Team Canada is heading to Wroclaw, Poland to compete in the 2017 World Games. VC is proud to sponsor the Team Canada program and share it's experiences as it prepares to compete on the world stage.
In the following article, TCWG player Laura Mason discusses mental toughness and its importance in training.
On Team Canada, we prepare ourselves to get game ready, but that doesn’t just mean being in the gym. The other side is the mental toughness portion. We value this side just as equally, if not more, than the physical portion.
TCWG doing teamwork exercises, designed by Garry Watanabe.
TC’s Laura Mason summed mental toughness up very well, with things that she does to get in her zone. She is always prepared for any situation, with a great plan that she has established through her many years of experience at the highest level of Ultimate.
“I would generally call myself an artist. I make music, create art, and use my creativity every day to solve problems. I would NOT call myself super organized, or tidy.. or "focused" and for a long time, I always saw that as a huge weakness that I needed to get rid of. That I needed to be THE MOST organized and together in order to be successful.
I soon learned that..that was pretty unrealistic.. and that my quickest path to success was actually to find the right amount of structure for myself, while allowing space for creativity and expression.
My concentration depends on a few things:
Daily focus & concentration:
My imagination lends itself to visualization, which was my first step towards growth as an ultimate player, and it continues to be the foundation of my focus. I visualize what I want. I am what I visualize. I visualize at least every day, and it’s generally unstructured, allowing my mind to stretch beyond what I think is possible for myself.
As a tournament draws near, my visualization narrows, focusing on skills or actions that support my goals for that event. It is often a combination of a big, aspirational goal that I have not yet reached, and foundational skills that I rely on to be a consistent player.
Keeping my process and habits the same (even though my excitement is building) helps me stay focused and confident.
Focus at a tournament:
Sometimes I mess up, throw one away, get beat. If it happens a couple times early on, I can feel my chest tighten.. my heart start to race..my breathing get shallow. Negative talk can start to seep in.
It’s important that I identify at least one person on the team who I can go to in those moments - and be totally vulnerable with. I don’t believe in holding in or pushing away negative thoughts. I try and let out my emotion to that person, expressing my frustration and fear. Once it’s out there, it doesn’t have the same hold on me, and I’m able to accept encouragement from my teammate.
Don’t get caught without a plan. It doesn’t have to look like mine, maybe it’s looser or more structured. Whatever it is, figure it out. Put in the time to understand yourself. Each of us are accountable to ourselves and our team for our performance. “
Remember, the best thing to do is figure out what works for you! It will take time, there will be a lot of trial and error. But once you find it, you will feel much more confident about your abilities and always know what to do when a mistake does happen.
Hopefully you've picked up a few pointers from Laura and continue to grow and evolve as an Ultimate player, both physically and mentally.
Stay tuned for more great articles from TCWG in the lead up to the World Games this summer, and follow the team on Twitter here!
Team Canada in their brand new VC kits at TEP in Colombia this April.
What can we say about this team - this season especially - other than Hook 'em Horns!! UT at Austin's top women's team is rocking it, with another strong performance bringing home the gold at Women's Centex this past weekend, the team's home tournament run in collaboration with Without Limits Ultimate.
We admit, we're a bit biased with our love for Melee and their home fields, the Charles Alan Wright Fields at the Berry M. Whitaker Sports Complex at the University of Austin. The sports complex is, simply put, sick... the benefits of being at a school with an athletic's program budget north of $160,000,000 perhaps? Yes, that many zeros.
Fun fact: VC's Adriana Withers met her much-later-to-be wife on those fields in 2003 (VC was merchandising the UPA College Championships while her wife was running medical support), and still lives part-time only about 10 minutes away.
What's more, VC's Sponsorship Manager and the founder of Without Limits, Michelle Ng, is also a Melee alumni.
Oh, and did we mention, it's usually like 80 degrees, sunny and a short drive from one of the hottest music festivals in the world, South by Southwest, going on at the same time?
Read Ultiworld's Women's Centex Preview article here.
Enough about Centex... back to Melee.
From Ultiworld's write-up, "There is no question that #2 Texas Melee is having a tremendous season, and they look like a shoe-in to make semis at Nationals this year. In both of their tournaments in 2017, Presidents’ Day & Stanford Invite, Melee has made the final. But both times they came up short."
Melee's record took a sharp turn to the winning side this past weekend at Centex, where they beat Ohio State's Fever to win the tournament.
From Texas Melee
Women's College Centex is one of the highlights of the spring college season. The University of Texas women's program has been a ong-term partner of both VC and Without Limits. TD Sydney Overman said, "We love how much Vicious Circle promotes Without Limits- in their gear, banners, and general attitude towards women's ultimate. One of the primary Centex goals each year is to grow college women's ultimate across the United States, and I know that Without Limits does a huge, huge job in helping us achieve that mission." Captains Laura Gerencser and Julia Schmaltz said, "VC always makes sure we look good! We decided to change our jersey design this year and we were initially worried about not being able to include our old emblem (the circle longhorn), but VC worked with us extensively to come up with a brand new, classic and clean new style jersey. We love them!"
Melee is deeply invested in the growth and development of college women's ultimate and that is clearly reflected in their partnerships with Without Limits and VC. We love working with Melee and we love their clean designs.
This year's Centex was extra special because of the nice weather and brand new fields, especially given the challenges over the past couple of seasons. Overman, who is a senior, said, "When it comes to running Centex, pray for the best but plan for the worst. Seriously. After the past two years, we were thankful for a sunny, minimal-wind Centex at the newly renovated UT IM fields. If that's not the formula for a successful victory-lap Centex then I don't know what is!" The captains reflected, "Because of years past, we have to say our favorite thing about Centex this year was the beautiful weather and brand new facility. Centex hasn't always had the best conditions, so we were very happy to be able to offer a very smooth, good condition tournament to teams that have been so loyal despite the past conditions." The challenges of the past two seasons made this year even sweeter.
Texas has had a dominant regular season thus far and now they begin preparations for the Series. The captains said, "The next thing on the horizon for us is regionals and we couldn't be happier that it will be back here in Austin! We are very much looking forward to hosting the south central teams (with a possible 4 bids)!"
Follow the team's journey on twitter at @txmelee
This year, Wash U Women's Ultimate and Without Limits celebrated the 10 year anniversary of Midwest Throwdown, hosting 72 teams in Columbia, MO. Looking across the vast expanse of fields, it was hard to believe that the tournament started with only 13 teams.
Purdue won the Open Division of the tournament, while Iowa State won the Women's Division. Congrats to both teams, who took home Spikeball sets to celebrate their victories!
TD Devin Ryan felt that host team Wash U learned a lot from running the tournament. "We learned how much planning goes into running a tournament, and how there’s so much going on behind-the-scenes that the average player doesn’t have to think about. It’s incredible to have this opportunity to have so much control over how the tournament is run and it’s great having that sense of accountability and then reward when the tournament is over."
She also had positive comments about VC's presence at the tournament, "VC has been nothing but supportive of our team, and they were especially helpful of us both throughout the merchandise design process and managing the complex logistics of hosting such a big tournament. We loved how they valued our input when making any decision, and worked with our team every step of the way."
Host team Wash U has been a valued VC partner team for a number of years. Captains Nora and X had this to say about the partnership, "VC has always been attentive to our needs and supported us in getting all of the gear that we need. VC is responsive, communicative, and a great company to work with because of their attention to detail and desire to make gear that fits our team's needs."
The Wash U captains' favorite part about Throwdown was the Skills Clinic at the end of Saturday. The captains said, "It's very fulfilling to be able to give women in ultimate the opportunity to expand their skill sets with talented coaches - and to be able to take part in those opportunities ourselves!" VC is happy to support the Skills Clinic, Throwdown, and Wash U Women's Ultimate.
To learn more about this and other Without Limits Ultimate events, please visit there site here!
We love travelling around the world and meeting players from so many different countries at ultimate events, as well as awesome individuals contributing from the sideline! In Poland last summer, we met a photographer so talented that we asked him to join our team for our next WFDF event. Please meet Andraž Kramberger...
VC: Hey Andraž! We're really excited to have you as part of the VC Lookfly team heading to WCBU this summer. How did this all come about for you?
AB: I met with VC and its crew at WJUC last year, where I was part of the Slovenian team as their photographer. While taking some photos from the finals I got into conversation with Adriana, got her contact and she told me to send her any "good ones" from the matches. So when I got back to Slovenia, I immediately edited the photos, send Adriana an email, she liked them and we remained in touch since. Earlier this year I was invited to be a part of the VC team at WCBU this June.
VC: What was WJUC like for you?
AB: It was an incredible experience to be at such a big ultimate event with thousands of people from across the globe. It was very exhausting as well because I was at the fields from morning till late afternoon and then I edited the photos and videos of the day and uploaded them, which was a tiny bit frustrating with the speed and consistency of the internet at the dorm where we stayed. But all in all a really great adventure, 10/10 would go again.
VC: What's your Ultimate background? How did you get in to the sport?
AB: I played hockey for about 14 years and when I got to college I quit and since we were always playing ultimate at recess at high school, I though I would give it a try. So I joined the local team. I got a lot of new friends and connections over it (as one does in Ultimate) but with going to college in another town, I kind of faded out of actively playing and began to take photos at local tournaments. My former teammates then asked me to take photos of their tryouts and tournaments more often and I still go when I have time.
VC: We've been using some of your photos - which are AWESOME - in our social media feeds lately. How does it feel to see your photos out there for more ultimate players to see?
AB: It's an incredible feeling whenever I see one of my pics being used anywhere else other than my own social media. I never would've thought that Ultimate would be the one thing in life that propelled my photography out into the world.
VC: What would be your dream with regards to ultimate and/or photography?
AB: I'm not quite sure yet. Of course it would be incredible if I could do photography full time but it is a hard business to get a grip on and to make a living out of, especially if you don't really want to do wedding photography (not that there is anything wrong with it, it's just not my kind of style).
VC: Slovenia is a beautiful country. Any tournaments that we should all keep in mind, or must-do's for visitors?
AB: Slovenia is a very special place in the sense that you can cross it in about a 4-hour drive and on the way you can visit some really old cities (from roman times), the mountains and the Mediterranean shore. With its position on the edges of Italy, Austria and the Balcan there was a lot going on here over the centuries. So as a tourist definitely visit Bled with its castle and its lake; Piran, which is a tiny town on the shore; Postojna cave, which is one of one of our biggest tourist attractions, but really anywhere you'll go you could find something to see.
As a Ultimate player you'll hear more and more about our teams in the future because the players here are really working hard on the next generation with a nation wide high school league. As for the tournaments I would say Woodchuck is getting bigger every year. It's an international tournament on high intermediate level. If you're more a fan of an indoor Ultimate maybe take a look at Free As A Bee (FAAB for short). Slovenia is still getting of ground with its Ultimate scene but it is getting there slowly but surely.
Follow Andraž Kramberger on social media to continuously be inspired by his beautiful work:
Toronto-based Elites Ultimate is an exceptional organization led by some of the best coaches in Canada. In fact, both of its founders, Carla DiFilippo and Evan Phillips, have been named Ultimate Canada's Coaches of the Year for their work with juniors teams competing at WFDF World Championship events.
VC Ultimate CEO Adriana Withers sat down to chat with Evan at VC's Toronto HQ recently, where he's also part of VC's sales and youth community engagement team.
Adriana Withers: Thanks for the bite of breakfast sammie. Let’s start at the top – what is Elites?
Evan Phillips: Elites is a competitive juniors ultimate club. We organize competitive touring teams that travel to play in Ontario, Canada and, hopefully this year, to the United States.
Players are aged 13 to 18 and we’ve grown from about 50 players in 2013 to 150 last year. The growth has been pretty cool. We are most proud of the growth of participation at our tryouts – there was close to 200 players at tryouts last year.
AW: What does Elites actually do?
EP: We offer an all inclusive experience for players where you sign up for the season and all of the logistics are taken care of right off the bat. It’s a simple experience for parents because very little organization is needed to be done by them. We book planes, buses, hotels, etc. – which, we feel, is a contributing factor to the popularity of the club.
One of our main goals when we started Elites was to appeal to the parents and to make ultimate like any other rep team sport. It’s legitimate, extremely well coached and well organized. It’s at times easier for parents to understand more established sports such as hockey and basketball, so the idea of making ultimate look like a more similar option was a way to make it more clear to parents when they are signing their kids up for a sport program.
AW: What about the ultimate aspect? Coaching and the like.
EP: Firstly, the kids play a tonne. They will practice once or twice a week (usually twice) combined with 4-5 weekend training sessions. Each team has two or three extremely dedicated and talented coaches. We feel extremely lucky to have the committed coaches with Elites. Two of our regular coaches have represented Canada on the world stage. They have 1 gold, 2 silver’s and 1 bronze hanging up at home. We’ve also had consistency with our coaches across the years, which means that we’ve been able to develop similar strategies and skills coached throughout the teams.
Spirit of the Game and self officiating are very high on the list of things our teams promote. Obviously we push competitiveness and winning, but you need to also make sure the kids are having fun. At the end of the day, ultimate is a sport that you can play your whole life, and play at a competitive level your whole life, so at this age, you’ve got to make it fun and focus on the SOTG aspect to make it engaging life long.
AW: Tell me about your team structure.
EP: Last year, we had 4 boys teams and 2 girls teams. Starting with the girls, the two teams were called Toro (top girls team) and Uproar (a development team, but still quite competitive). For the boys, Toro and Uproar are the top two teams. Energy is our third team and Havoc is our fourth team, which is geared towards players 15 and under. Energy evolved as our third development team mostly out of demand since there were so many players at tryouts that want to be playing competitively.
AW: So Elites is based out of Toronto. Are all of your players from the city?
EP: No, so we draw from as far as Barrie, Newmarket and the Durham region. The older kids are able to drive in to Toronto, but the bulk of players get to practices and the like on public transit.
AW: Have you had any support from local leagues or organizations?
EP: We have. Our local city league – Toronto Ultimate Club – has been essential to our success, mostly by providing access to fields. In Toronto, there are so many different organizations and sports vying for limited fields. For a new organization to come in looking for fields, it’s almost impossible since a lot of standing field contracts are auto renewed each year.
AW: How have the teams done and what are your goals for this year?
EP: The first year we formed Elites, Toro girls and boys both won Canadian Nationals – the first time a Toronto juniors team had ever won a juniors national championships. That was 2014 and since then Toro boys won again in 2015 and last year were in the finals. The girls were rebuilding in 2015 and finished with a bronze medal in 2016. Our aim to have both Toro teams compete for a medal at CUC’s with a focus on competition AND fun. We also want to prepare our players for the 2018 world championships. We’ve seen a big jump in players making the Canadian National Teams from our programs and we want to see that continue. It’s really nice for the players and coaches to see that happen. To see that commitment and hard work does pay off.
Learn more about Elites by visiting www.elitesultimate.com and register for tryouts for the chance to compete in some of the nicest sublimated ultimate jerseys on the fields... #VC
VC is proud to sponsor the University of California San Diego men's team, the Air Squids. You can support the team by sporting their replica gear, available in the VC online store here!
Air Squids at Santa Barbara Invite 2017. Pick up a replica of this jersey here.
A note from the team:
The UCSD Air Squids have been riding the waves of a large group of young players. Despite struggles early in the season, the Squids are a team that truly ramps up as the practices pile up, and that holds especially true of this year's group of 21 first and second years.
We've seen positives already, however, as at Santa Barbara, after going 1-3 on Saturday with a couple very close losses, the Squids won out on Sunday, including the last victory of the day in our sweet darks! The quiet colors and soft design lulls opposing teams into a false sense of security before we pounce, and we'll hope to win more of our flips in future games so we can wear our darks more!
VC Ultimate is proud to be Without Limits Ultimate's official partner. Learn more about this ultimate and life changing organization here.
Commonwealth Cup, hosted at the Smith River Sports Complex in Martinsville, has become a February staple for many teams on the East Coast. Now in its fifth year of existence, the tournament has doubled in size and is host to a wide range of teams, from Nationals qualifiers to new teams and B teams. This year's weather was mostly beautiful and definitely beat the snow from some previous years!
UNC Pleiades took home the title, edging out Pittsburgh in semis and Virginia in finals. UNC is looking for the team's first trip to Nationals in its current players' tenure and UNC's strong showing this weekend puts them right in the thick of things.
The merchandise tent was lively all weekend long and we raffled off both a Spikeball set and Hucket to players who competed in our puzzle challenge. Next up, Without Limits heads to Columbia, Missouri for Midwest Throwdown. Then we'll be back in Martinsville for Mash-Up!
Thanks to Discraft for providing game discs! Stop by Tournament Central to pick one up for your team at Without Limits events!
Erica of Columbia University won this awesome Spikeball set, and is clearly jazzed about it.
Congrats to UNC on their win!
VC is proud to sponsor the University of California San Diego women's team, Psychos. You can support the team by sporting their replica gear, available in the VC online store here!
Psycho A at Santa Barbara Invite 2017. Pick up a replica of this jersey here.
A note from the team:
The UC San Diego Psychos are stoked for the college season! We're looking forward to learning and improving as much as possible while continuing to challenge top ranked teams across the nation. We're grateful to VC for always being accommodating and supportive of our crazy jersey designs, and we hope that everyone will love them as much as we do!
Berzerk B at Pres Day Qualifier 2017
Florida Winter Classic was a great way to kick off the spring season for VC and Without Limits! This year was the fourth year of partnership between VC, Without Limits, and Florida FUEL.
The event has doubled in size and grown in competitiveness during that time, attracting many Nationals Qualifiers and Nationals hopefuls.
Dartmouth Princess Layout captured the Florida Winter Classic title and showed us just a glimpse of how dangerous of a team they will be this spring. They were dominant all weekend long. Host team Florida FUEL had a very strong showing as well, finishing second and demonstrating lots of athleticism.
Champion Dartmouth with the Spikeball set that they received from VC Ultimate for winning the tournament. Follow Princess Layout's season on Twitter at @princesslayout
Captain Courtney Testa had this to say about the weekend, "My favorite part of FWC was seeing the competitive atmosphere and playing and learning from teams from all over the east. It's really exciting to host a tournament with such a wide variation of teams and I think it helps me grow as a player, captain, and teammate to interact with these women."
VC showed up in full force at the event with raffle prizes, prizes for the top teams, and lots of awesome event merchandise. Tournament Director Megan Mullally said, "I loved having Kelley from VC come out again. Kelley's positive attitude really brought up the energy of the tournament. The merchandise is always top notch and the raffles this year really added to the value of the tournament. We can't thank VC enough for supporting us and helping to create an awesome tournament logo this year."
Local team Central Florida with the Spikeball set that they won from FUEL in the raffle.
As always, the successful event was a team effort. Mullally added, "I learned from running FWC that the success of the tournament really depends on the team you have to help you. This year, Kaitlin, Charlotte, Michelle, Kyra, and our volunteers from Fuel and Diesel made the tournament run extremely smoothly." Testa added her thoughts about VC's importance to the event, "VC has supported our team by sponsoring us and helping us create the gear we want, whether that be uniforms, t-shirts, hoodies, ect. VC strongly supports Florida Women's tournament, FWC (Florida Winter Classic) and has helped it grow into a competitive and sought after season opening tournament."
Looking forward, FUEL hopes to continue their success. Testa said, "I am looking forward to developing the full potential of this team. We have a deep team with a lot of different talents, and new coaches as well. This year will provide a lot of different opportunities for FUEL and it's an honor to captain these ladies as my teammates and best friends."
We'll be rooting for you, FUEL and we look forward to your continued success! Thank you for your partnership and for all you are doing to grow college women's ultimate.
SIZE CHARTS & FIT GUIDES
We get asked all the time about the sizing and fit of our jerseys so we've spent some time this year beefing up the available sizing information on our website and product pages, and have created a Fit Guide to show you how our gear fits on all the awesome different shapes of ultimate players.
If you're thinking about ordering VC jerseys or tanks, take a moment to check out the fit guide - we hope it helps!
If you have a favorite jersey or t-shirt that fits you perfectly, find the sizing chart for that shirt online and compare it to VC's measurements to see which size is your preferred one.
JERSEY STYLES & FIT FAQ
While all this sizing and fit information is very useful, there can be different fits for different styles. Here's a few frequently asked questions.
Question: I was looking through your catalog and had a question about sizing for full sub jerseys. I think that spot sub jerseys don't shrink as much as screen printing similar jerseys. How does shrinkage when fully sublimating a jersey compare with screen printing shrinkage?
Answer: This question deserves a multi-part response!1. VC spot sublimated jerseys don't shrink at all.
2. VC sublimated jerseys don't shrink at all AND they are a slightly bigger pattern.
3. VC screen printed jerseys DO shrink 2-5% in the screen printing process.
Say you're a men's medium, but sometimes you wear a large in a styley hipster t-shirt, and you'd rather your jerseys be a bit roomier than tighter. I'm currently describing my brother Graham, who's shown in our fit guide. Our advice to you would be to get a medium sublimated jerseys and a large screen printed jersey. Reason being, you'll be happy with either, and this way you've covered your bets in the best way possible.