Sunday, December 31

The Crafting of the Plan

After thinking through last season, some of the salient lessons learned are below:

  • The track workouts were awesome, but I need to do fewer of them early in the season. I hate track workouts and I don't want to peak to early. I need to maintain novelty as the season progresses as well as make the workouts relevant to the overall goals of the season. I felt the best, physically, at the Boston Invite. This was in part due to a late-season bruised rib, but it was also due to the way I trained.
  • Strength counts for far more than you realize in Ultimate. I'm constantly playing against players larger/faster than me, and often my only hope of playing them well is to physically limit their options by not backing down from contact. My strength helps me do so without getting damaged.
  • Endurance comes very naturally to me and as a result will be focused on very little during the upcoming season.
  • Dynamic Warmups are the balls. Started them last season, and I won't ever look back.
  • On the field, I need to be more flexible in my approach both offensively and defensively. I need to be able to apply varying strategies based on an immediate reading of the field instead of having a specific goal in mind when I am on the field. That is not to say that there shouldn't be a hierarchy of choices, but that I should work to maintain a high level of awareness for the moment which should dictate my actions without conscious thought.
  • Three goals to focus on for the upcoming season: Top-end speed, marking [especially with 11th ed.] and dump defense.
  • Three training lessons to keep in mind: Throw multiple distances when tossing/training, keep workouts short/intense, replicate game movements.
  • Some online references I check out and try to distill information from: Functional Path Training, Ross Training, Lean and Hungry Fitness, and others. I also do a large amount of reading to check out assertions made by these (and other) authors on the series of tubes-- Just because they do something doesn't make it a good idea, or even well-grounded. The goal is to understand the why of the what. I also check out all of those other Ultimate Blogs and rsd. Any place that I can learn about the game/training is a good place, no matter the signal-to-noise.
Some notes about how I prefer to train:
  • I don't have access to a gym. I did a good amount of weightlifting in college and just after college. I don't find it necessary to maintain or slowly increase my strength.
  • I don't like running. At all.
  • I feel best with 1-2 rest days per week.
  • I get a sports massage every 3-4 weeks to keep the muscles calm.
  • I do very little to minimize soreness (advil, icing, recovery foods, etc) after workouts. Some people disagree with this, but I find that my body gains more by adapting to more stressful stimuli. This is not the same as nutrition and recovery between days of a tournament.
Some dietary notes:
  • I try to limit bread/pasta intake, wheat or otherwise, but I'm by no means an Atkins-type.
  • I try to reach at least 7 servings of fresh fruit/veggies per day, but don't always succeed.
  • I try to have a decent amount of protein in every meal.
  • I'm trying to get away from most if not all bars and sports-drinks and get to a more "natural" tournament diet. I do still highly recommend end-of-the-day Endurox if you're playing multiple days.
Okay, now to the meat of it. I'm planning on stealing one concept from Ross Enamait's Never Gymless, and that is the concept of the 5-day workout plan. First day is a circuit (details are in the book-- my modified versions will likely be included here), Second is maximal strength training, Third is Interval training (again, the book has some great examples-- I will include my modified workouts here), the Fourth is explosive strength training and the Fifth is a day of rest. I find that this schedule works great for me as it moves independent of the rest of my life and keeps me doing a variety of things, provided that they're working toward specific goals and fit into the specific parameters of that day.

Other major sources:
  • The Pike Track Workouts of 2006. It is essentially a 10-week program of three levels of speed training. Details will come.
  • Functional Path Training. Specifically, some warmup ideas and a great lower body circuit that helps prep for plyos.
  • The Vertical Jump Development Bible, sent to me by a teammate.
The goals are to be ready at any point of the season to perform at a high level while building toward a low peak of regionals and a high peak at Nationals. I will document most of it here (daily workouts and thoughts on them) and welcome any comments. I will try to post plans in detail so that there I put my reasons out there so that they may be evaluated compared to their results, but time is, as always, the limiting factor.

I will also detail most (hopefully all) of the other work that I'll be putting in this season regarding strategic thoughts, film review, practices and possibly some team thoughts.

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The Backstory

In 2003, in my first true club season (Playing with a coed team in the Midwest in 02 doesn't count-- Most of our team didn't meet until Regionals though we were a game away from Nationals), I tried out for Pike. I don't know why they took me, but they did. I mean, I'm not tall (5'9") I'm not fast (two torn ACLs) and I don't jump that high (ibid, your honor). We qualified for nationals and I saw a few garbage time points on our way to a sorry-ass finish. 12th? 13th?

In 2004, we qualified again. I again saw garbage time as our team rode waves of excellence and some very timely wins to a loss in the Semis to Sockeye. That was a great game and a better overall experience.

In 2005, we qualified again with an almost identical roster. Hopes were high, but we got run off of the field against Jam in the quarters. Again I played a bit part. With an O-team full of stars like that, how do you crack the rotation, exactly? Then the team almost disappeared with mass exodus and a couple "retirements."

In 2006 we had a whole new crop of players (more new, 16, than old, 9), a new offense, new captains, new roles on the field, new everything. We lost in the game-to-go at Regionals to Truck Stop. TS was a particularly painful team to lose to as we lost at least one returner to them as well as a host of younger players with potential.

Finally, the failure to go to Nationals was particularly tough for me because

  1. I finally earned a full on-field role and I couldn't do enough to get us there as a leader or as a player.
  2. My brother made the team in 06, just out of UCSC, and I told him that I would get him to "The Show."
  3. I had one turnover at Regionals while playing nearly every O-point. It came late in the game-to-go against Truck Stop. In our own endzone. Ouch.
So now, the journey begins. I'll take most of November and December off with some light workouts, basketball and the occasional pickup game or goofy tourney. I'll spend a good deal of that time crafting a training plan, deciding what to focus on as areas of improvement in 07 and getting over the loss from 06.

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