huddle banner

Train For The Launch Pad

by Ben Van Heuvelen

More than any other skill in ultimate—besides, maybe, getting layout blocks—dominating in the air has largely to do with raw athleticism, aggressiveness, and instinct. There's really no substitute for being a physical beast. If you're tall and fast, and you have springs for legs, you're going to posterize some poor souls, and in the process you'll develop confidence and intuition that you'll bring into every future matchup. 

So: train. Even if you're not a premium genetic specimen, effective training can bring out the inner beast. You can add a few inches to your vertical and shave a couple tenths off your 40; perhaps more importantly, preparation gives you confidence. I find that if I haven't trained very well, then when a disc goes up, I notice doubts creeping into my mind. I second-guess how high I can jump; I wonder if my guy is faster or stronger than I am; I worry about being skied. But if I'm confident in my training and preparation, then when the long throw goes up, my first thought is, "It's mine!" And that's pretty much the only thought in my head until the disc is (or isn't) in my hand. 

If you are going to be thinking while the disc is in the air, then one useful thing to concentrate on is your "launch pad"—the place you ideally want to be jumping from. The one-on-one contest for a long throw is actually two contests: the first is a race for position, the second a test of who can leap higher. To win the race for position, get your body between your opponent and the launch pad as quickly as possible. Then, ideally, you'll decelerate as you approach the launch pad, while using your body to box out/maintain position until the jump. (You want to put yourself into position to decelerate because you jump highest when you're neither sprinting all-out nor standing still). If you can win this contest for position, then it doesn't matter as much who can jump higher. 

There are two good ways to prepare for this battle of positioning. First, when you're practicing long throws with a friend, try to catch each high pass at the highest point possible. This will help give you confidence in your own assessment of your leaping ability. In other words, you will practice figuring out where your launch pad is. (A common error in deep receiving/defending is that a player focuses on where and when the opponent is jumping, rather than the optimum point for his/her jump). Second, when you're playing games of "500" with a couple of friends of similar height, try playing with "no jumping allowed" rules. This will force you to focus on out-positioning, rather than simply out-jumping, your opponent. 

huddle Issue 4 The Up Call

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Body Mechanics
by Jeff Eastham-Anderson

  Go Get It
by Andrew Fleming

  Changing Defensive Speed
by Greg Husak

  Calculate Quickly Based On The Throw
by Ron Kubalanza

  Get Position Relative To Your Opponent
by Ryan Morgan

A Progression Of Thoughts
by Jonathan Potts

Play The Player First, Then The Dis
by Miranda Roth

Get In Front
by Kirk Savage

Use Your Body As The Cut Starts
by Chris Talarico

Train For The Launch Pad
by Ben van Heuvelen

A Texas Hold'em Analogy
by Ben Wiggins




  • Issues

  • Features

  • Authors

  • About

      huddle issue034   huddle issue033   huddle issue032   huddle issue031   huddle issue030  
      huddle issue029   huddle issue028   huddle issue027   huddle issue026   huddle issue025  
      huddle issue024   huddle issue023   huddle issue022   huddle issue021   huddle issue020  
      huddle issue019   huddle issue018   huddle issue017   huddle issue016   huddle issue015  
      huddle issue014   huddle issue013   huddle issue012   huddle issue011   huddle issue010  
      huddle issue009   huddle issue008   huddle issue007   huddle issue006   huddle issue005  
      huddle issue004   huddle issue003   huddle issue002   huddle issue001      
      huddle feature026   huddle feature025   huddle feature024   huddle feature023   huddle feature022  
      huddle feature021   huddle feature020   huddle feature019   huddle feature018   huddle feature017  
      huddle feature016   huddle feature015   huddle feature014   huddle feature013   huddle feature012  
      huddle feature011   huddle feature010   huddle feature009   huddle feature008   huddle feature007  
      huddle feature006   huddle feature005   huddle feature004   huddle feature003   huddle feature002  
      huddle feature001                  


  • Authors

  • About / Get Involved