Thursday, October 30, 2008

Indoor Ultimate

Last weekend Laura and I joined the Force Elektro for the annual "Schreeuw van de Meeuw" (translation: "Scream of the Seagull") tournament in Nijmegen, which marks the start of the indoor ultimate frisbee season. I've always played classic outdoor ultimate frisbee and assumed the indoor variety would be the same except ... well, indoors. Although at first the facilities may seem to be the only difference, the two games are really very different when you're playing. Consider that indoor ultimate...
  • ... is played on a basketball court, which is much smaller than a typical 70 yard outdoor field (120 yards if you count the endzones). This means less room to run and more emphasis on speedy cuts and accurate passes. It also means layouts and other difficult catches are done at your own peril.
  • ... is played 5-on-5.
  • ... typically has a stall count of 8 seconds.
  • ... features frequent use of hammers, scoobers, push passes, and - worst of all - blades. Learning to throw a blade frequently and on purpose is like going back to school and finding out 2 + 2 is no longer 4.
  • ... encourages the defense to always "force backhand" because it is much harder to throw a backhand blade than a forehand blade.
  • ... in this tournament, was played in timed games 20-30 minutes in length, which is incredibly short compared to a typical time slot in an outdoor ultimate tournament (usually 1 hour or more).
I wish I could say that our classic outdoor ultimate skills translated seamlessly to the indoor game, but if I did I would be lying. The tournament was a huge learning experience for us. I think we will continue to get better as the weather gets more and more frigid, since then we won't have any choice but to play indoors. But regardless of my skills in this variety of ultimate, my opinion is that indoor facilities and ultimate frisbee are more a marriage of necessity than anything else. I'm not sure if all northern European players would agree, but I bet a lot of them would.

Our tournament team was an international mix of really nice ultimate lovers representing four European countries and the US. We didn't place so well at the tournament, but we had a lot of fun anyway!


thestevosays said...

Their shorts are much shorter than yours. When are you going to assimilate that part of the culture?

Matt said...

I think that's a result of people's poses in the picture.

Even still, I'm definitely sticking with my knee length shorts. =)