Mixed & Women's Nationals 2012 FAQs

Based on the poll-responses received so far we decided to provide some additional information on some of the common questions/comments:

Q: Why not reintroduce a standalone Mixed Nationals?
A: We’d love to! However there genuinely aren’t enough weekends in the year. As it currently stands we begin the season in March (Mixed Tour I) and it doesn’t generally end until late September/early October (EUCF). The only possible option is to reintegrate the seasons (i.e. alternate Mixed and O/W events through the year) since we then wouldn’t need to leave the 3-4 week gap between events that we currently strive for. However, this would clearly damage the ability of real mixed teams to practice together (more so than the current suggestion). Realistically, elite players would be forced to choose (or at least prioritise) either Mixed or Open for the whole season – the current split between the Mixed and O/W seasons is specifically intended to raise the profile of Mixed and create serious Mixed teams who train together, and was supported by the community the last time we asked for feedback on it.

Q: Why not add a separate Mixed Nationals on to the end of the season?
A: The season is already long for players wishing to play in multiple divisions at Tour without further extending it. Holding Mixed Nationals later in the year would also negate its use as a qualifying event for EUCS where it is highly likely that an annual Mixed division will become a reality from 2013 onwards.

Q: Why hold Mixed Nationals so far apart from Mixed Tour?
A: Whilst it is not ideal to have a lengthy gap, the idea behind holding Mixed Nationals in August is twofold: firstly to enhance the existing Nationals as the sport’s annual flagship event; secondly as it is envisaged that, in the long term, Mixed Nationals will be part of a separate competition strain to that of the Mixed Tour – i.e. the second in a series of three tournaments comprising of Mixed Regionals, Mixed Nationals/EUCS Regionals and EUCS Finals (EUCF).

Q: Why allow women to play in both Mixed and Women’s divisions but not afford the same option to Open players?
A: Firstly, it is key to express that this is a short-term option.  At present, the women’s player base in the UK would struggle to accommodate both Mixed and Women’s divisions at the same event if players were constrained to competing in only one division. The same is not true of the UK’s male player base. Long term, if the number of women playing Ultimate in the UK continues to grow as it has in recent years, then all players will be restricted to playing in a single division.

Q: Why are you preventing men from playing both Open and Mixed?
A: It is fundamental to reiterate that allowing men to compete in either Mixed or Open and not both is for one tournament only – Mixed Nationals. This does not prevent players from playing both the Mixed Tour and the Open Tour. All players are made to choose a division in which to compete at all international Club Ultimate Championships (EUCC/WUCC etc). As it is envisaged that, long term, EUCS will include a Mixed division on an annual basis and Mixed Nationals will become a part of this competition strain, players are being asked to make this decision one tournament earlier than in previous years.

Q: Why are you making Open & Women’s Nationals three days just to accommodate Mixed when the previous two years have had very successful two day events?
A: Simple answer, we’re not – the plan has long been to have a 3-day nationals on that bank holiday weekend. There are 2 main reasons for this. The first is to allow us to run schedules that are more independent of seeding. Currently, as in any 2 day format with ~16 teams, the initial seeding has a large effect on where you’re likely to finish at nationals. For as long as we continue to rely on Tour performance to help us seed nationals – and there aren’t any other options just now - this is clearly detrimental to our aim of having two separate seasons and allowing teams to form or reform between tour and nationals. There is no doubt that your tour performance currently affects your ability to qualify for European competition at nationals.

The second advantage, certainly in the longer term but perhaps very soon, is to be able to include more teams at nationals. There are 12 UK regions, many of which are currently combined to form slightly larger areas for UK Regionals; but the intention is to eventually have 12 regional competitions and make it a truly local event. 20 or 24 teams at nationals would enable us to guarantee one spot to every region, while still allowing sufficient flexibility to offer plenty of spaces to strong regions (e.g. London).

The only reason we didn’t have a 3-day nationals last year was the timing of World Beach, which was announced after we’d set the weekend for nationals.

Q: Do we know how and when the mixed division will be added to EUCS?

A: Unfortunately not at the moment.  This same discussion is going on at the moment with regards to how we introduce a mixed division as part of the annual European Ultimate Championships Series.  We are one of the countries pushing for this as we have the capacity and interest.  Clearly however, if the European solution starts to move away from our expected approach of "mixed division finals in Sept/Oct" then the current proposed changes to Nationals will probably not make sense.