I was recruited by Michelle Ng and Without Limits to write about my experiences in my final season of College Ultimate. 2011 has many possibilities...let's see how they pan out. E-mail me (robyn-fennig@uiowa.edu)

Friday, February 11, 2011

4 weeks out

I started this post at the beginning of the week on Sunday night. It's Friday. 5  days have since passed. I wanted to take you through what's going on in the life of Saucy right now. This isn't your typical "summation of practices" type entry. This is about the wall our team hit last week. A few others have noticed it (via our convos after practices), and I wanted to think about it and give you all some word on our progress (in one big entry, rather than a few small ones)

Sunday Recap
Saucy is 4 weeks out until our first outdoor tournament. Last week after practice, I was reflecting on the direction we are going in. We kind of hit this "focus" wall. It's that part in the semester where everyone starts getting settled in, getting into routines. Practice becomes part of that routine. Socializing about what everyone is doing becomes part of that routine. Focus, on the other hand, falls out of that routine.

I think that many teams hit this wall too. The part where practices start becoming a little sloppy and energy kind of gets down. The problem is, we don't have a ton of time together before our first tournament. In fact, we have about 2.5 hours of mandatory practice per week (two one-hour-fifteen-minute sessions) or ten total hours left.

I did a little research. Thankfully, most teams operate functional blogs or websites these days. What do top teams in the game do when it comes to practice times. It makes me slightly depressed when I am reminded that, yes, teams on the West Coast are still outdoors. *Sigh* 60 degree weather is tough. The beach must be so cold! These teams get to practice 3-9 hours per week with good facilities. These teams have 1-2 tournaments before we put on out layers and huddle together on the sidelines for warmth at Midwest Throwdown. Then we hit a four week frenzy of non-stop tournaments. So our real work has to be put in now, because, realistically, we have enough time between tournaments to tweak little things in our game...not time to make major changes.

Here in Iowa (like many other places), we still have snow. But we are fortunate to have some really nice practice facilities. Seeing as how I have nothing else to do (sarcasim...as Sheldon would say, "BAZINGA!") I wanted to remind my teammates that regardless of the foot of snow we have, regardless of being indoors, regardless of not being one of those well-established teams, that we need to keep focused. If our team goal is to make it to nationals, we need to start holding ourselves accountable to the progress goals we set at our team goal meeting. The best way to do that is to stay focused at practice and utilize the limited time and resources we are faced with. (God, I am talking about scarcity...I sound like such a bright budding economist!) Let's see how the week pans out.

Tuesday Night
Timko just left my apartment. We were diagramming stuff and talking about life. Okay, enough about me. What about Saucy?

Well, I fear that what I wanted to be an inspirational e-mail to encourage people to focus and keep energy up, has scared the bejeezus out of my teammates. I didn't mean to put pressure on anyone. I just want them to remember the process goals we set. It's difficult to work on team chemistry, or "Beasting Everything" when we aren't trying super duper hard. That was the problem before. Now the problem is everyone trying too hard. There's gotta be a balance.

I think that now everyone is over sensitive of our goals. Let's hope for something a little more relaxed on Thursday,

Thursday Night Reflections (on Friday morning over breakfast...)
Last night, we got it right. That was significantly the most satisfying practice I have ever been part of. Mikey kept the tempo fast. We focused on offensive looks and execution. At first, offensively we looked good, but were struggling to just put it in the endzone in one possession. Every turn we had, we came back and started again. No breaks, no discussion. Just bring it back and go at it again. So basic, but it really got people to value the disc.

We set up scenario scrimmaging. Both teams were connecting. If one team turned it over, the other team put it in in one possession. There was rarely more than one turn per point. Intensity was up. People were connecting. It was exciting.

The focus is back. Mission accomplished.

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