Thursday, November 5, 2009

Goosebowl 2009 Review


Last weekend, Goosebowl 2009 quietly went down.

Once a very big coed tournament, the number of teams were down this year (12 from previous years of 30-42 teams) but I'm sure everyone in attendance had a good time.

Toronto club MONSTER emerged as this year's champs.

4 on 4 Ultimate- Skill Developer or Bad Habit Generator?


After a long hiatus from indoor ultimate, I signed up with some of my oldest and best ultimate friends for a 4 on 4 indoor ultimate team. I was really unsure about signing up for this, because I've never been a fan of variants of ultimate. Practice makes permanent, and surrounding yourself with indoor people who make bad choices is not good for your game. However, Goaltimate proved me wrong earlier this year, and worst case scenario I was playing with good people.

After my first experience on Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised with the 4 on 4 concept.

4 on 4 is very popular in Quebec (They just had a tournament last weekend), and it allows people to play on smaller surfaces and provides a serious workout. With four players per team on the field, You can't be a lazy handler in this game.

Major Things Quebec has taught us about indoor
  • No breaks between points (sub of the fly, or simply no pulls)
  • Handler movement

In the first half of our game, we looked like a bunch of comp ultimate players trying to figure out the new rules of this game. Personally, I found that the small field was going to change my mindset (outside of hucks, I like to play 100% low risk offence) and forced me to throw more breaks and challenging throws because.. the defence was giving me no option. We were also having a fun time trying to figure out how to game plan defensively (Do we force middle to take away the sneaky blade throws that some teams use indoors? Do we try some sort of junk zone? Please feel free to comment viewers)

In the second half, we started to roll. Maybe we started to adapt, maybe the other team got tired from a very fast paced first half (probably a little from column a, a little from column b). I can tell you it was major fun to make break throws that you wouldn't otherwise think and your cutters wouldn't expect in regular play.

In the end, I think this format of indoor can be a skill developer or a bad habit generator just like any other variant. If you want to practice throws that will work outside and can be used in ultimate, than you're going to improve your skills as a thrower and a cutter. If you want to throw off hand and make throws that the wind will not tolerate, than you're getting into bad habit mode.

I'll probably have to look into a Quebec tournament this winter. We'll see how the season goes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Finally.. The Off Season... A time to Evaluate


It's been a long season. A good season mind you, but a long season for Canadian Ultimate. We had a lot of hot topics this summer:
  • Canadian Nationals
  • The annual UPA excitement (Club and College)
  • One of the best University Nationals ever
  • The summer tournament schedule was packed north and south of the border
  • World Club Bids
  • The unusual crappy summer weather
As we hit the off season, I have no interest in slowing down my posts. It seems like there is a lot to talk about:
  • Discussion of Canadian Nationals and its future
  • Canada's position on the world stage
  • Discussion of current Strategy trends and when the game of ultimate is headed (speaking in terms of x's and o's)
  • Online voting of best players and teams in 2009
  • Off season training
  • Off Season Team Planning and Review processes
  • Junior Worlds in 2010
  • WFDF Under 23 tournament.. and the Top players under 23.
If you've got any ideas about topics this blog should discuss, please feel to post.

Monday, November 2, 2009

UPA Finals 2009 Review- Chain Lightning Strikes.. with Fury


A lot of teams (and their respective cities) entered the 2009 Finals with high hopes. Regionals showed us that defending champions in various divisions were vulnerable and could be beaten. With so many viable teams, team leaders (especially those in open) had a lot of different teams to game plan for. I can imagine it would be daunting. Underestimating any team could lead to an upset.


I was happy to see the parity in this division in 2009. There was only two blowout games in pool play (both 15-5 losses) and it seemed that this was the closest all 16 teams have ever been in terms of talent. All number one seeds held their seeds on day one (Revolver, Chain Lightning, Ironside and Sockeye) and teams pulling 'upsets' included Truck Stop and Ring of Fire.

In the end, Chain Lightning from Atlanta and Revolver from the SF Bay Area both took undefeated paths to the finals. Both teams have been working for years to make the finals. Chain had already had breakthroughs at UPA finals 2008, while Revolver had added some high profile pieces to explode as an elite power this year. Chain Lightning took the final 15-11 over Revolver and wins it's first national championship.

As for Canadian hopeful GOAT, I can only speculate that it was a disappointing weekend. They were upset by Truck Stop and lost to Revolver on day one. On day two, they were upset on universe (16-15) by San Diego's StreetGang but still had a quarters play in shot versus Johnny Bravo. Heartbreak ensued, as GOAT lost this match 16-14 . The spiral continued as the team lost to Madison Club and finally Bodhi (13-9) to finish 12th.


Heading into the finals, a lot of people worried this would be a two team show once again (Fury and Riot). Thankfully, it was not, and we can thank two eastern teams (Capitals and Brute Squad) for that.

7 of the top 8 teams held seed on day one, save for Vancouver's Traffic (going 1-2 and being upset by Lady Condors of Santa Barbara). Day 2 saw a huge victory for Ontario's Capitals, as they defeated Riot of Seattle 16-14. With the win, the Capitals had set themselves up for their best possible chance of making semis and finals. Traffic took care of business on day two and got a quarters play in game versus Zeitgeist. Unfortunately, Zeitgeist got the win and Traffic was left to fight for 9th (they did indeed win out and get 9th spot).

The Capitals won their quarter final and headed into semi finals with hope- Their day two upset over Riot forced Riot and Fury to play semis versus each other, and all the Capitals had to do was beat Boston rival Brute Squad. You may recall that half of the Capitals sqaud (Lotus) won the Boston Invite this year and lost to Brute Squad at the No Borders final by one point. Combining Stella and Lotus could only help tip the scales against Brute.

Unfortunately, the Capitals fell just short of finals, losing to Brute on universe point (16-15). I looked forward to the readers giving the first hand perspective of this game. I have to salute the Capitals for progress made this year and at this tournament. (Simply beating Riot is a step forward.)

In the final, Fury won easily over Brute Squad by a final score of 15-3. It's the 4th straight title for the San Francisco club. Despite looking vulnerable during the summer season, this team won when it counted most.


GLUM of Ottawa had huge hopes heading into this tournament and with good reason. Their play against DoG at regionals indicated that this could be THE YEAR. It was not to be.

Starting off day one with a serious leg injury to talented newcomer Derek Hodgson, GLUM never seemed to get on track. They had the misfortune of having 3 of the top 4 final finishers in their pool -who seeded these teams? :) , and faced the talented Beyondors (Think Ex Condors players like Husak, Steets, etc). However, GLUM won out after their quarters exit and finished in 5th place.

In the final, Troubled Past from California defeated Surly of Minnesota 15-11 to take the UPA title. It is the first championship for Troubled Past, after finishing 3rd last year.


The final saw two teams looking for their first upa finals championship. Virgina's Axis of C'Ville, lead by former Sockeye player Chase Sparling-Beckley, faced off against Iowa team Chad Larson Experience. Both teams went undefeated through pool play and breezed to finals. In the end, the Axis of C'Ville won 15-11.

On the Canadian end, Edmonton's Psychoplastique held seed on day one, going 1-2 and playing top seed Mental Toss Flycoons hard head to head. On day two, Psychoplastique suffered losses to both Jukebox Hero and One Trick Pony. Playing for 13th, Psychoplastique beating Bashing Pinatas before losing to Brown Chicken Brown Cow and finishing 14th in their first UPA finals.