Introducing the MLU Combine Matt Lowenthal February 1, 2013 MLU Anyone who has ever watched a game of elite-level Ultimate knows that it consistently delivers some of the most athletic plays in all of sports. Monster skies, shoulder-high layouts, and full-field hucks are all routine plays, often occurring in the same point. More and more gifted athletes are flocking to Ultimate every day, and we at Major League Ultimate can’t wait to get all that talent onto the field. Our search for the next great stars of Ultimate has already begun, and we want to fill you in on the process. Several teams have already held combines and put their tryouts to the test with a series of specially-designed events to measure athleticism, fitness and disc skills. From what we’ve seen from the combines so far, we’re in for quite a show. Here’s what we’re putting them through. Speed is great, but it takes more than just speed to be a good cutter. At any moment he may have to accelerate, change direction or sprint all-out. So we’ve developed the new standard for evaluating a cutter’s ability. We call it Cut Time. From the starting line, the athlete has to sprint five yards in one direction, immediately turn around, and then sprint 30 yards the other way. A strong Cut Time means you’re more than just a fast sprinter; it means you’re quick and can change direction, too. We’ve all seen videos of players jumping over defenders to get up for the disc or of little guys who don’t look like much but come out of nowhere to sky crowds of players for the D. We want those athletes. To find them, we’ve developed the Sky Point. Sky Point is more than simply measuring an athlete’s vert. Sky Point tells us the maximum height that a player could go up to get the disc, both from a standstill and with a run-up, so we won’t be surprised when that little guy comes down with it. Ultimate is a sport that requires tremendous speed and endurance, and Ultimate players have to bring it from the first point to the last. To see which players would still be going strong after a tough game, we’re using the tried-and-true Beep Test. Athletes around the world use the Beep Test to measure their overall fitness and endurance. The test itself is pretty simple: run back and forth for as long as you can between two lines 20 yards apart, leaving each time you hear a beep. But after each minute, the test speeds up more and more until it’s an all-out sprint. The Beep Test shows us which athletes can push themselves until their lungs explode and then push further. Ultimate is played with a disc, after all, and we’re looking for those who work it the best. The Maximum Throwing Distance event measures how far each athlete can throw a backhand, forehand and hammer. There’s a lot of space out there on the field, and we need players who can cover it with just one pass. Keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates about combines from across the league, and get ready for some fireworks.