Tuesday Tips: 35 Little Things To Do Every Day To Improve Your Game

Make a few of these your resolutions for the new year.

Photo: Kevin Leclaire -- UltiPhotos.com
Photo: Kevin Leclaire — UltiPhotos.com

As ultimate players enter a new year, many seek to instill new habits, remembering one key idea that drives their effort: every little advantage matters.

Even the very best players are constantly seeking an edge on their opponents, which can be extremely hard to find in the difficult and busy lives most people lead (unfortunately not entirely devoted to ultimate).

Especially relevant during the winter months of the new year, there is always an opportunity to set new goals and new patterns of behavior. Even small changes to your lifestyle, routine, or focus can reap big benefits come spring.

Here are 35 little things you can do every day to improve your game. From health tips to small game details, doing these little things will make you a better player.

1. Wake up without a snooze

Snoozing leads to sleep inertia — bad for your brain and your body. Do your best to train your body to naturally prepare to wake up at your set time every day (or fully sleep in past that).

2. Eat a healthy breakfast

It’s the most important meal of the day. Eat something, protein if you can, even if it is small. ‘Nuff said.

3. Take vitamins

Multivitamins are powerful tools, as are (used sparingly) pills like Vitamin E supplements.

4. Strengthen your fingers while getting ready

Do simple finger exercises when using mouthwash, getting dressed, or showering to improve your grip and finger release. Try to use your left hand more often than your right for every day tasks like combing your hair and brushing your teeth to make yourself more ambidextrous.

5. Carry a disc on your morning commute

Walking to the train, bus, or even your car, keep a disc in your hand during your transition times to get your hands locked into your grips.

6. Throw three fakes before work

Walking down the street with others, see if you can get a random passerby to flinch at your fake. If they don’t blink or flinch, the fakes aren’t good.

7. Work on muscle memory

Train your hands to have muscle memory by changing grips while walking or sitting. Practice switching from backhand to forehand with only your dominant throwing hand quickly and smoothly.

8. Work on brain memory

Train your brain’s memory by visualizing a small, but important detail of your game on your way to work.

9. Stretch before you sit

For those with long commutes, especially important. Get all the major muscles even if it is only for a few seconds. Releases tension and stops cramps.

10. Arrive early

Good for all aspects of your life and gives you a chance to check ultimate-related Twitter.

11. Flex ankles and tendons while sitting

When you arrive at work or school and sit, work on ankle and tendon flexibility (something rarely thought about) and strength by rotating your ankles, and stretching and flexing your feet and lower leg muscles.

12. Hydrate

Most people don’t drink enough water. Try to get a Nalgene-full down before 9 AM. It’s good for you in so many ways.

13. Double squats to the toilet

Do three air squats before you use the bathroom. Focus on poise, balance, and control.

14. Single leg squats at the sink

When washing your hands, do two single-leg squats each leg for balance, symmetry, and power.

15. Hand strengthening ball at seat

Keep a tennis ball or hand-strengthening ball in your desk or bag. Unobtrusive, easy to use, and when you’re not typing it can give you a stronger grip which aids in catching and throwing.

16. Have a healthy snack handy

Another essential thing to keep in your bag or at your desk; vegetables are great here, or some kind of high fiber snack.

17. Doodle wisely

In the downtime or free moments of your break, don’t doodle or space out, but write notes about ultimate in the margins. Rate yourself in various aspects of the game. Set goals for your week to improve.

18. Stand and walk as often as you can

Between classes, meetings, and at work, try to move around to keep your blood flowing and avoid sitting disease.

19. Daydream wisely

Just as with your doodles, keep ultimate on the brain. Imagine yourself playing in a headliner ultimate game, picture yourself throwing perfect passes, relive some of your best ultimate d’s, or more.

20. Eat a lunch with protein.

Most of us skip the protein at lunch and go for something carb heavy at the cafeteria. Pack a salad with chicken in it and you’ll find yourself far more productive and far less hungry in the afternoon.

21. Use the last ten minutes of your lunch break to toss

Rather than sit and chat, get a coworker or peer to move and chat. Even short toss in the hallway can keep your hands active and practice form. Improve those reflexes by catching wobbly short passes without spin from novice co-workers.

22. Try to load up your work in the early afternoon and work out before dinner

Exercising right after work or school in the early evening can ensure your best energy (and consistency) while allowing your dinner to be the meal that feeds the body and replenishes your energy. Vary your schedule, but try to get a quality workout in at least five times a week.

23. Read Tuesday Tips

Or listen to an ultimate podcast on your way home.

24. Cook and eat well

Cooking is a useful skill that also happens to be cheaper and healthier for you than eating out; plus, it makes you more likeable. Have groceries ready (shop on the weekends) so you can cook and eat a healthy meal when you’re done working out. Avoid snacking later in the evening.

25. Everything is better in moderation

Whether it’s that favorite treat, alcohol, caffeine, or just binge-watching Netflix, avoid over-doing it on any indulgence.

26. Get the homework done early

Use the energy surge from your dinner to knock your work out so you can relax and have fun the rest of the night.

27. Do 25 sit-ups and 25 pushups in between your homework breaks

Do this daily and your core strength will greatly help your game. If you have a couch, toss a few hard flicks into the cushions when you finish.

28. Play with a disc while you relax

Whether watching movies, studying, or even better, studying game film, spin the disc, toss it to yourself, or switch grips back and forth between backhand and forehand. Get it so that your hands feel absolutely comfortable no matter where they are on the disc.

29. Think strategically

When reading articles online, watching highlight videos, or doing anything “ultimate” fun related, try to put yourself in a game situation. Just don’t look for what’s cool, but think about how you will apply what you see or what you would have done.

30. Take a break

Give yourself a least an hour away from ultimate thoughts or content. Even better, give yourself an hour away from the computer to talk to friends or read a book to relax.

31. Carry your list and post it

Make a list of goals or things you want to improve. Carry it with you and post it wherever you are so that you can see it as a reminder. Especially great to have on the wall behind your TV, at your desk, or on the ceiling above your room.

32. Think positively

Thinking about something positively, believing you can achieve it, builds positive feeling in the body, positive personal resources, and likely goal-achievement.

33. Wind down actively

People just assume they can put their body into slow motion or sleep at a moment’s notice. Slow down your body and brain by doing deep, relaxing breathing, perhaps yoga, meditation, or prayer, or just let yourself sit in the quiet for a few minutes stretching.

34. “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

-Ben Franklin

Outside of eating and hydrating, sleep is the most important thing for you body and research shows that sleep extension can greatly increase athletic performance. Most of us can’t find time to nap during the day, but we can avoid that unnecessary late night rerun. There’s no shame in hitting the sack before 10PM.

35. Pick your sleeping position and practice it

Try to find one comfortable position, stick with it, let your body relax and hold that position in the dark. Practice sleeping, it’s one of the most fun things to practice. Hold your position, breathe regularly, think about sleep. You’ve had a busy day…you’ll drift right off. Ready to do it again tomorrow.

  1. Alex Rummelhart
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    Alex "UBER" Rummelhart is an Ultiworld reporter. He majored in English at the University of Iowa, where he played and captained IHUC. He lives and teaches in Chicago, Illinois, and has played for Haymaker, Chicago Club, and Machine. He currently plays for Chicago Wildfire. Alex loves writing of all types, especially telling interesting and engaging stories. He is the author of the novel The Ultimate Outsider, one of the first fictional works ever written about ultimate.

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