2015 Crash Tryouts Announcements

Tryouts are coming up! If you’re interested in playing for Crash or Thunder this summer, here’s the information you need to know! We’re excited to build on our successful season last year and hope that you want to be part of it!

First of all, sign up for tryouts here:

Tryout Signup Form

If you have any questions feel free to get in touch! But here are a bunch of answers to some questions you might have.

1. What should I do to prepare for tryouts?

Being ready for tryouts is important. Be in shape, get out and throw before tryouts, and prepare yourself mentally. Last year, we gathered some links for you to read and they’re still just as relevant.

2. What should I bring to tryouts?

Light shirt, dark shirt, water. Lots of energy. 20$ to cover field costs.

3. What if I’m also trying out for another team?

Let us know in the tryout form. We communicate with captains from other teams to set up a tryout schedule so that you can be seen by both teams.

4. What if I can’t make it to all the tryouts?

Let us know in the tryout form. We’ll probably be able to work something out.

5. What commitment is expected if you make the team?

Crash and Thunder will be having 2 practices a week (Tuesday and Thursday nights.) Crash will be attending the following tournaments.

  • Toronto Ultimate Festival – (May 9-10)
  • MayDay (Waterloo) – (May 23-24)
  • Mixed Easterns (Boston) – (May 30/31) (If this doesn’t work out, we’ll likely go to Comedy of Errors instead)
  • Regionals (Barrie) – (July 11-12?)
  • No Borders (Ottawa) – (July 25-26)
  • Nationals (Winnipeg) – (August 13-16)

Thunder will be attending the following tournaments.

  • Toronto Ultimate Festival – (May 9-10)
  • MayDay (Waterloo) – (May 23-24)
  • Summer Experience (Toronto) – (June 6-7)
  • Regionals (Barrie) – (July 11-12)
  • Other tournaments based on team interest

6. Who will be making decisions about the roster?

The roster for Crash will be chosen by Matt Havercroft, Dan Johnson, Bryanne Root, and Yaacov Iland. The roster for Thunder will be chosen by Natalie Mullin and the Thunder leadership team.

7. Can you explain the tryout process? When will cuts be made?

Any player that’s interested in playing with Crash or Thunder will be trying out for the team this spring and is expected to attend tryouts. The first tryout, on April 28, will be for players who are new to touring in KW-Guelph. We’d like to have a chance to evaluate players we don’t know well before the large-scale tryouts starting May 1. We’ll be sending out emails to all players indicating whether we’ll be expecting to see them at the first tryout. Following the first tryout, new players will be streamed into two groups, one that will continue trying out for Crash, and one that will continue trying out for Thunder. Players that move onto Crash tryouts will be invited to attend the second tryout on Friday May 1, along with all others that are interested in playing with Crash this summer.

Crash and Thunder tryouts will continue on Monday May 4 with separate tryouts for each team. On Wednesday May 6, tryouts will conclude with each team holding a mini-tournament followed by final cuts.

What We Did Right: Fundamentals

Every play in Ultimate involves throwing, catching and moving. Most teams put in the time on throwing, especially hucks and breaks. Crash also incorporated catches and movement into our warm-ups.

Can you consistently take a disc high, pick it off the turf, go one handed with either hand and corral a laser throw? Crash made a lot of tough catches last year. (Check out the faces of the Dame players in the background on the series in that last link.) Having a roster of athletes to get to these discs before the defense is key, but once there, completing the catch is crucial. We put in the time during our warm-ups to build consistency and confidence with our catches.

Heather catches the disc over top of a MagnetX defender with impeccable positioning!

Movement in ultimate has received a lot of attention recently with experienced trainers like Tim Morrill, Ren Caldwell and Thom Wendelboe sharing their knowledge. Practice time is precious, but even with an experienced team it pays to spend time on movement basics. You might even discover that one of your best players can only jump off one foot. Generating power and moving efficiently are skills all players can improve on, and their frequency of use in our sport makes it worth spending the time.

Throwing is easier to convince people to practice, but a group of Crash players went above and beyond by throwing every day. It’s hard to require players to make that kind of time commitment, but wow did it ever pay off!

Our team-wide ability to catch, throw and move helped us to maintain possession and get Ds. It gave us a consistency of play that saw us through games against very tough opponents. We will certainly spend time on our fundamentals again this year.

Editor’s Note: Here is the second post in our series on things that went well last season and why we had the success that we did. For those looking for specific input on how to work on Fundamentals [Season 7 of Rise Up][9] is all about building fundamental skills. I haven’t seen all of it, but from what I have seen it looks pretty solid.

What we did right: Building team culture

Editor’s Note: Yaacov wrote up a number of posts about things we felt we did well as a team last year. We’ll be posting these as we lead up to tryouts next month. We hope you’ll find them interesting and potentially useful.

Winning a championship is a great feeling, but you can’t stay there forever. A day after the medal ceremony for CUC 2014, I was thinking about Crash’s season, what we had done right and what we needed to do better in 2015. In some ways, what we had done right was simple and obvious, but looking back, I realized how long it had taken me as a coach to understand those simple and obvious things.

Crash cheers after winning pool D!

1 Team Huddle

The mythology of coaching is about great play designs and fiery pump-up speeches. In my first year of captaining, those were how I wanted to make my mark. Ten seasons later in 2014, I coached a team with one play and our fiery huddle talk before the finals was basically “Let’s go out and enjoy playing Ultimate on a beautiful day in front of friends and family.” Which isn’t to say that how a team organizes itself on the field or the words that are said in the huddle aren’t important, they are very important, but they have to come from your identity as a team, not from movies.

Our season was about four things: team culture, fundamentals, depth and decision making. This identity was built through team discussion and each player and captain took responsibility for making it happen. I’ll write about team culture first.

Crash’s culture was about hard work, focus and spirit. In every single huddle during the season, we talked about working hard. Sometimes at length, sometimes just as a quick reminder. We celebrated hard work in practice and and at tournaments regardless of whether it generated the outcome we wanted. We pushed ourselves to play every point of every practice and every game the way we wanted to play on double game point in an elimination round. When we were down 4-0 in the semis at Regionals, there were tactical adjustments but we didn’t have to find a new mental space. We just played with the same pedal down mentality that we’d always played. When we had to score two in a row to win the semis at Nationals, again there were tactical adjustments, but we were in a familiar mental space of giving full effort. Hard work was part of every moment that we were on an ultimate field.

Hard work is about physical effort; focus is about mental effort. Being present in the moment, keeping your mind on the disc, on your check, on the stream of information from the sideline without slipping into thoughts of frustration over a turnover, excitement that a win is close at hand or simple lapses from fatigue, is difficult. Keeping a high tempo in practices, eliminating mental breaks when a player isn’t active in a drill and walking and talking on the sidelines are all ways to keep focus high. The more we worked on holding focus, the better we got.

Spirit is one of the best things about competitive sports. It’s also one of the most difficult. Crash committed ourselves to playing with Spirit of the Game foremost. We spent time learning the rules, practiced discussing calls in a respectful way, and made a point of letting teammates know when they had made an incorrect call so that it could be rescinded. It wasn’t easy, and we weren’t perfect. We had great spirit from opponents and help from observers that taught and inspired us to be better. I’ve played a lot of games in the mixed division and this year was by far the best year for spirit that I’ve ever seen. It was great to be part of it.

Our team culture contributed to our success, but it also made us proud of what we’d built as a team. If we had lost an elimination game, we would have still walked away knowing that we’d lived up to who we wanted to be.

There are lots of ways to choose a team culture. Revolver’s Intensity-Humility-Discipline and Riot’s Excellence-Trust-Love are other great examples. Our 2015 team culture may change as our team grows towards new horizons of who we want to be. But it’s guaranteed the culture will be the core of our team, and our plays and system along with what we say to each other will be tools to help us live up to that culture.

Why do I play?

Playing ultimate is one of my favourite things to do. Somehow, in the past few years, its taken over vast amounts of my leisure time and I don’t have any regrets about that. I enjoy playing competitively with Crash, I enjoy playing in leagues with close friends, and I enjoy taking time to teach the game to others so that hopefully they can also begin to experience some of the fun. But why is it so great? What is it that I love so much about this game? I think for me there are three main things.

First, it’s a chance to play competitive sports with a group of people that is really working hard to get better at the game. In high school I loved having practice every day after school for basketball, or soccer, or badminton and that’s been a hard feeling to recapture as an adult. Most adult sports teams get together once a week and have a good time kicking a ball around or tossing a disc without any real focus or intensity. Competitive ultimate has provided an outlet for me to get together regularly with a group who are highly motivated to improve, both individually and as a team. I’ve learned so much over the past four years playing and there are plenty of things still to learn.

Second, I think the game itself is great. The rules of ultimate enforce team play (you can only move by passing the disc to another player) and teams have the most success by maximizing the contributions of each player. The success of the team depends on developing trust between players that each one will make good decisions with the disc. Another thing I like about ultimate is the way the disc flies through the air. It’s very unusual to have a sport where the players can move faster than the game object and this leads to some incredible moments as players successfully chase after discs that initially seem out of reach.

Finally, the people who I get to play with are another reason why I play. Since I started playing, I’ve enjoyed so many good times with all the teams that I’ve played with. The feeling of developing community among teammates over the course of a season is just fantastic. I’ve learned so much from so many different players both on my team and on opposing teams. Not only about the game but also about what it means to be a great teammate, a great leader, and a great person.