on coaching myself

idiot for a coach. idiot for a client.

When you are your own client, you either have an idiot for a coach or a client. Sometimes both.

Let me illustrate with a simple example. I was trying out for the India Ultimate frisbee team, Mixed Masters division. I had taken almost 2 years off from Ultimate because I did not have the time to spend regularly playing. But this was a fun opportunity because I'd get to play with a lot of my friends, whom I had not played on the same team with, in a really long time.

So, when I wrote my training plan for myself, it had

  • I was working on improving my split squats, my pull-ups, my pushups.

  • I was doing kettlebell swings and snatches regularly for my conditioning.

  • I was doing crawls and farmer carries for work-capacity and because they add a lot more than just that.

My training plan involved 5 days of 1 hour a day. Excluding the recovery work that I needed to do.


This was a dumb plan.

I am already pretty strong. I am already reasonably conditioned i.e. I can do 100 kettlebell snatches in 5 minutes, as an example. And yet, my training plan was spending a lot of time at the gym.

I did not realise it until I wrote an email to myself, as a student to a coach. My response, and it mirrored a response I wrote later to someone with similar goals, was

This is not gonna be solved in the weight room. Whether you get into the squad or not is dependent on how well you play Ultimate.

Your fitness levels are reasonable enough that you can easily sustain effort throughout tryouts. So, if this is a serious goal, then as little a dose of strength training and as much Ultimate is the way forward.

My revised training plan was 2-3 days of strength maintenance work, and about 75-100 kettlebell swings a day. And 2-3 days of going to the field, practising my throws and doing frisbee drills.


My gap was not in the weight room. My gap was on the field. I had taken a 2-year hiatus from playing, and here I was, spending more time in the gym and not on my gaps.

When we are too close to the problem, we miss the obvious.

Identify the gaps. Identify what you are not doing. That's probably what you should be doing.