Thursday, November 27, 2008

I hate "home" and "away"

When I'm playing, I'm on the field. I know which way an opponent's forehand is, even if he's lefty. I do not know on which side of the field my bag is sitting on. And we are supposed to have people on both sidelines anyway, so both sides are home.

While I'm here, I can't stand that back of the endzone cut. Especially the endzone drill that promotes it.

Hate it when the team wants people there 60 or 75 or 90 minutes before the game and at least 30 of those minutes are spent chit-chatting or lazy stretching or standing and throwing unrealistic passes. You can do a full warmup (including adequate throwing) in about 30 minutes if you are efficient. If you have some specific team thing or a special throw you want to add in, too, add 10 minutes. What's the big deal about getting there 20-45 minutes extra early? It's time wasted, energy wasted, and focus wasted. Those things ain't free.

My kid's soccer team had a drill using one ball where each kid was standing around 95% of the time before having about 5 seconds of "skill work". Hated it enough that I got up and left to go work out.

And now for things I like.


Owen said...

Jim, I hope the list of things you like is coming in the next post, and isn't a null set at the end of your post :)

I think I hit two of your points in one post.

I propose a three-pronged attack against the endzone drill: veto or sit it out in protest, train leaders and coaches to choose drills based on needs not habit, and promote more suitable activities/drills.

luke said...

i never got the home and away thing. people who like the home and away thing are adamant... and i just don't get it. i think that would be a fun survey: who has what view:


I don't think it's evenly distributed, but i'll hold my thoughts until the survey results are in.

Match said...

In defense of some of those folks that need a long time to warm up, I think the bigger issue is that you as the experienced player that you are don't need a ton of time because you know yourself very well I'm sure. However, younger kids don't know the game (or themselves) well enough to sort out there warm up issues in 30 minutes. I think less experienced players have a nice feeling of mental security when they have a long warm up time.

Also, I think the bigger issue is that getting to a field way early shows commitment to a team and for up and coming players, that is really important. Also, sitting around throwing all sorts of weird throws is how a person develops an expanded throwing arsenal. I know most of my throwing skill came because I threw so much that I got bored of straight flicks and backhands that I just experimented with all sorts of throws. You never know when one will come in handy.

Yeah and the whole home and away thing is uber lame. Everyone has a clear picture of flick and backhand in their head and I think knit picky people that are worried about lefties are just over analyzing. But then again, whatever makes a person comfortable.

I look forward to the "like" list.

parinella said...

Work on your weird throws on your own time, not before a game. If you aren't willing to make a particular throw in that game, don't waste time during warmups. The team doesn't want your last throwing thought prior to a game to be "thumber anvert".

The last newsletter had "Warm-Up and Stretching" by Dr. Jamie Nuwer. "Optimal warmup for ultimate:
jog/run until stretching
dynamic stretching (5-10 minutes)
Plyos (not on tournament days)
Exercises that simulate your game, increasing in intensity (5-10 minutes)

I think you can make the jog/run include throwing. If you're a puller or big hucker, maybe you need to add in some throws or stretches to work on those muscles.

But overall, I don't think you gain any touch by having made 100 throws before a game instead of 10. I know that pro golfers will hit balls on the range before they play, but I think they have their swings calibrated a lot more and can use the information from the warmup to tweak their decisions.

The "like" list is already there. As many of you longtime readers should know, I don't appear to like very much.

djdewey said...

Jim- check and check - I agree. Endzone drill?? come on.. I just insisted on changing the name of the drill to: "flow drill" because it is a decent drill - good movement, lots of touches, well paced .. but NOT an endzone drill. And the fascination of ultimate teams everywhere to "be at the fields ready to go 75 minutes before game time" is a bit much. I always found it to be a colossal waste of time energy and focus. I regularly (in private) battled with Husak and others over this issue on the Condors. I mean, come on, at a typical quality trny. on a saturday you are already looking at 9 or 10 hours of being "on" and focused and intense and now I cant even enjoy a nice relaxing breakfast?? And, the worst was at a lesser quality trny where we are playing a "cream puff" first round and we still need to be cleated up at the crack of dawn?? OUCH. Now, having said that, if I could pick one captain to head my ultimate team, it would, without a doubt be Greg. But, on this issue we disagreed mightily. I can remember many (all??) saturday and sunday mornings being totally stressed out before even getting to the fields because i was worried about being 1 or 2 minutes late. That was a big NO NO on the SB team - and having the wrath of Greg and Andy focused on you is no walk in the park. Alas, it was a losing battle so I resigned to just "tune out" any focused pregame rituals until at least 25 minutes before game time - for me, in my mind, I went to my own little paradise for that extra 40 minutes of mandatory preperation. However, I would have been much happier sitting in the nice warm cafe sipping my latte and talking with friends... Now, some old teammates may say that is about all I did until gametime anyway.. but that is a whole nother post.. Speaking of obsolete ultimate "DOGMA" how bout' the insistence of teams to swing the disc side to side vs. a zone defense?? Thank goodness we watched your teams in the late 90's and finally did away with that concept. That singular strategic concept which we stole from your team played a significant role in our teams success in 99-02. Of course, by 01 most teams no longer mindlessly swung the disc side to side when facing a zone defense.. but, even, in 98 that was still adamantly preached to our SB team. As for the home/away issue... yeah, I guess.. backhand/forehand .... home/away.. either is OK with me. They both work equally well for me. Home is just the sideline where most of the guys throw their bags 75 minutes before the game starts and where I will be sitting with my music, feigning injury until (once again) I miraculously overcome my tight hamstring about 25 minutes before game time. lol

Mackey said...

At a college level, I think it's pretty important to commit to showing up well before you need to.

Being college, at least one car is guaranteed to be 10-15 minutes late to the fields. Never fails. So you budget that extra time in to warmups so your latecomers have enough time to get legitimately warmed up.

So long as a team isn't unrealistic about time to the fields (if you have a first round bye, you can still sleep in and get to the fields in plenty of time, but if you have an early game and were late to the hotel, perhaps you allow for a later start) and isn't draconian about being on time, I have no problem with being asked to show up an hour before game time. More than that would be my tipping point, though.

scrooner said...

"Home-Away" is the worst idea ever. Is Ultimate the only field sport where teams don't use "Left-Right" to describe the field in relation to the way your team is moving? On top of that, people use whatever they feel like: "Trees-Parking Lot", "Forehand-Backhand", "East-West", etc. In football, you say "run left". It means the same thing on EVERY FIELD. It's not affected by what way the player is facing, or what handed-ness the defenders are, or what sideline most of your team is standing on; it's dependent on which way the team is headed.

I've had zero success trying to institute "Left-Right" in my area. People get confused as soon as they turn around. OMG! Now my left hand is pointing the wrong direction! How will I know which way the force is?!?

reeb said...

I think there are a couple reasons to arrive ~ 1hr early for a tournament (besides showing team commitment) that while they may not apply to you, may be applicable.

One it is usually in the morning so the body is not at its athletic prime of the day. While I can warm up in 15 minutes for practice in the afternoon, it takes my body 30 minutes to wake up and feel like it can do something at a high level. Plus throw in a breakfast, the additional time for digestion wouldn't hurt. Another is, people tend to be late and it allows for some slop time & for emergencies. One team at regionals had their GPS/directions lead them to the wrong fields and I've personally had to deal with a flat tire once.

Think how bad some college and pro athletes have it, who arrive 2+ hours ahead of time and pretty much have to take a nap in the locker room to pass time.

Gambler said...

Warm-up time is not just about how long it takes you to physically warm-up your muscles. You also have to adjust your throws and mentally prepare yourself.

Even if there's minimal wind, I think it still pays off to run a drill that has players throwing in each direction, reading the differences in how the wind affects each throw. I'm partial to the "wrinkle drill" where you throw to a cutter making a button-hook cut in each of four directions. I also like it when the whole team goes through a set routine of throws including different distances, release points, and disc angles. If you want to have your whole arsenal of throws ready for the game, you should make sure you warm them up before you play.

Ultimate is such a game of focus, it's imperative to use time before the game starts to get your mind ready to play. This is really what pre-game drills should be about. Not everyone has an on-off switch they can flip at will; most people need to be in game-like situations ahead of time. Playing a bit of three on three or redzone offense can be great for getting up to game speed, physically and mentally.

All this adds up:
10-15 min focused throwing
3-5 min warm-up laps
10-15 min dynamic warm-up
15-20 min drills (2 drills, 10 min each or 3 drills, 5 min each)
10-15 min game-like scenarios
2-5 min chalk-talk, deal with yourself time

Depending on how efficient your team is, I can't see doing all that in less than 45 minutes, but probably closer to 60 or 75 minutes given the cag factor that lingers in most ultimate players.

parinella said...

Agree with "mentally prepare yourself", but disagree with "adjust your throws". I will grant an exception for a small minority of players, maybe zone handlers who throw hammers and want to see what the quartering wind will do that day (but even then there is no need for four directions, just the direction they'll be throwing in) or marginal huckers who need to see if they got that throw today (but even then, they should be warmed up first so their muscles are reacting the way they ought to).

What I'm trying to get to is that there will be little gained from a lot of warmup throws other than getting loose, which can be done much more efficiently (maybe incorporate some throwing muscle exercises into your dynamic warmup). Any muscle memory improvement you may get from that 10th i/o backhand will be long gone by the time you play.

Gambler said...


Point well taken about your throwing muscle memory not changing during a 10 minute throwing session before a game. However, what you can change based on that 10 minute throwing session is what throws you chose to use during the game.

Let's say I've been working on your forehand inside out for months. It's a throw I haven't used that much in game situations, but I'm feeling pretty good about it generally and am eager to put it to the test. I show up before my game and there's a bit of a cross-wind. After my warm-up where I go through a full set of throws in multiple directions I realize that my "game-ready" forehand inside out is not likely to be as high percentage in this game as I'd like. So I shelve it until later or I only throw it in the directions and situations that are most likely to work for me.

Adjusting your throws is actually adjusting which throws you use, rather than changing the way you throw what you throw (which, as you say, very few people are able to consistently do well).

I think this is relevant at all levels, because I refuse to believe that most club players are content with the throws they have. Most people are (or should be) always working to expand their throwing arsenal. Without warming up those throws before a game, how do you have a complete assessment of what throws are appropriate?

parinella said...

I was thinking about this the other night, and my hatred for "home" and "away" is fairly recent. I remember not getting upset when we forced "mauka" (mountains) and "makai" (water) at Kaimana 10 years ago. Maybe I'm just getting more convinced of things as I get older.