Preparing for Tryouts (2/2): Finding and Filling a Role

This second post is part of a two-part series about preparing for tryouts.

This second part stemmed from a conversation I had with my fellow captains, Brandi and Jake, on how our roles evolved over the course of the season last year on Mishigami and hopefully it will help you on your way through your ultimate season this summer.

As you prepare for tryouts, it can be a little overwhelming to improve every aspect of your game in a few short weeks. We all have this idea of what we want our role to be on the team, but when it really comes down to assessing our individual strengths and weaknesses in the context of the strengths and weaknesses of the rest of the team, our roles will likely morph into something different than we expect.

For my entire ultimate career before last season, I was a defensive handler, quick and sneaky. Prior to and during last season, I was running 15-20 miles per week with very little sprint training. As a result, I found my groove as a cutter rather than a handler and absolutely loved it.

Tryouts are all about showcasing your strengths and reducing the chances your weakness have to affect your game. In order to do so, it helps to take some time to really assess where you are as a player:

  • Where do you stand both physically (conditioning) and mentally (knowledge of the game)?
  • What are my weaknesses? What are my strengths?
  • What can I do to reduce the occurrence of my weaknesses?
  • What can I do to highlight my strengths?

As an assessment of myself based on the above questions: My biggest weakness right now are my long throws and my hops, and I believe my strengths are my knowledge of the game I have gained from coaching and my deceleration. To highlight my strengths, and reduce the chance of my weaknesses popping up, I would like to focus on transitioning back to a D-line handler this year so I am not counted on to make the bomb deep throws as often, and so I can leverage my knowledge of the game for defensive breaks.

In order to improve on my weaknesses, I am throwing every day and focusing on my body mechanics when I try to huck, and I am incorporating explosive movements (starting at body weight, followed by some added weight) into my lower and upper body workouts. To exemplify my strengths, I am watching a lot of ultimate and adding some deceleration specific drills to my warm-ups and my workouts.

Whatever it is that you need to work on, make sure to keep your workouts focused. If you see yourself as a cutter, 200-m repeats on a track are great to incorporate into your workout. Handlers, incorporate some 10-m accelerations and 40-m sprints into your workout.

Finally, on the note of filling whatever role you find yourself in this year, Alex Rummelhart wrote a nice article for Ultiworld last year entitled, “25 Tips for Being a Clutch Role Player” that addresses many of the things I’ve written above and more: give it a read if you get a chance.

If there is something you would like to work on but don’t know how, or if you’d just like to chat about what your potential role on the team could be, feel free to leave a comment below.

See you on the field,


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