I went to Wildwood, New Jersey this weekend for the Wildwood Beach Tournament with a bunch of CMU ultimate people and some others. For those who don’t know, Wildwood the town is one of the big vacations spots on the Jersey Shore, with a huge boardwalk, amusement parks and a long stretch of beach. Wildwood the tournament is probably the biggest beach tournament in the world and it was amazing to see so many ultimate players wandering around and literally taking over the town (One staff member told me there were over 400 teams). This was my first wildwood and my first time playing legitimate beach ultimate and it was really amazing.
While ultimate isn’t necessarily the focus of the tournament, which is renowned for its parties, I wanted to write a bit about it here. We played 2-2 mixed and we had really talented women, so we exploited them a lot in our offense. Despite being a fun tournament, our offense was really amazing. We did a really good job of working the disc up the beach and attacking the break side and I was particularly impressed with our ability to dump and swing so effectively. I distinctly remember several times where I was able to get the disc as the dump and find someone already making a cut to the break side for the swing. Without a lot of team chemistry, it was amazing that we did this so well. In beach, it’s common for teams to resort to the deep game partly because the field is so short and because you get 2 points for scoring end-zone to end-zone. Our team rarely ever tried this because we could advance the disc so smoothly. Ultimately we only scored 2 two-pointers the whole weekend.
Our offense really contrasted with what I’ve recently become fairly accustomed to on Dire Wolf, which really utilizes the deep space a lot more than we did. While both styles have pros and cons, I think I’m more of a fan of the “work it up the field” offense because that’s what I’ve played for the past couple of years. However, both offenses are very one-dimensional and an intelligent defense can cause a lot of problems to both. For example, as I wrote about here, once a team realizes you like to exploit the deep space, they will back your cutters, forcing you to work it underneath. On the other hand, if a team realizes you don’t have a strong deep game, they can run a defense that makes it hard to hit in cuts (force middle/straight up and have cutter defenders force away). Ultimately a good offense needs to be more well rounded. Our beach team had a hard time hitting deep shots, but the quality of our opponents wasn’t that amazing, so this didn’t really cause us much of a problem.
Defensively, we did what we had to do, but I definitely think we could have earned a lot more turnovers. Most of the teams we played ended up turning the disc over without much pressure from us, so we didn’t have to get blocks, but I think there was certainly room for improvement on our part.
On the whole though, Wildwood is supposed to be a fun tournament and not necessarily a competitive one. I had a lot of fun hanging out and playing with my team, and was especially happy to play with Mr. Yuk alumni who I hadn’t seen in awhile. It was a great way to take my mind off of work and a refreshing change from the competitive nature of club ultimate.