Friday, August 31, 2007

Battle for the Best Ultimate Jersey

Similar to last year I'm hoping to have a poll battle, but this time for our favourite Ultimate jersey. Lots of you weren't thrilled with the Logo Battle, but a bunch of us had a great time voting week in week out, and watching our team logos lose to various top team logos.

Don't worry. I'm not going to run the jersey battle during the fall series and I'll leave it for the off season, but I need to start planning and getting submissions. So, please e-mail me your jersey submissions in picture form similar to the photo below:

The basic rules:

  1. I can change the rules.
  2. Photo format for your team ultimate jersey
    1. Front and back shots of the jersey (one or two photos)
    2. Can include both light and dark, but will be considered one submission
    3. No game action shots
    4. No nudity
    5. JPG format
    6. Should show the jersey well (the above photo is not the best example of this, but not the worst)
    7. I have the right to not except a photo, but will e-mail you back on why. This will hopefully allow time for resubmission
  3. One submission per team
The basic format of the contest:
  • Single elimination with possibility of wild cards.
  • It will depend on the number of submissions.
That's the basic plan. So send your submissions to jamieson dot peter at gmail dot com. I'll start the battle in November accepting submissions until the first round is complete.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Poll Thursday - Labor Day Guess

Hey Folks,

So it appears that most of you are happy with the boo. You know what I say to that - "boo". We had some good heckling at the finals at Chesapeake. The best was one of the guys was going on about "down with free health care". I was trying to focus on the game from the sideline, but some of lines cracked me up.

This week I thought we would take a shot at picking the winners for the Labor Day Classic. Make your guesses to the right. RRI has details on the Mixed, Open and Women's division.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

CUC Audio Commentary - Mixed Division

I had the fortune of doing live audio commentary for the finals at Canadian Nationals. Norman Farb and myself spent about 8 hours in the audio booth at Varsity field making random comments on the game over the internet. Norm has cleaned up the audio and here is the commentary on the mixed game (about 18MB). I will post the Women and Open games over the next two weeks.

Note that we made some errors on names, scores, and made random comments that may or may not be true facts. This audio is also unedited, so our slip ups are all there. I tried syncing the commentary to video, but unless the video is for the entire game there is lots of starting and pausing.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Not the man, what to do

I get lots of handlers coming up to me asking what they need to do once they become offside handlers (let's call them beta handlers). The basic premise is you came from team X where you were the main handler. Most of the resets go through you, you always pick up the disc first, and you're the one who throws the majority of assists. You've moved up the ranks to team Y and now you're the number two, three, or lower handler. What do you do on the field?

My first experience like this was four years ago from Pong to Grand Trunk, and I, as a handler, had no clue what to do. The other players around me had no clue what the challenge was either since we were all alpha handlers.

Four years later, my role this fall series is very similar. Instead of feeling lost and out of the place, I love the challenge of the beta handler making space, good resets, setting up continuation, and moving the disc. The beta handler has to have a better perspective of cutting and flow and has to be aware all the time. It also turns out that these skills make you a better alpha handler.

Here are some general themes to think about to help you adjust to the beta handler position:

  • If you're not the primary then make movement or lack of movement to allow teammates to get open.
    • As simple as this sounds, to make space you need to predict where people want to go. This requires visual spacial calculations (still love video games for this training), which in turn means lots of looking and awareness.
  • Always position yourself to reset, setup continuation, or balance the field. If you're not doing one of these three and your defender can poach you are killing your team.
    • Your reset position needs to be good and set quickly.
    • To balance the field you need to be prepared to be a cutter as much as a handler.
  • I've discussed this earlier, but remember to keep the disc moving on early stall counts.
  • A break side swing is the best look (in most cases) on a backwards reset cut.
    • Some people tend to automatically fake (the swing among other throws) when they first get the disc. A good defender will catch onto this and take advantage of it.
  • Move.
    • This one is simple and hard, but you always need to be a threat. As soon as your defender looks away then make an attacking movement.
  • Work on your reset cut and throw incessantly. These are two of the most fundamental and important parts of your game.
The reality the beta handler job is challenging to get good at, but at the higher levels of Ultimate the lines between a beta and alpha handler are very small. Movement, disc movement, and spacing will serve a team well regardless of your position.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Tournament 11 - Lesson 1 - Awe Nuts

We had a great weekend at Chesapeake to start off the fall series with a wow. It was seven games of quality ultimate in extreme heat on Saturday and average weather on Sunday. The first thing I learned, the hard way, is the importance of salt.

Pictured Above: Looks like a good read from Open pool play at CUC'07 (photo courtesy of Marc Hodges)

This is even trickier as a diabetic. Before, I used to drink Gatorade to at least replenish some of the sodium I was losing, but now the high sugar content in Gatorade makes it a useless product from my perspective. In the 37 degree Celsius weather, I was sweating constantly, and by the third game on Saturday against BAT, my calf started to cramp. I stopped the cramping with some food and massage so I could get out for a point, and then the top of my hamstring craped (I've never felt that before).

That's when I remembered a lesson that I've learned ages ago, but needed to be reminded about with the importance of salt and the benefit of salted nuts. Nuts are low carbohydrate, high protein food that I can eat, somewhat, for free and get some salt and nutrients to replace what I lost. Plus the nuts are cheap and high in calories (mainly fat).

Those simple lessons of eating well, drinking, keeping cool, and replacing salts are so simple, and yet, so important.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Poll Thursday - Boo

I just watched the ECC finals with the Buzz Bullets and Sockeye. I think the most exciting part of the game was the crowd's repeated "Boo" for player 6 that happened after a Buzz Bullet player had to jump the crowd on a run down out the back of the endzone and Sockeye 6 quickly grabbed the disc and ran the disc into play. It's one of those nothing is in the rules, but it seemed like a cheap move (at least that's how the crowd saw it). The player sensed the crowds boos and sort of waited to make a small simple throw. He got booed 4 or 5 more times throughout the point and more throughout the game, and the crowd really got into supporting the Bullets.

Similarly, at Motown Throwdown in the Goat vs. BAT finals, Grand Trunk became a biased Toronto crowd and sent the boo out on a few calls that BAT made. The two teams made a game of it and the crowd was really into the action. In general, I think the crowd in both games gave the game some more excitement.

The poll this week (to the right) is simple. Should Ultimate crowds stick with the "Boo" or move to the tennis and football disapproval preference of the whistle.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Jump balls and late throws - Foul?

To each their own is my general feeling about fouls. When I play, I like to grind a little like a basketball player, and I won't call anything along those lines. In general, though it's a personal opinion if you think you're fouled or not.

The two situations I find the hardest foul calls to watch are when a poor throw is made that results in a jump ball and a late throw is thrown.

Pictured Above: A jump ball from CUC'07 (photo courtesy of Marc Hodges).

In the first situation, a bunch of people go up for a disc, nobody catches the disc, and one person yells out, "foul". Personally, I just don't think you should call a foul in this situation. The throw is essentially a turnover from the throw and you should go to try and catch the disc, but unless there's a flagrant foul (not incidental contact) then let it go.

The second call is made when you're fouled, you then throw, and you call foul. This is a turnover since the foul was not on the throw. I think this call is made because people are trying to do their team's strategy and take advantage of fouls on the throw. This is fine, but the above sequence is not fine, and it's a turn.

Both situations happen frequently in Ultimate. I think most people know what happened when it is explained, but have too much pride to change their call. I have more respect for people who think about the situation and admit when a turns a turn, but to each their own.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Season Switch - Time to evaluate and set the pace

The Canadian ultimate club season is split into two. We have the summer series leading up to Canadian nationals and the fall season run to UPAs. This transition point is a perfect time to evaluate the season so far. If you don't have an official break (our opponents to the south) like this make one at half way through the season. It's a good time to reflect and recoup.

As much as you think you evaluate your season unless your pro actively working on a review your just passively thinking. You actually need to spend about ten minutes and (re)write what you were hoping to do (goals), and how close you were to achieving your goals during the first half. Write down what improved in your game, your teams game, and what got worse and needs improving.

Pictured Above: Tombstone and Glum guys in the air at the finals at CUC'07. Tombstone takes the win to represent Canada at Worlds (photo courtesy of Marc Hodges).

For my review I satisfied 1 short term goal and missed out on 2 other short term goals (one due to injury). My coaching goals were for the most part satisfied. The trick now is resetting the goals or making new ones for the rest of the season. The same is true for team goals.

The other thing to do at the halfway point is to look at your life and make sure everything is in place (as much as possible) to make the busy aspect of the remainder season more calm. Check how burnt out you are and do what you have to be ready for the big push.

The good news for me is after a weekend off I'm bored and ready to hit the touring circuit.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Old East vs West - a new debate

Sockeye pulls a 17-16 win over Buzz Bullets at ECC (RRI). Is it time to change the debate from East vs West to the Pacific rim vs North America. As much as we would love to dominate a sport forever, I think we are going to need to work to keep our strength in the sport.

Furious and Sockeye were the only two teams that beat Buzz Bullets over the tournament, and Japan's top team beat the likes of Jam, Bravo, Sub Zero, and Chain Lightning. In my books that's impressive, and there's no doubt that these guys are ramping up for Worlds next year.

Pictured Above: Fiesty vs. Team Alberta at CUC'07 (photo courtesy of Jaleel).

I've also heard good things about the Aussies. Their sports funding goes as deep as Ultimate. Canadian funding goes as deep as...well the hockey teams are pretty good.

Will next years worlds be a four or five horse race instead of the traditional 2 horse North American race? Also, over the next year, how can we make sure the tide back is in our favour like it has been in the past.

First off, the U.S. has an impressive college system that will fuel the club teams for years to come. Luckily, with lack of money their will be very little international participation to the likes of NCAA basketball or the CHL's hockey. In Canada, we're trying to be as much a part of the college spring series to experience the quality of competition.

Also, the high school system and summer training camps are just starting to really flourish. Over the next few years their will be a constant influx of new talent.

In one year, however, this will not significantly effect the 2008 Worlds. I think a few deciding factors to consider are personnel, competition, and preparation.

Personnel is tricky. I'm still for the winner gets to go, qualification style, and that might be fine this time. I'm not sure it will be sufficient in the long term. The pickups are key, but they need to be playing with the world teams for at least a month or more. Chemistry is so important when you're facing a team that for the most part works together.

Competition is all about weekends like ECC, Colorado Cup, and Chesepeake. I think, however, you've got to go a step further with a World prequel exhibition tournament where all star teams (NE, NW, SE, and SW) all meet up to play the U.S. and Canadian world teams for one weekend (maybe something similar to the MLU). Consider inviting Japan, Australia, and the U.K. with the risk that they'll benefit.

Preparation is about scouting. You need to look at the tapes on these opponents and look at them hard. If you want to win it all this year, it is time to get a scouting team on your side and have a game plan and a strategic study during the game.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bathurst Odds - The post analysis

Overall, my picks for Nationals were dead on at the top, I misplaced the Prairie teams, and were pretty close at the bottom other than a few of the pickup teams making big moves. Pretty good for having only a little information.

It's clear that 1 and 2 (Furious and Goat) are 1 and 2 with 3 is nipping at their heels. Invictus, however, needs to commit to improving if they ever want in on the finals. With Nationals moving to Calgary next year and Furious, probably, back to not showing, I would guess they might have a shot to get in the finals.

Rankings 4 through 12 (and an invitation to Red Circus) are all fighting with each other in every game they play. Mephisto and Strike definitely lead the pack, but I would argue any team in this range will give the other teams a good battle. The nice thing is good competition pushes all these teams to be better.

I think the best thing about the summer season is that rivalries and back and forth games were the name of the season. For example, Roy and Firebird continued their season to season struggle with Roy coming our on top this year (as I predicted). As some teams move into the fall season and the University season starts up, all these teams will be looking to improve and make next season as good.

  1. Furious (picked 1st) - it was a finals that Furious jumped ahead on after taking advantage of errors and didn't stop rolling. Only a few would have bet against these guys.
  2. Goat (picked 2nd) - had a scare against Invictus, but made it to the finals with very few other challenges. The finals was what it was. Hopefully, this will leave the team hungry for more.
  3. Invictus (picked 3rd) - these guys were good, but not good enough to break into the top 2. They're still clearly in the top echelon.
  4. Mephisto (picked 4th) - not their best tournament of the year, but they did what they had to to get into the quarters.
  5. General Strike (picked 11) - sure these guys made it to 5th, but boy did they complain about me picking them so low (in banter that is completely for fun). I just called it as I saw it, and I didn't see much from them over the season.
  6. Blackfish (picked 7th) - A great tournament for these guys. They only lost by 1 in the quarters. Vancouver number 2 is showing well for their second season of existence. I expect a fall series run will show how they fit in the West.
  7. Mangina (picked 14th) - These guys could have been 7th (results aren't up yet). I picked them low on the basis of no info. I met one of these guys on the bus ride to the field and really enjoyed hearing about Ultimate in Saskatchewan and the challenges they face in getting to tournaments.
  8. Nads (picked 6th) - The number 2 team in Ontario after this tournament. I just wish they would play more during the regular season or see them in a fall UPA run.
  9. Phoenix (picked 5th) - Nads and Blackfish pushed these guys into the lower pool where they showed they're on the rebuild, but still strong enough to take the bracket. The lowest finish for Phoenix, but still a positive season with signs of a return to the top.
  10. Grand Trunk (picked 10th) - I thought we might be here unless we had a breakout tournament. It turns out our breakout was late on Saturday by beating some teams who had our number this year.
  11. Q (picked 12th) - Q finishes the tournament strong with a win over Magma. This hasn't been Q's best year, and I hear their veteran handler is retiring. Hopefully, number 7 stays on the team to help rebuild.
  12. Magma (picked 8th) - It looked like their breakout year would continue with a win over Mephisto in power pools, but point differential and a 1-2 record on Saturday drops them down. Still, if they don't lose too many players they'll be a team to reckon with next year.
  13. Seven (picked 19 or 20) - They changed their name and had a strong Volleyball receiver and a good ex-Nads handler. Their athleticism pushed them much higher than I ever expected.
  14. STR (picked 19 or 20) - Same situation. A little surprising. Great choice on the name change.
  15. Red Circus (picked 9th) - They started off firing on all cylinders and had a run against Furious. Unfortunately, they left the tank empty for Saturday and fell down the ladder. Still, I think this was one of their best seasons ever riding on the back of two great players.
  16. Too Bad (picked 13th) - The boys in blue stayed in the second bracket, but couldn't make a significant run to push higher in the seedings. No shock here.
  17. Roy (picked 17th) - After beating Firebird on Friday they came out wrong against Seven. On Saturday, they at least got their revenge against SWASS.
  18. Sherbrooke (picked 15th) - I thought these guys would finish higher, but it seems all the best in Sherbrooke played on Gecko (3rd place mixed).
  19. Firebird (picked 16th) - Unfortunately, the wheels fell off for Nationals. The Roy loss was the mental breaking point that couldn't be recovered from. I expect the bird will be back on track next year with another season of experience.
  20. SWASS (picked 18th) - They had a few ups, but mostly downs.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Posting Vacuum

Hey Folks,

I'm just returning from trying to mix Canadian Nationals and a thesis defense together. Let's just say I'm not sure where I am.

The tournament was up and down for Grand Trunk, but we finished strong beating some teams who had wins in their columns on previous meetings.

I think I've updated all the scores on the RRI and apologize for our poor efforts in keeping people updated on the tournament. If you had a chance to listen to our live feeds of the finals over the internet I hope you enjoyed our first attempt at broadcasting. Norm will eventually pass on the commentary and I'll post them for all to listen to. At our peak we had 59 listeners for the Women's game.

Now we're into the fall season and almost the University season. I, fortunately, just squeak in for one more year of CUUC action and we'll be heading out to Vancouver. I'll also be following the UPA club championships in some form.

So, I'll be back to regular posts tomorrow starting with a look back to Bathurst odds and how off I was.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Nationals Buzz on the Eve

On the eve of Canadian Nationals in a qualifying year for Worlds, I sit at my desk feeling the buzz. Every division has legitimate contenders to qualify for worlds, and there are all sorts of interesting match ups all through the rankings.

Some of the buzz:

  • This morning some of us appeared on Canada AM ( It took 3 takes for me to drop the disc just as John mentioned turnover. Right ;)
  • Event details have appeared in most the minor newspapers in Toronto. Here's a sample from the Metro; go to page 12 to see Inian Moorthy.
  • The open division speculators have made their predictions and analysis:
  • The mixed division speculators:
  • General predictions:
  • ultivillage coverage of the tournament
  • The tournament will have a trade night on Saturday.
  • There's plans to have commentary (live on Sunday) for all five (three or less if we're playing) of the finals done by Norm Farb and Myself (details to come).
  • Sunday finals for coed (10:00), women's (12:00), and men (2:00) will be held in University of Toronto's new Varsity Stadium - 5$ tickets for all three games.
  • The forecast is looking good - the air conditions - light smog.
In other words, this should be a great weekend in Toronto. Have a safe trip for all players coming, and I'll keep everyone else posted on the event as best I can.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ultimate Camp - Lesson 1 - Emergin from the cocoon

I had a great week. It was one of those weeks where I didn't have to write and a bell ruled my day telling me when to wakeup, when to eat, and when to coach Ultimate. The campers were great, and the weather was perfect. All in all, a good week.

Pictured Above: An interesting picture from No Borders (photo courtesy of Marc Hodges).

The thing I find so refreshing with teaching Ultimate to younger new players is that I find it renews my enjoyment for the sport. In the past, I've had posts about if Juniors should play Ultimate or not. I watch the kids at camp play their nightly games, where the age ranges from 12 to 17 and everyone is throwing to everyone and having fun, and I realize that Ultimate is one of those games that is fun to play for a range of ages and abilities.

I, personally, loved basketball growing up, but as I matured I found the game lacking creativity and lacking drama. Sure March Madness has a little bit of drama, but the game got boring to play. I played ball for 6 years. I've played Ultimate for 8 years and I still love playing the game. With the kids, I saw a similar enjoyment that maintained a competitive atmosphere, but was inclusive.

My favourite part at the camp is during the nightly games, all the other coaches in football and basketball become referees for their games. We just grab a chair and watch the kids play shouting out encouragement. Every once in a while an infraction will happen on the field. The kids look over at the coaches for a call; we shrug our shoulders looking back at them, and then they work it out on their own.

It's quite a remarkable game.