Tim Morrill Grinds out FPT
Tim Morrill was kind enough to send over some extended clips of his new product (Morrill Performance Function Performance Training) for my review. As I hinted at in this post on energy system training, I’m sort of an amateur fitness ‘geek’. I know or have read enough to be familiar with modern paradigms on athletic training, and as is clear to anyone who is in such a spot, Tim is on top of the current best practices and emerging techniques. Tim has made a variety of contributions to the ultimate fitness community: from his lobbying for more unilateral training, to the clinics he has run around the world, to other recent content he has launched (F.U.T.U.R.E.). With FPT, I’m happy to say that he has bundled together a comprehensive training system that most every ultimate player and/or team can embrace (those who don’t need to probably already learned the content from Tim in the first place).
I haven’t seen all four plus hours of content, but the samples I saw were representative 15 minute selections from each of the eight modules in the full package (FPT comes in multiple packages for different training goals, all at different price points). I’ll give some brief thoughts on some of the modules’ content below, but there is no need to ‘bury the lead’ – If you are looking to improve you or your team’s on-field performance while hedging against injuries, Tim has the most complete package out there for the modern ultimate player. Combine this with the amount of content (approximately 4.5 hours of video instruction for the full package) and it is quite an offering, particularly for those players who can’t attend a clinic of Tim’s in person.
Any product of this nature needs to distill content from the massive volumes of good (and less than good) training information available. No product can lay out the perfect routine for your given situation. That being said, FPT does a very good job of dispensing fitness education while keeping the content from becoming unnecessarily dense. Tim is able to provide important nuance, while targeting the most effective movements and exercises. His comfort with the material is evident in the quality of his presentation, obviously honed over hours of training others and presenting at clinics. The videos also contain useful coaching cues each step of the way, along with well filmed, multiple angle demos that provide an excellent reference point for your own training. Beyond telling you ‘what to do’, Tim’s desire to raise the level of training knowledge in our community is evident as he lays out the ‘why’ of his training philosophies along the way.
One issue end users are likely to experience is that (in a few spots) there is some background noise in the audio. If you are concerned about this, you can check out this clip here that gives an example of one instance where this crops up. The product is filmed in multiple locations, so background noise is not common to the videos as a whole. I didn’t have any issues hearing the content myself and the vast majority of the content I viewed had pristine audio, but it does seem worth mentioning.
The other likely issue some users may have, is a desire for a specific routine or formula they should follow in the gym or on the track. While the modules do lay out some pathways, Tim (wisely) stays away from dictating precise routines. Tim seems to aim to teach people ‘how to fish’. He wants to give you the tools you need to create your own programs, while staying away from actively recommending generic programs. This product might best be appreciated by leaders, captains, coaches, aware athletes and influencers. That being said, if you are curious enough to be reading about the program it may well be in your wheelhouse and I’d check out the FPT site for more information.
Summaries of each module from the FPT website
(along with a few comments of mine and the required snide remark here or there)
Module 1 – Self Myofascial Release – Athletes get stiff, beat up and bound down. Decreasing tissue density through SMR strategies will free up range of motion to get you feeling and performing at a higher level and decreases your risk of injury. Do you ever see the guy out at the fields walking with the big foam roller? That guy is on to something, learn to develop your own rolling practice.
– A good head to toe overview of some techniques to start getting into SMR for those of you who don’t live with mobilitywod in your veins (and a good summary and some ultimate specific thoughts for those who do!)
Module 2 – Static Stretching – 4 Way Hip – Increasing tissue length via 4 way hip openers will leave you feeling loose and ready to go into your warm up.
– As you may guess, this is not your mother’s static stretching. Tim utilizes reciprocal inhibition, mobility concepts, and controlled movements through ranges of motion to improve one’s ability to move properly. This may be my favorite of all the modules from the excerpts I watched. Advanced hip ‘stretches’ are presented in a way that even a beginner can follow along, and Tim biases many of the movements to target problems that tend to develop in our modern world (a tendency to overextend one’s lower back when stretching quads/hip flexors, for example). This module also does a good job of contrasting what NOT to do, as well as what to do. A very useful paradigm that is a theme throughout FPT and can often be neglected in instructional content.
Module 3 – Glutivation & Mobility – Enhancing glute function improves hip extension for sprinting, jumping and cutting. ACL & Hamstring injuries run rampant in Ultimate. These injures can be drastically reduced through the use of glute activation drills and corrective exercises. Pair glutivation drills with joint mobility drills to get you moving and firing properly before warm ups.
– This includes a good intro summary as to why the glute, hip, core complex is so crucial to injury prevention and performance. Tim also makes a cool ‘pshhh’ noise when he mentions torn ACLs 🙂
4 – MP Speed & Agility Warm Up – On the line! Learn the optimal sequence for to bridge from zen mode into jam mode during your teams cone to cone warm up. Shake outs, skips & active stretches!
– This was another excellent module from what I saw. Year after year I’ve seen so many teams do their ‘active’ warm-up for months without any real change in the quality of their movements. While there are a variety of factors for why this occurs (focus, tissue quality, desire, etc.), I think it is also a lack of knowledge that allows these poor warm-ups to continue. Teams often do the same warm-ups they did last year or that they see others doing without any idea of what they should be focusing on…what a ‘good version’ of the warmup would look like…and why they are doing these movements in the first place. As mentioned earlier, Tim does a great job of demo-ing here – providing teams with a good reference point for their own warmups (you are videotaping yourselves out there to check how well you perform exercises/movements, right?)
5 – Linear Speed – Ultimate is dominated by deceleration & acceleration. Learn the key coaching cues and progressions to get you up to speed and maintaining top end speed. Jackhammers & cycle kicks!
– As someone who relied more on quickness, agility, skill, mobility, and knowledge for most of my career, this module would have been really useful 10 years ago. Thanks…Tim.
6 – Agility – Join Tim, Goose & Schlumpf as the trio teach and demonstrate Tims renowned IFP & OFP model for agility development! Jab steps & Crossovers!
– The IFP & OFP models are something Tim has been honing and preaching heavily at his clinics in recent years. This is a great overview for those of you who are wondering how to improve your cutting and defending footwork (two issues that regularly get asked about in online ultimate forums). Somehow this module looks like it is of great quality even though Goose is in it…that is probably the biggest testament to Tim’s talent.
7 – Strength & Power Development – The missing piece in many Ultimate players training. Sprint speed & jump height come down to how much force you can put into the ground. Put more force into the ground, jump higher, run faster, balance assymetries and take your game to the next level. Crush clean & bury skaters squats!
– Those of us who have been around the ultimate scene for a while have really seen a transformation in the number of players who are lifting regularly (and doing so in a more comprehensive and intelligent manner). With power and strength development becoming the norm and so much research pointing to the myriad of health benefits that weight lifting can have, most competitive ultimate players should be working to further their understanding, technique, and performance in the weight room. And while I don’t think a teacher has to demonstrate his own ability to speak intelligently on a given subject matter, it can be refreshing to see. In this module, Tim himself takes us through cleans, hip hinge development exercises, and more.
8 – Conditioning- Ultimate is sprint recover, sprint recover. The quicker you can recover and the more work you can tolerate the bigger advantage you have. Russell & AJ will show you how its done. 10 Cuts, Strides & Shuttles!
– Some great conditioning work to mix up and modernize your standard, boring track intervals.
If you read this far, you deserve something for putting up with my run-on verbiage, you can take 10 percent off of FPT (PACKAGES only) for a limited time by entering this offer code during checkout: pulleddisc10
If you are not sold that FPT is right for you, I’d recommend you check out more of Tim’s work on his youtube channel where he puts out a lot of good content. That should minimally get you familiar with his work and keep you abreast of his future plans. There is also much more content available on strengthandconditioningfitness.com and through Tim’s article series on Sky’d Magazine.