29 October 2013

AUGs is better than Mixed Nationals

The two big tournaments during the Mixed season in Australia are Australian University Games (AUGs) and Mixed Nationals.

And AUGs is better.

AUGs this year had 8 teams in Division 1 and around 20 teams in Division 2. Teams started their training in May for this October tournament. Some used regional university tournaments as preparation for their representative team, some sent less experienced players, using it as a development opportunity. I coached Monash at Southern Uni Games and we had a very rigorous campaign: tryouts, weekly trainings, voting for captaincy, defensive match ups carefully assigned, even the team requesting extra training sessions.

The competition at AUGs followed on from this.

Monash vs UWA in the semis. Again. Photo from Jared.
Two of the most widely known trends in Australian ultimate are from AUGs: UWA's many recent losses in the semifinals and Sydney University's many silver medals.

In comparison, can you name a notable trend for Mixed Nationals clubs? Can you even remember who won two years ago?

The 2013 Mixed Nationals final
The restrictions on AUGs lead to a better event. Players can only compete for their university. Teams have a very clear identity, and know who their rivals are. Relegation to Division 2 means two years of hard work to make it back to Division 1. Just ask UQ.

Almost every Division 1 AUG team had a coach this year.

In comparison, most Mixed Nationals teams don't have an ongoing identity. If a collection of friends from different regions can put a team together, some of them meeting each other on Day 1 of the tournament, and win gold easily, the value of winning the title is less than at AUGs. The fluctuating landscape of mixed clubs means none of the mixed teams that competed at WUCC2010 will attend WUCC2014, or even exist this year. Ongoing club names like Friskee, Cabs are Here, Funny Duck, Townsvillains and FEAR are a little more common, but are still in the minority.

And this is fine. It makes Mixed Nationals a more relaxed tournament, a fun-loving experience, a break from the intensity of the men's and women's seasons. Players get to play with their friends who they wouldn't normally play with. These are valuable attributes.

But it makes AUGs better than Mixed Nationals, despite there being more talent at Mixed Nationals. There is more competition, more development of players and clubs, more consistency in attendance by teams. And there is more satisfaction in winning a hard fought, fair game at AUGs.

This is the status quo for Australian mixed ultimate.

20 May 2013

The new offering from Morrill Performance: The Foundation

So ultimate fitness guru Tim Morrill has been hard at work...

He has compiled all his training structures, ideas and explanations into one ebook.

You also get a comprehensive set of videos included in the purchase. There are over 100 videos, to show you the exercises and movements described. One click in the ebook, and you are watching an example on Youtube that you can pause, replay or bookmark.

It's great value for anyone looking to elevate their ultimate game by learning how to train their body and  become a better athlete.

If you have been to a Morrill Performance Clinic, the content and ideas are all captured here. No need to guess what the ideal movement or exercise looks like. It will trigger your memory.

If you haven't been to a clinic, this is the next best thing to attending. Living in a different country to Tim is no longer an excuse to miss out!

The even better news is that it currently has $20 off the price. Pretty awesome since it is already the best money you can spend on your improving your fitness for ultimate.

Check it out.

See if you can spot Heads of State being represented!

15 April 2013

Choosing your language

The language you use in a community or team sets the atmosphere and direction of the group.

So what words and terms does your team use now?

Which expressions do you want to use?

Here are some to compare, with implications that vary from obvious to subtle:

  1. "Stop turning it over, guys" vs "Let's take the simple options"
  2. "Our focus is to score every time we have the disc" vs "Our focus is to be assertive every time we have the disc"
  3. "We've been running really hard" vs "We're running really hard"
  4. "We want take away the deep cuts" vs "We're going to take away the deep cuts"
  5. "After a turnover, we're gonna play zone" vs "If we're on D, we're gonna play zone"
  6. "You need to stack deeper" vs "We are going to stack deeper"  
  7. "Let's play man when we are on D" vs "Let's match up when we are on D"
I would suggest that successful teams want to use language that is positive, phrased in terms of the controllables, phrased in the present or near future, creates the desired behaviour instead of wishing for it, focussed on the task at hand instead of errors, inclusive of speaker and listeners, and inclusive of both women and men. Each of the comparisons listed above highlights one of those features.

You and your team can make a conscious decision to use the language of winning. It starts at your next training or game.