Speed Up Your Learning Curve

In the Fall of 2013, I was first exposed to kubb. It was love at first sight. More like, love at first play. I couldn’t get enough kubb and I wanted to play it all the time. The problem was, I didn’t have a kubb set.  Until I bought my first set and could play all the time, I had to turn to the internet to feed my new obsession.

I wanted to see all things kubb. I wanted to see the best players, the tournaments, the strategies, the clubs, and the latest results. There are many individuals all over the country posting about our sport on club webpages, YouTube, UStream, Planet Kubb, Twitter, Instagram, and I could go on and on.

But if you were like me, it was tough to find new content. It was one thing to see a lot of matches, but I wanted to learn more about how I could get better. That kind of content I had to spend hours searching the internet to find. The purpose of this post is to collect what I believe are the essentials to learning kubb and advancing your knowledge from newbie to a more advanced player.

These are articles, interviews, videos, and more hopefully find their way to people who are new to kubb who are just as thirsty as we were at Kalamazoo Kubb to learn everything we can about our sport.

The Rules:  When we first started playing kubb, we definitely weren’t playing by the correct rules. SkyMotion Media has the best video to quickly explain the US National Championship Rules. 

 

The Official Rules Document: Below is the link to the PDF document which we had in every one of our sets to ensure we knew how to handle every new situation which came up during our games.

US National Championship Official Rules v3.1 (PDF Link)

 

The Drill: One of the first things you learn is that mastering the drill technique is the fastest way to being a better player. No person in the US has put more time and effort into sharing knowledge on how to be a better Inkastare than Eric Anderson.

(Eric shares 12 Tips (over 13 videos) into how to learn the drill and be a better Inkastare. While Eric shares a ton of knowledge, the real star of these videos is his daugther Mia.)

 

“The Drill Manifesto”: In Tip #4 and #5 you hear Eric refer to “The Drill Manifesto” from Kubbnation Magazine. Below is a link to the special extended interview edition of the manifesto that explores the most important throw in kubb.

The Drill – The Most Important Throw in Kubb

 

The Interviews: These are interviews conducted by Eric Anderson back in 2012 that take you deep into some of the brightest minds that kubb has to offer. I’ve linked to three YouTube videos that introduce you to Aaron Ellringer, Josh Feathers, and the Kubbsicles. You learn how each person got started with kubb, how they mastered their games, and what their strategies are. But more importantly, you learn what great role models they are to kubb.

(Eric interviewing Aaron Ellringer from The Ringers and Kubb Farm.)

(Eric interviewimg Josh “Dobbie” Feathers” from Team Knockerheads)

(Eric interviewing Mark Blazel, Zach Brown, and Max Sebesta from Kubbsicles)

 

Fox Valley Kubb Radio: For 30 Weeks from September 2013 to April 2014, Chad Bevers and Evan Fitzgerald brought kubb into our homes every Sunday night. They brought us tournament results, great interviews, training tips, live draws, and analysis of the kubb universe. It was fun while it lasted and they are still a lot of fun to listen to.

Fox Valley Kubb Radio

 

Kubb at it’s Best: There are many videos that show you kubb matches. From the World Championship to all the major tournaments in the US, you’ll find many memorable matches on the internet. But for my money, Mark Blazel vs. Josh Feathers at the 2013 1 vs. 1 Kubb Tournament hosted by Chaska Kubb is kubb at it’s best. Besides Skymotion Media’s Kubb video, there is no better video that shows you how kubb should be played than this one.

(Mark Blazel vs. Josh Feathers at Chaska Kubb’s 2013 1 vs. 1 Kubb Tournament)

I’m willing to bet a lot of you have already seen many if not all of these videos. But I believe there are many people new to kubb who were just like me. They’ve searched the internet for kubb and watched many matches but they want more. That’s what I’m hoping to share here. So, are there things I’m missing?

Please let us know what should be added to the essentials of kubb. We don’t pretend to be the authority on this subject and we are always looking for that undiscovered kubb gold hiding our there on the internet.

Hopefully we can share more content that will help speed up the learning curve of kubb.

Punting: A Legitimate Kubb Strategy?

In football, if you don’t get a first down in your first three plays, then you will more than likely punt the ball to the other team. Ideally, this forces the other team to start their drive deep in their own zone, with more yards to go to score points.

But I know what you’re thinking. Punting? In Kubb? What in the world is that? Punting is the name that some members of Kalamazoo Kubb gave to a strategy Michael Economy vehemently lobbies his teams to use. His strategy was to not toss field kubbs back just beyond the 4 meter mark, but to toss kubbs deep into your opponent’s zone. Now this isn’t a strategy he implements at every turn, but he has key times in the game where he wants to discuss punting.

In the image below, the blue kubbs show a typical spot a team’s inkastare would drill his kubbs. They are grouped together and as close to the center line as possible for a shorter throw. The red kubbs show how the other team might “punt” and keep the kubbs deep in their opponents zone. If they cannot knock down these field kubbs, then the opponents only move up a few feet instead of moving up potentially 4 meters.

Diagram of kubb gameplay.The first time we discuss punting is when we get more than 3 kubbs in play. He will routinely ask the inkastare if they feel good about grouping them. Then, if a kubb or two skips, bounces, or in any way goes astray, we must discuss our options. Do we feel good about getting those field kubbs down now that they are not grouped? Should we try to group remaining kubbs, try to throw them in a spot to make it a group, or should we toss our remaining kubbs deep just in case we cannot down the kubbs with have already thrown? These are all things our team must discuss, resolve, and decide what gives us the best chance of winning. If we leave kubbs standing on a turn and our opponent does not finish us off on their own turn, then you can bet the farm Mike will make us discuss punting.

His view is very simple, you should never allow your opponent to move up. If this must happen, you make their advantage as minimal as possible. The team our club sent to the U.S. National Kubb Championship last July took huge advantage of our opponents not listening to his advice. Until we played Kubb’d for a spot in the top 16, we had not won a game from the back line. We had dominate wins, we had wins we just squeaked out, but they all came after our opponent gave us an advantage line.

Now I’m not really going to ask if this is a legitimate kubb strategy. I think we all know it is. I’ve seen it used at the two tournaments I attended in 2014 and we’ve all seen Eric Anderson talk about it in his YouTube videos. My question is, can this be used to help you win games?

I’ve been very anti-punting in our club. I’ve been known to mock its wisdom and to make fun of those who use it. You see, in the games we’ve played in our backyards, in our city parks, and in tournaments, I rarely see it help you win games. What it is very good at is extending games. I’ve seen it used to earn a tie or partial points in tournaments with time limits. But in a world where the top inkastare’s can drill an awesome group just 4 meters away, how can a winning strategy be to put them farther away?

My response is always the same when it comes to discussing whether a team should punt. To win consistently at kubb you must group them well and take only a couple batons to knock over your group. If you can’t do that, you can’t win. You can punt, but if you do, you are only prolonging your defeat. If I’m going to lose, I’m going to lose on my terms. I want to lose because I couldn’t group them or I couldn’t blast effectively. I get up to two throws at each kubb to get them as close as possible, and that’s how I win or lose. Perhaps I’m jaded because I’m the usually the inkastare and I’m the first blaster. How dare you think I can’t make that shot!

Kubb is about adjusting to your game and to your opponents. So the truth in this debate is probably somewhere in the middle. But I’ve often wondered if there are people out in Kubbnation that have had this same debate. Do you use the punting strategy? Is it effective for you? How do you decide when it’s time to punt? Please join the debate, we’d love to hear from you.