Friday, 31 July 2009

Ultimate Frisbee on National Television

Throughout Ultimate's short history, it has found itself being showcased on various television shows about 'novel' sports and often in local and sometimes national news/papers when big tournements come around. Here is a small selection of some these. Watching these, a number of quesitons come to mind. Do thses snippets about Ultimate show the sport in a positive light? Has levels of acceptance into main stream sports changed with time? Is any publicity good publicity? What do you think?

Thursday, 30 July 2009

The UKU Competition Structure

Ever wondered how all of the different tour events tie together or how they fit into the wider world of ultimate? Well using information that can be found on the UKU website I hope to shed some clarifying light on it.

The UKU Tour consists of three tournaments. Teams score ranking points according to their final position at a given tournament. The UKU Ranking is calculated from each team's total number of points. This ranking is used to determine the Tour winners. This year, UKU Nationals is the third and final round of the Tour.

As of this year, the UKU Tour and Nationals have been separated from the European Ultimate Championship Series (EUCS). The European Ultimate Championship Regionals (EUCR) and the Extended European Ultimate Chamionship Finals (xEUCF) will be run independently in August/September 2009. From 2010 there will be additional sectional events held in different regions of the UK with teams from those tournaments qualifying for EUCR-West.

Qualification to xEUCF 2009 has been taken from the Tour Rankings from 2008 in all divisions. Qualification to WUCC 2010 will be from both the winner of Nationals 2009 and the winner of Tour 2009 (unless the same team already qualified by winning Nationals) as well as the highest ranked UK team at xEUCF 2009 (unless that team already qualified by winning Nationals or the Tour)

Having read around a bit about the various European tournements, qualifications and the differences between, it has become clear that it is not clear.

In other sports, if one were to spend as much time playing as an Ultimate player does on average, you would be expected to know how the competition structure works and maybe even want to know. In football for example you may know how the FA Premier League, FA cup, Football League Cup, European Cup, UEFA Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup are all tied together and yet you don't spend as much time playing football as you do Ultimate.

In Ultimate we have the:
UKU Tour
Extended European Ultimate Championship Finals
European Ultimate Championship Series
European Ultimate Championship Regionals- West/Central East/South West/ North East
and that's just some of the European events...if you don't fancy checking out the links and having a read, I'll break them down and post about it in the near future.

So next in line is UKU Nationals 2009! Being held in Cardiff on the 7-9 August it is guarenteed to have some pretty good games up and down the tables. I'll be writing more about that next week and I'll also be giving you details about the much anticipated 2nd Ultimate Frisbee and I, Film and Photography Competition! Stay posted.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Duffa Hat 2009, what makes a good tournament great?

I returned late last night from Duffa Hat in Manchester. I think it's my 4th hat tournement and I was yet again amazed at the effort and organisation that goes into these weekends. In this case they did a great job and I had a fantastic time! There were a number of sponsers to the weekend who all contributed some sort of prize including Virgin trains providing first class travel to the winner of the party, 5 ultimate providing jerseys to the winning team and MVPs, discs for the runners up and a local toy shop providing toy pigs, monkeys and chickens for the spirit prize winners. Everything ran like clockwork, there were plenty of close games, a great party (a £100 3-pint-challenge bar tab helps...) and lots of people all enjoying the ultimate, about 160 in total.
When I'm at a tournement I want to feel like I'm at a music festival where there are no bands, travelling where there are no tourists and partying where there are no locals. For 48 hours the only goal is to enjoy yourself. It just so happens that for the majority of us that includes throwing plastic at each other and running until the burning sensation in your thighs is matched only by that in your lungs.

There are lot's of little things that help create that atmosphere you find at the best tournements. Clearly some thing can't be planned for like sunny weather and no injuries but here are some of the best things I've seen at tournements that for me have taken a well organised tournement from being good to great.

1. A range of sponsers who can provide goodies for players.
2. A sleep in on sunday morning (10.30 start earliest).
3. Pitches that are well maintained.
4. Enough toilets and showers close to the camp site.
5. Good food throughout the weekend included in the player fee.
6. A nice indoors and outdoors communal area where players can chill between games that is close to the pitches.
7. Too much pitch water
8. Free bananas for players.
9. Novel party ideas.

Indeed, if you put 'lack of' in front of each of those points your tournement will be like all the others, good because of the people and the sport, but not memorable. What have been the best tournements you've been to and why? People organising them love to hear it!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The Growth and Development of the UKU

The growth of the UKU in recent history has been based largely on the decisions made by those individuals that make up its membership. A player in any corner of the country is able to declare independance from his nearest team and start up a brand new team all of his own. This happens plenty and it is a great indicator of the health of UK ultimate. With enthusiastic players all over the place, we as a community are able to introduce ultimate to more and more people which one hopes, in turn, positively impacts the rest of the UKU.

In a comment from a recent post it was suggested that the somewhat organic style growth of the UKU up to this point is not robust enough to allow for continued growth at the same levels. The way I see it, UK ultimate up to this point can be compared to an unkept shrub, perfectly healthy and allowed to grow as much and as fast as possible in any direction in which it is able to. This is perfect in the early stages, just let it grow and see what happens! Is it possible however that we are at a stage now where we no longer need to just let it grow? Are there enough people within UK ultimate that the emphasis can shift from simply encouraging numbers to join to actively defining what we want UK Ultimate to be in the next 5-10 years?

If so, running with the shrub analogy, we now need a trellis. We need a framework through which new teams can be more efficiently set up and supplied with links and resources to the wider community and to the spirit of UK ultimate, defined by the current membership body. Why shouldn't there be more of a push to teach ultimate in schools? Why not have UKU run skills days in unis and more help and support to new teams around the country? What about country wide leagues or regional leagues bringing together the stellar efforts of those currently running the Londer Summer and Winter Leagues, the Midlands League, the Brighton and Hove League and the Bristol League to mention a few?

Well the simple answer is resources. The man hours and the money to provide it isn't yet there. Is this what UK ultimate needs? It's amazing how much we as individuals can directly impact on the wider image of Ultimate. At the moment, anyone can run a massive tourney. Imagine a sunday league football player putting in a bid to host the FA cup. Keep the UKU in your hands by being active within it!

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Things to do this week...

Donate blood:
visit to find out when and where your next nearest session is.

Go for a run:
visit for a great online gadget for planning your route with accurate distances.

be surprised:

Play in a hat tournement:
there have been some cancellations so if you fancy a trip to Manchester this weekend you might still get in! Hats are great in so many ways...

Watch all three parts of GB v USA from the world games:

and think about how to make our sport even a little bit spectator friendly...

Monday, 20 July 2009

Beginners Tournements

As has been said before, University is still the main route many new players take into UK Ultimate. In comparison to North America, this is too late to aid true grass routes development. Making the work of the junior coaches and those visiting schools to teach all the more valuable. One can't deny that we do the best we can with what we've got however. There are a whole host of beginners tournements being promoted for the start of the new academic year. If you are already involved in your university ultimate team, make sure to get 1, 2 or even 3 teams along to as many of these tournements as you can. They are great way to get those freshers hooked who will eventually become valued players and community members.

Southampton Skunks Beginners Tournement here
Manchester Manchester Beginners Tournament 2009‏ here
Anglia Ruskin Ultimate here
Bristol Disco Inferno here
Loughborough here
Sheffield Phat 'Eds here

Some of these may already be full so all new uni captains and presidents need to learn the lesson quick that you need to enter early or be prepared to miss out on the fun. If you know of any other student beginner tournements, be sure to let me know and I'll add them to the list with a link.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

UKU Tour 2 Results

Over the past month or so there has been a lot going on, too much to recap in one post while doing it all justice so I'm just going to look at the Tour 2 results and then just continue as before.


1. (1) Clapham
2. (1) Chevron
3. (1) Brighton
4. (1) Fire D
5. (=) Fire O
6. (5) Fusion East
7. (3) Tooting Tigers
8. (=) Team Shark
9. (3) EMO
10. (2) Fully Charged
11. (4) Leeds
12. (3) The Brown
13. (1) Limited
14. (1) BAF (relegated)
15. (=) Strange Blue (relegated)
16. (=) Vision (relegated)


1. (=) Fusion West (promoted)
2. (=) Burro Electrico (promoted)
3. (8) Devon 1 (promoted)
4. (9) Leamington Lemmings 1
5. (=) Bristol Plastic Factory 1
6. (2) EMO 2
7. (9) Flyght Club
8. (4) The Brown 2
9. (2) Brighton 2
10. (7) Kent Open
11. (7) Mild Mannered Janitors
12. (3) Trigger Happy
13. (4) ABH
14. (=) London Revolution (relegated)
15. (9) Steal (relegated)
16. (6) Seamus Murphy (relegated)


1. (5) Flump (promoted)
2. (2) Limited Release 2 (promoted)
3. (7) Curve (promoted)
4. (3) Mighty Hucks
5. (6) The Bournemouth Ultimatum
6. (1) Abstract
7. (6) Mustard
8. (=) BUG
9. (8) GB Under 17 Open
10. (1) Devon 2
11. (8) Lucky Huckers 1
12. (=) Team Shark 2
13. (1) BAF 2
14. (1) Kent Mustang
15. (2) Leamington Lemmings 2
16. (14) Strange Blue 2
17. (1) Staffordshire Oatcakes
18. (=) Leamington Lemmings 3


1. (=) Iceni
2. (=) Leeds
3. (=) Nice Bristols 1
4. (=) Brighton
5. (2) Iso
6. (2) Swift
7. (2) Crown Jewels
8. (2) Dirty Olive
9. (4) BAF
10. (1) The Brown
11. (1) Leamu
12. (3) Limited
13. (1) Steal
14. (1) Nice Bristols 2
15. (1) MUF
16. (=) GB Junior Women

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

I can start blogging again in 10 days!

I had no idea that it would be so impossible to blog on UK ultimate when travelling! I've been in and around the middle east for about 3 weeks now and have had the internet for no more than 5 minutes until now. Apologies to anyone who might like reading about UKU goings on. Since my last post there has been plenty of action but I'll wait till I'm back on the 18th before I get back on track. I've played plenty of Ultimate while I've been out here with a number of different teams and I've found myself doing sprint drills in the desert while friends look on and laugh. I'm only doing it so that when I get back to UK I'll still be on track with Euro prep (exciting!).

One thing I would like to say is that I'm going to be so much more appreciative of the number of teams available to play against in the UK. Out here, the people who do play are no less enthusiastic about the sport but the resources available (opposition, coaches, experienced players, new players, teams) are all incredibly scarce which stunts the sports growth. It does create a very tight community however, there is always a place to stay wherever there is a frisbee team! So the next time you meet a new frisbee player, be thankful and teach and learn eveything you can.

So I hope you will excuse my recent lack of posts, I have learnt a valuable lesson that I shouldn't expect time or internet to be so freely available as when I'm in the UK.