise the disc any higher, just have it turn over). Have it sitting in front of your stomach.
  2. Bring your elbow out wide from your body, ready to throw a forehand.
  3. Snap the disc back down to your other hand, in front of your stomach, changing to backhand grip as you go.
Flip it.

Elbow out.

Snap back to the middle.

Brodie demonstrates.

Now watch some game footage. Notice how often and how quickly the disc is flipped in the hands of experienced players, as they switch grips. Here's one game to watch.