‘Can we mix it? Yes we can’
‘How we fixed mixed’
By Jake Waller and Fred Ingram
Bristol is a fairly big city, but for a while it’s only had enough ultimate players to feed into a couple of competitive teams: Bristol Women and Bristol Open (well, three teams, if you count everyone who lives in Bristol but plays for Devon). Recently, the club has found itself struggling to provide competition and training opportunities for everyone who wants to get involved. Where do we send new players? What about those who have experience, but want to play casually?
At the same time, the last few years has seen the Bristol Mixed team struggle to entice enough players, requiring a considerable amount of pick-ups from outside the club.
This has, however, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Going into this season we realised that Bristol Ultimate ought to provide opportunities for less experienced players, so Bristol Mixed has turned into the perfect vessel. It allows us to provide focused trainings at an appropriate skill level, as well as giving us a clear purpose when entering tournaments.
Instead of throwing a team together and seeing how many games we can win, we’re now heading to tournaments with much more clarity. It doesn’t matter how many games we win at all, because the focus is on personal development and building on skills learned at trainings. The UKU ranking tournaments give newer players an opportunity to push themselves in a more competitive environment than they’re used to, while more experienced members can try new roles without the pressure of the high-performing Open and Women’s teams.
We recently competed at Y Ddraig Goch (aka Mixed Tour 1) and despite bringing a group of people with a wide range of experience and who haven’t played with each other for very long, we managed to win a couple of games while demonstrating massive improvement as a team. This included securing a win on universe point, whilst playing into the wind and starting on defence, which showed incredible determination and patience from those on the pitch, as well as brilliant enthusiasm from those on the sideline.
We’ve entered teams into the next two UKU mixed events and it will be interesting to see if we can build on our success at Y Ddraig Goch. Crucially, it will be great to see how players progress from strength to strength throughout the whole season.
Are you interested in playing with Bristol Ultimate? Our mixed team is open to anyone who has grasped the fundamentals of the sport and wants to take their playing to the next level, as well as experienced players who enjoy mixed and want to focus on developing skills in a low-pressure club environment. Find out more here: https://bristolultimate.com/bristol-mixed/