As a high level player and NCSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Melissa is on a mission to improve the sport of ultimate by giving players the tools they need to train like the serious athletes they are. In addition to writing The Ultimate Athlete Handbook and starting The Ultimate Athlete Project, Melissa gives ultimate fitness clinics internationally. Gain access to many more of Melissa’s articles and videos by signing up for her email list at 25UltimateTips.com.
Every sport has unique movement demands. In ultimate, what separates us from other sports is the high frequency of very sharp cutting angles and lateral movement.
Here are three drills that will help you work on the footwork and movement patterns to change direction more rapidly.
In order to push the body in any direction, the feet must be outside the center of mass. To change direction laterally or at a sharp angle, your body ends up in what we call the hockey stop position. This hockey stop position places the outside leg far outside of the center of mass and allows the center of mass to get low while you decelerate and accelerate in the opposite direction.
The center of mass remains closer to the inside leg. The outside leg absorbs a lot of lateral force and should be bent at a 10-20 degree angle.
Explanation of the Hockey Stop Position
Drill 1 – Crossover Hockey Stop
This drill works on getting comfortable in the position with a bit of lateral momentum.
Drill 2 – Short Slalom
The short slalom drill challenges you to get lower than is comfortable and helps you get your feet far out of your center of mass. You’ll know you’re doing this drill correctly if you occasionally feel off balance or sometimes even hit the dirt. You’re trying to push the edge of your comfort zone and that means failing every now and then.
Drill 3 – 5-10 Drill
This drill helps to brings awareness to your hips. On defense you want to keep your hips open toward the person you’re covering as much as possible. On offense, keeping your hips open on short cuts will help you to fake and cut more quickly.