SCU women's workout

The email I sent to the SCU women's team for the season. We started late, so the workouts are cut short.

See also, the Special K workout.

Here's the season workout progression for the season I talked about at practice on Tuesday. We'll miss the last month of the workout (we should have started at the beginning of the year), but we'll still benefit greatly from starting now (like HUGE benefits!). The workouts become hard to the end, but the results are WAAAAAAY worth it.

There are three workouts a week, which should be done on days when we don't practice. If you can, run these in the morning (running in the morning will train your body to be ready to move in the morning at tournaments), though DOING the workout is more important than doing the workout in the morning.

The three workouts are: straight sprints, shuttle sprints and "long" distance running. I've put days in the workout (Monday, Wednesday, Saturday), but you should adjust the days to what works best for you.

IF YOU MISS A WORKOUT (travel, illness, finals, spring break, they happen), run a make up workout as soon as you can (within a few days of the scheduled day). If you cannot do a workout at all, skip the workout and continue with the schedule. If you skip two workouts in a row, don't skip the week, redo it.

IF YOU NEED MOTIVATION, lean on your teammates! Encourage each other. The team grows stronger as the individual teammates grow stronger! Failing that (bah, that will never happen, so I can make this offer...), send me an email. If I'm in town, I'll head down and run with you.

The straight sprints consist of multiples of 20m, 40m, 50m and 90m sprints. For each of these, sprint down as hard as you can. These are 95% sprints, not jogs, not runs, but SPRINTS! After ending the sprint, immediately turn around and jog back to the starting cone. This is a good jog, lift your knees, use your arms. When you're back at the starting cone, start your rest time.

The rest times between sprints are:

20 m = 25 seconds
40 m = 30 seconds
50 m = 45 seconds
90 m = 60 seconds

For the shuttle workouts, there are three types of runs: a stinker, a stinkette and a suicide (or I of pain, if you use that term). These runs are done so that you can FINISH the workout. You want to run as hard as you can (start the first ones at 70% in the beginning so that your final run's 100% time is the same as your first run's 70% time). Concentrate on form on the stops and starts.

For this workout, put markers (cones) at 0, 5m, 10m, 15m, 20m, 25m and 50 m.

A stinker is:

Start at the 0 cone, sprint 50m out and back 3 times in a row for a total of 300 m. If you are feeling really ambitious, do this in under 1 minute 5 seconds. Rest one and a half minutes afterwards. On the last one, pick up the 50m cone.

A stinkette is:

Start at the 0 cone, sprint to the 25m cone and back 6 times in a row for a total of 300 m. If you are feeling really ambitious, do this in under 1 minute 10 seconds. Rest one and a half minutes afterwards.

And a suicide is:

Start at the 0 cone, run 5m out and back, then increase to running 10m and back, 15m and back, 20m and back, and 25m out and back. Rest 25 seconds afterwards.

The workout schedule, 2/11/08 - late April

2/11/08 Monday
  7x20, 5x40, 3x50, 3x90

2/13/08 Wednesday
  1 stinker, 2 stinkettes, 3 suicides

2/16/08 Saturday
  2 mile run

2/18/08 Monday
  7x20, 5x40, 3x50, 3x90

2/20/08 Wednesday
  1 stinker, 2 stinkettes, 3 suicides

2/23/08 Saturday
  2 mile run

2/25/08 Monday
  7x20, 5x40, 4x50, 4x90

2/27/08 Wednesday
  1 stinker, 2 stinkettes, 4 suicides

3/01/08 Saturday
  2.5 mile run

3/03/08 Monday
  8x20, 6x40, 4x50, 4x90

3/05/08 Wednesday
  1 stinker, 2 stinkettes, 4 suicides

3/08/08 Saturday
  2.5 mile run

3/10/08 Monday
  8x20, 6x40, 4x50, 4x90

3/12/08 Wednesday
  1 stinker, 2 stinkettes, 4 suicides

3/16/08 Saturday
  2.5 mile run

3/17/08 Monday
  8x20, 6x40, 4x50, 4x90

3/19/08 Wednesday
  1 stinker, 3 stinkettes, 5 suicides

3/22/08 Saturday
  3 mile run

3/24/08 Monday
  9x20, 7x40, 5x50, 5x90

3/26/08 Wednesday
  1 stinker, 3 stinkettes, 5 suicides

3/29/08 Saturday
  3 mile run

3/31/08 Monday
  9x20, 7x40, 5x50, 5x90

4/2/08 Wednesday
  1 stinker, 3 stinkettes, 5 suicides

4/5/08 Saturday
  3 mile run

4/7/08 Monday
  10x20, 8x40, 5x50, 5x90

4/9/08 Wednesday
  1.5 stinkers, 3 stinkettes, 5 suicides

4/12/08 Saturday *sectionals
  3 mile run

4/14/08 Monday
  10x20, 8x40, 6x50, 6x90

4/16/08 Wednesday
  1.5 stinkers, 3 stinkettes, 5 suicides

4/19/08 Saturday
  3 mile run

Regionals are April 26-27. Plan on attending Regionals (we made it last year!).

4/21/08 Monday
  12x20, 8x40, 6x50, 6x90

4/23/08 Wednesday
  1.5 stinkers, 3 stinkettes, 6 suicides

4/26/08 Saturday *Regionals
  3 mile run

4/28/08 Monday
  14x20, 9x40, 7x50, 7x90

If you want the rest of the workout (what I'll be running, since my season starts in April), the rest of the workout is:

4/30/08 Wednesday
  2 stinkers, 4 stinkettes, 6 suicides

5/03/08 Saturday
  3 mile run

5/05/08 Monday
  14x20, 9x40, 7x50, 7x90

5/07/08 Wednesday
  2 stinkers, 4 stinkettes, 7 suicides

5/10/08 Saturday
  3 mile run

5/12/08 Monday
  16x20, 10x40, 8x50, 8x90

5/14/08 Wednesday
  2 stinkers, 4 stinkettes, 7 suicides

5/17/08 Saturday
  3 mile run

Maintenance: repeat or increase the last week, as needed. The maximum runs should be:

20x20, 15x40, 10x50, 10x90
4 stinkers, 6 stinkettes, 10 suicides

Practice continues


Second practice of the year tonight. Still cold. I arrived late, to see the team running the four lines drill. Oh, my, I was so happy to see that! They weren't sure about what they were going to do at practice, but they started out very well!

We had a new girl come out to practice tonight. I don't think she even had cleats. She played pretty well, for a complete beginner. I hope she had enough fun to continue to come out. Her reactions to my directions reminded me of how much of the sport's terminology I take for granted. Just because I yell at someone to clear, doesn't mean she's going to know what the heck I'm telling her to do. Or to cut deep. Or to clear wide. Or to stop clogging. Or to force home. Or to start the stall count. Or to mark. Or pivot. Or throw to space.

Lots of words, and phrases and meanings that are so ingrained I'm unable to immediately recall not knowing what they mean.

Kate showed me a Macbook Air after practice. I both wish I could buy one and am glad i can't afford it at this point. I haven't worn out my current computer, which works very, very, very well for me (knock on wood, or aluminum as the case may be), so I won't be upgrading, or laterally-ing to a MB Air (it won't drive my birthday present). Which is fine, I'm still happy with what i have.

Wait, did I really just say that?

Practice starts up


Went to practice tonight, for the first time since mid last month. It's been cold at nights, all the way down to 46°. Forty-six degrees. Forty six.

My dad is laughing at me right now.

At least my mom is thinking, "Brrrrrrrr!"

Given the team hasn't really been out and running around together for a month, just playing sounded like a great idea to me. We did a lot of throwing (about 200 throws per person of various grips and lengths), and played games. I'm not sure they liked the way I divided the teams up: number of letters in their last name, odd on one team, even on the other. I followed that one up with something like the number of letters in their first names. The teams seemed pretty even.

Although playing ultimate and teaching people (and combining the two!) is a lot of fun, I have to admit that hanging out with Kate, even in the cold, cold, cold, stop laughing Dad, cold weather is the best part for me. I like chatting on the sidelines with her, talking about life and plotting women's ultimate domination in two years with her. It's a lot of fun.

If only I could feel my toes.

SCRUW's Sean Ryan


This morning, I drove to Santa Clara, picked up three of the women I'm coaching on the women's ultimate team, and drove to Santa Cruz with them for the 2007 Sean Ryan Memorial Tournament. Kate and I seem to be consistent in our time availability with the team: every day I'm not available, she is, and any day she's not available, I am. As a result, I was coaching this one on my own.

And Kate's the one with the calm demeanor and beaucoup experience, not me.

The team had 13 women today. That's a lot for the team, even if it was about half of what the other teams brought to the tournament. What they lacked in numbers, they made up for in heart.

The first game was against Berkeley X. Berkeley had a large number of players tryout this year, so they split the team into two teams: X and Y. We played X, which had 3-4 players who could catch, throw and defend well, and another 20 who couldn't. So, the game was really, really close as both Berkeley and SCRUW, the Santa Clara women's team name, worked the disc down the field and scored sometimes, turned it over sometimes. The score went something like 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 5-3, 5-5, 6-6, 8-7 (yay, we took half!), 9-7, 10-8, 10-10, 12-10, 12-11. Here's where the heart breaker is. If, on the score where they scored that 11th point had happened 20 seconds later, as in, a second after the hard cap went on instead of 19 seconds after they scored, the game would have been over, and Santa Clara would have won the game. As it was, the hard cap went on as the team was walking down the field to start the next point. Berkeley scored the next point, tying the game, and the following point to win the game. The game finished 15 minutes after the next game was supposed to start, so the team immediately ran over to the next field over to start the next game.

I forgot to suggest they eat something between the rushed games.

The second game was against UCLA BLU X. This team was in much the same boat as the Berkeley team: a few good players (as in, really good players), and a whole bunch of not so good players. The problem was, however, that they had three or four of these good players, compared to Berkeley's two or three. BLU was able to play three of these women pretty much in all the points and move the disc very effectively.

After a number of points of SCRUW moving the disc down the field, only to turn it over within yards of the endzone, and watching the three BLU moving score on three throws, I suggested a change in defense. We'd still force the team one direction in general, but the three women on the line who could play we'd play straight up. With a quick tutorial on how to force straight-up, and the calls incoming defense should make (left and right, brilliant, eh?), the team received the next pull, turned it over, forced straight-up on the good players, caused a turn over close to the endzone, and scored. Molly came up to me after a few points of playing straight up on BLU's top player and excitedly said, "Wow, that's totally working. She's throwing it away, and struggling!" I was so excited to hear my advice was so well received.

The final score of the second game was 4-12, so we missed our goal of 5 points by one. If we could count the "within 10 yards of the endzone" as a half point, though, the score would have been more like 10-12.

The last game was against UC Santa Cruz. Having watched the team earlier, I really thought SCRUW had a chance to win this game. I told them as much before the start of the game. However, they played more of their top line, and, well, pretty much crushed SCRUW. The team had run out of steam, run out of legs, and, well, it showed. I think they were done when the score was 1-6.

All in all, it was a great day. We need to work on initiating a stall count (rather than letting the opponent stand over the disc directing traffic, actually get that stall count going!), keeping on our opponent (no turnstile defense), and throw, throw, throwing!

Dead box


As I arrived at practice tonight, the team had just started their warmup lap around the field. They've been bringing out a boombox and blasting music during practice, but I was surprised I heard music.

Turns out, they carried the boombox all the way around the field.

It died less than a quarter of the way around the field, and they had to lug the dead weight anyway.

Practice was actually quite fun tonight. I'm not sure why, but I felt more connected with the team, and had a good time laughing with them. Having only one practice a week, with Kate taking the other night, has helped me timewise. That helped during this crazy week.

When one point rocks!


Today was day one of college sectionals. I arrived late (dammit!) to pick up half the team to drive them to Santa Cruz for the tournament. I've been trying to be on time, instead of my usual 15 minutes late, but every time I worry about being on time, I stress at every stop light and worry about every lane change and ick, it sucks. If I had a good list of five minute tasks, I'd be less stressed at the arriving early and waiting. Maybe.

The team's first game was against Stanford A, who was seated second at the tournament. There was exactly, uh, zero chance of winning this game, but the girls were very realistic: they wanted one point.

After struggling to complete more than two passes, then getting into a groove, the team started to work the disc upfield. They had run through blocks (Sarah J) and fantastic skies (Annie), and enough backhand breaks that the Stanford coaches were complimenting them. When the score was 0-5, I suggested a pull play, which worked far better than anyone could imagine: catch, first throw to Amelia, Kelsey out of the stack, crazy high, long throw to Annie who dished the disc to Amelia for the score.

Yay, hotbox practices!

Suddenly, Stanford took them seriously. The second half of the game was a lot harder, but finished quickly, with a final score 1-15.

At the end of the game, most everyone on the team asked me if Kate was coming to the tournament. I explained she was at Liza's soccer game, and would be by soon. After she arrived and took over for the game coaching, I understood why they kept asking for her. Where I was encouraging but hesitant to overload the team with specifics, Kate was encouraging, direct and willing to throw as much knowledge as could apply at the moment.

I left after the second game, a 0-15 loss with a large number of run-through defenses as well as great oh-so-close-to-scoring disc movement (2 feet outside of the endzone - 2 feet!). When I arrived home, I talked to Kris about the games and the team.

I told Kris about the disc movement, the large number of forced turnovers by the team, the great work the team was doing. I commented that fairly much everyone asked if Kate was coming to the tournament, and then about her coaching style.

He turned to me and asked, "Is Kate a good coach?"

I didn't hesitate, "Absolutely."

She told me experience helps, she's been coaching for ten years. Sure, that helps, but she also talks and moves and coaches with confidence. If I had to choose who I'd want coaching me, yeah, I'd pick Kate in a heartbeat, too.

First post-clinic practice


Today was my first practice with the local college women's team. Kate is out and about and unable to come to practice, so I was on my own. I used the rules and suggestions from the UPA coaching clinic and, for the first time, actually wrote a schedule of what I wanted to cover in practice. I had high hopes going to practice.

They were dashed pretty much as soon as I arrived at practice.

We had low numbers to start with. Can't really scrimmage when there are only 8 players out.

Most of the players showed up late. I started the practice off with what we were going to do at practice, as per John's practice format, but didn't wait past 9:15 before starting. That meant two or three players missed out because they were late, and weren't as clued into practice as the others. They also missed out on the throwing warmup and practice. I scheduled 9:00 to 9:15 as throwing practice, figuring some players would be late. Those who were missed out on the throwing warmup, which is unfortunate, but I really don't want to encourage ultimate-time any more than it already exists in our culture.

We had distractions. Usually when I start talking, I can keep the team's attention through the first sentence, then start losing them after the second or third. I often try the call and response, or question a player about what I'm explaining. I tried both, but wasn't very successful with some players.

Rather than try to talk over the distracted players, I just kept talking at the same volume, at the same speed, looking up at the distracted players, but not addressing them directly. The second time I did this, and part of the team couldn't hear what I was saying, several players, the ones who are quickly improving players who clearly wanted to know what I was saying, told the talking women to shut up, shush, sssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHHHH! I had very few interruptions after that, for which I was thankful.

And then there was the bathroom issue. Mid-practice, during a water break, half the team left to use the bathroom. Now, I of the world's smallest bladder have exactly zero reasons to begrudge them heading off to the bathroom, it's the fifteen minutes of socializing that frustrate me.

I know the are conflicts. I know there's schoolwork. I understand the balance of life and how too much of anything can be detrimental to one's mental and physical health.

I just wish some players were passionate about ultimate and wanted to play with the intensity and obsession of the recently converted. I don't really know how to inspire that love.

Not yet, anyway.

In return


When Kate approached me to coach a local college team, and I agreed to help her, I was expecting very little. I figured I'd be able to help them with at least a little bit of the tricks, tips and tactics I've learned over the last thirteen years of playing ultimate.

What I wasn't expecting to do, however, is learn from them. Least of all in the way that I am.

Here are fifteen women who are looking to me to provide them knowledge and leadership. If I fail, they fail.

Sure, they're willing to learn, they're eager to learn. They absorb everything I teach them, and apply it very well. They learn quickly, and remember, too. I'm really impressed with them. However, it's strange to be in a teaching position; not really of authority, but of experience and leadership.

I'm used to being the number two in a group, able to do the work, but not really at the top.

Kate's been in a position of leadership in many different parts of her life. I haven't, not really. When I'm at practice, however, and Kate's not, the team looks to me to provide guidance and direction. I've started doing exactly that. I've started to lead.

I teach them ultimate. They teach me how to be a leader.

A big fish in a small pond, but a leader none-the-less.

It's a lesson I'm glad they're willing to teach.

First game


After a ridiculously rough start this morning, we arrived at the fields and played our first game.

For some reason, the college kids thought First St. was the same as First Ave. and not until I pointed out we were still in Hillard and not in Stevinson yet, did they believe me and continue east. Two U-turns and three country roads later, and we arrived less than 25 minutes before our first game. Zoiks!

Warm up jog, throwing, dynamic warmup and flip instructions later, the captains flipped and we were on the line.

The team did really well. Their opponent was a team that had been playing together three years. Given our team had been playing together about five months, they played fantastically. They moved the disc down the field to within 10 yards of the endzone probably a dozen times in fifteen points, and had maybe 8 or 9 defensive blocks. They were foot blocked twice, which wasn't so hot, but they'll learn to pivot and fake better.

The final score was 13-1, with the single point being scored on a pick call the opponent, Cal Poly SLO, called back to grant us the score.

This game will probably be the easiest today, as it was against the fourth seed in the pool. Tomorrow should be much better, as the bottom three teams play round robin. Have to see if I can make it back for the half day.

Back in college


The tournament the college team I'm coaching was heading to this weekend moved from Stanford to Modesto, pretty much at the last minute. I had arranged to drive some of the team to Stanford on Saturday morning, but had my Friday night planned for cleaning the house before George and his family arrived tomorrow.

So much for that plan. They'll arrive to see my house is its usual disarray. Darn it.

I drove to Santa Clara and was slightly late, arriving at 8:55 instead of 8:45. I should have realized this wasn't a problem: the team was on ultimate time. We left the Frisbee house, where many of the men's team players live, around 9:20, arriving at the hotel around 10:50 at night. Now, normally arriving so late isn't an issue, afterall, we practice until 11 at night. Today, though, I was tired from the 6:00 am wakeup and 7:00 am workout.

My car, with Sarah, Julie, Mackenzie and Kaitlin, arrived to find we were in the remote room, a double smoking-permitted room. I had asked at hte front desk when we arrived if any rooms were availalbe, and was told the only room they had was a single bed smoking. Since I was going to be in a smoking room anyway, with the stench of previous smoking tennants, I figured my own bed would be preferable to the floor.

Maybe I should have just kicked one of the players out of bed.

When I went to see about that previoiusly available smoking room, I mentioned I'd prefer a non-smoking room if anyone had cancelled. Somehow, I managed to arrive five minutes after someone had cancelled. $52 dollars later, and I had a room with three extra bed spaces. I went to where I thought the men's team was staying and knocked on the door.

The door flew open, and a waggling tongue, "ahhhhHhhh!" greeted me. When the eyes on the face owning the tongue opened, the player immediately stood up, looking a little embarrassed, "Oh, sorry."

"No problem. Anyone in here want a bedspace? I'm two doors down. The only requirement is that you need to let me sleep."

Fifteen minutes later, the room was asleep.