MC and I talk about ultimate A LOT. And we’ve started working together this year to develop what I think is some interesting and innovative programming. One of the reasons we work so well together (other than that we obviously kinda dig each other) is that we have very different strengths and insight into the sport. I come from a strength and conditioning/movement background, while MC has been a high-level player and erstwhile captain/leader for going on 20 years. We fill in the gaps in each other’s knowledge on a daily basis, and we’re both extremely passionate about learning and adapting. We sat down a few nights ago in my gym and recorded some thoughts and ideas about training for power in ultimate.
Here’s part of our discussion:
Here’s the full version. And here’s a text excerpt from the video, along with hyperlinks for more insight/examples!
Ren: I think that where I’ve really changed in the last year is understanding that the translation is EVERYTHING. And that you can have more mobile hips in the gym, but if you don’t have better movement on the field, it doesn’t matter. You can have more power in the gym, but if you’re not more powerful on the field, it doesn’t matter. And so it’s finding ways to translate the mobility, the strength, the power, to the field that I feel like I, and we, have really focused on in the last year or two. And I’ve been really excited about the stuff that we’ve come up with and the things we’ve been doing.
So one of the things we’re doing is we’re working with the Cascades. MC and I decided we were going to work together on this and…we were going to try to do two different components and break them up in terms of basic field skills, categories…
MC: Yeah, so, I think the progression that we pulled out was starting with straight-line acceleration, partly drawing from that efficiency rubrik that we mentioned earlier…also, getting this in as the foundation layer was going to have the biggest impact going forward.
You look at tape, most ultimate athletes are running forward most of the time, depending…to some degree it depends on where you play.
Ren: I would say defense is maybe a little more even…
MC: Defense is a little more variable. If you’re a handler defender you’re going to be doing much more funky stuff in terms of locomotion, but it’s the highest impact. And then we just did the section on multi-planar movement, more of the handler defense stuff where you’re keeping your hips and your body orientation independent of where you’re moving, and then the things we have yet to go are straight-line deceleration and change of direction, basically changing direction when you come in real hot with a lot of power. And then verticality as sort of the exclamation point on all that.
Ren: (hands in the air) Exclamation point!!
Ren: I think what’s been really fun about breaking it up like that…players can understand how this makes sense on the field. We start off saying ‘This segment is about acceleration and the important things, the things that make you good at accelerating are things like having a really good shin angle, having great posture, having good arm action, being able to explode, having a good hip extension,’ you know, all these things make you good at accelerating, and so here’s parts of that we can train in the gym and here’s the parts we can train on the field.
So the way we’ve been working it is that I’ve pretty much been running the gym sessions and doing the strength/power components here, and then you’ve been doing the track sessions, doing plyometric stuff and drills and running technique. And I feel like it’s been really successful! And the thing that I love about it is that a lot of it is kinda non-traditional stuff, and a lot of it is stuff that we’re kinda making up as we go…
Ren: Developing, yes, sorry, that’s much a better word [laughs]. It sounds so much more professional when you say it that way…so we’re developing it as we go, and so much of that happens when we’re doing this, like, sitting around on the couch and talking about stuff.