I've been around Void Ultimate since I started getting into ultimate. In high school I practiced a few times with the team, and I was friends a few of the dudes on the team through PADA leagues and club ultimate (let's go GAVEL!). It was awesome to have the opportunity to help the team prepare for this upcoming year of college ultimate.
One of the questions a player brought up when discussing training load was, "sooo, how do other types of stress contribute to this?"
Great question! Stress accumulates and can come from physical, academic, emotional, social, and any type of stressor you can imagine. In this study, the authors recorded injury restrictions during a college football season (pre and in-season) and found that both high physical stress and high academic stress increased risk for injury (1).
Scale down your high intensity training volume during weeks of high academic stress (mid-terms, finals, projects, etc.). Stay consistent, but don't let the RPE jump through the roof. Include more lower intensity methods like extensive tempo (that your body is prepared for). Being healthy, injury free, and able to excel in school are all more important than .01 seconds of your 40yd dash.
(1) Mann, J B, et al. “Effect of Physical and Academic Stress on Illness and Injury in Division 1 College Football Players.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 30 Jan. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26049791.
Sport specific physical preparation is a next step that can boost college ultimate teams’ on-field results.
A focus on physical preparation can reduce time loss due to injury, which holds many teams back from improving because of fewer high quality practices. Allocating more time to speed, agility, and spatial/temporal awareness can help players new to the sport grow at a faster than expected rate. Lastly, that focus will serve as a recruiting tool to bring in athletes from other sports backgrounds.
Time loss due to injury will hinder a team’s development. Whether a major contributor misses time, or multiple players are sidelined with minor injuries a team’s development takes a hit when players aren’t on the field competing. The primary goal of physical preparation is to keep players healthy and on the field so they can do what they enjoy, can compete, and can make each other better. That’s what college ultimate is all about. Make it a precedent. Find ways to incorporate injury reduction drills into your warm up, go to the weight room with your teammates, make training enjoyable.
Aside from the “recruiting schools” that YCC players choose to attend with elite college ultimate in mind most college teams bring players fresh to the sport onto their team as freshmen. The faster those players learn the fundamentals of the game and how to move on the field the sooner competition level in practices increases. Vert stack cutting motion drills, defensive 1v1’s or 2v2’s help rookies begin to understand spacing on the field and how to deny unders. However, for a new player those drills will have to high of a stimulus to truly learn what is being taught. Use hip mirroring drills, cutting creativity 1v1 drills without a disc, and defensive footwork drills in your warm up or in additional workouts to help those players learn in an environment with a lower overall stimulus that makes learning more efficient.
Getting a new player with high athletic upside can be HUGE for a college team. Captains drool over those players when they show up to tryouts. Make their experience enjoyable. At the core of every athlete is a desire to compete, and if they see that your team has that desire to compete they might just decide to buy in. “Do you have team workouts?” “Actually, yeah! We are going to the gym tomorrow would you like to join us?”
Invest in your team. Take the next step. Bring your team to the next level.