Thursday, September 07, 2006

Poll - Practice Opinions

Hey Folks,

It's poll Thursday. This is an opportunity to ask the opinion of all of us on some Ultimate topics. Todays polls are meant to address practice logistics.

The three questions are:

  1. Practice frequency
  2. Practice length
  3. Practice time
Currently, the trends in Toronto are for touring teams to practice two days a week from 6:30 PM until 8:30+, and Torontula practices every morning from 7 AM until 9 AM. This doesn't mean these are the best choices, so let's open the polls.

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Create polls and vote for free.

Create polls and vote for free.



Tom said...

The polls seem to be incompatible with my browser, which is one of the downsides to using a non-standard browser on a niche platform (but the way it handles tabs and workspaces is beautiful), so I'll post my opinions here. I like early morning practices because my understanding is that getting the body working every morning is pretty good for one's fitness. What's important, though, is to find ways to give various body parts time to rest. I don't think your cardiovascular system needs much time to rest, so the more you get your heart and lungs pumping, the better, but our muscles need time to rest. As well, my understanding is that for speed training you need to be fresh. I think the challenge is to schedule the fitness activities in an optimal manner while still achieving one's ultimate goals in practice as well.

I think also that balancing tired and fresh skills work is important. I think for any skill, cutting for example, you need to practice under a range of conditions. Everyone agrees that you need to practice cutting when tired, because that's how you cut in a game, but I think as well that practising the form of your cuts under ideal conditions (i.e. completely fresh), is important to help develop some muscle memory for what perfect form should be, so that when you are tired, you can aspire to that form and you've got some sense of what it feels like. It's like shooting free-throws in basketball... everyone knows it's really important to practice them tired, but at the same time, if you don't know how to shoot free-throws properly, and you try to learn while tired, you'll have a lot of trouble learning the correct form.

One problem with doing well-rested form work, though, is that it isn't very time-efficient, and it's probably hard to fit it into a practice schedule. In an ideal world, with longer practices, I'd probably want to do something like this: warm-up and stretch; do skills work with lots of rest; do a fitness component, varying between days in a manner that allows muscle groups to rest and recover; do the same skills work, this time with as little rest as possible; scrimmage. On some days, I would want to move the scrimmage earlier in the practice, after the first skill session, and before fitness, because while I think it's most important to practice playing while exhausted, because that's how it's going to be in a real game, I think that it's also important sometimes to practice things in a game situation under better conditions to develop a better sense of how things should be.

Wartank said...

in every instance here, you're really pushing against not what people are capable/incapable of doing, but what they are used to...

1 - time) getting people to morning practices (for people who work) could be very difficult. in order to get people to where they're going on time, practice would have to end at 8am, latest. probably 7:30 or even 7am. however, this makes things easier for those with busier schedules, especially if...

2 - #) you have more than 2 practices a week. Four sounds like a good round number, with 2 field practices and 2 track/gym workouts. Maybe 1/2 or 0/3 field/gym workouts during the offseason. "*Gasp*, the offseason?!?"

Since you're supposed to be exercising on your own anyway, why not make sure people are doing it, have fun and do it with the team?

3 - time) field practices are longer -- 2 to 2.5 hrs. off field are shorter. 1 to 1.5 hrs.

Tom said...

I think if you're doing gym/track practices, then unless you've got lots of weights and medicine balls and things like that, full team is too many people... UofT's fitness centre has a no teams rule, although it is frequently broken by dragon boat teams, because it really pisses off the other users when a single machine is monopolized for hours on end. additionally, full-team workouts will likely result in too much rest, between sets. On the other hand, working with team-mates is great motivation, and I think forming informal groups for the purpose of fitness is likely to result in sessions getting repeatedly rescheduled and skipped because of conflicts. I think the ideal situation is on a team with a number of captains and almost-captain type players, to have them split up and each lead smaller groups at different times, allowing players to choose a schedule that works for them, while still requiring them to commit to a given schedule and work out with their team-mates.

I think in the off-season, team-based cross-training would be really good. I know that the Florida State basketball team used to play ultimate in the preseason, to work on fitness and team-bonding. To play other sports, but together as a team, I think would be a very effective approach to training... on that note, I'm hoping to put together an indoor beach volleyball team this winter. I don't know how to play volleyball, but I think it would be really good training for ultimate (running and jumping on sand is really good for you - Miami's training facility has a sand pit for agility drills), so I'd like to take it up. If any of my team-mates are reading this and are interested, let me know.

Wartank said...

poll question for next thursday -- cultimate opinion moves from a 1-a-day schedule to a every-other-day or 3-a-week schedule in order to stimulate more discussion?

Tom said...

what about twice a day to feed our obvious addiction?