I get asked by lots of people about training for ultimate, and what sort of things I do for fitness.
You can break this down into several parts which contribute to being a good player. In order to be successful, I believe you need to have the following:
- Run fast
- Jump high
- Throw consistently/far
- Be a good catcher
- Good recovery
- Quick feet
- Good endurance
- Good field sense
- Understanding of plays
These are important elements which make up a good player. In order to ensure that you’re good at all of these, here is what I suggest:
- To be fast, you need to have good sprinting technique, and have strong legs, arms and core. You can become a faster runner many ways but for me, the biggest factor for my speed comes from knowing how to sprint and being strong. Also, if you’re flexible then your muscles will be stronger and more reactive to make sure to have a proper warmup, cooldown and stretch regularly.
- To be good in the air, you need to be able to know how high you can jump and be able to jump quickly (a big vertical helps but I have seen many guys get out jumped by someone shorter who doesn’t necessarily know how to jump higher but can read the disc better). To train for jumping I recommend Air Alert (https://www.amazon.com/Air-Alert-Complete-Vertical-Program/dp/B00065QG84), and to work on your disc reading skills.
- The single best way to become a better thrower is to practice throwing (much like a golfer goes to the driving range). Throwing a lot will also strengthen your arm and will develop your longer throws. Important muscles in throwing are your core, triceps, wrists, shoulders and legs so have a good workout routine which works on those muscles. Check out Kung Fu Throwing by Lou Burruss or Zen Throwing by Ben Wiggins for some great throwing routines.
- Catching is important and is made up of reading the disc, having good eye/hand coordination and strong fingers, so work on these elements. Watch this video for some tips on improving your eye/hand coordination.
- Good recovery comes from doing running drills such as intervals and training your heart to recover from a resting state. I find interval training and doing weights at a high intensity to be great for developing your recovery. Crossfit is great for this (www.crossfit.com).
- Quick feet can be developed by working on your fast twitch muscles, by doing plyometrics, stretching (yoga/pilates) and especially doing agility training.
- Endurance comes from interval training, longer distance runs and training at a high intensity during weights and other activities. You want to increase your lung capacity and develop your body’s ability to use oxygen more efficiently. Crossfit is also great for this (www.crossfit.com).
- A good field sense comes from playing a lot of tournaments, thinking about the game at practice and while you’re on the sidelines and watching a lot of videos/games of good teams playing. For a huge list of games you can watch online, check out No Huck.
- Understanding of plays comes with having a good field sense, studying the plays and understanding the purpose of those plays and how they fit into the rest of the game, and playing a lot. To check out plays created by others or to add your own, check out Playspedia.
By combining the elements above, you will have more success on the field, both physically and mentally.