Saturday, 30 May 2009

Voting Opened for the First Ultimate Frisbee and I Film and Photography Competition!

As you can see below, there were loads of photos taken at last weekends Mixed Nationals and now it's time to vote for your favourite! Voting closes next Sunday, 7 June 2009 at 10pm. You can vote for more than one and you can see a full resolution version of each photo by clicking on it below. Thanks a lot to everyone who has entered, good luck in the voting and may the best photo win the prize!
'Blind Bid'

'Inventive Shade'

'Ridiculous Fake'

'Layout Bid'

'Working in the Stack'

'Can't Teach Tall'

' Skyed by a Girl'




'Scored On'

'Too Late'

'photo 1'

'Photo 2'

'Photo 3'

'Photo 4'
'Rachel Skyes a couple of Lemmings'

'Photo 5'

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Ultimate Frisbee and Pop Culture

Ultimate frisbee is still very much on the periphery of popular culture but the past 10 years have seen the image of the young, fun and athletic frisbee player used to sell a range of goods by 'marketing experts'. Below is a small collection of these commercials, I've not included the ones that are for selling the frisbee itself (they are hilarious and will be in a not too distant post!). In the UK, Ultimate is still anything but a mainstream sport. For me, it's the SOTG, the community, the parties, the people and the travels that make it the sport I willingly dedicate so much time and effort to. I wonder if these are the same things that prevent it from becoming widely accepted as a 'proper' sport in the eyes of the masses.

And now, for your viewing pleasure....Ultimate Frisbee being used to sell stuff....

HAHAHA! wonder Ultimate has the image it does. Admittedly these are mostly just freestyle and random thowing but this is the material with which everyone who is not playing Ultimate builds their preconceptions. Shameful comedy.

Current goings on in UK Ultimate include the first few games of London Summer League having taken place while the last few cross overs continue as well as an ongoing discussion on the way the UK organises it's seedings at tournements. Join the discussion on BritDisc!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Jeremy Codhand win UK Mixed Nationals and Mixed Tour 2009!

With the final game of Mixed Nationals being played between the two contenders for the Tour title, it really did all come down to this last game between JC and Brighton. The weather was near perfect and there was a 200 strong crowd ready to see what the two best mixed teams at MT3 had to offer. From the very beginning, JC showed their dominance with clinical cuts, throws and grabs on offense and a great intensity on defense with every player staying tight on the oppostions shoulder and able to put defensive bids on nearly every one of Brightons discs.

Brighton had some of the strongest handlers of the weekend however and combined with a never give up attitude from their down field players were able to grind out scores against what was ultimately a team that weren't going to be beaten on the day. JC now have a guaranteed spot at WUCC 2010 in Prague while Brighton, BAF and Chevron will have to wait to see how many spots the UK region is given to find out if they will also be going.

Chevron had a strong finish coming in at 3rd while beating BAF back into 4th. Thundering Herd went unbeaten on Sunday to take the 5th spot with Thundering Herd 2 being the highest finishing 2nd team. Both High Altitude and Discuits put in great performances showing distinct improvements over the Mixed Tour. Curve put in a great performance at nationals making up a lot of ground heading upwards while the Flaming Galahs took a tough route to a well deserved 14th.

Here are the final results of Mixed Nationals 2009:

1 (=) Jeremy Codhand
2 (=) Brighton
3 (2) Chevron
4 (1) BAF 1
5 (1) Thundering Herd 1
6 (6) Leeds Loco
7 (1) Discuits
8 (7) HIgh Altitude
9 (2) Flump
10 (6) Principality of Sealand
11 (3) Kent
12 (5) Bristol Plastic Factory
13 (3) Catch those - Plate Winners
14 (3) Flaming Galahs
15 (2) LTD
16 (5) ABH
17 (7) EMU
18 (1) Brown
19 (6) Curve
20(11) Dont let go
21 (1) Thundering Herd 2
22 (4) LTD2
23 (1) Lemmings
24 (1) Meat Pies
25 (2) Fugazees
26 (8) BAF 2
27 (3) Oxford
28 (2) Sheffield Steal
29 (1) ABH 2
30 (1) Cutty Sharks
31 (=) Flyghtclub

The tournement was well organised with movement between pitches kept to a minimum, no big gaps between games or too many games in succession and a constant supply of water pitch side. I can think of a few ways that would improve the flow of games however without impacting on SOTG or the way the game is actually played. What do you think of introducing linesman to make 'in' and 'out' calls if required? They would also be able to keep both teams on side when the pull goes up, keep score, time and have replacement discs for when there is a brick or the disc just goes out of bounds somewhere. I personally think that these simple changes to how Ultimate is played here would greatly speed up games and allow players to focus better on actually playing. This might help in the current efforts to make the game more appealing to spectators. During one of our games, a group of players started crossing our pitch. Apparently due to a stoppage it appeared to onlookers that there wasn't even a game taking place!

So it's the end of the domestic mixed season and now a lot of UK players will be turning their focus to the Open season. Bring on Tour 1 in London in a fortnights time!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Mixed Nationals 2009 Schedule and Seeding are now out!

Unfortunately with them coming out so late in the day and me running late to get a lift to Mansfield I don't have the time I'd like to write a great deal! I'll briefly say good luck to everyone who is going and I can't wait for my first game tomorrow morning against Jeremy Codhand!!


1. Jeremy Codhand
2. Brighton 1
3. BAF 1
4. The Principality of Sealand
5. Chevron Mixed
6. Thundering Herd 1
7. Bristol Plastic Factory
8. Discuits Mixed
9. Don't Let Go
10. EMU
11. Flump
12. Leeds Loco
13. Limited 1
14. Kent Mixed
15. High Altitude 1
16. Catch Those
17. Flaming Galahs 1
18. BAF 2
19. The Brown
20. Thundering Herd 2
21. ABH1
22. Leamington Lemmings 1
23. Meat Pie
24. Oxford Ultimate
25. Curve
26. Limited 2
27. Fugazees
28. ABH2
29. Cutty Sharks
30. Sheffield Steal
31. Flyght Club

I look forward to seeing all of your entries to the Photography and Film Competition after the weekend!!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Film and Photography Competition!!

I love good quality film and photography and really want to see it coming from this weekends Mixed Nationals in Mansfield and from UK Ultimate in general. To that end I am offering a prize to the winner of the first ever 'Ultimate Frisbee and I, FPC' (Film and Photography Competition).

What is the prize?! Your very own, brand new copy of, Ultimate: The Greatest Sport Ever Invented by Man! Pretty exciting I know.

How can you win it?! Well as you know, MT3 (Mixed Nationals) is this weekend in Mansfield. In previous posts I've spoken about the importance of this tournement in gaining a spot at the World Ultimate Club Championships in Prague 2010. This means there are going to be some great games this weekend with plenty of great photo opportunities! The competition is open to anyone taking photos this weekend, using any equipment, be you professional or amateur, player or spectator. You can also enter more than one time, but a maximum of two will get put through to the open voting round. Give a caption or title with your photo entry. All that I ask is that it is taken at this weekends MT3 and is a good Ultimate photo! The photography can come in any format that I can receive by email.

Send all entries to:

I'll select the best ones from those I receive and put them up here over the next week after Mixed Nationals. Entries will be accepted until 10pm Sunday 31st May 2009. After this, voting will open for one week, closing 10pm Sunday 7th June 2009 when a winner will be decided a week after that. Exciting stuff hey!?

Having enjoyed watching Ultimate in HD on Vimeo (see previous posts) there will be another prize for the best film produced. The only stipulations are that it has to be based on UK Ultimate and be produced using new footage i.e. filmed and edited after today. There are plenty of great Ultimate DVDs out there but this just needs to be approxiametly 2-4 minutes. Upload it to youtube or vimeo or somewhere else I can post links to. This will run for a bit longer with a bigger prize for the winner (TBA). If you are interested in this FPC and want any more details have questions or comments please don't hesitate to leave them here on the blog or to email me directly.

I look forward to hearing from you and seeing your entries!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Mixed Nationals 2009: To release or not to release (the schedule)

Only a few days before heading up to Mansfield for Mixed Nationals 2009. Unfortunately, still no schedule.

Here's a couple of nice photos from MT1 in the mean time.

Jay getting Airborne

RV showing how it's done

Taken on RVs camera, not sure by who but the link can be found in the sidebar --->

There have been a series of messages on BritDisc about the lack of schedule and seeding before UKU tournements. The argument being that a schedule produced early and efficiently is likely to be a waste of time due to teams dropping out last minute causing scheduling and seeding to change, sometimes drastically. If the schedule is released later however (1 or 2 days before a tournement) it becomes more difficult to plan team travel and accommodation. To me, an important reason to get the schedule and seedings out early is the conduciveness to getting excited about the upcoming tournement. If you know your opponent and the schedule, you can tailor your game to this, furthermore, the more one thinks about something, the more significant it becomes! This works for both the positive and negative of eveything we do but with regards Ultimate, if the whole community knows what to look forward to at the weekend long in advance, expectation, anticipation and excitement about the Ultimate will result. A good thing in my mind and another reason I started this blog!

If teams and players feel that they are paying for a service they become a customer. If the customer perceives that service to not be delivered then it is the duty of the service provider and the community to figure it!

There has been a list of teams 'definately entered' though (in no order):

1.Discuits mixed
2.Bristol Plastic factory
4.Emu mixed
5.Flaming Gahlahs 1
6.Kent mixed
7.The brown
8.Cutty sharks
9.Baf 1
10.Baf 2
11.Catch those
12.Cod Hand
14.Don’t let go
15.Principality of sealand
18.Thundering herd 1
19.Thundering herd 2
21.Chevron mixed
22.Leamington Lemmings 1
25.Dont let go 2
26.High Altitude 1
28.LTD 1
29.LTD 2
30.Meat pies

14 less than Mixed Tour 2. I would like to talk about games to watch and predictions for the weekend at this point but I guess it will have to wait for now.

I love quality film and photography and it doesn't upset me combining this with Ultimate. It's going to be hard for me to not post the best stuff I find when trawling the web on here but rather to keep on the 'UK Ultimate' topic.

Chicago Invite 2009 The Documentary Trailer #2 from luke johnson on Vimeo.

This is non UK Ultimate but until I find something UK Ultimate based I want to post, this will do. I just love the drama in it! It's not even about the level of ultimate, I just think it deserves to be shared for what it is. That and I really like Sigur Ros. Let's see some quality UK based Ultimate filmed with the latest HD equipment!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Sunburn, Saunas, Summer League, Mixed Tour 3 2009 and WUCC 2010

With less than a week to go before the final event of this years mixed tour, there are no doubt plenty of teams anxiously waiting for their last chance to prove their worth in the City of Dreams (or Cod, as it is more widely known) that is Mansfield. One team that aren't going to be entering MT3 however is the GB World Games squad. It's just what I've heard but having won the last two events without any great challenge, GB will be holding a training weekend instead. Rather than looking forward to Mansfield, the GB squad can look forward to July 20th-22nd when they get to play in the Main Stadium at the World Games in Taipei. Yeh I know, insane. This does however mean that MT3 is now more open at the top. With qualification for WUCC 2010 up for grabs, expect to see some hotly contested match-ups. There are 6 or 7 teams that could potentially qualify for WUCC 2010 and it's going to be held in Prague if there were any additional incentives needed.

Apparently, a team comprises a group of people or animals linked in a common purpose (wiki). At the weekend, one group of animals got together to work on being a team using a pool, sauna and bananas. Needless to say that what was once a group of strangers is now definately more of a team and the Ultimate is going to be better for it. Happy Birthday Justin!

The Bournemouth Ultimatum held a beach tournement at the weekend and despite the gusty weather, I hear there was plenty of fun to be had both on and off the beach. BUF beat EMO in the final with plenty of familiar team names spread throughout the final standings. It takes a lot of effort to run a tournement of any size and with 24 teams all headed south, TBU did a great job in planning their weekend. Running these competitions is a great way to raise money for your club to run for potentially a whole year. For teams attending, it is very often the most significant reason why they play ultimate at all, for the fun of it! It's great to see more and more clubs putting in the time and effort to make these competitions work as it is beneficial to everyone involved and to the health of UK Ultimate in general.

Last weeks summer league games took place with Darth Herd beating Stacks and Switches and Ovathrow beating Choke Hazard in pool play up at Clissold park. Over in Balham Herd Cocktail beat Fugazees. More games are taking place again this week, the organisers have done a great job in getting this up and running and it is hard work to keep updating the results page. Just one reason for this blogs existence...

Thursday, 14 May 2009

London Summer League 2009. How far have we come?

This week sees the start of the London Summer League. Quite simply a league that aims to make the most of the long, 'warm' evenings by playing fun, competitive Ultimate in both Balham and Clissold park. Here are the results and fixtures for the coming weeks. At the moment there are just the crossovers and pre-league friendlies with early reports of a Curve win against Herd Oxtail. The teams signed up this year (in no order):

1. Darth Herd
2. Herd Oxtail
3. Curve
4. Flump
5. Lucky 7s
6. Galahs
7. Herd Cocktail
8. Stacks and Switches
9. T'Pick up team
10. ABH S
11. Galahs 2
12. XX
13. Cowboys
14. Choke Hazard
15. Ovathrow
16. Lurve
17. PAF
18. Fugazees 2
19. Tossers
20. The Old Masters
21. Cutty Sharks
22. ABH N
23. Da Pickup Team, innit?
24. Fugazees

This initial part of the league will split the teams into 3 divisions. The archives for LSL go back to 2001 with earlier LSLs taking place as far back as 1999. Recently, a Midlands Summer League has been announced, it's great as always to see more and more people wanting to play more and more ultimate around the UK.

It's very easy to see the constant activity within the global ultimate community as progression within our sport but I do wonder how far we've actually come. The tactics we use, the way we train, the discussion about observers and referees, upholding SOTG as central to our sport, Ultimate in the media. None of it seems to really have come on that far since 1968 when Joel Silver and others at Columbia high school in Maplewood, NJ, USA invented the Ultimate Frisbee that we play today. On the other hand it is possible that with the relatively short period the sport has been around it has actually seen exponential growth and development but in our era of free information, the internet and technological advancement almost all but the most radical of changes can be likened to just one more step along the Pan-Am Highway.

Decide for yourself, one of the earliest games of Ultimate that I've found online is this video of the 1975 World Frisbee Championships.

Monday, 11 May 2009

GB Worlds Squad win MT2

With Mixed Tour 2 now done and dusted, eyes are firmly set on Mixed Tour Nationals (MT3) in two weekends time. The mixed season feels like it is passing in a flash but with Open and Womens Tour ready to kick off soon after and plenty of hat tourneys and fun team tourneys in and around the UK to go to throughout the summer there will be no shortage of Ultimate goings-on!

The weekend saw another top draw final between the GB world games squad and Jeremy Codhand. Unsurprisingly perhaps, GB won but JC put in a great fight with little seperating individual players in terms of disc skill with both teams bringing down there fair share of 50/50 discs. Another team that put in a top performance was the Principality of Sealand, not a name I'd heard before (apparently made up of Fusion West players) but they beat Chevron in their final game to jump massively from their original 14th seed position. Flump who performed awesomely in MT1 weren't able to hold their form with a combination of having lost a number of key players and coming up against some of the strongest teams in the country resulting in a distinct lack of wins. They will be seeded ~12 for nationals (MT3) and will hopefully be able to repeat their success of MT1. Other teams falling from their seeds included EMU and Bristol Plastic Factory with Thundering Herd and PoS moving upwards. Blue Arsed Flies played well all weekend proving that they belong amongst the top mixed teams in the UK.

Right now I can't imagine ever having played enough Ultimate and wanting to simply stop. Speaking to a number of people at the weekend however it became apparent that this can be the case. Reasons included injury, boredom, lack of success, work and family. Up until the age of ~26 a person is able to recover from a hard weekend of playing and bounce back from most injuries within a fairly short space of time. As we get older however the regenerative abilities of our bodies lessen meaning we ache and feel tired for longer after exercise. I think the bottom line for most players will be the point at which they no longer get the satisfaction and enjoyment out of the Ultimate they play that correlates to the effort and training they put in. Ultimate is far more than simply the physical exertions on the field however. A sense of community for example is one of the many things that makes Ultimate what it is. Belonging to a community can go a long way to negating those factors that lead a player to stopping. This means that playing Ultimate is something that can be enjoyed for years longer than most other sports. As a result, the friends and travels that come with playing Ultimate enable one to enjoy the sport far beyond what any level of success might wish to dictate, great news for the young and old alike...

Result Team
1   (=)     GB WG
2 (1) Jeremy Codhand
3 (1) Brighton 1
4 (1) BAF 1
5 (9) The Principality of Sealand
6 (=) Chevron Mixed
7 (3) Thundering Herd 1
8 (1) Bristol Plastic Factory 1
9 (7) Discuits Mixed
10 (2) Don't Let Go
11 (7) EMU
12 (4) Flump
13 (4) Leeds Loco
14 (3) Ltd Release 1
15 (6) High Altitude 1
16 (2) Strange Blue
17 (5) Catch Those
18 (5) Flaming Galahs 1
19 (5) BAF 2
20 (5) Kent Mixed
21 (5) The Brown
22 (2) Thundering Herd 2
23 (2) Brighton 2
24 (5) ABH 1
25 (2) Flash
26 (9) Leamington Lemmings 1
27 (=) Meat Pie
28 (=) Oxford Ultimate
29 (5) Devon
30 (2) Curve
31 (2) Ltd Release 2
32 (2) Fugazees
33 (2) ABH 2
34 (3) Cottonopolis 1
35 (7) Staffordshire Oatcakes
36 (2) Cutty Sharks
37 (2) Poke
38 (6) Cottonopolis 2
39 (2) Thundering Herd 3
40 (5) Flaming Galahs 2
41 (8) Sheffield Steal 1
42 (2) Leamington Lemmings 2
43 (=) DUFFA
44 (8) Lucky Huckers

Friday, 8 May 2009

MT2 and the international profile of UK Ultimate

Only a few hours to go before I catch my train up to East Didsbury for MT2. The full seedings are now out and the first day will see some pretty great games including a rematch of MT1 semi final between GB World Games Squad and Jeremy Codhand. For both teams it will be their first game of the competition so thats where I'll be having my lunch! It's great to see that the organisation of UK Ultimate tournements is steadily improving, there are always new initiatives aimed at providing a more professional atmosphere to the whole thing, which is what we should expect from our National Governing Body! This works because of the great number of people we have in the UK who are passionate about the wellbeing of our sport, especially its development. Asides from the UKU run tournements there are also plenty of other competitions that take place all over the UK. Many of them are run by students for students whereas club players around the UK tend to run 1 day invitationals aimed at forging mutual gain situations by which captains can fine tune their teams by playing against teams of similar standards. What the UK is missing however is the massive annual tournement that attracts international squads from all over the world and has a reputation for quality ultimate. I'm talking about the likes of Paganello, Wonderful Copenhagen and Windmill Windup.

The UK needs to put itself on the map as a place to visit to play against other top teams beyond those competitions that are part of European qualifiers and the like. Like the other huge, fun, competitive comps in Europe it would work to raise the profile of ultimate here in the UK and provide those in the UK not yet ready to travel and play at the elite level the chance to meet international players on their own turf.

I would love to have a go at running one of these tournements, they all started off as pretty low key affairs with small numbers of team but a secret ingredient was added somewhere along the line that made them into the gargantuan frisbee festivals that they are today. They improve year on year and create an excitement in the international ultimate community that comeptitions in the US and the Far East manage on an even more regular basis. The UK seems to be missing a great opportunity here as we have some of the top teams in Europe in one of the best cities in Europe. Any ideas what's missing?

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

This weekend: 2009 Mixed Tour 2.

In a few days time, 44 mixed teams from across the UK will be heading to East Didsbury for the second installment of the 2009 mixed tour season. The first event in Cardiff saw the GB World Games Squad win the final against Brighton having already seen off Jeremy Codhand in the Semis. All three teams will be looking to repeat their performances and once again challenge for the top spot at MT2. Other teams to watch out for are Bristol Plastic Factory, Thundering Herd, Emu and Chevron. All will be going into this coming weekend believing that they can stamp their mark as contenders for the mixed tour title.

It's fantastic to see so many clubs able to enter 2 teams into these national competitions and it's even better seeing clubs that have only existed for 1 or 2 years already breaking into the top half of the tour standings. With more and more people being attracted to the sport and players starting younger and younger it's no wonder that these events have grown so huge and have displays of great ultimate right through from the number 1 seed all the way to the 44th!

A massive factor determining which teams will come out on top this weekend is the ability for team captains to get the most from their players. Not in getting each individual to push themselves to their own physical limits but rather removing the idea of the individual completely and replacing it with a team mentality that produces results far beyond the sum of the parts. I've seen teams made up of players who have all captained other teams to competition wins only to find that when they are put together they find themselves unable to reach the heights they might expect. A team needs just one captain to instill belief in their players and who is trusted by all to give the correct instructions. A team is then able to play with the belief that every one of their teammates will give their all which in turn raises the team play above the talent of the individuals.

I have no doubt that their will be some thrilling games this weekend and I hope that I'll be playing in them.

Seed Team

1-GB World Games
2-Brighton 1
3-Jeremy Codhand
5-BAF 1
6-Chevron Mixed
7-Bristol Plastic Factory 1
9-Leeds Loco
10-Thundering Herd 1
11-Ltd Release 1
12-Don't Let Go
13-Flaming Galahs 1
14-Principality of Sealand
15-Kent Mixed
16-Discuits Mixed
17-Leamington Lemmings 1
18-Strange Blue
19-ABH 1
20-Thundering Herd 2
21-High Altitude 1
22-Catch Those
23-Flash (M*LF)
24-BAF 2
25-Brighton 2
26-The Brown
27-Meat Pie
28-Oxford Ultimate
29-Ltd Release 2
31-ABH 2
33-Sheffield Steal 1
35-Flaming Galahs 2
36-Lucky Huckers
37-Cottonopolis Kettle Club 1
38-Cutty Sharks
40-Leamington Lemmings 2
41-Thundering Herd 3
42-Staffordshire Oatcakes
44-Cottonopolis Kettle Club 2

Friday, 1 May 2009

Warwick Bears win University Mixed Outdoor Nationals!

This year WB have now won both open and mixed student titles proving that they really are the student team to beat! WB bears were up against Strange Blue in the final, a consistently strong team for a number of years. Both teams played fantastically all weekend but WB were able to get an early upwind break point putting SB on the back foot. The wind didn't let up and another break point for WB close to half time in those conditions effectively sealed the deal. The Ultimate on the second day in Nottingham was dominated by playing 'upwind/downwind games' which meant that a lot of games went to sudden death and teams often won by securing an all important upwind break point followed by playing Huck and D for the rest of the game.

The first day however testimony for the impressive continuing development of student ultimate across the UK with teams breaking seeding all over the place. Halcyon staked their claim as contenders winning all of their pool games but despite a great effort finished 4th with Random Fling beating them to 3rd. Final placings for positions 5-9 and 10-14 were decided by incredibly close games again showing how open these tournements are with regards final standings. The team that finishes with a smile on their face regardless of their final seeding is definately the winner here.

The party was great fun with pretty much every team putting loads of effort into their costumes and everyone paryting hard into the early hours. There were plenty of pirates being suitably rowdy along with the sailors, crude oil and bumble bees. The standard and intensity of play on the second day was all the more impressive considering the lack of sleep of many teams.

It is quite telling that in the lead up to UMON 09 there had been little or no talk and hype about it across the numerous email lists, online groups and blogs. I have no doubt that within teams there was much excitement and anticipation about the coming weekend (as there was in mine!) but it just shows that now the weekend has passed, the memories of those we beat and those who beat us will fade, who the contenders for the title were will be forgotten and all that will remain will be the 'remember whens' the next time our team gets back together or when we get our next intake of university freshers. The point is, the top players from these student teams are the future of club and UK ultimate. Perhaps all that is needed to get people more excited about these competitions is just talking about them. Unfortunately seedings weren't released until late as a number of teams pulled out close to the tourney but if everyone in the UK ultimate community knew how well these student teams played then I think it would only benefit developing players, the future of UK Ultimate internationally and Ultimate as a sport.

Result Team

1. (=) Bears
2. (7) Strange Blue
3. (7) Random Fling
4. (2) Halcyon
5. (2) LSE
6. (7) Phat Eds
7. (7) UCL
8. (=) DUF
9. (5) Jedi
10. (7) Positive Mojo
11. (5) Haze
12. (=) OW!
13. (8) Too Many Pies
14. (3) Uriel