Tuesday, May 3

Play with the Toy

Drew Brees was on my TV

and so was another QB, whose teamI don't remember.

They were both working out with their teams despite the NFLockout.

In each case, they both held a ball in their throwing hands like it was surgically attached. During warmups, during running, during any drills not involving throwing/manhandling other things.

If we are all QBs (and we all are) when we play ultimate, should we not then all be working with the disc as often as possible? Should we not strive to have familiarity with the disc like QBs have familiarity with the ball? Like al(most al)l NBA players with the ball? Like soccer players?

Why do you do so many track workouts that abstain from throwing? Why are you running stairs without throwing? Why are you working so much on your 6pack (that was the term for getting hit in the face with a spike in my volleyball days) abs without a disc?

Sure general physical prep is worthwhile, but throw when you rest. Sure, long interval runs (Hunting runs, if you're from PoNY) are great, but why not with a disc? Sure, work on your jumping muscles, but why not just hold a disc while you stand around and recover?

Play with the toy.
Share the toy.

Be the boy who befriends the disc.
Share the disc with your friends.

It is just a moving game of
monkey(s) in the middle afterall.


UBER_IHUC said...

I think Zip had a tip similar to this one, encouraging people to be holding/ playing with a disc as often as possible.

It's a smart connection to other sports as well- you want the disc to feel like an extension of your hand

Anonymous said...

In all those other sports (football, basketball, soccer) you're allowed to move with the ball. Specifically in football, you need to be able to run without dropping the ball. QBs in particular will want to improve their ability to move with a one handed grip, so they can transition to throwing better. It's a skill you are rewarded for practicing. What skill are you improving by doing sprints holding a frisbee?

dusty.rhodes said...

First: I was a little ambiguous in my post. I did not mean to advocate doing 100% of all movements with a disc. Specifically, for example, jumping with a disc already in is something you won't ever be doing.

Second: Look at it from the other perspective: What are you losing by sprinting with a disc? Well, perhaps your form is degraded slightly. What else? That's all I've got. To address more directly, the skill you are improving is *not dropping the disc under duress*. We have all seen players simply drop the disc while faking or transitioning from catch->throw or whatever. Perhaps 100 more aggregate hours holding a disc in said players life would have prevented said turnover. Worth it? You decide. Familiarity with the toy leads to understanding how it interacts with your hand.

Third: You CAN move with the disc in your hand. First, the pivot is movement. Second, the first X steps (depending on momentum &c) after/as you catch the disc are in motion. High speed motion at that. These are situations in which one would like to be able to function with a disc in hand.

Fourth: To get more specific I focus on the following things: Instead of rest during workouts, ALWAYS THROW. Instead of standing around in practice during water breaks, ALWAYS THROW. Instead of jogging to warm up, TOSS WHILE JOGGING. Do twists, lunges, squats, squat walks, &c WITH A DISC IN YOUR HAND. Take it deeper and work out which throws are related to which movements. Which positions you can throw from. Which you want to be able to throw from.

Sidenote: All QBs observed in that particular clip were obsessively holding onto the ball with both hands. This is less (though not ir)relevant for ultimate.

Finally: What it comes down to is that over the years, I have found more ultimate players lacking in sport-specific skills than I ever would have anticipated. Inability to catch with one hand or the other. Kinks in their forehand->backhand or catch->throw transitions. Specific types of catches they simply don't have. Weather-conditional skill erosion. Inability to catch a fluttering disc. When I speak with players, their training tends to be so focused on what they need to do to get/keep their bodies in shape. They go to workouts without discs (??? Throwing while exhausted might be the biggest difference between truly elite players and everyone else), they look askance at goofy disc-based games, they don't ever jog&toss with someone, blah blah. I'm rambling now, but I feel like a ton of this can be solved simply by playing with the disc more often in more contexts. Can't throw in the rain? Learn to throw in the ocean/lake/pool.

I'll just cut it off here I think.

OH, I just reread your comment. "Transition to throwing" is something that, for ultimate players, should be eliminated from thought save for just after the catch. Once the disc is in your hand, you are throwing. This may be better illustrated from the other angle: Some players catch the disc, put it in their neutral position, fake, return the disc to a neutral position, and then throw. The unnecessary step of returning the disc to a particular position is evidence off mental acknowledgement of the "transition to throwing" as if there is some sort of prep that needs to be done. Incorrect. Just Throw. (Wher/How)ever you are holding the disc is just a part of the throwing motion. It would behoove you to hold the disc in a position that is naturally part of your throwing motion, but you needn't. Just Throw.

End second ramble.

Ross said...

I have seen one team throw while they jogged around the field during warm ups. It looked kind of goofy at first but I like the idea behind it (assuming that the idea was to practice give and go's while warming up).