This month we’ve decided to do things a little differently. We asked ALL of our panelists to answer one question of two questions. What is on YOUR gift list? Or What should be on the gift list for the athletically inclined ultimate player?
Here’s what they came up with:
1. Cold weather running pants – I like to wear full-length tights underneath running pants that are waterproof/windproof on the front and breathable on the back. If you are planning to do quality outdoor track work in cold, wet, and windy conditions, then the money is definitely worth it.
2. Shoes appropriate for your training – Shoes wear out faster than you think. Get some new cross trainers/running shoes for endurance/interval work and/or shoes with less cushioning to allow for more direct power transfer for speed work…with spikes reserved for both the most serious runners and the most serious savers, as they are often much cheaper than other options.
3. Crossfit introductory course – Crossfit gyms have Foundations classes where you attend 6-8 sessions and they provide instruction on the squat, the push-press, and other key lifting movements. There are often good deals on these courses after the holidays and they usually come with a month membership to the Crossfit gym. I have friends who took these courses and then applied what they learned back at their regular gym.
4. Yoga classes – Having ample flexibility and range of movement is key to staying healthy and performing at a high level. You can find good deals on packages of yoga classes and can, as above, apply what you have learned in any setting.
5. Point massager – A foam roller can be used in this way as well, but it is nice to have something small that you can use to target knots, stress, and tension. Don’t get too addicted to point massage though…make sure to mix up the techniques – massage or otherwise – that you use to keep your muscles loose.
Seriously…these are all on my xmas list. My xmas list is quite terrible usually. Making the list always sneaks up on me and catches me off guard!
1. 3/4 length tights – I have managed to compete many years without actually purchasing a pair. As a captain/leaders/whatever – I am always the last to leave and gave up managing a lost and found a long time ago. If someone would have asked “hey, did you pick up an extra pair of tights?” I would have given them back to them. But, no one ever did, so up until after Nationals this year, I had a good supply of tights (and still am hopeful for 2012….)
2. Rosetta Stone – Italian – because it seems like going to Italy to play Paganello would be enhanced by being able to say more than “Grazie!” But, I guess if there is one word you are going to get down, it should be their word for “Thank you.”
3. Guest Bed Frame – I had one. And lost it on the New Jersey Turnpike. Don’t worry, no one was hurt. But, I have a guest room…and right now Tania Reitz (PHX #27) uses it to sleep on the floor. During the season, my home is home to many notorious travel players such as Katie Dolara (#10), Jessi Witt (#9), Lucia Derks (#3), Sara Dieter (#6), etc. It would be nice to get a few of them off air mattresses.
4. Climbing Harness and Shoes – January/February/March – are going to be all about strength training through lifting and climbing, yoga, swimming and running miles. Need gear to make this happen consistently.
1. Stopwatch – make sure it has the function that allows you to do interval repeats (essentially, tabatas), so you can have an alarm that goes off in 2 different time intervals. This is an awesome feature, on top of the essential track tool.
2. Foam Roller – this is just necessary once you get over 27 years old, and is something you will wish you did sooner. Buy it, use it, love it.
3. Jump Rope – makes anywhere a gym.
4. Speed Ladder – get that footwork right. There’s a reason athletes around the world do it.
5. Perfect socks – finding the perfect socks is a common thing amongst the players I know. They’ve found a type/brand/style/size they love and use ’em every practice, every game. Find your pair and buy a ton. In fact, all of that goes the same for your underwear.
6. Gym membership – There are deals aplenty come January 1 and ample time to make huge gains pre-club season (and college season for that matter). Do it already.
1. Foam roller. Oh it hurts so good…
2. Quad/Hamstring compression sleeves. Back in my younger years, I thought wearing something like a brace or a compression sleeve was a sign of weakness. This season, I got a pair and they made the world of difference on days 2 and 3 of tournaments. I have the terrible tendency to not stretch enough, so my muscles are usually in pretty good knots. These little guys prevented what I can only imagine would have been multiple pulls and strains this season.
3. Resistance bands. These are so versatile, and as a trainer they were one of my favorite pieces of equipment. From biceps and rotator cuffs to hip abductors, resistance bands can be an extremely portable way to bring your workout with you, no matter where you are.
4. A gym membership. I cannot stress the value of lifting and cross training to prepare for ultimate. Any player who is not regularly working out in addition to practicing is not performing at their full potential.
5. A sports massage. Getting your muscles worked on after a hard workout or tournament is not only really good for you, but it is one of the best feelings in the world!! (and a certificate for a massage makes a nice stocking stuffer!)
1. Nike vapor carbon football cleats – ultra lightweight and super fast. These are my favorite cleats in over a decade of playing Ultimate.
2. Ticket to Paganelo – I’ve never been, but its a must do before retirement
3. CWX athletic tights – my legs have never felt so good. I wear them in the cold or heat. Much better than any other name brand tights I’ve tried. They are another level of performance tights.
So turns out my inability to get myself on a soft tissue maintenance plan has come to bite me literally in the ass and I am still working through issues related to a hamstring/glute cramp I had in mid-September. My lists reflects my sad story. Buy these things for a loved one and don’t let it happen to him/her!
1. Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Claire Davies
2. The stick. My massage therapist insists I finally get one!
4. And lastly, those who know me well know that no gift list would be complete without socks! Shout outs to Tanner who recommended this pair for me and to Gregory who recommended this pair on my blog. Looks like it’ll be all stripes all the time in 2012! Check more sock ideas here or here.
Last year’s Nine Non-obvious Gift Ideas for the Ultimate Player in Your Life has plenty of ideas not related to my ailing gluteus maximus. Great ideas in the comments of that post also!
1. Dan John and Pavel Tsatsouline’s Easy Strength on Kindle/PDF/hardcopy. What’s the role of strength training in sport? When should we train for hypertrophy (armor building) versus lifting heavy? This is a rare book that thinks through these questions for the Ultimate athlete.
2. A heavy Kettlebell and a chest harness (example) for swinging and dragging on the field. [A Sled Dawg or Prowler for the particularly intense!]
3. A tiger tail portable massage tool–easier to carry than a foam roller but more intense than The Stick.
5. For the club player, Dan John’s DVD Intervention. For the gym rat, Mike Boyle’s Advances in Functional Training. For the physical therapist / trainer / physician, Gray Cook’s Movement. For the college athlete, anything by Coach Dos.
Thanks to our wonderful, wonderful, wonderful Expert Panelists for their amazing work this past year teaching Ultimate players how to train and answering questions. These people are actively changing the sport with their knowledge and we couldn’t be more thankful to have the privilege of working with them.