Part 4 | Ultimate Leaders: Boston Wildcard's Matt Heath & Hailey Alm
Last week we talked with South Korea Baekho's Minjoon Kim & Hyunju Kim and this week we have reached out to some leaders from Boston Wildcard.
How are you communicating with your team, and what has the message been?
Our internal interest forms for the 2020 season were completed and made public to the team in late February. We also completed our captain and tryout committee elections in early March. We’re telling our team to prepare for whatever this season might be. There’s only so much we can predict, so be ready for whatever sliver of a season we might get. We also have three Snapchat groups for the 2017–2019 rosters, and they’ve been blowing up with memories and fun, self-isolated activities.
How are you staying in shape? Any specific activities/exercises?
This is a great time for injury prevention workouts. Isometric (static) and eccentric (under load while lengthening) muscle activation is particularly good for this purpose.
Drinking birds (single leg deadlift) is a great exercise to focus on balance and form without weights. Make sure your glutes are activating through the entire range of motion and that you keep your hips and shoulders parallel to the floor. You can also hold at the bottom while your body and rear leg are parallel to the floor. Extend your arms overhead to make a parallel, straight line from your wrists to your heel to use more of your back and shoulders. At this point, you can externally rotate from your planted glute to make your hips and shoulders perpendicular to the floor for some extra piriformis activation. With your hips and shoulders parallel to the floor, you can even add in a few degrees of rotation on the yaw axis for an extra balance challenge.
Skater squats are another great exercise that includes more quad activation. To make either of these more difficult, you can stand on a pillow.
Core strength is another great way to prevent injuries. During any core exercise, make sure to pull your belly button through your abdomen to your spine. This will help keep your lower back in the proper position to prevent injury while exercising. One note on planks: Don’t try to plank for as long as you can; it fails to activate your really deep abdominal muscles. Instead, plank as hard as you can. Try to bend the floor in half between your toes and elbows. If your toes can slide on the floor, body saws are a great way to make front planks more dynamic.
Not everyone has weights at home, but we’re improvising with heavy household items. Laundry detergent jugs make pretty good kettle bells and can be held in the goblet position. Your staircase is your friend for calf raises and for running up and down. Calf jumps, as explained by Tim Morrill, are another great exercise you don’t need much space for. The Ultimate Athlete Project is a great resource.
We’ve also been doing some socially distant workouts—sprinting far apart while outside has been a great way to coordinate our motivation.
Are you watching film? Any recommendations?
Highlights from our 2018 WUCC opening game against Grut have been making the rounds in our Snapchat groups.
What kind of message would you send to athletes trying to make the squad this year?
Show us you can be a team player on and off the field. Come out ready to try hard and have fun. Also, practice your break throws.
Anything you want to voice?
This is obviously an incredibly challenging time for everyone, and regardless of one’s social, financial, physical, or mental situation, it is a lot to navigate. This pandemic is also showing us how fragile so many people’s situations are in our community, and it is showcasing many of the inequities we see in the world—who can work from home, who can truly social distance, who can pay for basic necessities, and so much more. There are a lot of unknowns out there, but we are hoping to control what we can by checking in on our teammates and loved ones, social distancing as much as possible, contributing to people or groups who are struggling financially, getting more involved in our communities, etc. Change can’t wait, and changes are happening, but there is much to do. We are hopeful that this time will shed light on and change many of the systems in place that have upheld racism, gender inequities, and profit over people. As for the ultimate community, we know that when the time does come to play again, we will savor it so much more. Please stay safe and socially distanced out there!