Nice Bristols: The Next Generation - Jen Link, Grace Owen, Kim Owen (Jan 2014)

Jen Link, Grace Owen and Kim Owen joined Nice Bristols in the 2013 season and are currently the youngest players on the squad. They all represented GB at the Under 23 World Championships in Toronto last year and are at university in Birmingham and De Montford, Leicester.

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Here is their blog about their time with Nice Bristols so far.

Towards the close of 2012 we were advised to join a top 8 Women’s Tour team to aid us in the build up towards the Worlds U23 Ultimate Frisbee Championships. Being from small towns in Worcestershire, Nice Bristols were geographically convenient and had training times that suited us. When we first joined the team we were pretty nervous, as here we were with some of the best women in the country. We were unsure of what the training would be like, what they would be like as people and how well we would get on with everyone. In retrospect, I think we can agree that joining Nice Bristols was the best decision we’ve ever made!

Everyone was so friendly and welcoming; I almost can’t believe that we were so nervous! We had never played for a hard-working, competitive women’s team before but instantly knew that this team were exactly what we wanted to be a part of.

We always look forward to the training sessions, however, living around 75 miles away means we can only attend monthly Saturday sessions rather than the weekly ones. It also means we cannot join in with the team gym sessions. Whilst it can be difficult being so far away from the team, we are always encouraged by watching their progress and hearing about their efforts. It motivates us to keep up with our own fitness schedule, despite living further away.

As well as living away from Bristol, the three of us are all full-time university students. This means that we need to be able to balance our fitness and training for Nice Bristols with our university deadlines, playing for the university team and maintaining a social life! But despite all of the difficulties we face there are key motivating factors that help us, the main one being it’s WORLDS!!! The team worked so hard last season and it is such an honour to be a part of the squad that will make Nice Bristols’ history by competing at Worlds.

Playing for Nice Bristols has reminded us of what training used to be like when we first started playing Ultimate Frisbee – fun and enjoyable, but with a higher level of skill and competitiveness. Our time with Nice Bristols has been a unique experience, and they make us want to push ourselves for our team and to train hard for them, knowing that they are training hard for us. Having played in the mixed division in WUCC 2010 we know just how intense and exciting it can be and it’s even more motivating going with that bit more experience and with such a great team.




Lazy Blog - part 1: Team=Mates - Emily Arnold (Jan 2014)

Nice Bristols’ 2014 fitness schedule is definitely the most challenging I have ever undertaken in terms of both content and commitment. At least one gym, conditioning and yoga session a week, in addition to week night training and choir (not mandatory for Frisbee), all to be fitted around a full time job, a full time partner and a full time inclination to be lazy.

The inevitable Yuletide binge on cheese, port, late nights and television really hampered my December efforts and although I had made inroads into the new fitness programme the final score of 2013 was probably Laziness 3 – Fitness 1.

And then long old relentless January showed up with its expectations and its judgements (did someone invent the “thigh gap” just so they’d have something to talk about in January?), and the weather screamed, “Stay in your warm home with your wood burning stove and your internet machine, do not come outside for I shall make you miserable!” Lazy Emily so badly wanted to reply, “Oh mighty wind and rain, you are so right. Why would I forsake my blanket on the sofa for a cold, wet bike ride to the gym?”

And then the internet machine showed Lazy Emily the reason:

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These guys! My teammates are the reason I managed to go to the gym at 8am on a Monday morning even though I routinely don’t get up until 8.20am. They are the reason I went for a run in the park and got mud on my new Maloja leggings* even though I have an irrepressible hatred of running for no reason i.e. no Frisbee or ball to run after.

I am not the fastest or the fittest on our team by a long way but these girls don’t judge me for it. Instead they inspire me with their work ethic, on and off the pitch, they encourage me and they laugh with me. A lot. When Lazy Emily suggests that we just do three instead of five conditioning sets, I remember Lesley’s tireless cutting in the final at Nationals, or Bridget’s face distorting with the effort of making that game-changing goal at Euros, and I want to be able to do that! I want to show my team how much I care about them not just by writing it in an awesome blog, but by overcoming my debilitating laziness and becoming the best athlete I can be (within the constraints of being an amateur – go to nicebristols.com if you want to sponsor us and help us on our #roadtoworlds)!

And so Lazy Emily gets a jolly good ignoring and sets four and five are smashed out with gusto. It’s still hard and it still hurts but when I think of those smiling faces in those red shirts I just don’t mind it so much.

*Thank you to Sportsister and Maloja for my new spray-on trousers what I won in your competition!




Training For Worlds - Georgie Winborn (Jan 2014)

After the initial excitement of qualifying for WUCC had settled, a group of our experienced players got together to talk about what areas we needed to work on in the build up to the biggest tournament the team has ever played. One of the main areas where we felt we could make the largest gains across the squad was by improving our physical condition. This would enable us to train harder, concentrating on improving skills and tactics, rather than using training as a fitness session as we have done previously. As Ultimate is a physically demanding sport it would also mean that we could play harder for longer, sprint faster and jump higher, all with less chance of injuries occurring - everyone’s worst nightmare in a Worlds year!

As a physiotherapist with a specialist interest in sports and musculoskeletal injuries, a lifelong interest in fitness, and as UKUltimate medical support service co-ordinator, I felt like I was in a good position to put myself forward to plan and run the fitness work for the season.

As well as having lots of my own ideas about how to improve our fitness levels, I also consulted Ed McDermott, a certified strength and conditioning coach who is the national strength and conditioning lead for GB Pentathlon and provides strength and conditioning support to the GB Skeleton team. He has previously worked with a variety of GB Ultimate teams including the mixed team during their build up to the World Ultimate Championships in Japan 2012, and the men’s beach team during their build up to the European Beach Championships in Spain last year.

Ed and I put together a battery of tests to put the squad through their paces in November and then provided a tailored weights and cardio training plan to follow in the six weeks up to Christmas.

I stipulated that every player should to aim complete at least one weights, cardio and yoga/stretching session a week and was delighted with how wholeheartedly the squad threw themselves into it, often doing two of each session a week. In addition to this I started running a fun mobility/stability session at the start of Ultimate training on Wednesday nights. This focuses on our functional core strength, flexibility and movement skills leading towards some advanced agility and sprint work that Ed will do with us as the pre-season continues. Again this has gone down very well with the squad and turnout even in the pouring rain and cold has been great.

We have just started Ed’s second six-week block of training and the enthusiasm and effort levels remain high.

This is my sixth season with Nice Bristols and already everyone is at a better level of fitness at this point in the year than we have ever been. Hopefully this will continue to improve as the season unfolds and we will reap the benefits of all the hard work when we go to Lecco to represent ourselves, Bristol and the UK!

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Georgie ‘The hero’ Winborn