NL Ladies at Tom’s Tourney

Report written by Ingeborg Kuijlaars; Pictures by Get Horizontal’s Wouter Struyf.

Team Picture by Quentin Dupre La Tour from FOCUS Ultimate

For the Dutch National Women’s team Tom’s Tourney was a weekend of firsts: our first tournament playing as a team crammed with personal team successes and struggles. The two first games also brought in our first two losses against strong Danish and Swiss National Teams. Our game against the Danish was a difficult search for our offensive connections. We went down early, yet our focus brought us several scores towards the end to soften the blow of defeat: 4-8. The Swiss were a more merciless opponent earlier on taking a quick 0-4 lead. Thereafter we managed to find to a greater extent our offensive flow and roughly traded points to make it 7-12 after time. Our final game of the day became our first win. Playing against Mantis our D-line, already working hard for us in previous game, really got into the zone (we literally tried a new zone in this game and it worked really well) and basically won us this game. Their three point run gave us a nice buffer and enabled us to secure a final score of 12-8.

Our final pool match took place on Saturday morning. Our match against the Irish National Team would be to many our best game of the weekend. Not only was this our first win against a fellow national team (spoilers: there was another one!), but this was also perhaps the game in which we could most clearly see what beautiful things our offense was capable of. Now clearly our ambition to do well at Tom’s was from a team-building point of view, but our two victories did secure us the third place finish in our pool and kept us in contention for a 9th place finish. We carried our victory against Mantis and came out victorious against Micz. We took a lead early on despite a shaky zone defense. Micz proved unfazed by our man-defense however, so we switched back to a few different zones and capitalized on their few misfires to take the victory 10-6. Our next opponent Tequila Boom Boom simply outclassed us. We struggled to curb their deap threat and overthrows on offense added to Tequila’s dominant victory: 6-14.

Action Shots by Wouter Struyf from fooliage(punt)com (7)

Our final match of the day was our quarterfinal in the 9-16 bracket against the Danes, this time the Masters edition. The joint dancing warm-up set the right tone for what would become an intense match. After an even start the Danish side utilized their killer inside breaks to take a three point lead. Adjusting our defense we fought back; and while momentum seemed to be on our side, we ran out of time to turn our come-back into a victory. This loss put us in the 13-16 bracket and had us facing the Spanish National Team the following morning. We took the lead against a very passionate Spanish side. Although they threatened to come back throughout the entire match, points tended to fall our way accumilating to a decisive 8-3 victory. Had Tilt, a fellow Dutch women’s team, won their match against Micz that morning, it would have been an orange battle for 13th place. However Tilt lost that match on universe, so we would face Micz yet again and test the well known saying that you cannot beat the same team twice at the same tournament. Micz was on fire from the start of this tense match and took the lead. The Dutch were working hard to realize their come-back when a seemingly clean handblock by Valentijn and resultant Callahan score by Becs was undone with a foul call. This denied goal might have given the Dutch an upper hand in their struggle for victory. Instead Micz remained on top and pulled away for a decisive 5-9 victory. The Dutch National Women’s team ended 14th.

Action Shots by Wouter Struyf from fooliage(punt)com (4)

This final loss was definitely difficult to stomach, even with the Swiss chocolate provided by a much improved performance in Micz’s spirit game to soften the ache. We circled up one last time that weekend and were reminded to look past this particular defeat at the successes of this weekend. Both on and off the field we had grown as a team. (We didn’t know it at the time, but we had done so showing solid spirit: 3rd place finish!) Granted, there is plenty of room for improvement; but Tom’s has shed light on where we are and where we want to go. Most importantly, our work at Tom’s has brought forward a lot of important insight into how we can get there.

Next on the agenda: the 23rd of May. This will be a full day with team-building excercises, a training, and the exciting prospect of a 19:30showcase game against the French National Women’s Team. With similar goal differences against the same Tom’s Tourney opponents (although the French fared better against the Swiss), it will be interesting to see what happens when these two teams meet in two weeks time. Come cheer us on to victory!

Action Shots by Wouter Struyf from fooliage(punt)com (5)

King’s night is for the ladies – NL dames training report 27 april

Strategy Talk 150426_DSC_2984

Last Saturday the Dutch Women’s team had another exciting training in Amsterdam. Armed this time with two coaches, Sjoerd and Trish, we set to work on what we had been fairly forewarned would be an intensive afternoon.

The afternoon kicked of with a short team meeting to discuss strategy. Coach Sjoerd made short work of explaining his take on life, the universe, but mainly women’s ultimate in the Netherlands. In a few sentences and pen strokes he outlined our team’s strategy and the logic behind it. Then we were shoo’ed onto the field ready to start the day.
This no-nonsense strategy talk set the tone for the day. Even the warm-up was intense with focus points pushing us to be dominant from the get go. Each drill was succinctly explained with good focus points; and we were given little time to dwell on bad habits which swift feedback from both Sjoerd and Trish set out to do away with. It was a thrillingly tough afternoon with neither coach accepting any slacking during drill time. In truth we don’t have a lot of time until Copenhagen to become the team we need to be. So the pressure to start performing now was perfect. All sprints were full speed and even the drill demonstrations featured lay-outs.
The deep defense drill especially was found to be both physically and mentally challenging. With everyone so accustomed to cutting in and the defense therefore so used to defending under, it was quite a shift when both parties had to do the exact opposite: cut deep with a defender forcing you under. This drill furthermore nicely illustrated the team’s impressive hucking power. With many of our “just a cutter” players also throwing it very long indeed.
Player rotation within and between drills allowed us to play with and against most of the women on the team. This training was also the first time we played in our newly defined offense and defense lines: an exciting moment. Line chemistry increased from point to point. The o-line tinkered with their various strategies; and the d-line experimented with a new zone look.
The focus and intensity of the training really stand out. And under it all there was an undercurrent of excitement as we made our final preparations for Tom’s Tourney this coming weekend.
Team Picture 150426_DSC_2987

Women’s update – 11 april

On the 11th of April the women’s team assembled in Amsterdam for practice. Overcast skies, high winds and light showers to start set the tone for a difficult yet rewarding practice. Led by Trish York, we were treated to an offense focused training. After being awed by the sheer wealth of experience implied by Trish’ short introduction of herself as a coach and a trainer, we introduced ourselves to our new trainer, and thereby also got a bit better acquainted with our teammates.

With the coming of rain it was time to get moving. Not with a conventional jogging based routine but with a cutting drill, interesting. The training as a whole had a new pacing for many of us. Instead of one game to finish; scrimmages were interspersed throughout the training, allowing us to implement each lesson we learned directly into a game context. And while the first scrimmage was a bit messy, the second scrimmage saw significantly smoother offenses while the unpredictable winds fueled the game’s overall intensity.
From deep throws to dump throws, a general sweep of all things offense was covered giving us all much food for thought and further development as the season progresses. A successful training, leaving us all glowing under a nice sheen of sweat. With two more weeks of fitness under our belts we now eagerly anticipate this week Sunday’s training which will have a more defensive flavor to it. And beyond that, Tom’s Tourney.
Team Picture 150411_DSC_2452

Selectie Oranje in beweging

Sun’s out guns out! In de vers geleverde reversible tanks trainde Oranje gisteren weer in Amsterdam. Focus lag daarbij op deels op verdediging en deels op een herhaling van de plays vanaf een pull of na een spelhervatting. Met de nieuwe spelers Bram te Brake en Timo Verkerk, en Barry die weer terug was uit Dubai, was er weer een mooie opkomst.

Hoe dat echter de rest van het seizoen zal zijn, is afwachten. Een aantal spelers moet zich helaas afmelden voor deelname aan het EK in Kopenhagen. Om financiële, logistieke of gezondheidsredenen (of een combinatie daarvan) zullen Sander Piron, Hylke Snieder, Hans Lommen en Joram Mossink niet meekunnen. Of zij nog wel deel zullen nemen aan het voorbereidingstraject wordt nog bekeken. Continue reading

First Dutch Women’s Practice of 2015 – #roadtocopenhagen

By Ravi Vasudevan.

A few days ago I got a message from Lisa Kouwenberg, one of the National Women’s team organizers, stating that the Dutch National Women’s team needed someone to run a practice for them and asked if I would be available for it. I decided to help them out and went to Utrecht where 14/19 of the Dutch team came together for the first official practice of the season.  Here’s what went down.

Since captains, coaches and roles were not yet fully decided, offensive and defensive systems were not really in place yet. The training, therefore, focussed mainly on individual skills and different drills that could be used to teach the players how their teammates play.  This was also a chance to try out many different skills so that the eventual captains could gauge which players on the team excel at different parts of the game to form lines.  We worked on basic throws and cuts, dump sets and playing under pressure in the first half to see where the women were at in these disciplines.  The second half focussed on marking, defensive footwork and deep throwing.

All in all, I was very impressed with the level that this women’s team has even without 5 other strong players that couldn’t make it this time around.  It is awesome to see the top of the Dutch women’s pyramid really buy into making a strong women’s team.  Since Primavera’s heydey, there hasn’t really been an effort for this generation of Dutch women to put together their strongest players to see what they can do on an international stage.  So what was I impressed by, specifically?

This team has skills.  Everyone on the team was really solid with the disc and pretty athletic too.  They have many players with great deep throws and break abilities.  They also have players that can catch under really hot pressure and these are the building blocks that any competitive ultimate team needs to have.

The players are very coachable.  I brought in a lot of stuff most of them were used to and a few things that were very new to a lot of the team.  The vast majority of the team was open to trying things out and were able to adapt to different situations very well.  I think once they figure out which systems to run, they will easily turn into a well oiled machine.

These girls are willing to work hard.  I could sense the eagerness to run all the drills I put them through.  I could see a lot of enthusiasm to push through even when things got frustrating or physically difficult.  If they keep this up all season, who knows where they will end up in Copenhagen.

Of course some things still need work this early in the season like building chemistry and gaining some confidence.  However, I feel that this group has the pieces necessary to put together a strong, competitive women’s team.  I can’t wait to see what this team can accomplish in the coming season.  After practice they had an hour long team session to split up team tasks and figure out how the team stands on different goals.  4 months including 2 tournaments and 6 practices left until Copenhagen.  Let’s go Oranje.


Iris throwing a flick to Alicja. Defenders Imke and Henriette try to stop the intended play.  - Picture by Martine Bootsma

Iris throwing a flick to Alicja. Defenders Imke and Henriette try to stop the intended play.
– Picture by Martine Bootsma