As the college series approaches, it is important that players and teams come to tournaments with all of the necessary supplies to handle whatever weather conditions and physical ailments that are thrown their way. My hope is that this article can provide a robust “packing list” for players and teams to review before tournaments.
There are several things that go into tournament preparation, and one of the most important things is packing your bag the night before. This ensures that you don’t forget anything when you wake up at 6am half-asleep/intoxicated, and you can leave your room in less than 5 minutes to catch your ride. Before bed, make sure your phone is charging, not on silent, and you have multiple alarms set. It is also a good idea for captains to have a list of names, phone numbers, and room locations for all players in case anyone oversleeps. For cold weather tournaments, check out this article for more recommendations. Individual packing list should include:
- Shorts, light, and dark jersey (to play ultimate)
- Cleats (and extra cleats for forgetful teammates)
- Socks, extra socks (for mid-day change after your bye), and NEW socks (for the end of the day)
- Compression gear (to keep muscles activated)
- Sweatpants, hoodies, and winter jackets (to stay warm)
- Hats, headbands, stunner shades, arm sleeves, arm bands, and other swag items (to increase overall team sex appeal)
- Duffle bag, back pack, or ultimate bucket (to carry your belongings)
- Gallon jug of water (your team will inevitably run out of water, and it’s easier to refill big jugs)
- Braces for pre-existing injuries (and extra braces to share with teammates in case they roll their ankle at the tournament)
- 5 hr energy/red bull (to get up for 8am warm ups and stay up for the last game of the day)
- Cell phone, wallet, and money (for gear and food at or after the tournament)
- Pillow and sleeping bag (good for long car rides and sleeping on hotel floors)
- If the forecast calls for precipitation, rain jacket (to wear between points) and a trash bag (to keep your belongings dry)
Even big kids need a team mom
Besides personal items, there are several other things to bring to tournaments that can be beneficial to the entire team. I encourage captains to assign someone on their team to be the “team mom” who is responsible for getting these items to the fields. It is one less thing for the captains to worry about, and these things can make a huge difference in minimizing team fatigue/discomfort over the course of a long tournament (i.e., shade tent to sit under on hot or rainy days). Here are some of the most important things to bring with the team:
First-aid kit (band-aids, Neosporin, pre-wrap, athletic tape, Advil, allergy medicine, bug spray, etc.)
- Nail clippers (note: Zip tells us to clip our nails on Thursday night before a tournament)
- Discs and cones (for warm-up drills)
- Foam roller and/or the stick (to keep muscles activated and prevent fatigue/cramping)
- Extra trash bags (to keep team gear dry in the rain)
- Sunscreen (baz luhrmann told us about its importance more than a decade ago, and now there’s the video to 16 year old me)
- Shade tents (protection from energy-draining sun and/or rain)
- Folding chairs or two-person snuggle chairs (makes it easier to put on cleats and allows you to rest your legs between points)
- Coolers with sports drinks (and post-game BEvERages)
Snacks also fall under the “team mom” category, but they are so important that they get their own section. It is easiest to budget in tournament snacks as part of the team dues, so you don’t have to nag people for food money at the tournament. I typically spend $100-150/day on team food and drinks for a tournament, and over the course of the season I try to ask my teammates what snacks they like/don’t like and adjust my shopping accordingly.
I cannot stress enough the importance of bringing snacks to Ultimate tournaments and continuously eating throughout the entire day. Ideally the TD will provide your team with bagels, peanut butter, bananas, trail mix, etc., but you should never count on that food to keep you and your teammates fed throughout the tournament. If possible, go to the dining hall on Friday and grab as much food as you can. It is absurd to think that a bagel for breakfast will give you enough energy for your muscles to survive four 1+ hour games of Ultimate (but obviously still eat breakfast)!
You will burn a TON of calories playing a whole tournament, so you have to be constantly replenishing and nourishing your body throughout the day to try to not get completely destroyed energy-wise. Salty foods are great to prevent cramping when your muscles are tired. I have an irrational fear of pickles (and pickle juice), but people tell me they are good for preventing cramps – coconut water is also great for this. If cramping up is a common problem, consider bringing a bunch of salt packets to eat. All forms of protein are your best friend. My favorite snacks include:
Gatorade prime, Gatorade powder for water bottles, Power Bars, Cliff Bars, beef jerky, any kind of nuts, bagels, bananas, apples, oranges, dried fruit, Gold Fish, Wheat Thins, pretzels, cheese/peanut butter crackers, Smartfood popcorn, Bugles, Combos, Chex Mix, trail mix, granola bars, Nature Valley bars, peanut butter, Nutella, and mouthwash
I’m confident that I left out a lot of things in this article. It would be great if people could post comments about the other vital things they pack for tournaments, as well as any relevant links to additional articles on tournament nutrition. Best of luck to everyone in the college series – the road to Boulder begins with proper team preparation.
Feature photo courtesy of Ultimate Bucket