Happy New Year!

Better late than never right?
I want take a few minutes to update you all on my life, review the past year, and inform you about what’s to come as we enter into the next club season.

This year has encompassed huge disappointment, major frustration, and life altering awesomeness.

First…

Disappointment and Frustration

If I had known that I would be cut from the team I was trying out for, there is no way I would have started this blog last November.  The whole point of the blog was to document the training of an elite club player.  While I consider myself worthy of that label, at the beginning of last year I was expecting to have a spot on a roster to back up this claim.

In the span of a few weeks of spring I went from thinking I had an assured spot on a team in contention to go to nationals, to having to try out for a team that was quite a bit better, to suddenly having no team at all.  I remember waking up the morning of Scandal tryouts, looking up at the ceiling, and wishing I were faster.  Though more speed always helps, it was really my mental game that prevented me from succeeding.  All season I had to live with the knowledge that I had sabotaged myself by my lack of confidence when it really counted.

Being a practice player for a team you think you should be on is difficult.  Watching them go to tournaments without me would produce feelings of jealous rage.  It was not fun realizing I was capable of having these feeling months after tryouts.  Still, I successfully soldiered on despite these occasional feelings.  I was a dedicated practice player who genuinely loved everyone on the team and want them to do well.  Though I was frustrated and even a bit embarrassed about not making Scandal, I was able to deal with the situation like a grown up in a way that I would not have been able to in my twenties.  I found a different type of mental toughness through this experience that I didn’t know I had.

The remainder of the season was spent trying to make the best of it.  I kept up with my training fairly well.  I forgave myself for an understandable lack of focus on some days.  I found the heart to train with my best efforts in the three weeks leading up to regionals despite having to work around an injury.  I finished out the season having a good run with the coed team, Renegade.  We lost in the game to go to the game to go on universe point.

Thankfully there was also…

The Awesomeness

As often happens in life, much of the awesomeness would not be possible without the frustration.

Not going to nationals as a player meant I WAS able to go with Skyd Magazine.  I did my best to be an impartial commentator, but the highlight of the long weekend was being able to watch Scandal rally in an epic come from behind victories against Molly Brown on day one and their attempt at repeating this strategy against Phoenix in the quarters.

Despite a bought with food poisoning during the weekend, hanging out with the Skyd crew was a blast.  They were my team for the weekend.  It was really eye opening to be a part of what happens off the field at the USAU Club Championships.  Vendors, observers, USAU representatives, sponsors, commentators, organizers, and so many groups of people all have a part in making the USAU championships a premier sporting event.  Assuming I’ll get to nationals as a player again, I’ll have a much greater appreciation for the craziness that occurs behind the scenes to allow players to focus on playing and to give spectators as much ultimate coverage as they can absorb.

We were pleased to have a brief visit from Kevin Minderhout and the NexGen crew at the Skyd house.  Talking with other entrepreneurs who are taking risks, finding ways to serve the ultimate community, and satisfying their passions is always invigorating.  Kevin and his plans especially come off as equal parts madness and genius.  This is likely why what he’s doing is working so well.  This conversation, though brief, was good for me as in September I had begun several projects, the outcome of which were far from certain.

Reflecting on the year and what I had accomplished with Ultimate Results, I realized that I had produced a ridiculous amount of online content.  I felt I was being successful in shifting the conversation about how players could train more effectively for the game we love.  However, I had not produced anything organized or with permanence in mind.  Players needed a better framework to understand the concepts I’d been writing about.  I needed, quite frankly, to follow through on the promises of my business.  Ultimate Results was conceived in order to provide players and coaches with products and services to enable them to elevate their game.  And I had not truly produced anything or led any clinics in quite some time.

So in September I decided on three goals:

  1. Finish the e-book that I’d been thinking about/working on
  2. Test the viability of a membership site for ultimate training
  3. Get off the Internet to work with more athletes in person

The first one wasn’t easy but at least I understood how to do it.  Writing, no problem.

The second and third goals I wasn’t as sure about.  Did the ultimate community really want a an online training community?  How would I build it?  Could I write programs that really make sense for ultimate and were easy enough to follow without in person coaching?

In an attempt to get out of teaching Chemistry and start working with more athletes, I applied for a job with Power Train Sports Institute.  Having trained with them two years prior, I knew they respected me as an athlete despite playing a sport they’d never heard of.  Their support of my ultimate endeavors continues as they are now partnering with me in writing the programs for The Ultimate Athlete Project.  Instead of hiring me as just another performance coach, I am now their director of brand outreach where part of my responsibilities include blogging about our athletes and training principles on our Power Train Sports Institute blog.

As an added bonus, I’m now free to travel and teach more ultimate players.  I’ve scheduled my first international clinic in Ireland and will be staying for the Siege of Limerick.  The two day clinic will enable me to have an in-depth experience with the coaches attending.  Those attending will not only learn many of the basic principles of strength and conditioning, but also they will be able to pass the knowledge on and use it with their teams.

I could not be more happy about how The Ultimate Athlete Project, my e-book, and my first international clinic are coming together.  If you want more details, I discussed all of these things with Skyd Magazine in a SkydCast just a few weeks ago.

What’s Next?

I now find myself in an environment of great coaches and amazing athletes.  Despite my depth of knowledge in the field of strength and conditioning,  there is always more to learn.  At Power Train, I’m able to see how all of the concepts I’ve been writing about and practicing on myself and others translate in application to elite level athletes on a daily basis.  I’m looking forward to continuing to learn how the Power Train system works.  I’ll be training athletes while also continuing to write about strength and conditioning concepts and our athletes on the Power Train Sports Institute blog.  For me, there could not be a more ideal mix of responsibilities.

I’ll likely be making cameo appearances on the blog talking about my own training.  I am thrilled to be able to have this platform to expose so many athletes and coaches to our sport.  (btw, you can do myself and ultimate a favor by subscribing to the blog and liking the new Power Train page on Facebook!)

I’m happy that I successfully complete my goal of documenting my training experience for the past year here on Melissa’s Ultimate Fitness.  Blogging has enabled me to meet many amazing people and has opened up all of the great opportunities I’ve had over the past year.  I will continue to update you on my training and progress this year.  However, my contributions will be less frequent.  As I have found over this past year, there are only so many words I can produce in a day.

I am honored when you spend your valuable time reading what I have to say.  I will continue to make sure that everything I produce here is substantive, applicable, or at the very least somewhat entertaining.

I will also maintain my commitment to honestly sharing my struggles and victories on and off the field.  An athlete is a whole person, not simply a collection of muscle fibers and neurons.  The frustration, plateaus, exhilaration, tears, and breakthroughs are all part of the athletic experience that needs to be examined and understood to take control of one’s full athletic potential.

These past few months have been surreal.  I’m thrilled about how all of my projects have come together.  But having these three big projects done, doesn’t mean that I’m finished!  More exciting plans are already in the works.  Stay tuned…

Want to be More Athletic?
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