Main Contributors: dp (ShowGame cofounder, Fire 2), doug (SYC), connormch (EMO, former Clapham), tadhgb (Ireland U24 Men), jonnyarthur95 (Brighton City), hillmaniaa (GB U24 Men)
Additional Quotes/Contributions*: Sion 'Brummie' Scone (GB U24 Men's Coach), Rupal Ghelani (GB U24 Women), Charlotte 'Bubbles' Kennedy (JR co-captain)
*These people did not have access to the chat, but very kindly provided us with quotes. Their words will be given in italics.
Welcome to the post-Open Tour 3 chat!
Here are the headlines we'll be discussing
A return to normality? A Clapham-Chevy final, with Fire finishing as 3rd best UK team
EMO and Reading fall from their previous tour standings
The first appearance of Irish club teams in A Tour! Will they be taking slots at EUCF come Nationals?
A reflection on how the Tour season has gone for GB U24 Men
What on earth happened to Brighton this season?
JR Mixed finish the season strongly in B Tour. We ask them about their decision to play mixed in the Open Division.
B Tour South
B Tour North
A Tour + B Tour North
B Tour South
Top 20 Teams
1. Clapham A
2. Chevron Action Flash
3. PELT 1
4. Fire of London 1
6. Devon 1
7. GB U24 Hobart
8. Glasgow 1
9. Manchester 1
11. EMO 1
12. GB U24 Canberra
13. Reading 1
14. LLLeeds 1 (highest placed B Tour team)
17. Brighton City
19. Rebel Ultimate
Top 4 in B Tour South
1. Reading 2
2. Purple Cobras
3. Devon 2
4. Brighton Legends
|James Dunn helps bring Fire of London back into contention at OT3|
Picture from Claire Baker, taken for The ShowGame
For some teams that might cause some upsets at Nationals, let’s move onto the Irish. Pelt finish 3rd. Ranelagh 5th, after losing their quarter-final to Pelt. Rebel, a bit further down.
|Aidan Kelly shows that Ranelagh are a tough side to play against at OT3|
Picture from Claire Baker, taken for The ShowGame
Obviously, you want teams to play well and win games; it’s a great litmus test. But the objective was always development. Are we better now than we were one game ago? Are we learning from our mistakes? Getting people to talk was the top priority, and after working on lots of individual skills at practice, our main tournament considerations were quite different; how were we going to play as a team, dealing with the highs and lows as a unit?
Getting to play against the top UK teams means that every mistake is punished, so some of the guys genuinely struggled when we're 7-0 down and most of the team haven't put a foot wrong. Many of our team had never even played A Tour, so for most, it was a huge jump in quality to anything they've seen before, so the dialogue about the journey we're on is really important. For me, seeing some players rise to the occasion has been incredibly rewarding, especially some who have really come out of their shells and starting playing big. We've had lots of close games too - more sudden death games than many teams play in several seasons in fact - which has been great for our mental game. Seeing someone who has been very timid come up with a huge layout block at a crunch moment, or effortlessly breaking mark after mark, is something that every coach dreams of. I couldn't be happier with how things have gone so far.
It's been amazing to get to coach 120 people over the course of 9 months, and the players involved have formed great friendships with their university rivals, which I think will benefit many of the ultimate programmes out there. Again, for us it is about the wider impact and developing Team GB, not just picking 25 people to play in Perth. For those lucky enough to be selected for one of the Worlds teams, this is just the beginning of a tough but incredibly rewarding journey. For those who don't get selected, the journey doesn't end quite yet; they've been exposed to lots of great coaching and now we want them to take those lessons back to their own teams and raise the level of ultimate across the UK. We always see a cascade effect from GB cycles, so we hope to see a much bigger one this year.
Rupal also has something she’d like to add about the Women’s Tour experience, for balance:
The women's side of GB has been fantastic. The Development Programme has brought together pods of players from across the country to create a force of females showcasing the best of the what is to come in the future. The best part so far has been how committed everyone has been to developing together as a team for/with each other. Everyone has one goal in mind, and the off-pitch effort has so far shown through in some outstanding tour results. As a unit we are strong and determined and regardless of how we do at Worlds, the Development Programme has created a new breed of women to take new skills and mindsets back to uni and club Frisbee. Massive shoutout to the coaches who have been patient and dedicated through the whole process, not just the women's coaches but the men's and mixed coaches as well, for exposing us to all different styles of play and instilling confidence in us against every type of match up. It's been an honour so far and I'm super excited to see how females on both the mixed and women's teams do in Perth and hopefully play with each of the women in the Development Programme again in the future.
Moving on, in a previous chat we highlighted Brighton and Ka-Pow! as two teams that had disappointing Tour 1s. Ka-Pow! certainly stepped their game up after that disappointing first tour. However, it seems Brighton weren't able to, losing a tight cross-over against SMOG to consign themselves to finish the year in B Tour. Considering how strong they've been in previous years (including making the semi-final of Nationals last year), this must count as a bit shocking. @jonnyarthur95, thoughts?
Alright, final point for the chat. JR have been entering a mixed side (always playing at least two ladies), and have solidly held place in B Tour across the tournaments. I got a quote from JR co-captain Charlotte Kennedy about the experience
I'd like to close with a thought which extends from this point, and it relates to the gap between Mixed Tour and all Mixed Regionals/Nationals. How should mixed teams deal with it? Deep Space have been training during the tours. Reading enter separate training squads into the Open and Women’s Divisions. Now JR have just entered a mixed side into Open. What are the pros/cons of the approaches?
I will say I've been on mixed teams that have entered Open Regionals before (both DED Mixed and JR Mixed). I've found it interesting and a good chance to gel as a team, but that you do have to change your playing style as opposed to what you would do if you were playing against other Mixed sides. It's good, but it can only take you so far. If your aim is to develop connections, great. If your aim is just to practice your tactics, less so. Hopefully the addition of Mixed Regionals will help this. It's a point that many other teams are bound to address as mixed grows as a discipline, so a big thanks to Charlotte for her thoughts here.