Monday, July 26, 2010

Throwing or running: Which will benefit you more?

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of getting a ride to and from (not to mention playing) Wildwood with Josh Markette. This was the most we’d hung out in a few years, so there was a lot of chatter about ultimate-related and non-ultimate-related things. At one point, Josh mentioned that he’s not as comfortable with his throws as he used to be, because he never throws regularly anymore—outside of practice, all his workout time is dedicated to the track or gym.

This really struck me—this is Cricket we’re talking about; when have his throws not been there?—but it’s something faced by a lot of players. After a certain point (likely post-college), for those continuing to play at a high level, all of one’s discretionary workout time becomes focused on getting stronger and faster, and less on disc skills. It’s a lot easier to hit the gym for an hour than it is to find someone to throw with in the middle of the day.

Despite working out hard all winter, a friend of mine did not, as she hoped to, make BENT this year. She came to tryouts in great condition, but she’d hardly touched a disc in the preceding months. And this player is a capable handler with a monster forehand, so I can’t imagine her throws had seriously degraded since last club season. Regardless, they were not as practiced as the BENT captains would have liked to see.

Many players, looking to get to the next tier, have found themselves in situations similar to the above examples. Whether it’s the offseason and staring down tryouts, or the months of preparation leading up to the club or college series, there’s never enough time to do everything one wants to do to feel prepared. So ask yourself what’s going to benefit you the most in coming weeks: hitting the gym or track for a few more reps, or finding someone with whom you can fine-tune your throws? To further complicate things, it’s likely the answer will change over the course of the year.

Physically, I felt better at Wildwood than I have at a tournament all year, but I had some gruesome turnovers on throws I used to be able to make, so I have an idea what I could be focusing on in August.