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Emma Klima (Birmingham) Interview
The following is an interview with Emma Klima. She was women’s co-captain (with an injured Jess Cowley) at Birmingham in 2015-16. She helped lead the team that won Indoors and Outdoors for Women’s and Mixed.
What’s your name?
Any nicknames? No, although Hayd would claim Trout.
And what’s your number?
How long have you been playing Ultimate?
About 8.5 years
Did you start at University?
What do you study?
What’s your favourite throw?
How often do you make your team train a week?
Outdoors or Indoors?
Horizontal or Vertical Stack?
Zone or man D? Man
What (if any) club team/s do you play for?
This year I played for Hydra, St Albans Mixed, and also went to the European Club Championships with Reading Mixed last October.
Have you ever represented your country?
Yes, i played two years of GB U20 Women and last year played GB Mixed U23 in London.
How did you start playing Ultimate? What convinced you to stay?
I started at school at the end of year seven as a teacher (Jack Rushton) played at university and started a team. My friend asked me to play one lunchtime, and at the time i was scared of her so didn’t want so say no… Turns out i really enjoyed it.
Why did you decide to go for captain? What advice would you have for any new captains starting this year?
I was asked to be captain at the end of first year. To be honest the team make it a really easy job, our team has a lot of knowledge and experience so everyone makes suggestions. I was just excited to be part of a team with such a good depth of players. I think new captains need to remember to listen to their teammates, just because you’re captain it doesn’t mean you know everything and in lots of situations someone else on the team is better placed to know what they’re talking about!
What was it like being a co-captain? Was it useful to have a non-playing perspective during tournaments?
Yes, although we were gutted that Jess got injured early on in the season it was really useful to have her on the sideline, she has a lot of knowledge tactically and when you’re on the pitch you can get caught up in the game and not make the best decisions. She helped us out a lot suggesting adaptations mid game and mixing up our tactics.
How was it balancing all the different divisions and trainings (indoors, outdoors, mixed, etc.)?
As a club I think we do fairly well making sure we balance trainings. Generally for the two weeks before a tournament the team that’s playing will train together. So for example before Mixed Indoors the mixed first team had the indoor training slots for the weeks leading up to nationals. Generally our training sessions are fairly integrated though, with some extra training for the first teams.
What was your scariest moment in qualifying?
We took a fairly inexperienced team to Women’s Outdoor Regionals, and when we turned up it was classically wet and windy. Before we started playing I was concerned we might not qualify at all, but the freshers stepped up, played really well, and after the first game i knew we could do it.
Which nationals victory are you most proud of?
I’m not sure I could pick, part of me says Women’s Indoors, because really we’re a team of outdoor players and had to make a lot of adaptations to play indoors. But i think Women’s Outdoors was probably my proudest, we had a really great weekend. It felt like the freshers we took really integrated with the team, despite me deciding to teach them a new zone the day before!
How many nationals trophies do you now have?
Currently we’ve won both Mixed and Women’s Indoors and Outdoors, and the boys also won Indoors.
What have you done with all of them?
I couldn’t possibly comment...
Is it still exciting to win nationals?
Of course, every game is different and you never go into a tournament expecting to win. Obviously it’s very satisfying to go and play, work hard as a team and come back with a trophy, I don’t think that’s something that gets boring.
You're someone who has won trophies in both women's and mixed at uni level, and also represented your country at both. What do you view as the main difference when you play?
I think the main difference between mixed and women’s is the speed, the game is much quicker and often much more physical. I think those same differences are reflected in the difference between uni and international level too. Obviously uni teams train, but when you play at an international level you’re playing against people who have been training for months, not only skills and tactics but also fitness and strength and conditioning. That again ups the intensity and physicality of the game.