Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Opening days

This weekend saw three opening days of sorts for me, in golf, softball, and hard ultimate-related workouts.

Golf: Mediocre round of 92 (handicap differential of 18.2). Poor distance control on nearly all shots. Horrible distance control on long putts (three-putted four out of four times that I had 50 feet or more on my first putt). Got one birdie on a chip-in, although even that one was a little bit lucky as it landed it three feet past where I wanted. On the plus side, I hit a few very nice drives, and most of the shots were respectable, and after all I hadn’t played since last year. But equally disconcerting was a little practice session I did on Sunday. I was trying to hit controlled ½ and ¾ shots with my wedges, but was all over the place with them, and was nowhere close to how far I thought I was hitting them. The theory behind the “3 x 4” wedge system is that you use 4 wedges with 3 swing lengths (called 7:30, 9:00, and 10:30, to reflect how far your backswing goes) and know exactly how far each of those goes, so you in effect have up to 12 different clubs that you can pick the one combination to match your exact distance from the pin, without having to rely on feel to dial in the distance. But if I have an 8 yard standard deviation on my 9:00 gap wedge, the system is useless.

Softball: We lost 20-19. Bad day at the plate for me, error-free but a little clunky in the field. Took six pitches, swung three times and put each into play, two of them lazy fly balls and one a medium-hard grounder right to the third baseman. The team did exceptionally badly in the field, with countless errors of all varieties. Our pitchers actually did pretty well despite the 20 runs, considering how many outs they had to get in most of the innings, and our other hitters did well. The real downside is that it was so cold that no one stuck around after the game for beer.

Workout: Ran 16 stadiums (sets of 2 big, 1 small, plus an extra one all-out at the end) on Saturday. I did some light workouts over the winter, plus of course goaltimate and soccer and a full-of-running Fools, but this is the first “normal” one, where both my legs and my lungs were taxed throughout. I ran these ones at about a 2.5 on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being sprinting each one and 5 being walking up. Gone are the days where I could run hard (say, at a 1.8 on this scale) and do a full set of 37 (there are 37 sections at Harvard Stadium, each with about 30 steps about 18” high), with pushups and situps thrown in, like we did back in 1992. Now there was a stadium workout.


Anonymous said...

is it typical for club ultimate players to do 0-minimal amounts of training in the off season? what type of pre season training is common in the club ranks?

Anonymous said...

Whare are sets of 2 big, 1 small for stadiums?

Anonymous said...

what does "handicap differential of 18.2" mean? does it mean you're usually much better than a 92? Nothing personal, but if you are shooting a 92, 3 putting from 50+ feet doesn't seem like that big of a problem (but you still have a few years before you are eligible for the senior PGA).

Who are the best ball golfers in the elite ultimate ranks?

Is it typical for a 40 year old married man with children to get to participate in 3 lengthy sporting events in one weekend?

parinella said...

Harvard Stadium has big concrete bleachers about 18" apart. If you run up those, that's "big". If you run up the steps in between each section, two steps per row, that's "small."

A handicap differential is an adjusted over par score which takes the length and difficulty into account. This particular course was of medium length but high difficulty, and a 92 on an average course would have resulted in a differential of about 20. If you take the average of the best 10 of your last 20 differentials, that's your handicap. Mine has been around 10 for a few years, although my current handicap includes scores from 2.5 years ago. Usually a player's handicap is about 3 strokes better than his average, so if this round had been my average round, I would have a handicap of about 15. 25% of men with handicaps have a handicap of 10 or less, and 53% have 15 or less. Click here for a table.

I don't know of any single-digit handicappers at Nationals.

I had the day off on Friday and every other Friday thanks to the work schedule, so that's how I golfed (also went to the grocery store and made lasagna, plus stopped at work for a meeting). I hit balls in the back yard while the boy napped on Sunday. My wife and I ran stadiums together on our way to a party Saturday night (we had a babysitter). And my wife put the boy to bed by herself on Friday night, then caught up on work. So it wasn't as bad as it seems. For tournaments, we'll bring the boy and a babysitter or grandparents to watch. He's been to a dozen tournaments already (and three Nationals).

Other said...

Walt K. (formerly Pike) is a quality golfer.

RE: Training in the offseason.
Almost all players take a month or two off. Some wait very late to get back into it, some get back into it less thana month after Nationals. It all depends on your body and how you respond. Or, if you're a genetic freak, you never really have to train because you're one of the few Real Athletes in the game.

Or, if you play for Chain, you don't really sweat it until September.

Kodi said...

I was wondering if anyone might know of a research paper which compared soccer players to ultimate players. From the rumors I have heard it compares their fitness levels. I think this might be a good source for comparison and thus for building a fitness program as there are quite a few more studies and books on soccer fitness programs (although some of them are pure dribble and not worth the paper they are printed on) than there are ultimate.

Responses can also be sent to me directly at

Cheers - Kodi

Anonymous said...

Talk with the guys at Dartmouth-- their trainer has put something together specifically for ultimate.

Seigs said...

There you can find the weight workout system that the varsity strength trainer designed for us. I use it religiously all year long, also adding it some extra wrist/forearm work...and some other exercises for the ladies.

As for resting in the offseason, the trainer told us that you really only need 10 weeks or so to build up fast-twitch muscle needed for field sports. I think you want to take time off after the season because your body can't sustain your peak athletic level for long after you hit it.

He designed some sprint/plyo workouts for us as well, although I prefer the ones that Brian Doo designed for DoG.

But you can always get stronger, so I lift all year.

Beans said...

I don't suppose there would be a way for someone to get their hands on the famous Brain Doo workouts, would there?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Parinella,

If you post only once a week, or less, isn't this a column and not a blog?

And what's with the ball sport stuff?

More text please.

Peter Mc
In the Heartland

bo said...

I am interested in the sprint workouts too...are those the ones in the back of your book? I have a question about that workout its broken down by weeks but not my days what is a good schedule- sprints MWF & weights, plyos, agility on T,TH,Sat?

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