Some Motivation for New Ultimate Frisbee Players

As I finish up finals, and continue to work on The Ultimate Ultimate Training plan, I want to provide some content for people to look at, and to help them remember to keep moving forward.

Here’s a motivational video about an ultimate player who struggled with throwing and game mechanics, it shows that the only thing standing between your ability to improve is yourself, all you have to do is take the first step.

 

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Building the Ultimate Ultimate Plan

My posts have been slow and fairly lackluster lately. I apologize.

This will likely continue for a few weeks, but for a good reason. I have been slowly working on a project that I am going to call: The Ultimate Ultimate Training Plan, a training plan focused on ultimate athletes. Not only is it focused on ultimate athletes specifically, but I am working to make it tiered based on the level of play.

Yes, there are a lot of ultimate specific plans out there. However, many of them do not break it up by level of play. There is a big difference between a college player and a recreation player. They should not train the same way, nor should they use the same training plan. Furthermore, a lot of these plans cost money, or are only available if you pay a monthly fee. My plans will be absolutely free, and will always be free.

I hope the reasoning behind my absence is enough reason for you to keep coming back. Thank you for your support, and let me know if you have anything you would like to see in the plan.

Tournament Nutrition: Alcohol

It is no secret that alcohol and ultimate have gone hand in hand for many years. A lot of individuals I know use ultimate as an excuse to party the day away. While none of this is inherently bad, it is good to realize how the combination of these two may not be the best of choices.

First off, alcohol is a diuretic and it will definitely cause you to become dehydrated quickly. Because of this, alcohol should never be a substitute for water. During mid summer tournaments, I recommend to my teammates and those I coach to never consume alcohol before or during the tournament; it is ignorant to consume alcohol in those conditions. During any other season though, the question of whether to consume alcohol or not becomes more difficult to answer.

Surely alcohol has had it’s roots deep in ultimate for decades, but does that mean it should be consumed before and during tournaments? Yes and no. Simply, it depends on what the tournament means. If this is a national tournament that took a whole season of hard work to get to, I would say NO ALCOHOL. If it is a tournament that you and your team participate in for fun and to have a good time on a weekend, then a little alcohol would be fine. Like everyday alcohol consumption however, it is important to realize that a little goes a long way with alcohol. You should never drink yourself to intoxication during a tournament, and even after would be questionable, in my opinion.

There is also another factor of tournaments that involves alcohol: partying. It is common for teams, especially all male teams, to party before or after tournaments as a way to bond together. This happens a lot at the collegiate level, but not as much in recreational or pro leagues. In this sense, alcohol can be an effective way to produce the desired results. However, this should only be done early in the season, because this is the time that this form of team bonding can provide the desired result without setting your team back from reaching their goals.

In summary,

Alcohol Cons:

  • Diuretic
  • Wasteful calories
  • Delayed reaction, poorer performances.

Alcohol Pros:

  • Moderate drinkers have a longer life span.
  • Lower Anxiety
  • Helps “team bonding”

 

For more information: read Interaction between alcohol and exercise

 

Tournament Nutrition: Choosing Foods

It should be no surprise that for anyone, the nutritional requirements follow Energy in vs Energy out. We can easily figure out how many calories one needs for a normal day, and we can prove this through trial and error. However, during tournament weekends, this becomes more difficult to assess and thus, nutrition generally gets thrown out of the window. After a day of eating like this, some can see decreased energy, and an overall poorer performance: Not something we want to happen during a tournament. How do we stay on track with nutrition, but still have fun?

The simple answer is in carbohydrates. Whenever I go to a tournament, I make sure that I have plenty of options for carbohydrates, and I even increase my planned daily intake of them. Why? Carbohydrates are cheap, easy to eat, and generally concentrated. I can eat a granola bar in less than a minute between games, and easily eat 30-40 grams of carbohydrates. However, I want to make sure that all the carbohydrates I eat are not just sugar. Sugar tends to give you a great energy spike, but generally gives you a decent crash afterwards: not something you want when playing at a tournament. So, it is important to eat plenty of complex carbohydrates, like oatmeal or pasta. If you need a good oatmeal recipe that is extremely easy to bring to tournaments, see my article on overnight oats

Carbohydrates are good and all, but you cannot just eat carbohydrates all day, it will not do you much good at the end of the day. That being said, the most natural choice for athletes is protein. Protein provides numerous benefits for athletes in both recovery and sustainability. The problem with protein is that they are generally more expensive, and more difficult to consume than carbohydrates. However, there are a few foods that can be brought to tournaments that can help you hit your protein for the day. My personal favorites are: beef jerky, protein bars, protein shakes. Beef jerky is really expensive, but generally you only need one or two packages for a whole day. Protein bars are pretty similar, but they have the added benefit of adding some carbohydrates and generally a decent amount of fiber. Protein shakes are one of my favorites, because I can drink them quickly, and they generally have a large amount of protein in them. I prefer using MTS Machine Whey Protein, but there are cheaper brands out there with the same quality.

The last important thing are fats. Generally, I do not focus much on fats during tournament days. Generally, if the team goes out for food afterwards, I will get plenty of fats from that meal. If not, a few tablespoons of peanut butter at the end of the day is enough to put me where I need to be. If you want to have foods available that help meet your fat requirements, almonds or any other form of nut is a good source of fat that are pretty easy to snack on. Generally, the fats do not bother me much.

When discussing the end of the day team meal at some restaurant in town, it is important to realize that if the tournament is over, you can go all out as you please. However, if you have another day of tournament play, your food choices should remain sensible. You should not go for that greasy hamburger with fries, and instead get the grilled chicken with potato and vegetables. It might not be the most appetizing meal after a long day, but the next day will be a struggle if you fuel your body with junk the night before.

At the end of the day, it can be difficult to find balance in keeping up your diet, and playing in the tournament. In my opinion, players should try to make good food choices, but also realize that they likely will not be on point with their diet, and that is okay. As long as you do not completely blow your diet out of the water on tournament days, it will not make a huge difference in the long run.

Go out, have fun, be conscious.

Let me know if you have any suggestions for foods to bring to tournaments!

Cheap, Effective Way to Improve Your Ultimate Accuracy

If you have ever played ultimate, you know that there are times where you definitely need to improve your accuracy when making throws, especially for throws you just are not as confident with. There are numerous programs out there that have you throw obscene amounts in order to get you more comfortable throwing them, which will improve accuracy. These programs are fine and all, but for someone who is not seriously competing, or just does not have a ton of time: this is not the way to go.

Luckily, there exists a solution for this problem, and, it’s cheap. Many people are familiar with the backyard game: ladder ball. If you are not, you should be. It consists of two goal ladderballgoalposts (called “ladders”) that have three different poles running horizontally across them. So, this creates three different open spaces at varying heights, and if you cannot see how that might be useful for ultimate players, you will soon realize.

Naturally, these three open spaces make for a great target because the disc will fly straight through it, if it does not touch any of the poles. What I have found best to do is to use two of these ladders: one at close range, and one further out, and attempt to throw a disc through the one of the spots on the closer one, and one through the same spot on the further one. This will be difficult at first, especially if you are not that accurate to begin with, but, you will get significantly better over time.

The best part of this accuracy practice program is that it is cheap. Buying the ladders themselves can run around $30, and you can make them for even cheaper if you have the time.

Is this going to make you the best player ever? Probably not. But it will give you a good basis for working on accuracy and will improve your confidence with throwing. Especially as winter approaches here, these have become useful in moving indoors and working on more specific skills, rather than just playing pickup all the time.

Progression Plan:

  1. One disc through each slot in a row.
  2. One disc through each slot, alternating distance.
  3. Two discs through each slot in a row.
  4. Two discs through each slot, alternating distance.
  5. Adding fakes and catch and go movements.
  6. Varying distances significantly.

Winter is Coming: Time to Move Inside

In Michigan, once the first week of November hits, it generally means the outdoor season of ultimate is over. It gets cold, wet, and dark, quickly. If your team is so lucky to have access to an indoor field complete with turf, then not much changes. However, if you do not have access to this luxury, your team is left playing on some recreation center’s basketball court when it is available; not the most ideal situation.

If you find yourself in this situation, it can be difficult to find a situation in which you can play actual games, if you can, great. If you cannot, you need to refocus the purpose of your practices. Instead of playing games and working on real game situations, the focus of practice should become improving on the individual weaknesses of how your team works together. If your team cannot play tight defense, work on it; if you need work on accurate throws, do it. To many in the north, winter is the time to improve their skills in a way that they simply cannot during the regular season.

Of course, this is not to say that your team should not make an effort to play actual games. Because, at the end of the day, you can practice your skills in a predefined play over and over, but how they translate into the game is what is important.

So, even though you have to move inside this winter, it is important to not lose site of the progress that has been made, and to work further to increase the progress of your team. It may be an annoyance, but it only lasts “three” months.