My Thoughts After Nationals

Fourth place at nationals would be a massive achievement for 90% of the teams in the UK. But for us we walked away feeling like we’d missed an opportunity that we’d messed it up. There’s lots of reason that you can put forward as to why it didn’t happen for us and a lot more than I will talk about here.

Going into the weekend we felt like we were the best there was and thought that we might have some tough games but we would come through them. On reflection I think we were right and wrong at the same time. We definitely did have the best group of players, one on one nobody could go blow for blow with us. However that’s not what it takes to win, we might have been the best collection of players but we certainly weren’t the best TEAM. It’s the old saying which gets banded around so much that you get sick of hearing that “the best players don’t make the best team” but on this occasion it was 100% true. It was no one’s fault and it can’t be, to be a team you have to work to improve things together. We simply didn’t do enough, train enough, or play enough together.

I look at Birmingham and think how the hell did they even get close to us, they probably don’t have a player in the team that would make the top four of ours. Teamwork goes a long way but we weren’t that bad. Then I think back to 2010 when we were chasing our first national championship for a long time. We weren’t expected to do anything special, maybe top four would have been great for Mohawks in a lot of other people’s eyes. We had a belief that we would win it all and that we were the best team and had something to prove and something to fight for. Even though Birmingham came up short they reminded me a lot of that team we had in 2010. The hunger was there, the excitement, the cohesion and the belief that they could win, they worked hard and ran all day on defence. They were probably just two top end players short of being able to win it all.

I look at our team and think we wanted to win but maybe the belief wasn’t right. I think we all thought it would come to us easily just like regionals had and like we expected. It’s nationals and the quality is ever improving, no team is going to be able to show up and hope for an easy ride. The way we went up in games and then expected to coast made me think that this was certainly one of our big problems. Maybe we had the desire to win just didn’t want to work hard for it.

Then I think about the Brimingham game again and I think they just wanted it more, 3rd to them meant a lot more than it did to us. We have got to the position where we are at the top but because most of those people that worked there arses off in those meaningless games over the years building up to this have gone there are few who realise that pain that it takes to be the best. It’s time to realise that it’s hard to get to the top but it’s even harder to stay there.

At some point it might be a year it might be two or three, the club will have to rebuild and we need to keep the desire and spirit to succeed going. We need to work as hard as we can and then go a little bit further. Winning doesn’t come easily at all that’s why they only let one team do it. It’s just as much about the willingness, desire and hard work that it takes as it is about the tools that you have. Only a few are lucky enough to have the players that we do, if we can combine all of the aspects above then we can and will be the best once more and for a long time.


ashleyyeo

6 COMMENTS
  • James Alexander Allen
    Reply

    Really good post Ash, I totally agree. With a team like our firsts we pretty much seem invincible but we can't rely on player ability. I think after being so successful in recent years, there is an expectation rather than a hunger to win. I was thinking the other day how different this year and next will be and how we can use it to our advantage.

    As I see it this year we definitely have a few superstar players who are part of the reason we could have that expectation kind of mentality, whereas next year (and I don't mean to offend anyone here) we will have a lot more of group of players who may not individually be amazing but could definitely form a great team. If we can exploit that by playing a lot together this year, then we should still be big contenders next. Also, if we can get rid of the 'we should win nationals' attitude that we seem to have and make it more like 'we have the ability to be strong contenders at the top level of uni ultimate' then I think we will be much more determined to do well and not be at all complaisant about our ability.

    1. Sam Airey
      Reply

      I agree Jallen, nice summation Ash. I think this attitude was evident from Regionals onward. Knowing you are a great team isn't necessarily a problem, it's assuming you are a winning team that is. What is more I felt we lose the celebratory happiness of success when we expect success. There was barely a recognition of the fact we WON Sublime warm-up and regionals, no winning photo, no great emphasis on what we did right. If there is no feeling of well earned victory then players won't feel there is anything out there to be earnt. What this results in (as I see it) is us missing that cutting edge, that want and desire and, for me, this is why we lost out to less technically able teams. On the massive plus side…we can easily fix this with hard work and a more positive, constructive look on the game

    2. Charlie Gorton
      Reply

      I agree with Sam completely here, especially the Sublime warm up. That was definitely not a superstar filled team, but it felt more of a team than any other I have played on for that reason. We wanted to prove that Mohawks were good without the heroes and that was a great motivation, and we worked out a way to play that suited the players we had, it took a while but if worked.

  • James Alexander Allen
    Reply

    Really good post Ash, I totally agree. With a team like our firsts we pretty much seem invincible but we can't rely on player ability. I think after being so successful in recent years, there is an expectation rather than a hunger to win. I was thinking the other day how different this year and next will be and how we can use it to our advantage.

    As I see it this year we definitely have a few superstar players who are part of the reason we could have that expectation kind of mentality, whereas next year (and I don't mean to offend anyone here) we will have a lot more of group of players who may not individually be amazing but could definitely form a great team. If we can exploit that by playing a lot together this year, then we should still be big contenders next. Also, if we can get rid of the 'we should win nationals' attitude that we seem to have and make it more like 'we have the ability to be strong contenders at the top level of uni ultimate' then I think we will be much more determined to do well and not be at all complaisant about our ability.

  • Sam Airey
    Reply

    I agree Jallen, nice summation Ash. I think this attitude was evident from Regionals onward. Knowing you are a great team isn't necessarily a problem, it's assuming you are a winning team that is. What is more I felt we lose the celebratory happiness of success when we expect success. There was barely a recognition of the fact we WON Sublime warm-up and regionals, no winning photo, no great emphasis on what we did right. If there is no feeling of well earned victory then players won't feel there is anything out there to be earnt. What this results in (as I see it) is us missing that cutting edge, that want and desire and, for me, this is why we lost out to less technically able teams. On the massive plus side…we can easily fix this with hard work and a more positive, constructive look on the game

  • Charlie Gorton
    Reply

    I agree with Sam completely here, especially the Sublime warm up. That was definitely not a superstar filled team, but it felt more of a team than any other I have played on for that reason. We wanted to prove that Mohawks were good without the heroes and that was a great motivation, and we worked out a way to play that suited the players we had, it took a while but if worked.

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