|Selected questions from our interview with captain Garrett Hubing:
Talk us through the selection process for your team.
We started planning for the ECBU 2013 around 6 months ago. At that time we were considering selecting the team via a committee, which was going to develop a complex system of criteria for each candidate player. The team would then be determined by a committee vote, after observing the candidates at two training camps.
We carried out one of the camps, but it turned out to be extremely difficult to create a sensible set of objective criteria for voting. In the end Melanie [Wrigglesworth] and I offered to coach the team, and take over the selection process, and the committee agreed.
We held the second training camp, and set a date for team selection. By that time we had a good idea of candidate players' levels, motivation and potential team roles. We ended up selecting a fairly young team, for the most part, including a few very athletic players who have only been playing for a year or two. Around half of the players are from Istanbul and half from Ankara (the only two cities in Turkey with active teams at the moment).
How has your team's season gone so far? What tournaments have you played?
We have not been able to play a proper preparation tournament with our ECBU squad, unfortunately, due to geographical and financial constraints. Four of our players were able to go to the Sandsplash tournament in Vienna last month with a Turkish team. We did have a 3rd training camp, a full weekend working on the beach in Istanbul with only the ECBU team players. That was really crucial for working out some kinks and starting to develop a team identity.
So we're largely untested as yet. I expect we'll be getting better over the course of the tournament, as we develop more of a team identity both on O and D.
Which teams are you looking forward to playing against the most in Spain and why?
I'm most looking forward to the games against top-tier opponents. We are not expecting to win those games, so we'll be relaxed, focused, and ready to show our best side. I think we have the potential to surprise a few good teams, scoring a few more points on them than they were expecting to give up to a team playing its first ECBU. Those games will also be invaluable for our newer players, who will get a chance to test themselves against a different class of player than they are used to.
At team film nights we have watched quite a few of Ireland's games from Paganello, and they're in our pool, so I'll go ahead and say I look forward to that game the most.
Who do you think will be the big contenders for the title in your division?
Germany is always strong on the beach, and certainly had a convincing run at Worlds two years ago. Ireland seems set to make some noise as well. I don't know much about the Russian team, but if they have some of the players who played on the team that played at Paganello, they're surely also contenders for the title. I should probably also mention the hosts, Spain, who will surely have the most crowd support.|