Monday, October 1, 2007

Talking With Trainor- GOAT Prepares for UPA Regionals

Talking with Trainor- David DJ Janssen- GOAT

UPA regionals are coming up for all divisions. In the eastern part of Canada, we can look on with interest at the remaining Canadian teams. Tombstone (Masters), Capitals (Women's), BFC (Mixed), Denoiret (Mixed) and GOAT (Open) are the Eastern Canadian hopefuls still alive. This is also a rare chance for us to cheer for Furious, Traffic, and other West teams making a run at their respective regional tournaments.

All these east teams have realistic shots at making it to Florida for the UPA's final round but none more so than GOAT. Save for a loss in the Canadian national finals to Furious and a tight loss to BAT in the Motown tourney, this might be the best season GOAT has had.

What's the mood within the 'herd'? I asked one of their captains, David (DJ) Janssen, a number of questions related to the team and their upcoming challenge. For those of you who might not know DJ, he's a lightning quick offensive handler who helped WaX during their 90's Canadian dynasty and has been with GOAT for most of its existence. He also helped lead Team Canada Masters at Worlds 2004. He's a triple threat- captain, player, teammate- so shut up and listen!! :)

What does the GOAT name mean.. exactly? Is it Greatest Of All Time, or something else?

I guess I was there at the beginning so I should be able to answer this the best. In truth a lot of things have been thrown out there over the years. Whatever suits the moment. I'm sure everyone had one in their head at the time but nothing was every stated officially as our name and I for one have never associated anything other than Goat to our team name. Just a simple hard working animal who roams around feeding off whatever life throws at them.

2. Is everyone healthy for Regionals?

For the most part. We have a couple guys who are coming off some wear and tear from the long season but for the most part everyone is building to be at full strength for regionals and through UPAs. I think our numbers are running close to 30 strong. Maybe just under.

3. What teams are you preparing for at regionals specifically?

Boston Ultimate, New York Ultimate.. I'm not too sure. Those are the two, along with us, that will likely be seeded in the top three in any case. I think we all know each other pretty well.

Boston is working things out with their
new collage this year and will likely be strong through the fall. They've been showing signs of what they can do. I think we're in the same boat that way. New York, well they have the population of Canada in their greater area!
After that there are always teams that surprise at regionals and peak just at the right time. We might not be
preparing for them but we'll keep our eye out.

4. How do you prepare for teams? (Practice, Video, Communication with other teams, Nothing)

A little of all the above. We've used video in the past. It mainly helps to identify positions and types of O or D. I know some guys use it for more specific player match up stuff but most of the teams we need to know we play or see play enough throughout the season. I guess ultivillage helps out with this a bit.

Practices can be used to better match up against teams if we see that they have been using a certain d's such as excessive handle poaching or back siding lane cutters... as an example. We generally make sure to get more specific reps in before playing
those teams and maybe adjust play calling to suit those needs. Mainly it's just about strengthening our own game.

5. Who is new to the team this fall?

We picked up an artist, a boxer and an emergency medical guy. Not a bad combination. Plus three more top players from in town. All impact players to help us push through the long season.

6. Who has stepped it up this year and emerged within the team?

I'll keep it simple and say our captain is huge in all aspects but mainly the way he's stepped up to lead the team. Player wise it's across the board this year. I believe we're at new regime 2.3 at the moment. Meaning our whole work ethic and focus towards ultimate as a team has turned a corner. We do have some up and coming superstars who have done some incredible things this summer but I'll leave that for other people to point them out.

7. You've won 5 tourneys this year. Which one was the biggest for the team?

Without a doubt, Chesapeake Open (in my opinion). We knew it was going to be a long season this year with Canadian Nationals being a "world's year" and the UPA series running through until the end of October. We knew we had to build our training plans to have a double peak during the season. Canadian Nationals came down as seeded to one big game for us. It was a huge loss for us. As are any losses in the finals it takes time to get over them. To come back two weeks later and win strong at a highly competitive tournament was the best way to push past the loss with a fresh new start.

8. How do you call lines with this much talent? How do you ensure you make the right calls?

We do our best to build off game plans and selecting how we feel the players are playing at the time. The depth we have this year has actually made it much easier. Everyone has been very understanding and on board with the approach.

9. Is having players from the team in different cities a true hindrance?

As a generally philosophy I'd say, absolutely. The lack of practice time together and the lack regular team bonding hurts. However, in our case, the guys from out of town are only added if they bring something to the table that outweigh the negatives. Toronto has such a strong pool of players currently that role players and young prospects are already available. There's no need to go to other cities. Thus, there are only a small handful of guys who are outside of Toronto. In years past that was not always the case. The key is to have a strong and large enough core to be able to have full intense practices. We've made up for this by attending a lot of tournaments and having camps on off weekends. Attendance from the out-of-town guys is always at a higher priority because this is our only team time.

10. It's been over a month since nationals. Did the better team win?

The better team always wins. Don't they? In our case we were certainly the underdogs going in. I'm sure the Vegas odds would agree. I felt that we had the pieces to really make it interesting this year and make it close at the end. We made mistakes across the board and didn't play to the level we had or have played all year. I guess it's one of those things that makes you stronger in the long run. It has certainly kept the fire in our belly to push harder through to the fall season. Not to mention we're dying for a rematch in Florida.

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