Thursday, July 12

Still Pretty Exhausted

Despite my relative youth, I was tired all day today as well.

So I took another day off. This was the right decision, I'm sure. Specifically since most of the work I'm doing right now is based on explosive strength. Why? Well, if you're not exploding as forcefully as possible, you're wasting your time. Whether you're tired from a previous workout or inadequate rest during a workout, you are shortchanging yourself.

Now, that's different than a workout with a goal (on some level) of endurance or the like, but for the things on which I'm focusing right now, I've got to be well rested. I watched some more of the Ultimate Jordan collection from NetFlix, and, as usual, it was awesome. Sometimes you forget the things that he did on the court aside from scoring. Or the way that in his high-scoring games, he took those shots as all of his teammates were missing. At least, later in his career. If you go back and watch the 63 point playoff burner against the Celtics... well... that's a whole other thing.

It is fascinating to watch the feet of basketball players during games, given that you can follow the ball in your peripheral vision. The jab-step's true devastating nature is clear, the difference between good and bad defenders is glaringly obvious, post moves are ever-so-much more complex and, of course, you can tell who is a natural scorer and who has a set of "moves" that come in sequence.

For example, if you watch Jordan, his feet are astoundingly quick for a 6'6" man. Astoundingly. his feet are in contact with the ground for such short periods of time with each step that it seems impossible that he could generate so much force with each jump. At the same time, he covers a ton of ground with each step (hello hip strength/flexibility!) and continually makes you adjust to him. He definitely doesn't have a single dominant strategy (except left is a weaker than right) but instead reads and reacts to the move you're about to make before you know that you're going to make it.

If you really want to be shocked, watch the precision footwork of Tim Duncan, the extremely precise though slightly unorthodox footwork of Kobe Bryant, the phenomenal speed of Allen Iverson's feet or the complete lack of footwork from LeBron James. Each example fits within the athlete's game as aw hole, but unless you look at it, you'll never quite understand how/why they each do the things they do.

The extension to ultimate is specifically relevant to marks and marking and the balance or lunging that a thrower/marker engages in. Where does he place his feet for a particular throw? Can I take that preferred position away? Is he a thrower who never really sets his feet the same way? Does this marker lunge with his foot pointed our or in? Does he lunge by bending over or by supporting his weight with a good balance? Not that one or the other is better, but that if you are defending someone, it pays to think about it. If there is a mark that troubles you, this can help you figure out why. Of course, the problem is that foot-watching in a game often leads you to distraction. Video and paying attention from the sideline are far more beneficial.

Finally, the classic game of "How many travels happen in a given point?" can be eye-opening as well... If you know the right place to set the over/under at, you can take money from your teammates over and over again.
Workout Total:
30 min stretching


Mackey said...

So, do you find the jab-step equally useful in ultimate? Traditionally a cutter is taught to take a few steps to set their cut up, whether from the stack or for the dump. I'm curious if you've had success otherwise.

dusty.rhodes said...

Yes. But not as much in the situation you're thinking of...

The jab step works only to get a step or two advantage, tops. And then, only in specific circumstances. The times I find it particularly useful:

1. Endzone Cutting. Any move in the endzone causes some sort of reaction from your defender. Even if it is just a shift in balance, that's enough for a goal.

2. Dump cutting. Specifically with an overaggressive defender. Seems self-explanatory.

3. As a thrower. You don't just fake with your arms as a thrower, your feet tell a tale as well. If you can remain balanced while aggressively moving your foot (especially if you can get your foot *past* the marker), you can get the marker off-balance as well. You can do this less aggressively as well, but the shift in balance can lead to a ton of space for a huck or a break.

As a downfield cutter, I bet it is useful less often, but I'm sure with some dedicated brain power that we can concoct some scenarios.

More importantly for this topic, footwork can make or break you as a cutter/defender etc. Most people think they know that, but they don't grasp the full import.