Ultimate Intelligence – Focusing on the positives….

September 21, 2010 at 6:02 pm 5 comments

Last night I played in the grand final for our Tasmanian Ultimate Challenge (TUC) league. This league is considered the “premier” league of Ultimate in Tasmania which essentially means that it is the highest skill level game you’re going to get without joining a state team and heading to a mainland tournament.

The team I play for is called “Bread” and its made up of a great group of people who have played together in a number of leagues and, maybe most importantly, all have a similar attitude to Ultimate.

Throughout the TUC league Bread had mixed success. As with many Tasmanian leagues we suffered various absences as key players were unavailable for games. This occurred due to illness or overseas travel. Two of our players were off representing Austrlia in Germany for a number of weeks.

As a result we had to fight for a place in the finals. Being a 4 team league (Tasmanian Ultimate is by no means a large community, especially at a “premier” level”) we essentially had to work our way from the bottom of the ladder to the top. This involved beating every team possible in consecutive games over the course of a few weeks.

Last week we played for the right to play in the grand final. This was a very challenging game and our entire team was nervous throughout the proceedings. HUC (Hobart Ultimate Club) are known for their relentless accuracy and also a sweet dosage of speed that serves them very well.

Despite our concerns we managed to come away with a win. In my opinion this was the best game of Ultimate our team has played in a long time. We had most of our players avialable and everyone stepped up playing with a precision and level headedness that was most impressive.

On a personal level I was extremely pleased with my performance. My throws, difficult and easy, came off well and I managed to pull of some great catches as well. I felt very valuable on the team and haven’t felt happier after an Ultimate game for a long time.

Which brings me to the subject of this post. Sorry its taken a while to get there but as I haven’t written anything for a good while I thought I’d better provide some background information.

As mentioned, last night we won the grand final however I came away from that game feeling the exact opposite how I felt after our semi-final. Sure, I was very happy to have won and so pleased that we had pulled through as a team. The score was 9-8 and we scored the last point after the final siren.

Despite the victory I played rather badly. Realisitically speaking I reckon I dropped 70% of the throws that came my way. This included easy swings to me across the field, throws directly at me from a cut out of the stack and also flying one handed grabs for hammers deep in the end-zone corner.

During half time I had to take a moment away from the rest of the players to try and contain my frustrations. Things didn’t really improve in the second half and I started feeling like I’d be better off staying on the sidelines than being on the field.

After the game I commented on my dissatisfaction to several people and they tried to cheer me up. I also tried to cheer myself up and together we all came up with a number of excuses:

  • The conditions were bad (It was very windy)
  • You’d been sick for a week and were still recovering
  • The throws weren’t ideal
  • Your marker was playing harder than normal

None of these really fit however and truth be told I’m still not really sure what the answer is. Probably a combination of all of the above and other factors I haven’t even thought of. Despite all those things, the fact I kept focusing on was that the disc was in my hands several times, very catchable. In many of the opportunities I wasn’t even under pressure.

In typical Gen Y fashion I pointed my need for a pep talk towards a popular social networking site. Other team members had posted their happiness with our success and in an embarassingly needy fashion I complained again about my performance and how I was upsest with what had occurred.

Our captain, Steve, replied and basically said that he’d thought I played well. He pointed out several throws that, in the difficult conditions, had come off really well and been important to several of our points.

After reading his comments I felt much better and as I continue to think about them the feeling of annoyance at myself is decreasing. In my haste to focus on my catching (which was undeniably sub-par) I had forgotten about the other valuable aspects I had provided to the game.

Personally I think that happens a lot in Ultimate. I’m not a particularly needy person and I’m quite happy to tell myself I’m doing a good job most of the time but its evident that at times I need to get someone else’s positive perspective to keep me going.

From this entire experience I have concluded a couple of things:

  • A good captain is encouraing and focuses on the positives as much as the negatives
  • A good player focuses on their positives as well as their negatives
  • A good player focuses on other people’s positives. Whether you’re on the same team or not a compliment can go a long way.

It’s easy to applaud the big things in Ultimate. The run-on hand blocks, the desperate sprinting cuts into the end-zone. Layouts in both defensive and offensive situations.

However, the solid offense, the willingness to keep running and keep trying are often overlooked. Personally I think that keeping your offensive player (when you are on defense) under careful control is one of the most overlooked skills and abilities in the game.

Lets start applauding our defensive players who keep on top of their offensive counterparts. If a cut isn’t successful its not just because the offensive person failed to cut well, its also because the defensive player knew what they were doing and moved in the right way at the right time.

Lets also start focusing on the positives of our plays. You can lose points and lose games whilst still doing great positive things in your points.


Entry filed under: General Thoughts, Ultimate Frisbee, Ultimate Intelligence. Tags: , , .

Travel Update It’s official, running with a backpack sucks!

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Patrick Dunne  |  September 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Well said. Frisbee can be a frustrating game at times; individually and as a team. Having good chemistry on your side and a positive outlook is definitely important.

    Sometimes when your personal performance is down the most important thing is to run your cuts and defend your opposition. Creating movement in the offense even when you are an offensive blackhole is very important to the team and is often a trap that teams fall into on the way to a clogged offense. Tight man defense is always a good way to contribute and can be an easy way to make up for your mistakes by forcing errors.

    • 2. Jase  |  September 21, 2010 at 11:02 pm

      Thanks Pat.. All very true 🙂 I think I might do some more Ultimate related posts… I have a few ideas. Not as long as this one though!

  • 3. Joe Boyer  |  September 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Looks like I missed the FB chat about this, but it sounds like Steve answered things well. I know you were having an off game with your catching, but I agree that you were having a corker in other areas. Defensive pressure was really high across the board from our team, and when I was calling the line I was always putting you on Andy. That alone should show you that I thought you were doing a great job on Defense.

    The best thing about all this (these feelings, these thought processes, etc) is that this blog is an excellent post for a lot of reasons. It’s clear that you’ve grown (both as an Ulti player and as a person) and your observations are accurate. We need more of this thinking, I know it happens in other states but in Tassie it seems that the bigger picture is less recognised. I think this post is awesome, Jase, and it really gives us something to thing about “Complete Ultimate” to work on.

    (I’m really sorry if this sounds condescending. I’ve been marking Grade 7 assignments all day. I nearly described this as “a very mature response”. 😉

    • 4. Jase  |  September 22, 2010 at 7:09 pm

      Thanks Joe… WordPress thought you were spam so I missed this comment earlier!

      I think I will try and continue posting regularly about Ultimate. My head is abuzz after most games so I might as well continue to distribute them 🙂

      Oh, also… I think I was playing on Tim E most of the night. Andy is on the black team!

      • 5. Joe Boyer  |  September 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm

        Oh yeah, I was thinking of the week before.

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