As Ultimate players from New England, we all know the drill when it comes to the winter season. You run on indoor tracks, lift weights, throw on basketball courts and dream of the sunny days during which you can actually lace up your cleats and feel the grass. As a college player I think that winter break is one of the biggest challenges that the season holds. After the exhilaration of creating the foundation for the team comes the strange feeling of being detached from your new teammates and your school. While my personal experiences with winter break have always been a little bit frustrating (as is expected), I've never felt a considerable road block when working out alone. This year is going to be a bit more of a challenge for me. During the fall my formerly independent training habits changed, and I found myself gravitating towards my teammates when it came time to hit the gym. Now I am facing a winter season where I'm flying solo for the most part again. This undertaking has led me to consider how winter break shapes the individual.
While there are multiple ways to think about how winter affects us (strength training, injury recovery, etc), I think that the independent perseverance that winter training relies on is hard to ignore. The autonomy that we (ideally) foster during the "pre-season" can pay significant dividends later. As non-varsity college athletes, we all have different schedules and don't have the luxury of meeting up with each other 5 to 6 days a week . Therefore, at least part of our training relies on our own ability to initiate action. Winter is a chance to build this skill. If we, as players, can successfully put in the solo time while not at school, then it will come naturally when we need to function semi-independently in the spring. In past years I have thought about my winter training as a physical preparation for the coming season, but the ability to mentally prepare is becoming more apparent to me this year.
Just a thought that's been in my head as the winter begins. Happy holidays.