Thursday, November 29

1, 2, 3: Experts Overthink and Agree

Okay, a short list:

1. please stop changing your goddamn format. I know you won't read this and I'm one person out of a thousand, but I spent a few months back when I started this shitty blog making my format work. Looked and investigated the html I needed for what I wanted, typed it all up, made it auto-format for all of the posts, and had the patience and experience w/in the format to go back and correct typing errors. Now? It's a whole different thing that I have to re-learn even though it's the same damn site. That doesn't even start on the fact that now, with your new post-writing format, I can't see the box i'm supposed to type in, don't know where anything is and can no longer find what i'm looking for. I can't effectively scroll down on the damn page to get to the end of my ramblings. I can't even figure out how to put linebreaks in easily, and now my post is one messy shitstorm of a paragraph with "&" all over it. This is like when google groups switched over to the new shitty format. I want the internet to be simple, text-based and consistent as a user. I don't need your fancy-pants UI garbage. Stop changing shit unnecessarily or at least give me another option. Oh, wait... Google's one of the best at the bait-n-switch? Oh. Never Mind, i'll just gfm.

2. I'm still working out a post re: Ultimate in 2012. It's a mess and covers a lot of things, so I'm trying to make it vaguely coherent. Hopefully It'll be up at the beginning of December.

3. Hey, Expert Panel at SkydMagazine: Let's look at Mr. Pooh's question (#2):

 “After playing ultimate since 1995, I’m lopsided from doing thousands and thousands of right leg lunges (to pivot to throw forehands mostly), what are some exercises to rebalance especially my hips and mid/back area?”

Your answers overlook the simplest way to work on balance from right to left sides w/r/t throwing: PRACTICE THROWING&PIVOTING WITH YOUR OFF-HAND.

In an ideal world, we would all be as ambidextrous as Steve Nash, but that's pie-in-the-sky for the future of ultimate. Stopping short of my Utopian views on that, and setting aside the functional usefulness of base-level throwing skills with your non-dominant hand, there are many benefits to using this as a workout tool:

a. the obvious balancing of motions.
b. the slightly-less-obvious balancing of brain-use.
c. the learning of how to teach a hand that can throw how to throw (think of teaching a new player to throw)
d. the use of off-hand throwing as an "active rest" for your dominant hand during extended throwing sessions.
e. the use of off-hand throwing as an "active rest" for your dominant brain during extended throwing sessions.

Okay, not going too much deeper on this, but I find it galling that these experts are looking for complex solutions to a simple problem. All of their suggestions are strong and valid, but they display the prejudice of folks preoccupied with a specific modality of solution. What can you do yourself without a doctor, sports medicine specialist or even a gym? Just throw with your off-hand! Want to make it more strenuous? Do marking drills using only off-pivots and off-hand throws. Yeah, at the beginning you'll look dumb and be bad at it-- just like when you first did marking drills with your dominant hand. Pull with your non-dominant hand. Work on non-dominant footwork in dump-swing situations or in-cut to throwing pivots or whatever. Point is, don't go complex before you go simple.

Often the answer you're seeking is implied in the question you ask.


B-Lo said...

In a previous sporting life, i played lacrosse, which requires ambidexterity. From early in my player development, i was required to use my off-hand. I found while learning to use my left hand that my right hand grew more dextrous without added direct practice. I haven't experienced the same boost in throwing skill in ultimate, but i only started throwing lefty after i was fairly advanced with my right hand. I wonder if i had started throwing lefty sooner if the effect would have been as dramatic as with lacrosse. Does this happen in other sports that require ambidexterity right away (e.g. basketball) or ambipedal(?) skill (i.e. soccer)?

dusty.rhodes said...

Welp, all my coaches in soccer said "there is handedness, but not footedness. It's all in your head. Practice more." Not sure if this is true or not, but they were cnsistent. I still can't do anything useful with my left foot. Like a brit said about Beckenbauer "his left foot is purely ornamental".

Basketball, I think, is a much better comparison. You don't need to shoot jumpers w/ the off-hand, but layups, runners, scoops-shots and the like improve your game in a way that can't quite be quantified (obv, dribbling too). Most basketball players are told *very young* that they should strive for ambidexterity. In ultimate, there is some kind of bizarre resistance- as if throwing a frisbee is such a complex motor-skill that no one could possibly learn to do it with two hands. Break on through!! There is another side!

My own experience is that in basketball&ultimate, my truly next-level skill gains (not just natural products of the learning curve) came when I was working *hard* on my non-dominant hand. In baketball, I would just do every drill w/ my off-hand, in ultimate I was coaching Drew I realized tha I needed some way to teach new players to throw (which I had never previously considered a goal) so I decided that I should teach my left hand (essentially a new player) how to throw. These two improvements might be coincidental (these were also the eras in which I began to be obsessed with each sport, but... to turn it around, what harm can come from working on the off-hand?

B-Lo said...

Let's imagine a 10 year old kid who just started playing bball. He can make 5 out of 10 layups with his right. He's told he needs to be able to use his left. On his first 10 attempts (pre-test), he makes 1. He works on it for hours, and at the end of the day (post-test) he makes 4 out of 10. He goes back to his right, which he hasn't worked on at all and goes 7 for 10.

That's essentially the experience i had with lacrosse - without direct practice, my right got better just by working on the left. I'm curious if there's a scientific explanation for this is (or if it's even a real phenomenon), and if applying this to throwing a frisbee would be a good way to coach new players. Do quarterbacks, pitchers, tennis players do this where there may not be much in game application? I've never heard of it.

dusty.rhodes said...

Well, #1: quarterbacks, pitchers, tennis players are different than basketball, ultimate soccer. Repetiton of discreet skill, necessity of close-to-maximum-level execution every time... these prevent the off-hand from being totally useful.

In the othersports, the variety of situations in which one is is asked to execute a pass/shot leads to a sufficient number of situations in which the use of a non-dominant hand is useful or effecient.

That said, a tennis example from "Andy Roddick Beat Me w/ a Frying Pan" is that Roddick regularly plays lefty v lefty against his brother and frequently beats "a friend of his who is a former college tennis player". (And no, Roddick did not win using a frying pan... but he only barely didn't win.) So, there's at least a subset of tennis players who regularly

As for purely training purposes, I can't recall the best examples of this at the moment, but there is ample evidence that training one hand leads to an increase in skill to the opposite hand. To do a similar thought experiment: imagine someone who hasn't ever thrown a disc throwing it with their non-dominant hand and then imagine a great thrower who has never thrown with her non-dominant hand. I'll bet dollars to donuts that the person who has never thrown a disc will be less effective at throwing with their non-dominant hand.

luke said...

random thoughts
1) yes, it's good to work on off hand stuff.
2) in my opinion you're guilty of the corralary of your complaint. Your cherry picking your data. Whadda ya mean it doesn't matter if quarterbacks cant pitch the pig lefty?
3) I broke my hand, and i spent a season playing righty (I'm a lefty)... and it's led to a whole world of new stuff. Mostly junk throws, but, I love using my 'off' hand to teach other players... because, I have to think.
4) but, I think you are missing a point. The professionals you mention are in fact, professionals. Note Jamie Nuwer's responses: At first gloss, they are trite, "see your professional." But the reallity is that a professional stays within their realm of expertise. I'll leave it at that... but, I would say, imbalances due to repetitive strain, might be better addressed through focused exercise. While I do agree with throwing off hand for the reasons you mentioned... If I can do 3x10 left leg Rear leg elevated single leg squats, or go throw righty 1000 times... well... uh.