Sion ‘Brummie’ Scone gives some wise words to those considering the next GB senior cycle…
The application forms to run the GB squads are coming in, so I felt the need to write about some of my experiences. I was involved in running the GB Open trials in 2010, and GB World Games trials in 2012-13. Allow me, then, to share some of the things I’ve learned.
So what was the number one issue that I faced yet didn’t expect to?
Not enough people want to try out for Great Britain.
oakley overthetop sunglasses
No-one seems to think they are going to be good enough. Of those who did, I was surprised at the number who were so keen to represent GB in some form or another that they would try to hedge their bets. Assuming that Open trials would be too competitive they chose Mixed, Juniors, or U23 as a backup instead. Don’t get me wrong; if you want to try out for any GB squad, I say go for it. My point is that there were people who would love to have played Open, and the reason they didn’t try out was because they simply didn’t think they’d be good enough. I’m sure that the people who ran the other GB squads experienced a similar issue, and I’m sure that some talented players didn’t try out for any of these squads because they had never imagined they’d ever be in the running to represent their country.
For those interested in trying out for GB…
What was it like playing for GB? The truth is there’s nothing mysterious about it; it’s just like playing for any other team. You take a step up to a new team and the first time, you’re just happy to be part of it. Sooner or later, you want to make a difference. The trials for the Open squad in 2010 were dominated by young, up-and-coming players who wanted to give it a shot. Guess what the majority demographic of the team who won a silver medal at the World Championships two years later was? A team like that – or a club team like Clapham – rarely has a mystery element. It’s just a collection of people willing to push themselves and their teammates to succeed. Willing to take the risk of failure in order to gain the possibility of victory. Victory never tastes so sweet if you’ve never tasted bitter defeat. Don’t be put off by the risk of defeat or failure. It just makes you stronger. Be prepared to work hard. Work hard, put in the hours, 18+ hours per week if you want to be an international quality athlete. If you want to compete at the top, you have to be a great athlete. There is no alternative. Throw as often as you can. Oh, and it’s expensive too. But you’ll be in the best shape of your life, and believe me when I say this: the more you put in, the more you get out. If you have desire – the will to win – then you can achieve anything.
Time. Money. Effort. All worth it to get to travel the world, compete with and against the best, and form incredible memories and wonderful experiences that money truly cannot buy.
So, I implore you – try out for GB. If you want to prove to yourself that you gave it a shot, try out. If you want to take a step up, try out. If you want GB to be as strong as it could be, try out. If you want nothing more than to make sure that the people who make the team had to go through you on the way to selection, then try out. A competitive trial is the start of the process that may well end with GB becoming world champions, so make sure we start in the best way possible by being there with the desire to succeed. Finally, why not reach out to one of the many people who have already played for GB? They are all friendly, approachable people who can answer specific questions.
cheap oakley oil rig sunglasses
To those standing as a manager:
Back in 2010, one of the captains said after the first day of trials “I don’t think we have the players to achieve anything”. However, I believed strongly that two years of young players pushing each other to be better will get you a better result than just chasing people who don’t really want to play and twisting their arms. Taking keen people creates competition for spots on your roster, and you’re going to need that to drive quality up. We pushed each other, and the 2012 team was completely different to that in 2010.
Likewise, there was some concern about the quality of players at trials, and it was clear that most of the players were not well-rounded individual players; some were great athletes, some had a great flick, or backhand, or huge layout blocks. Very few had the full package of skills, most had at least one major weakness, and the entire squad was pretty inexperienced. Only eight of the previous GB Open team were involved, and only five of those made it to Japan for WUGC. As a result, a huge amount of time was spent concentrating on offensive and defensive fundamentals, rather than the (more interesting) aspects such as team defences and offensive formations. One wish for the future would be a higher level of basic skills coming in, hence better trained coaches are required at ALL clubs. In the end, it was left to me to work with individuals on their skills, setting them specific “homework”. In my experience, UK clubs have failed to develop their players adequately for the national teams, and without a solid foundation there can be no success at a national level. What does this mean? Quite simply, don’t expect that the players who try out for a team will necessarily be well-rounded. Most will have one or two strengths, some will be all-rounders, all will have key weaknesses. Be prepared to work on fundamentals. A lot.
nike free 5.0 running shoes
Our top innovation, by far, was drafting in a professional fitness coach, Colin Harris, to set all of our workouts and define what the minimum requirement would be. By far the best thing each player can do is get a personal trainer and work with them regularly; be sure to find someone with experience working with athletes and professional sports if possible. Of course not everyone can afford this, so check out the likes of Tim Morrill. Get a program, stick to it. Set expectations early. As part of the GB trials we did a fitness assessment, and at the end of it Colin said that the general quality of athlete was far lower than other sports he’d worked with, such as football, hockey, track or basketball. Simply put: ultimate players in general are not at the equivalent level to other elite level sports players in amateur sports. This indicated that we could work smarter & harder despite not being professionals. If hockey can do it, why can’t we?
One thing I hadn’t figured would be an issue was that, quite simply, most of the team didn’t trust in what I was saying. They had got into the GB team by being really good at one or two things; telling them to move away from those things made them very uncomfortable. The fact that I’d been a top player in GB teams for the past three years meant little to some as I played for a smaller club team and they hadn’t matched up with me directly. It took six months of training and tournaments – and some coercion from high-profile players who did have faith in me – before the team started to believe. In short, don’t expect everything to go smoothly… It would be remiss of me to fail to mention the team songs though; after some team discussions (and some creative individuals whiling away time between games; Dowelly & Max I’m looking at you) we came up with a bunch of songs that we used during warm-ups, half time, between points, etc. They really helped everyone to feel like they belonged to a team, and were really very useful. Building a team identity is going to be vital, so don’t ignore it.
ray ban com
You’re going to need a game plan for each of the powerhouse countries. I had flown to Prague in 2010 specifically to scout Buzz Bullets, and having watched four of their games against high level teams I was able to figure out how one of their rather unique zones worked. The best way to prepare our offence line was simply to teach the zone to our defence, then play the zone against them. Things proved to be far more difficult than that; the concepts were far too different from traditional zones. Instead, we learnt some of the basics of switching zones, and focused on the offensive adjustments we would need to beat the Japanese defences. Quite simply, steal your opponents strategies; you’ll never understand them until you attempt to play them. Take the best, ditch the rest, and be comfortable playing against different styles. If you want to teach something that is conceptually radically different from traditional offence or defence, then you’re going to need time. Six months or more, and several dedicated practices for a new zone, in my estimation.
ray ban eye glasses
Focus on your weaknesses. We were incredibly athletic as a result of 9 months of fitness work. Most games at EUC 2011 ended up with teams refusing to match us man to man, so we knew we’d need to be able to shred a variety of junky defences in order to be effective. And we lost the final due to a zone defence; it was no surprise that Sweden consistently played zone again in the WUGC semi final (why they never played zone against our D line offence, I’ll never know).
Expect to have to make some tough decisions. Expect that you’ll need to adapt to a few curve balls. Expect to lose a friend or two. It’s not easy, but remember that you’ve got the support of the whole UK ultimate community. Good luck.