Goal Setting: Map Your Journey For Ultimate Success

This article aims to highlight some of my personal takeaways from my personal journey over the years as I developed into an Ultimate player and coach. Below are some ways I approached my Ultimate Frisbee goals. Sign up for Excel Premium and get started chasing your goals today.

-Rowan McDonnell


Goal Setting


A famous historian once said: “A person without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.”  Goals prevent us from getting lost along the journey because they provide structure, clarity, motivation, and purpose.  They allow us to focus our acquisition of knowledge on specific, measurable objectives so we can reach our destination.  Whether your goal is to make a certain team or to develop a certain skill, establishing that objective in the first place is important so you can then plan what you need to do in order to get there.


Clear Vision


Ultimate Frisbee goal setting helps to create a clear vision.  The more specific your vision is, the easier it becomes to plan what you need to do to accomplish it. I recommend replacing goals such as ‘become a great thrower’ with ‘huck 50 yards on my forehand and backhand’, or ‘break the mark consistently in real games’. Now that the vision is clear, you can literally see it materialize. Your throws might get to 40, 45 then 50 yards. And you might start breaking the mark in practice, then scrimmages, then games.  


Self Assessment


Self assessment is a critical tool that can help dictate the framework for your Ultimate career. In last month’s email, our video challenged everyone to write down 3 things you want to improve as a player, as well as your 3 best Ultimate skills. This exercise is a great way to see where you stand. It can also help to ask a teammate, coach or someone that knows your playing ability so you can get an objective assessment. 


Executing the Plan


The Covid-19 pandemic gives us all a chance to take a step back and evaluate where we are and where we want to go in Ultimate. However, it does offer challenges when we talk about executing the plan. While everyone currently has a different level of access to training, there are certain Ultimate drills and fitness activities that most people can still perform without much equipment or field access.  


Improving Your Craft


How many times have we just been throwing with a friend or teammate and let the time pass absentmindedly?

Trust me, sometimes those sessions are incredibly valuable, and it’s hard to be disciplined all the time. But if you want to continue to progress as a player, you have to use as many opportunities as you can to improve your craft. Yesterday, as I was throwing in my front yard, I spent 15 minutes working on using a little more disc movement in my shimmy. When I finished, I I felt like I had really made some improvements, even in that short time. Imagine how many times you’ve tossed a disc. If you bring a focus and intention to your Ultimate sessions, you will see the improvements pile up.

Creativity and problem solving give life to learning a new skill. It’s a challenge, almost like a game is to try to master something that has been giving you trouble. For me it was my forehand! It would consistently turn over, no matter how intentional I was. I tried everything, and I mean everything. Eventually it finally clicked. Being creative shows you what can work and what doesn’t work. Take handler defense for instance. Did you know that some players are playing handler defense without looking at their match-up, and just looking at the disc? These ideas and flashes of creativity are changing not only one’s skills and abilities, but the sport itself.


Hitting a Wall


In our ‘Ultimate Framework’ video we talked about a ‘plateau’. A plateau is when you are learning a new skill or sport, and you can’t seem to progress or improve anymore. It’s ok. It happens to everyone. Sometimes the stress of hitting a wall or plateauing can hurt us more than anything. The two methods that I’ve had success with when this occurs are talking with someone who is more proficient than I am and also making sure I am working on something else. Talking with someone who is really good at the skill you seek to improve  can not only give you a different perspective, but sometimes they can diagnose and fix a problem that you might be having. 


Starting Your Journey


When I was starting out my Ultimate journey, the landscape of virtual ultimate training content was much different.  I could never really find the kind of online content that provided the guidance and direction I needed at the time. At Excel Ultimate, we want to be your go-to tool when it comes to learning the sport. We take pride in planning, creating, and delivering content that is geared towards advancing your progression.  

We really appreciate everyone who has come over to our website, and looking forward to not only teaching you Ultimate, but interacting, learning, and growing with you along the way.

Rowan McDonnell

Excel Ultimate

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