28 Things To Do During The College Winter Offseason

Don't just sit at home and eat holiday cookies.

The winning UMass players after their field day.
The winning UMass players after their field day.
Our fall college season is coming to an end, with only one one-day tournament left and no more time (or light) for weekday practices. Yesterday we held a Field Day, with competitions in Spikeball, Goaltimate, DDC, MTA, and mini. We are taking a hiatus of sorts but that does not mean we are shutting down. We still have plenty to do.

Whatever kind of college team you coach or play on, take a look at the list below. Some suggestions may be part of your team culture already; some may seem ridiculous; some may help you have more success in Spring 2015. Because in spite of the snowstorm coming our way, in spite of the freezing temperatures, be assured that the spring season will be here before you know it!

1. Do your schoolwork.

2. Take the results of the fall season very lightly, particularly if your team played well. All teams will improve in the spring. Fall results mean nothing and believing otherwise is one of the easiest traps to fall into.

3. Arrange your spring schedule so you can make most, if not all, practices.

4. Make arrangements for indoor practices, lifting, and training. Get strong. Make everyone accountable for attending.

5. Find out who the adult is at your school that can help your team in any way. Maybe they can get you more money, have vans for your team, or otherwise ease you down the road of bureaucracy. Kiss up.

6. If you are running a spring tournament, do not procrastinate, particularly if your team is hosting and competing. Many details can be ironed out months ahead of time. Delegate well.

7. Apply to tournaments. Respond to tournament directors in a timely manner.

8. That team that cancels at the last minute or forfeits during a tournament? Don’t be that team.

9. Take an active role in healing whatever ails your body. Some injuries heal by themselves, but if you are consistently injuring the same body part, you must be proactive in your recovery.

10. Order uniforms.

11. Make travel arrangements.

12. Hang out with the team.

13. Take a break from your team.

14. Find out all of the important deadlines from USAU and then enter them in your calendar as a week earlier.

15. Find out where your university’s Registrar office is.

16. Have everyone become a USAU member.

17. Buy Ultiworld’s team video package (shameless plug alert).

18. Play other sports. Join intramurals. Show up regularly at pick-up basketball. Use the other side of your body.

19. Coaches and captains: have mid-season interviews with your players. Ask a few questions about the team and themselves, but mainly listen.

20. Recruit high school players.

21. Improve your means of team communication. There are too many online options these days, so just choose one portal and stick with it.

22. Improve your relationship with other ultimate teams at your school or in your area.

23. Be aware of high-stress study times during the winter and plan some events to support and distract.

24. Develop a mission statement for your team. This should include a few outcome goals and actionable language, so everyone knows what is expected and can do it.

25. On the first warmish winter days, go out and throw with a teammate, even if you have to stand in snow. That’s what northern teams do.

26. Read a book on sports psychology. Try Toughness by Jay Bilas or Relentless by Tim Grover.

27. Forget about the results from the fall season.

28. Do your schoolwork.

  1. Tiina Booth

    Tiina is an Ultiworld columnist. She retired from teaching English at Amherst Regional High School 4 years ago and retired from coaching their varsity boys team this past September. She still runs the National Ultimate Training Camp and offers clinics on coaching, training and sports psychology to teams of all levels. She is a co-author of Essential Ultimate and one of the founders of the Ultimate Coaches and Players Conference. She will be coaching the UMass men's team for the 2014-15 season.

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