By Paul (Wits)
Over the past weekend, I attended the Jo’burg “Wild Dogs” trials. There was a total of 22 trialists who attended. Amongst the clubs represented were: Bunnies, ELUF, Long Donkeys, Orange Farm, Skyveld, Soweto, UCT, and Wits.
The trials marked the first step towards sending a South African mixed U24 team to the WFDF 2018 World Under-24 Ultimate Championships. The tournament will be hosted in the city of Perth and will take place from January 7th – January 13th, 2018.
If the trial is anything to go by, preparation for the tournament is going to be vigorous, challenging, and fun. The schedule was intense. The African sun and swarms of “miggies” only added to the occasion. It would be laborious reading if I were to tell you exactly what we did over the weekend, so instead I will list a few of the broad focusses of the drills that we did:
- Focussed throwing
- Speed and agility
- Breaking (and creating) a mark
- Long throws
- Moving the disc in short spaces
- Quick thinking
- Reading the disc
The comprehensive nature of the drills completed meant that each individual was given an opportunity to learn and to improve their skill set no matter how experienced they were. I really believe that all of the people at the trials made use of the opportunity as many players visibly improved over the course of the weekend.
I have previously said (and maintain) that my favourite aspect of Ultimate Frisbee is the people who play it. The trials only reinforced that belief. The people at the trials were enthusiastic, friendly, and hungry for success. I came into the trials knowing quite a few of the people attending but left feeling that I had made a number of new friends – those I had met before and those that I had not. As the sport grows in South Africa it is incredibly important that we nurture these friendships, in doing so we will allow our community to grow and diversify in a way that is beneficial to all.
Based on the talent that I saw at the trials I have no doubt that the future of South African Ultimate is bright. However, with just the first step of the preparation for the tournament in Australia behind us, it is important that our focus moves to the Cape Town trials taking place over the first weekend of February.
I’m expecting to see an improvement from the potential “Wild Dogs” way beyond the trials as these players start to take up more prominent roles not only at their club but in the South African community as a whole.