A few brief notes on what was covered in the first morning session. This was an open seminar with people of all experience levels attending. The material was accessible for all levels- a focus on the basics with some foreshadowing of ‘advanced’ subtleties which were to become themes in the next two sessions. There was lots of individual coaching for the attendees- I’d encourage the folks who were there who read this to use it to remember the specific stuff that came up for them with each exercise.
Some of these notes are documentary- they’re what happened. Some are my interpretations of what was being covered and why. Some parts are where what was covered has led me. If what’s what isn’t obvious- oops. *Insert all necessary disclaimers and self-abasing statements here*.
Single stick 1). Make a forehand hit over the top- simple zoned hits, stepping in. Remember the million hits- find everything between short and long with every piece of footwork. You always have more than the other person if you can train to find these.
2). Orient on the basketball nets in the room and make a forehand, advancing towards them- this brought people’s hands up higher and hits up higher, working on getting body engagement.
3). Lose the stick- orient on the net with a lead shoulder, aiming the shoulder at the net, advancing across the court- then change net being oriented on, keeping lead shoulder as focus. This was an intro to the idea of the narrow triangle and lead shoulder figure 8 explored in later sessions.
I took this idea and have worked with it going to the shoulder plum series- one person makes a plum (double neck tie) on the shoulder with constant pressure, driving in, the other advances with either constant forward circle, constant backward circle, or lead figure 8. From that I’ve been enjoying the three person drill- person with their shoulder in the plum (making fig 8) threads their arm through and the third person holds a focus mitt so they can rip shots into it, driving them with the body.
4). Change the orientation from lead shoulder to mid chest, again practicing changing focus from net to net.
This brings out the wide triangle. Pre-engament a wide triangle opens up your field of fire as much as possible- making it harder to slip around you, once you’re engaged, try to keep the other person trapped in the small box made by the narrow triangle (lead) with the figure 8 of options there (straight, backhand, hook). Drop the rear in when they move into the pocket for it (see afternoon session), don’t let off pressure to land the rear.
5). ‘Throw the bomb’- imagine you have 5lb explosive on a short fuse you have to get over the net with a single throw- use this image to drive body motion
6). Double it up- now you’ve gotta clear the net two times, geting two explosives out of the way quickly – can’t expend everything or overcommit.
7). Focus mitt drills- both people with focus mitts, feeder holds target high, sometimes high enough to force the hitter to jump. Both with focus mitts to bring out the sound- get a sense of escalating impact as people learn to get their weight into things. There was a real focus on going up to drop your weight in here.
8). Shorten it down- hitter no longer has focus mitt
9). Wall drills- step in on the padded back boards using lead arm figure 8 and starting to work from long to short power. Hit lead hand long, lead hand mediuml lead hand short (by now the head is on the wall)
10). Wall drills- same as above, only go from short hit to shoulder hit with same side
11). Head on the wall- short hits, cycling the lead shoulder- intro to the short power hitting covered in more depth in the next two sessions
12). Partner drill- partner feeds out punch, counter with long hit (figure 8 stab idea to counter hit with hit), to medium hit, to shoulder strike on partner
13). Outside- continued the same idea working up the arm, eating space and cutting the hit length down- an intro to the body mechanics brought out by disarms
Thirteen is unlucky so let’s call that a day. If you were there and have stuff to add, chime in.
Very useful and much fun.