Expert Panel Responds: Weather, Equipment, Time Restrictions

by | February 24, 2011, 8:00am 0

Last week, Skyd called for your questions about “Working with Weather, Equipment or Time Restrictions” for our panel of training professionals and elite level athletes (Tim Morrill, Tyler Kinley, Melissa Witmer and new addition Leslie Wu). We picked the top four questions submitted, as voted by you, and dished them out to our panelists. Of course, our panelists are awesome and all of them went on to answer two additional questions. If you questions were not answered in this panel please submit again to our next training professional panel. If you have follow up questions, please ask them in the comments. We have encouraged our panelists to respond there.

And now for the questions and responses:

1. “I’m a High Schooler, so I have a ton of time to waste in boring classes. I’ve been trying to think of creative exercises to do. Sometimes I do this weird plank leaning on my chair and lifting my core up. When I’m waiting for the bus, I’ll stand on one foot. What else is good to do? I’ve seen some lax players with those hand grippers, they say it helps their shot strength. Are those good for improving the forehand?” – Matt S.

TIM MORRILL, Strength and Conditioning

I don’t see much carry over between grippers and increasing your FH, however there is no doubt they will increase your ability to catch a disc. Use the grippers while actively thinking about using those same forearm muscles to catch a disc.

When waiting for the bus, stand on one foot, cross the up leg til it touches the planted legs thigh and squat down on a single leg.  This opens up the gluts of the free leg and develops the single leg stability and strength of the planted leg.

Also, work on the deep squat. Sit down in the deep squat and pry out on the insides of your knees with your elbows. Try to keep your spine as upright as possible.  Bounce and hold the position between the full deep squat and the parallel squat. Hang out in each position for a few minutes. Make sure your back is upright and now hunched.

TYLER KINLEY, Captain of Seattle Sockeye

What a great question. For grip/forearm strength these are fun to play with: As a rule, try to never slouch in your chair– this will seem easy but is quite hard if you’re used to slouching down in your chair, and will strengthen your lower back considerably. When you can, just holding, spinning, gripping, and switching grips with a disc is a great thing to do. I like to spin the disc vertically and try to kick it up as many times as I can in a row, maintaining the spin with a sort of horizontal kick. Do I ever do this in a game? No. But do I practice catching errant discs? Yes. Little games like these are great ways to improve hand-eye coordination while having some fun.


The exercise you’re describing sounds kind of like a supine bridge, (except you’re not really supine) which is really great for your glutes if you make sure you’re squeezing your butt rather than arching your back to lift yourself up.  Just don’t fall out of your chair if you try the single leg variation. :)

Waiting for the bus, there are plenty of single leg body weight exercises you could do.  Try the squat and touch for both strength and balance.  Try the single leg SLDL to work the stabilizing muscles in your legs for better balance and body control.  Start with just your body weight but eventually you can try holding your backpack in your hand for resistance.

Honestly, the best thing for your training will be to pay attention in class so you can do your homework quickly and have time for more rigorous training at the track or in the weight room.

LESLIE WU, Mobile Health

Five non-random ideas for in-school training.

Sports vision: practice your near/far focusing skills by looking at the kid in front of you and then training your saccadic eye movement to quickly re-focus on the teacher or something on the board. This emulates the sports vision skill of looking at your mark and then downfield cutters.

Breathing: learn how to do “centering breath” breathing patterns (6-2-7, for 6 seconds in, hold for two, 7 seconds out) as taught in 10 Minute Toughness. SMR: take a look at The Trigger Point Therapy workbook and self-massage out trigger points near your neck, shoulder, and elbow/wrist.

A quick in-the-bathroom workout I’ve been experimenting with that is good to do right before you eat lunch (to optimize how food gets stored). (1) Air squats to the toilet (no touching =), progress from arms in front to hands on head to overhead squat hands. (2) RFESS: back leg on a pipe or wall, one-legged bodyweight split squat (3) Single-leg “plyo step”: stand as if you are on the line about to sprint after the pull (one leg behind the other). Raise the back leg off the ground a few inches, and bring it up to high knee position. Now drop the back leg back towards the ground (without touching the ground). Repeat–this is slightly reminiscent of a single-leg deadlift since your opposite knee should not move much. (4) Wall pushups or some sort of elastic band pull.

Mental exercise: pay attention in class and get into a good college!

2.  “I recently started the novice program in Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength book and I am very happy with the simplicity and lifts involved in the program. However, I am unable to do the power cleans in the program, due to a lack of availability of Olympic Weightlifting equipment. Do you have any suggestions for alternatives to an explosive exercise like that, perhaps using a kettlebell or other equipment available in most gyms? Thanks.” – Cole

TIM MORRILL, Strength and Conditioning

Cole, great book, Coach Rippetoe is a stud.  However, the book is mostly squat, deadlift, clean, bench.  Great exercises, but some may not have access to the equipment.

You can do power cleans with a barbell, most gyms have barbells, just go light enough that you don’t have to drop the weight and work on forces hip extension.

The kettlebell is awesome.   First learn the swing. The swing is almost identical bio-mechanically to the clean, it teaches forceful hip extension, and in my opinion, teaches you to fire your gluts a little better than the clean.   Next, progress to the KB Clean and KB Snatch.   You could use DB’s as well.

TYLER KINLEY, Captain of Seattle Sockeye

I’m a fan of Dumbell Snatches and Jump Squats as great explosive exercises without the best equipment. It’s often what I have to do as well!


You can do a lot with kettle bells and dumbbells.  I have the same problem at my gym and so I do a lot of variations using dumbells.  My favorite is the dumbbell snatch.  I have also done high pulls in the Smith machine or with dumbbells.

LESLIE WU, Mobile Health

Learning the KB clean may be a bit easier than the BB clean since you don’t need as much wrist flexibility / t-spine mobility, just try starting at the top (racked position), lower the bell down, and re-rack to learn (rather than trying to learn how to clean from the dead/floor position).

Otherwise, try squat jumps, bodyweight or loaded. You could even do goblet squats with chairs, coming up out of the hole quickly. Other panelists will likely recommend one-handed dumbbell snatches which I will also second.

3.  How do I train for muddy, sloppy conditions? Obviously you tire more quickly when you aren’t getting good purchase. To summarize Melissa’s advice in Training Misconceptions, I should train how I play – does that mean I have to run sprints in the mud? – Anonymous

TIM MORRILL, Strength and Conditioning

Training in mud and sand takes away the stretch shortening cycle.  In training you want to develop what’s called, ground reaction forces.  The more force you can push into the ground, the more explosive you become.  In sand/ mud the forces are dissipated due to the give of the surface. Your muscles become contractile rather than elastic.  You don’t want to train your muscles to be contractile.  Therefore, I would not train in the mud.  The majority of tourneys are not going to be muddy.  If you have to play a tourney in the mud, pure conditioning and mental toughness will prevail.
On the other hand, it may be a good mental toughness drill for your team.   If your team needs mental toughness more than athleticism,  go train in the mud.

TYLER KINLEY, Captain of Seattle Sockeye

When I played at Michigan, many of the tourneys we attended were incredibly muddy– even Regionals. Now, you don’t want to train specifically for mud, but if you’re going to play your major games on grass, it is smart to train on grass whenever possible. If you’re used to a fast game on turf, a loose grass field will certainly be a hurdle. If, in the weeks before a major tournament, you are relatively sure it will rain, I would then recommend getting out and playing in the rain, since the playing experience will be worth far more than a bit more running experience in the mud.


Ground conditions matter.  I hope that playing in the mud is becoming less common as players (and tournament directors) are becoming more cognizant of taking care of playing fields.  Still, if you are playing on muddy fields often, you want to be prepared.  Transitioning from harder indoor surfaces to muddy spring conditions can be especially challenging.  So, do you have to run sprint in the mud?  Well, I wouldn’t recommend destroying your own practice fields in the name of conditioning.  But if you can find a place to do sprints in the mud a few times before a major tournament, that might not be a terrible idea (except, I wouldn’t want to subject my cleats to that either).  If you have any sand volleyball courts on campus, doing sprints in sand may be the best way to mimic muddy conditions without destroying your practice field or your cleats.  Alternatively, hill sprints may help because you’ll practice more power production with each step and have a longer ground contact time as you would in soft versus hard ground.

If I had a pair of cleats I didn’t care about and if I knew I were going to be playing over 30% of my games in sloppy mud, then yes I absolutely would be doing sprints in mud.  However, I doubt both of those things are true for you so some compromises should get you by.

LESLIE WU, Mobile Health

That may be the most effective, but other ideas could include hill sprints and barefoot work on grass. Either way, increase volume (intensity, time) slowly and, especially with barefoot / minimal footwear, listen to your body’s pain response and seek help if needed.

Next Page: Questions on Bodyweight Exercises, Core Circuit Training and Stretching

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