You hit the gym in the off-season and got strong, but you’re not seeing the results in your game. You want to be changing directions on a dime, throwing farther and with more accuracy, and have that next gear in your acceleration that allows you to run down the disc. As MC said to me the other day, offense is about creating and deceiving: therefore, training strength alone doesn’t translate directly to the field! In-season, there are loads of good ways to make sure that your gains from the gym are turning into powerful actions in tournaments. Here’s how do you do it!
Get your body feeling fabulous!
Rehab your injuries! If you’re banged up and experiencing chronic soreness or re-injury, you need to prioritize recovery and treat the problems as aggressively as if the next point depended on it. Because it probably does. Don’t forget the hamstring rehab protocol – it will tell you when you’re ready to play again!
Stay loose! Do your soft tissue work and mobility BEFORE practice and lifting, not just after or when you have a problem! It’ll keep things running smoothly and prevent small issue from becoming bigger ones! Use tools like these: Lax Ball Rolling, Floor Ankle Mobility, and the Voodoo X Band compression and movement.
Cramping is a big problem, especially at early season tournaments. The volume of work is high and often field and weather conditions are challenging. Everyone knows to drink electrolyte replacements like Gatorade or other sports drinks, but did you know that a shot of pickle juice (or a packet of yellow mustard) can cut your cramping time in half? The acidity triggers a nerve reflex at the back of your palate that shuts down the cramp. I kid you not. I’m not here to hope that you experience a serious cramp, but if it does happen, definitely try this out.
Do the right stuff in the gym!
If you’re still lifting weights (which you should be) are you working mostly bilateral heavy lifts and moving slowly through your reps? If so, you need to consider adding in movements with lighter loads that emphasize power and allow you to work on balancing asymmetries. As ultimate season picks up, the volume of sport movement we do increases drastically. We’re throwing, running and cutting all the time, and trying to improve our skill on the field. But by and large, we lunge with one side, throw with one arm, and turn over the shoulder we’re most comfortable with. Here are some ideas for keeping the body strong and balanced while under that asymmetric stress!
For lateral movement (cutting, lunging):
For linear movement (acceleration, deceleration, jumping):
Update your drills at track and practice with an offensive focus!
In order for your work in the gym to improve your on-field performance, it’s important to do drills that specifically bridge the gap between the two areas! Also, try to carry over movement cues that you use in the gym (“good posture!” “engage glutes!” etc) into these drills. In my recent Footwork for Defense article I included a lot of drills that introduce reactivity into the patterns, which helps you visualize the game and therefore guides the translation of the footwork. We can do the same with offense!
Reactive Footwork Drills for Offense:
Performing on offense requires confidence. If you know you’re doing what you can to be as prepared as possible, you’ll feel more relaxed in game. Do the work!!