Tip Tuesday – Person Defence

Person Defence

This week, we’re talking about person defence. In our drills and scrimmages, we’re focusing on one thing when it comes to person defence: shutting down the unders.

You may be familiar with the term ‘unders’ but if not, an under refers to a cut towards the thrower rather than a deep strike which is a cut away from the thrower. Unders don’t typically gain big yards but these high percentage passes can have your opponents moving up the field quickly, and the next thing you know they’ll be on the endzone line looking for the score. Instead of letting our opponents get these easy passes, we want to force them to throw it deep or break the mark. By taking away the unders, we’re forcing the opposing team to make more difficult throws, which increases our odds of taking the disc.

But how do we shut down unders? By staying square to your receiver, staying in an athletic stance, and staying in the most dangerous lane at all times. By keeping your hips square to your receiver, you can react quickly to their changes in direction and if you’re in an athletic stance (hips low, knees bent, weight forward), you can accelerate after they cut and stay close to them to put pressure on any pass that may go up to them. To stay in the most dangerous lane, we need to constantly re-evaluate where the disc is in respect to our receiver and put our body in that space. As the disc moves across the field, the most dangerous cut will change. It’s the defender’s job to identify where the most dangerous cut is and put their body in the way to stop that cut. This takes a lot of field awareness and will result in continuous adjustments to maintain a good defensive position.

Think about these things as you play Ultimate this week. Do you keep your hips square to your receiver when you play defence? Are you constantly thinking about where the disc is in relation to your receiver and what the most dangerous cut is? What about your footwork on defence: when your receiver quickly changes directions, can you keep up?

Here are some links you can check out for some more information.

This video features some great insight from Alex Davis on how to play aggressive person defence.

And this article from UltiWorld does a fantastic job of talking about some key person defence principles by using 42 seconds of a game as an example. We also like this article because it talks about some more advanced ideas when it comes to person defence like orbiting, shouldering checking, and buffering.

Both of these links will hopefully give you some new things to think about when it comes to playing great Person Defence.

Expanding Our Horizons

We want to thank everyone who came out to tryouts over the past few weeks. Through cold weather and rainy conditions, over 125 people participated in tryouts for Crash and Thunder and the leadership could not be more proud of the effort and energy everyone brought to the field. With so many people interested in playing Mixed ultimate frisbee this summer, we quickly realized that 2 teams wouldn’t be enough to accommodate all the talent that we saw. So we’re thrilled to announce that we’re welcoming a third mixed team to the Crash and Thunder system, and we’re really excited that we get to share the experience of touring ultimate with even more players in the area.

This third team, which is yet-to-be-named, will be lead by Coach Andrew Portwine. Portwine is a long time ultimate frisbee player and an experienced coach, and we’re excited that he’ll be leading this team for the 2016 season. Like both Crash and Thunder, this third team will be focused on development, keeping a positive attitude on and off the field, and enjoying the touring ultimate experience for everything it has to offer. Coach Portwine is looking forward to working with a committed team looking to improve their skills and attend a few tournaments to gauge their improvement throughout the season.

Practice for this third team will start this Tuesday, and they’ll be attending tournaments throughout the summer in the area. A roster announcement will follow in the coming days.

Looking the Part : Thunder 2016

One of our first posts back in March was about the re-branding Thunder underwent for this season. We mentioned that while we wanted to stay true to the original lightning bolt logo, we also wanted to incorporate other identifiers that were a little more expressive for our comeback in 2016. We think our new jerseys do just that.


On top of designing our new logo, James Robinson also designed the fancy new jerseys above. We are really excited to bring Thunder back to the field in 2016 wearing his work, and we feel his design is very reflective of the team we want to be. We’re excited to have a new look for this season, and if these jerseys make you excited as well, then we hope to see you at tryouts tomorrow.

Its not too late to sign up!

Want to get better at ultimate? Try out for Thunder!

Thunder Alumni

With the start of the touring season quickly approaching, we hope you’ve already signed up for tryouts and are getting excited. In the event that you haven’t signed up yet and are on the fence about it, we reached out to some Thunder alumni to see what they thought about Thunder and how the team helped them get to where they are today.

Sarah Burke “I learned a lot playing play one season with Thunder. It was my first real experience to the touring ultimate scene and it was the stepping stone that threw me into this sport. On top of learning about strategies and skills, the supportive atmosphere also taught me how to be a good teammate and cultivated an already strong passion for the game. At the end of my first summer with Thunder, the one thing I knew with 100% certainty was that I wanted to continue playing, improving and make sure that my next season would be even better”

Sarah Burke In 2015, Sarah played for Union from Toronto, Ontario. She helped them win a silver medal at the 2015 Canadian Ultimate Championships in Winnipeg, MB.

Jonathan Nelson “Thunder presented me with the opportunity to develop and grow as a leader as one of the captains, while learning core fundamentals of Ultimate. I could not have done it without the leadership and all my Thunder teammates. In the end, I was a better Ultimate player and a better person.”

Nelson In 2015, Jonathan played for Crash. He helped them finish 4th at the 2015 Canadian Ultimate Championships in Winnipeg, MB.

Amanda Froese “I played with Thunder in my very first season of touring Ultimate in 2014 and have a ton of great memories from that summer. Thunder not only taught me skills, but also gave me the confidence to use those new skills in games. I had a fear going into that season that Thunder wouldn’t be as competitive or that we might be able to play at as high a level as I was hoping. I was wrong. We practiced hard, played hard and set high goals for ourselves. It was a place where we could compete, and also feel like we could learn and develop. From my experience, Thunder offers an intentional way to get better at Ultimate, with a group of people who want to do the same.”

koop In 2015, Amanda played for Crash. She helped them finish 4th at the 2015 Canadian Ultimate Championships in Winnipeg, MB and will be returning in 2016 as a Captain.

We hope that these testimonials from Thunder alumni inspire you to come out to tryouts. If you haven’t yet signed up, please do so! We’ll see you on the field!

Want to get better at ultimate? Try out for Thunder!

Thunder’s Tournament List for 2016

We hope our new logo, goals, and coach have gotten you excited for our 2016 season. Behind practices, the biggest time commitment we’ll be asking of our players will be to attend as many of the tournaments we plan to compete in as possible. Touring ultimate gets it name from the fact that as a team, we compete in tournaments instead of competing in leagues. The touring season spans from May to September and can take teams across the province and country to compete against other teams.

With this in mind, we recognize that there are many players that would like to practice and play competitively but are not able to fully commit to the travel and expense of being on a highly ranked national team. We hope to offer such players a chance to play high-quality ultimate with minimal overnight travel required. Below is the list of tournaments Thunder plans on attending.

  • TUF – May 7/8 – Toronto, ON
  • May Day – May 28/29 – Waterloo, ON
  • Unknown Legends – June 25-26 – Hamilton, ON
  • Regionals – July 9/10 – Location TBD
  • No Borders – July 23/24 – Ottawa, ON
  • CUC Mixed – August 18-21 – Hamilton, ON

We think this list of tournaments provides great opportunities for high quality competition while remaining close to home.

Want to get better at ultimate? Try out for Thunder!

Introducing Coach Chaudet

2016 is shaping up to be a really exciting year for Thunder- a new look, some new goals, and now, a new coach.

We’re proud to announce that our Coach for 2016 will be Marcie Chaudet, a long time ultimate frisbee player and previous University of Waterloo Women’s, Whiplash, and Wreck touring player 1394421_10100667047384717_1639481059_n

The decision to coach this year wasn’t a decision she made lightly. Any player turned coach will tell you- it’s not easy to step back and leave your cleats at home, but Marcie is excited and ready for the challenge. In previous years she’s been in leadership roles on the University of Waterloo Women’s team, experiences that inspired her to step up as coach for Thunder this year. When reflecting on those previous experiences of captaining the UW Women, she recognized how rewarding it was to help players develop their skills and confidence, and she’s looking forward to have similar experiences this year on Thunder.

But she also has a lot to give. A veteran of the sport, Marcie has over 8 years of playing experience to pull from, with Nationals experience at both the University and Club level. She’s a proud advocate of touring ultimate, knowing how beneficial the experience can be for players ready to take their game to the next level. Her experience with touring is also why she’s so excited to coach this year: she knows that touring is about the community, the camaraderie and the development, and that is what Thunder is all about at its core.

So as a coach, what is she looking for in players? Marcie will be looking for the key attributes that Thunder wants to build into the team: work ethic, a positive attitude, and respect for the game. She wants to find players willing to always give 100% every time they set foot on the field, be it for practice or for a key tournament game. Thunder’s goal of being the best development team in Canada will only happen if we foster a supportive team culture, which is why having a positive attitude is so important. In Marcie’s own words: “Positive teams do great things, and we have to have a positive and supportive environment for players to develop”.

We’re absolutely thrilled to have Marcie on board as our Coach this year. We hope you are too!

Want to get better at ultimate? Try out for Thunder!

Thunder’s Goals for 2016

In addition to a new logo for 2016, Thunder has a fresh new set of goals to go along with it.

While many people missed Thunder in 2015, the hiatus allowed us to think carefully about what we want the team to be and we’re excited to execute that vision in 2016. Simply put, our goal is to be the best development team in Canada. We want to be a training ground for hard working players that are ready to take their game to the next level. We’ve designed a season around helping our players improve their skills as individuals, and as a team. Thunder has everything a player needs to get the most development out of their summer: experienced coaching, competitive tournaments, a confident and supportive team culture, and intense practices. If you want to see the biggest improvement in your game this summer, Thunder is the right place for you.

But not all of our goals are new. The one thing that Thunder has always been known for is the supportive team culture it has for its players, and we want to continue that legacy in 2016. Thunder fosters a positive environment that supports individual player development while increasing our overall team competitiveness. We believe that part of learning to be a great player is learning how to elevate your teammates with you. When it comes to ultimate, we know that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.


But how do we do that? By bringing in the right people. We are keen to recruit players that want to develop their skills while sharing in the camaraderie, fun, and community of competitive ultimate. We are particularly interested in players that are disciplined, hardworking, and have a great level of respect for their opponents and the game we love to play. Outside of skills, we’re looking for players who are ready to give 100%, have a positive attitude, and are ready to support their teammates. If you think you fit that bill, we’d love to see you at tryouts.

Want to get better at ultimate? Tryout for Thunder!

New Year, New Look

As you maybe saw on Facebook and Twitter yesterday, Thunder Ultimate updated their social media accounts with some new graphics and logos, beginning the launch of our re-branding process.

Many of you may remember that Thunder took a brief hiatus in 2015 to re-group and re-focus, and when the leadership got together earlier this year to start the discussions of reviving Thunder for 2016, re-branding the team was an important part of that process. We felt it was important to pull forward Thunder’s original lightning bolt logo while also finding something a little more expressive for the team.


Thunder2016FBProfilePic (A big shout out has to go to James Robinson who helped us with the graphic design of our new logo. A 2014 Thunder alumni, he’s a writer and illustrator currently wrapping up his first graphic novel!)

In addition to the lightning bolt, we’re proud to announce that fierce looking hippopotamus as an additional identifier for Thunder Ultimate 2016. These animals are aggressive, unpredictable, and fast: just like our cuts on the field. But how do Thunder and hippopotamuses relate to each other? A group of hippos are called a Thunder, a name likely coming from the noises these animals make while charging: when a group of hippos start running, their stomps can often sound like rolling thunder. We’ll let you know what our opponents say after they hear us chasing down a disc.

2016 is going to be a really exciting year for Thunder Ultimate, and our new look is only a small part of that. We hope you join us.

Want to get better at ultimate? Try out for Thunder!