Former Australian cricketer, Adam Gilchrist, hits the nail on the head in his biography ‘True Colours: My Life’.
Gilly explains beautifully about how pushing yourself in training and in practice games is akin to making ‘deposits in the bank’. He cites the example of how they once chased down 315 runs (a big score then!) He says that it was a very useful ‘memory’ to be stored away in preparation for a world cup because if they ever found themselves chasing a challenging score in the world cup, they wouldn’t be lost. They would know what exactly to do because they have been in that situation before. The confidence that they could draw from it was immense.
Not very different in Ultimate.
When scrimmaging, try starting a game 0-5 down instead of 0-0. Feel the pressure and consciously notice how that affects your team’s throws and cuts. Its the kind of score line that usually prompts your captains to call for ’100% throws only!’ Practice coming back from a ‘bad start’ until you can ‘relish’ the pressure and thrive in it. You won’t panic if you find yourself there in a tournament game. The captains may not even have to tell players what needs to be done. They have done it before and odds are they will do it again.
Use practices to reinforce sound basics and to work on strengthening different aspects of your game. If you have trouble catching the disc when faced with defensive pressure – That’s what needs focus. It doesn’t have to be fun, to be fun. Get your team’s best defender to mark you. Get comfortable playing O with defense breathing down your neck. Learn to stay calm, box him out and secure the disc.
Food for thought: Do you know how your team will play on ‘universe point’ – Will your team’s handlers send it deep? Is it the same as how they play when they are up 7-1 or when tied at 6-6? Do they have just one gear through the game?
Create game situations, mimic the pressure that tournament games bring. Make deposits in the bank at every training session. Watch the magic unfold at tournaments.
“I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.” – Mia Hamm, retired US football player.
This post is dedicated to the fond memory of Piyush Vaghela. Friend, fellow Ultimate Frisbee player and coach from the Indian community who passed away yesterday. He was, in fact, coaching ultimate frisbee at the time of being struck by lightning. Another youth player also lost his life in this tragic incident.