Open Indoor Regionals


The preview for MUIOR said “Cambridge could well cruise through the weekend and sweep all before them.” which turned out not to be far from the truth…

The Strange Blue squad consisted of the captains George and James, and – also returning from last year’s 1st team – Dom,Tom,Rolo,Tejas, and – just having started their graduate courses – Alex Jones and CUlt Open captain Chris Tull, and – last but not least – two new faces: American superstars Justin Norden and Ben Funk.
With this incredibly experienced and athletic squad we set out to repeat last year’s victory at regionals, coming in from 3rd seed.

We managed to take our first two pool games against UBU2 and Fling2 comfortably, winning 12-4 and 12-6. Last game on saturday was against 6th seeded Loughborough Haze, who started strong and went up 3-1. We kept trading until 5-3, when SB stepped their game up and showed how hard they can play on D. We fought back, turned the game around and eventually ran down the clock being 6-5 up.
Play of the day went to JR who got a D on a really tall guy who kept shouting “Mismatch!”
Dick of the day went to Justin who got handblocked twice on lazy pushpasses.

Topping our pool on saturday meant we would jump right into semis on sunday morning. We were up against Jesters from Leicester, who primarily relied on “Medic” to make plays as their iso cutter. It took us some time to get used to this setup and Jesters went up 3-1 but we managed to shut them down from there on and went on to win 9-5.
On to the finals. First seeded UBU was desperate to take revenge for losing to us in both indoor and outdoor regionals finals last year. But they wouldn’t succeed…
It was an incredibly hard fought game, UBU equalizing just before the buzzer sounded after we had gotten a couple of early breaks. However, our offense did not crumble under the pressure and would go on to score the last point to win 7-6 in sudden death.
Play of the day went to Dom for getting an upline goal against two defenders while toeing the line.
Dick of the day went to Justin and Ben for carelessly letting UBU score and go into universe point with less than 10 seconds on the clock.

MVP of the weekend went to Dom for being the safest handler in the midlands and getting a huge block in the finals.

I had dyed my hair on Friday (as part of a forfeit) and promised that, if we win Nationals, I will dye my hair “Strange” blue permanently. Infinite mocking, isn’t that an incentive!

Thanks for an awesome weekend,

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Focus on Rules #1 – Dangerous Play

What makes ultimate such a great sport in my opinion is that it is intense, but without the aggression common in many contact sports. As a non-contact sport, it makes playing mixed possible, and is almost the first thing I tell people about when I get the familiar puzzled look when describing our beloved sport.


So back to basics, rule 1.1 – non-contact sport. In every part of the game, all players should always be aiming to avoid any contact with each other. Importantly this is restated in the first rule in section 17 – Fouls.
Dangerous play (17.1) is considered:
“reckless disregard for the safety of fellow players regardless of whether or when contact occurs … and is treated as a foul. This rule is not superseded by any other rule.

I want to talk specifically about this rule in regard to situations where you are thinking of making a bid even though your opponent player has a better position on the disc than you. I see this as an important rule because of three reasons:
1. There is potential to injure yourself and/or the other player *
2. Bad spirit – even if the other player doesn’t call a foul, the rest of his team with a better view will mark down your spirit (eg. see Cananda vs Japan at Worlds 2012).
3. The rules are written so that even if you get the disc, you don’t gain the advantage if you initiated contact.


This last point provides a clear message to uphold the non-contact element of the sport. The rules state that when contact is initiated by either the defensive (17.2) or offensive (17.7) player, the opponent player will be be favoured in the ruling.


17.2 – states that a defensive receiving foul occurs when a defender initiates contact with a receiver before, or during, an attempt to catch the disc.
17.7 – states that an offensive receiving foul occurs when a receiver initiates contact with a defensive player before, or during, an attempt to catch the disc.


Even if you get the disc (on O or D), if you initiated any contact then your opponent can call a foul and you hand over the advantage. So the rules are clear, only make a play if you are confident there will be no contact.


Obviously, as with any rule, there is a grey area about how much contact is considered enough for a foul to be called, so I welcome your comments to this post. Here are some examples where I believe the players make good & bad decisions regarding this rule:


Here is an example of defensive players taking the wise decision not to bid knowing that it would result in contact:


Good example an offensive player making a bid on a disc despite not having position, and importantly not making contact. (sorry Nick, it’s the best example I could find)


This is an example of a bad defensive play where contact results in a foul call


Unfortunately I believe there is a worrying trend and expectation on D players to make a bid all discs to put pressure on the catch. This is a risky strategy, you may get a number of Ds, but are they worth it when that time comes when you do injure yourself or worse the opponent? I would urge precaution over glory.


There is a lot of technique and strategy to getting yourself in the right position to enable you to make a play without contact. Advanced positioning is something we don’t often get a chance to teach/drill at SB. If there is enough interest I will attempt to run a drill on this later in the summer.


So, to conlcude – only make a play on a disc when you can be sure there is no chance of initiating contact (before or after getting the disc) with the other player. Admit you have been boxed out and get the force on quickly if the disc is still in play, or if they scored, congratulate them on a good play (and get yourself along to more SB fitness training 🙂


* I have seen broken bones protruding through skin because of dangerous plays. The player realised pretty quickly that making that D was not worth it.
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Nationals Info for student squad

Some important info:

First game at 9.30 vs Sheffield
More info in the email forwarded from Si Hill below
If you’re getting the minibus – Meet at 6.30am outside Darwin college (Silver St) on Saturday. We’ll leave at 6.40am and meet the ‘2mins brigade’ to convoy up to NOTTINGHAM.
Ring me on 07984193014 if any problems.
Lenton Lane, Nottingham, NG7 2SA
We’re staying in The Nottingham Gateway Hotel Nuthall Rd, Cinderhall, Nottingham NG8 6AZ
Bring loads of food. There will be catering at the venue, but let’s not rely on. Bring some pasta and lots of energy foods to have before and during the games. I’m not sure what we’ll have at the hotel, so bring something for breakfast too.
Eat a huge meal tonight and drink loads of water today.
Neeloy is booking a restaurant for Sat night near the hotel for open and womens.
There’s always a surprising amount of things to do as Captains, and so it would be a real help if everyone can chip in an help out with a little job. Accepting volunteers for the following:
Co-pilot – help driver get to venue (ie. print out directions and navigate)
Co-pilot 2 – help driver get to hotel (ie. print out directions and navigate)
Spirit & Score – check Dom or I get spirit and score to TD after every game.
Schedule guy – someone to keep an eye on schedule to always know when the next game is and where.
Score & TO guy – know what the score is and how many TOs we’ve had at all times even if the scoreboard is wrong. James?
Booking Sat night restaurant – Neeloy (please book for 25 for us and women)
Warm up guy – someone to lead the warm up if captains are busy. George?
Pick up discs guy – someone to grab all our discs after drills so we don’t lose them all through the weekend.
Music guy – do you have a portable speaker and an ipod?
DOTD & POTD guy – note down any good stories for the writeup.
Blockstack photo guy – organise the team to make sure we get a pro photo by the blockstack Andy Moss (he said he’ll be hanging round pitches 11 & 12).
There will be other random things we need doing on the day.
This is the what we’ve been building up to for the whole year. All those session where you busted a gut are for this one weekend. Every time you step on the pitch you’ve got to give it everything. There will be no easy games. Every game will be like the sudden death game against Nottingham at regionals. Get mentally preparing yourself. Visualise yourself making the winning grab or the D. We are a great team, and this weekend we’re going to go out there and show the rest of the country how good we are. Get pumped.
Email from Si Hill:
UKU UON and Alumni Cup Update 3Event webpage <>

Schedule and pitch map now available from the event page (link at top of the page). Please remember that sometimes the schedule has to be changed so keep an eye out for corrections or updates although of course we will do our best to avoid making any changes.

We have port-a-loos in the middle of the field – but please remember there are lots of toilets in the buildings as marked on the pitch map. The changing rooms do have showers too of course.

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Stress Spikes: The Impact Of Fitness On Decision Making

An interesting post on the drop in decision making as you tire and your heart rate goes up.

We should all be aiming to get fitter, and integrating decision making exercises into our fitness work.

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The science behind Tabata workouts

Mike Fletcher used to be a huge advocate for these type of workouts. We’ll be doing these in the summer term in prep for Open Tour.

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Pre Nats Fitness

With only 4 weeks to go till the biggest tournie of the year, now’s the time to really get yourself into throwing and fitness. Remember, everytime you mark up against someone and you are fitter or quicker than them, that’s one less player they have to throw to, and one more option for us. This game is won and lost on the smallest of margins, and fitness really does make a huge difference to winning games, especially the important ones at the end of the weekend when both teams are tired.


Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Brodie Smith didn’t just learn to be a jackass throw great backhands overnight. It takes hours and hours to perfect a skill (10,000 according to Matthew Syed) so if you can get out and throw with a friend / dog / grandma then take the opportunity. But don’t just throw simple throws, push your limits and you’ll come back throwing stuff that would make it onto highlights clips. A great blog about this comes from a legend of the sport, Ben Wiggins. Use the evenings to grab a mate and get out throwing. Just 20mins a day will make a huge difference. Use the squad email to find a throwing partner if you’re in Cambridge.


I’ve been banging on about this all term so you won’t be surprised to see it come up here. Any running you can do over the break is fantastic. If you don’t have much time, then High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the best running you can do to get fit and ready for the season ahead. There is some good intro to it all here. So over the next few weeks you could try running these twice a week:

  • Week 1: 4mins running at 70% then 3mins off. Repeat 4-6 times.
  • Week 2: 3mins running at 80% then 3mins off. Repeat 4-6 times.
  • Week 3: 90sec running at 85% then 3mins off. Repeat 10 times.
  • Week 4: 60sec running at 90% then 3mins off. Repeat 10 times.


Plyos are really important to strengthen your joints and give you bounce. Both important for this sport. Here is a good intro to them. Best to do these before the running workout above.


Similar to plyos, these are great, and can be fun too. Check out these. Make them into a game with your siblings, or while you’re brushing your teeth.


Key to every sport is strong core. Nick Wong put together this excellent series of posts about it.


I could have saved myself lots of $$$ in physio fees if I’d stretched more. Your joints need flexibility in order for the body mechanics to operate as they should. Stretch everyday if you can. Here’s a good stretch routine again from runner’s world. Or Yoga – I’ll be going to this one a lot over the holidays

Watching Ultimate

I’m not a huge fan of watching ultimate, but if you are then these are some great sites UltivillageLuke Johnson on VimeoSkyd MagazineNexGen Productions. Hell, even watch Brodie Smith if it gets you excited about throwing and practicing more. Just don’t start acting like him.

Stay Safe

Final thing is to remember to stay safe. If you’re running in the dark, wear a light. It something starts to hurt, stop and see a physio.


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Hot yoga

Bikram (hot) yoga

Being flexible is pretty important for athletes, and many of the top ultimate players use hot yoga sessions as great core workouts, with the added benefit of a really good stretching session. The room is heated to 40deg and really high humidity.

Ive started going this year and can really recommend it. It loosens up my back, hamstrings and neck… All areas i struggle with stretching normally.

There are a few places in town, but I wanted to recommend this one that has just opened and is reasonably priced. For students it is only £7 per session, or £5.50 when you buy 10 sessions. Sessions are 2 hours. Every evening at 5 and 7pm. Central cambridge location.


If you want to come along with me then ask when I’m next going.

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