2018 WUCCout Guide #2: Pods

Be sure to check out 2018 WUCCout Guide #1: Gym for a inspirational list of top gym workouts.

Most WUCC teams are only able to train once or twice a week, in some instances only sporadic weekend camps if the team (like Ellipsis) is spread across the country. Pods, an origin-unknown Ultimate term for group workouts, are a great way to focus on specific skills (like throwing, agility, catching, technical defence etc) that you might not want to spend precious team time developing.

So get your Pod crew out this weekend and give one of these babies a whirl!

Thomas Deller - Melbourne Heads of State

Workout Ethos: "Go Hard or Go Home. If I’m up for a sesh, I’m there to smash it. If I am a bit tired or sore, I’ll call it a recovery day and do some light cardio and stretching/rolling etc. and hit it tomorrow."

“Training is like a fighting with a Gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired, you stop when the Gorilla is tired” - Greg Henderson

Warm Up: run to a nearby park then do some simple Plyo exercises, glute activations etc. to make sure I’m firing and ready to charge

Sometimes the simplest sprint sets are best. This one from Brendo is a cracker:

6x 6x 60m sprints with 30sec rest between reps, 7 min rest between sets

Really focussing on technique for the acceleration phase, trying to drive into the ground as fast and forcefully as possible.

If I’m training with someone (usually have the #thebetterDeller around to train with) I’ll throw during the 7 min breaks, always trying to focus on my weaker throws. Everyone loves to just practice the throw they’re good at (I have 100% done hour long sessions with a mate only throwing 50m hammers to determine who is the true overhead king) but practicing your weakest throws is the ticket to improving. For me recently this has been high-release flicks and practicing pivoting faster to get out inside flicks rather than just relying on my length to step around marks.

After running if it’s not a gym day I’ll do some bodyweight exercises as finisher. This one starts off pretty manageable but after a few sets it’s hard yakka.

  • 5x pull ups

  • 10x Push ups

  • 20x Squats

  • 1 min Plank

  • Repeat x 10

Each set I vary exercises slightly by changing grip or body position (pike pushups, pistol squats, mountain climber planks etc.) to hit muscles from all angles.

Alternatively, I’ll do more running as finisher (I love to run FYI).

Depending on what phase of training I am in, I always love to run a 1km TT at the end of a sprint set to really let my legs know who’s boss.

Sarah Brereton - Perth Kaos

Workout Ethos:

  • Do things that help you to enjoy your training. I want to love the training portion of the campaign, as much as the tournament! For me that means gym music that gets me motivated, heading outdoors to new running routes, and training with teammates/friends as much as possible

  • Focus on the 1% gains, and don’t forget to celebrate them!

  • Share your goals, gains and struggles with a training buddy

I find pressured decision-making difficult to train and it seems to be the undoing of some otherwise incredible athletes, so I've been on the look-out for new ideas. Then I came across this article https://www.redbull.com/au-en/nam-baldwin-training and it left an impression. I tweaked some of our Kaos agility work to include the combination of mental and physical tasks. I loved the chaotic atmosphere it created! By introducing the mental tasks, I had to sift between the cognitive and physical demands to think clearly and perform at my usual physical standard. The added benefit was that I easily completed the same number of reps without feeling much fatigue.

Agility ladder

Objective: perform cognitive and physical tasks simultaneously

Working in a pair, 1 person on the ladder and the other asking quiz style general knowledge questions and/or feeding the disc for short, randomly spaced passes. 10 ladder reps each, swap worker between each rep.

  • 2 x 2-step

  • 2 x Ickey shuffle

  • 2 x Centipede (2 steps in, 2 over, 2 out)

  • 2 x Forward Carioca

  • 2 x Backward Carioca

Mirror squares

Objective: Perform physical task while interpreting visual information (partner’s current movement) and making predictions (what they will do next based on the visual information)

  • Set up 6 cones to form 2 adjoining 5mx5m squares

  • Designate 1 person as O and the other as D, facing each other - O will initiate movements and D will mirror.

  • O can move between any of their 4 cones, in any order by running forwards, backpedalling, or side shuffling.

  • Start with 20 secs on, 20 secs rest for 6 reps total, so that both players have 3 x offence and 3 x defence

Lateral squares

Same set up as above but you are now picturing your 2 squares as next to each other not facing each other. The O square will now be in the D’s peripheral vision rather than right in front of them. O and D should start and remain facing the same way (not facing each other).

Jodie Palmer - Melbourne Ellipsis

Workout Ethos: "Honestly, that video of Shia LaBeouf yelling “just do it” is the closest thing to my workout ethos. I think I have been blessed (or cursed) with an extreme drive to work hard."

Coach Steve has been writing up our skills pods for Ellipsis this season and they are super fun and challenging. My favourite thing about them is he writes it so it’s possible to do it with only one other person. Playing Frisbee in Perth (and previously Adelaide) means I often don’t have the luxury of 6 person pods like other cities do, so it’s really valuable to have drills I can do with just one other person.

Another thing I love is Steve writes the drills with time targets rather than number of throws targets. Time targets allow you to put a lot of focus into improving and challenging yourself, rather than trying to just get through reps as quickly as possible.

1. 5 minutes: two disc catch and release

Partner throwing with 2 discs, focusing on releasing the disc quickly after catching. Once we’re comfortable with a drill we like to think of ways to make it more challenging. If it’s windy we rotate in a circle to practice against all wind directions. There have also been talks of 3 disc catch and release…

2. 10 minutes: aggressive catching – under cuts

Start 10-15m away from your partner. Cut out, turn hard, and come underneath. The thrower will throw on your turn. Your focus is on being explosive out of that turn, and hitting the disc as hard as you can. Remember to practice turning in both directions. Once we’re comfortable with this we like to have the throws be a little off target – either a bit too high or wide, to make it more challenging for the receiver.

3. 5 minutes: throwing through the mark – backhands

Your mark positions to take away your backhand, you do your best to get the throw out. Kyal Oh was marking me on the weekend while we were doing this drill and he put on some really extreme marks, ones where in a game situation I almost definitely wouldn’t throw a backhand, but he told me that if we train in situations that are way harder than what we’ll come up against in a game, then nothing in a game will be too hard for us. I like that.

4. 10 minutes: aggressive catching – away cuts

Start 5-10m from your partner. Make a straight cut out. The thrower will throw a disc high and out in front of you. Your focus is on being at full speed before the throw goes up, and then catching the disc at the highest point. Remember to practice catching discs on either side, with either hand, and jumping off either foot. In this one we challenged ourselves by trying to go up too early. You won’t be able to hone in on your perfect jump timing if you’re always jumping conservatively.

5. 5 minutes: throwing through the mark – forehands

Same as drill 3 but with forehands instead of backhands.

6. 5 minutes: Throw and go – alternating backhand and forehand

Throwing with your partner, but practicing using your pivot as the first step in running downfield. If you have a group of 3, put a mark on too.

7. 10 minutes: Overheads

The receiver starts running in any direction, and the thrower throws an overhead to them (hammer, scoober, lefty scoober). The thrower’s aim is to throw as early as they can and to have the receiver running onto the disc. This season we have all been learning how to throw lefty scoobers. At the start we were a bit sceptical about their value, but we’ve found them to be an extremely useful throw. You can’t get that throw shape with anything else.

8. 5 minutes: layout practice

We always finish every pod with a bit of layout practice. At the start of this season I had laid out only a handful of times in my life. Eventually I realised that if I wanted to be an elite player, it was no longer acceptable for me to not lay out, and I needed to practice it like I practice any other skill. The first session I started on my knees, just falling forward and catching a disc that someone held for me. Now I am practicing bidding on inside breaks. I’ve made a huge amount of improvement in just a few months so if any of you reading this are like I used to be and think that laying out is just something you can’t do, you can do it. I promise you, you can. Just start really small, practice regularly, and celebrate any bids, whether they’re successful or not.

Mark Evans - Sydney Colony

Workout Ethos: "Make it fun and make it sustainable. Quality over quantity, if something is worth doing, it's worth doing well."

At Colony we've found value in focusing on technique and footwork in our pods this season, especially defensive movement.

Time: 1.5-2 hrs

How many: ideally around 4-6 people (or more!)

Focus: Agility and defensive footwork

Warm up

  • Lap of the field

  • Dynamic stretches

Ladders - "The Lado special"

  • Icky shuffle building speed

  • Cross over in front

  • Cross over behind

  • Icky shuffle building speed backwards

  • Cross over in front backwards

  • Cross over behind backwards

  • Repeat


  • 3 x 60m sprint with 10m lead in jog

Defensive footwork

  • 30m shadow step - defender maintains close buffer to offensive player moving at 80%, mimicking their turns. Like this, but without a basketball. Focus on staying low and tight during the turns, weight evenly distributed

  • Bzzzt Drill - a personal favourite of mine. Four cones are laid out in a line like this if you imagine the accents are cones [ ^ 30cm ^ 10m ^ 1m ^ ]. Defensive player and offensive player start in the middle. The offensive player has to touch the outside cone before the defender touches the inside. Given the spacing the defensive player must prioritise the end with shorter distance between the cone. This drill rewards non-commitment of hips by the defence and is a great one for aspiring elite dump defenders

1 v 1

  • 40x15m cutting lane - pure and simple, 1v1 in a space similar to a cutting lane either side of a vertical stack. Defender stops the offensive player getting it under or deep. Needs a thrower and a marker forcing sideline

  • Half Endzone - divide an endzone in two and play man defence in a small space. Same deal with thrower and marker


Get some reps with the disc in 3v3 or 4v4 mini. We tend to make it stall 7, with active subbing and the goal scorer drops the disc to give the opposing team a shot (which just saves time on the pull reset). If you've got odd numbers, try 3 (D) v 2 (O) and just have a 60s cap on each game, with the win going to either score, or if tied, whoever holds the disc when the buzzer goes. Offense doesn't really need to score, just maintain possession and it's a challenging mental mix up.

Huck Kill Drill

I like to finish with something that really drains the tank and this does just that, while also challenging the throwers to execute while tired.

  • Set up a small field around 40m long with endzone.

  • Two throwers stand in each endzone and a runner stands in the middle

  • The throwers feed 5 consecutive hucks to the runner, who dishes each pass off to the thrower, then takes off again.

  • Rotation is runner -> thrower - > thrower -> runner etc etc

  • Prosper