Nationals

April 28, 2016 at 1:18 pm 1 comment

The Australian Ultimate Championships (Nationals) were held last weekend in Ballarat, Victoria. Thanks to our performance at Eastern Regionals the Wombats were in attendance. In true Jase-fashion I spent the week before in trepidation with the following concerns buzzing around in my brain:

  • Despite being a member of a masters team, this would be my first National Championships. I had previously played regionals tournaments and Div 2 Nationals for Tassie but had never been part of a team that was strong enough to qualify for Nationals. I knew this would be the best competition I had taken part in.
  • My hamstring issue is still lingering. I had spent the last six weeks focused on rehab and recovery, as opposed to building and improving my fitness. Nationals is a four-day tournament and I wasn’t sure my fitness was up to scratch in terms of the length of the tournament or the level of competition.
  • The game-schedule had flagged our team as playing in the showcase game on Friday night. We would we have a live crowd watching the game and also cameras on site to record and stream the game live for people at home.

If I’m honest, the pressure of the showcase game was the issue my brain decided to latch onto and worry about the most. I felt significant pressure knowing that we were going to the focus of so many people whilst playing! I recognised that this was going to be great experience for Worlds, but I was still stressing about it regularly.

Results

After 8 games across the tournament The Wombats came out in 13th place. As a team this isn’t the result we wanted and we were disappointed. Initially we had a tough pool in which we finished third out of four. Some tough games in the crossovers and a close game against Sublime that didn’t go our way saw us dropping out of contention for placings more in line with our expectations. You can see the full results here.

So we have some work to do. There’s some thoughts and analysis going into where we need to improve and I’m sure we’ll see some results and actions at our upcoming Training Camp.

For me…

After a few days of reflection my personal thoughts around the tournament are as follows:

As a D-line receiver it can be tough to get on the field

We’ve got a fairly large D-line, which is necessary. However if you’re not getting breaks and winning points the D-line’s opportunity to get on the field can be minimal. As soon as we score all the D-line players are pumped to get on the field so there’s a bit of competition to get on the line. There’s a fine line between asserting yourself and being a good team mate.

In addition, if your D-line isn’t getting on the field regularly then it is likely that, when the opportunity comes, it is a crucial point in the game. The composition of the line can be quite selective in order to maintain momentum.

I had some mental low-points in the tournament

Most notably, in our game against Sublime, I made a couple of mistakes early on which contributed to scores for Sublime. Initially there was a deep cut that I should have covered and then a few points later I stuffed up the force during a transition which resulted in some easy flow and a score.

In isolation these aren’t huge issues but I want to perform better. I started feeling negative about my ability to assist the team and relegated myself to the sideline for the rest of the game. When it is already difficult to get onto the field (see previous point) its quite easy to let others take your spot if you’re not feeling positive.

In hindsight I recognise that a large part of the issue was the closeness of the match. I had a similar experience at SMO in a tight game. I’ll need to reflect on this further to decide how to handle it.

Despite these issues, I played well.

I believe I made a positive impact for the team in pretty much all the points I played. I was largely successful in fulfilling my role on defense (my player rarely got the disc). When we got a turn I was able to generate options or create space for others to do the same.

More specifically, I feel like I further settled into my role as a defensive receiver. I started to operate in line with the team’s expectations and achieved the desired results. I also eliminated some of the behaviors I’ve had feedback on throughout the campaign. I didn’t take risky options with the disc and can only remember one throwaway.

This is quite a satisfying result, particularly when the areas I needed to improve on were largely mental improvements which I’ve had little game-time opportunity to work through.

I  also feel like I’ve made a notable improvement to my throwing over the last 6 weeks. Thanks to my throwing buddies Rob and Leo for facilitating multiple times per week in the dark!

I want more!

Whilst I am feeling more settled in my role I want more out of myself. I want to start excelling in the role and being a more dominant player. This is underpinned by a desire to get more field time if possible.

To that end I’m resolved to start working harder on my fitness. I got through the weekend without any issues from my hamstring. It’s a lingering niggle that is noticeable all the time, but it doesn’t seem to be preventing me from anything and isn’t getting any worse. As such I am keen to start building more fitness and speed rather than focusing on rehab. There’s going to be a lot of running in my future as we progress through the final phase of the campaign. I can’t wait to get back out there.

And in summary…

A weekend of mixed feelings. Positivity about my performance outweighed by some disappointment in the team’s result overall. We played some good ultimate, excellent at times. However we need to keep working and improving, both myself and the team, if we’re going to feel satisfied at Worlds.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to watch us in action there’s a couple of games online:

Wombats vs Mammoth – Showcase game – Pool Play

Wombats vs Krank – Final game for 13th spot

 

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Entry filed under: Ultimate Frisbee. Tags: , , .

Training Camp One Setbacks, struggles and stress

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Setbacks, struggles and stress | Not a Meerkat  |  June 1, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    […] to the sideline at Regionals and spent 9 weeks working through rehab. I returned to the field at Nationals. Post Nationals I felt confident enough in my body that I re-focused myself on building. I felt […]

    Reply

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