The Australian Mens

Ultimate Frisbee Team

DT9: Dear Dingo Diary

The voice inside our heads. A constant companion, the secret to many of our greatest achievements and also that bugger who tries to tell us “close enough is good enough. Why not just finish trying now?”

Hello Dingo followers and welcome back to the team, it is excellent to have you on board. In this episode of Dingo Tracks we explore the universal experience of working towards a goal, with your own psyche as a companion. We take a look at the personal pages and intimate secrets shared in the Dear Dingo Diary.

To guide us on this journey we are fortunate to have the seemingly unflappable, steel nerved returning Dingo: Seb Barr, and Australia’s thinking man of Ultimate, who was probably writing a Diary this week anyway, Alex Ladomatos.

Seb and Lado have been recording their training experience all week. Their thoughts offer an insight into the quantity of work required to rise to the highest levels of performance, and the internal struggle everyone experiences whilst chasing down an important goal.

In a journey of months and years, here stands one week of training:


I woke up today with a little tickle in my throat, no doubt due to the fact that I’ve started the new term at school (I’m a teacher) and I was exposed to a huge range of new germs. I had to then wrestle and argue with myself whether to train or not. A lot of inner dialogue then followed a familiar pattern; “don’t go, you’ll make yourself sicker” and “just do it, or you’ll regret missing a day” was following me around for the morning. I eventually decided to head to the gym, the thought being “if it isn’t an intense cardio session, it surely couldn’t do too much harm.”

– Squats 5 sets, max weight at 4-6 reps
– Lunges 4 sets, max weight at 6-8 reps
– Abs 100 reps with a mixture of (crunches, ab machine, leg raises)
– Some upper body compound exercises for some balance in my training (incline bench, dips, pull ups)
I left the gym with a genuine sense of satisfaction that I was able to push through the negativity that I had felt earlier that day. I went straight to the supermarket to buy groceries and begin cooking lunches for the week.


Woke up after an average sleep with cold symptoms still, but with some well earned DOMS from the previous session and felt a sense of satisfaction that I had worked hard the day earlier. It was a sunny day in Melbourne and I spent the day staring out the window looking forward to getting out in the sun for some exercise that afternoon. However, when I arrived home the headache had crept up on me and my head was drumming. Still I managed to tell myself “it’s just short sprints, it will be over quick”. I made my way down to the park and wrestled with the idea of doing only four sets instead of 6 but quickly got into my warm up before I could make a decision.

– Sprint technique drills
– Plyometrics
– Short distance sprints (20-40m)
Session focus is on maximum acceleration and getting up to top speed quickly
Midway through the exercise I had noticed that the headache had left and I was running each rep at my maximum effort. It was a valuable session, I was feeling a good burn in my quads as I left the park, and I was so glad that my cold didn’t hinder my effort.

I woke up feeling great, I’m excited because I’ve managed to shrug the cold in a few days which means I can continue my training. That evening I went for a run (3k) it’s not Frisbee specific at all, but it didn’t hurt, keeps the legs ticking over and is a good warm up for the gym. Off to the gym.

– Lunges 5 sets, max weight 4-6 reps
– Squats 5 sets, max weight 4-6 reps
– Upper body
– Abs, 100 reps with a mixture of (crunches, ab machine, leg raises)


I started the day knowing I was going to do my favourite session for the week today! As I trudge through work for the day I was excited for the session in the afternoon. I headed straight to the park after work to complete the session.

– Sprint technique drills
– Plyometrics
– Middle distance sprints (60m)
Session focus is on repeat sprint ability and being able to replicate maximum effort.
Fun session, very exhausted and proud of my effort.

It was club training day today, it’s my favourite part of the training week, when I get to challenge myself against my team mates and let my competitiveness drive my effort. It wasn’t the most difficult session which I was a bit disappointed with but still got a lot out of it.

– Box drill focus on footwork and speed
– Hill sprints, focus on driving and accelerating
– Game practice

Rest day,
I did a light jog in the morning to roll the legs over and stay loose.


Last day of my training week. I’m feeling fresh from the day off and did a big session in the gym to end the week. I jogged there for a warm up and then completed a hard leg workout, the legs felt like jelly on the way home, a great feeling after a hard session.

– Lunges
– Squats
– Upper body
– Abs

After reflecting on the week of exercise and writing down the thoughts, I found I had learnt a bit about myself and the way I approach training. The common recurring themes in my thoughts were:

  • Every day is an opportunity to train and improve myself and I need to take that opportunity to be the best I can be while being excited and happy to have that opportunity.
  • Negative feelings inevitably come up – even if I enjoy most sessions – but it’s the quality of my response to those feelings that decides the value of the session.


Saturday 30/1/16
Dear Dingo Diary,
Today I ran sprints, after work, tired, alone and in the middle of a storm. Its times like this that I least like to train and these sessions are often those I value the most. All desire is out the door but I’m covering Ks or lifting weights.
On days like this I have long repetitive conversations with the voice inside my head, telling me I’m not excited or interested and should just go home. It’s a voice everyone is familiar with, a little man or women that tells us near enough is good enough or that almost will do. This voice is heard through all walks of life.

Today was one of the rare days when the voice was on my side. The whole session I was fighting him as he made my will to produce effort stronger, and finishing the last rep I thought I’d silenced him. It was then I received an unexpected gift.

‘One more rep. Go back. Go back for one more’.

I was 100% ready to pack up and go home but turned and hit one last effort. It leaves my temples throbbing, and this pain that feels like it’s right behind my ears hanging around for about 15 minutes. The rain keeps falling on my trudge home. Through defiance or encouragement the voice is always creating an opportunity for me to push harder than before, to improve mentally and physically and I know we’ll talk again soon.


Sunday 31/1/16
Dear Dingo Diary,
AM. I felt really good about getting up at 8am on a Sunday to get a great start to the day in the gym. I feel as though hitting the gym 2-3 times a week for 2 months last pre-season really set me up for a strong nats season and u23s tournament injury free. It’s something that I don’t do as much in season, about once a week on average. I was disappointed that my lack of sleep (6 hours) and rushed breakfast (leftover baked beans and a tim tam) meant I didn’t get close to hitting PBs so I shifted the weights down and looked to lift some longer sets with quality. I often forget how helpful getting life off the field sorted is to playing and training well. When I do have the time to train I want to make sure it’s something I’m proud of.

PM. Ran 6km with an old friend from high school, bit of a spur of the moment thing. I don’t like talking about Frisbee with him/other friends because it’s usually me apologising for missing a get together or birthday party because of training or a tournament. It has definitely made maintaining friendships I really value more difficult. He heard from a mutual friend a few weeks after the team announcement that I’d made Dingoes and all I had was ‘it never came up’ when he asked me why I didn’t tell him myself. As such I really enjoyed being able to share even this small part of my Dingo campaign with him. There is rarely something that strengthens friendship like the shared giving of effort, of sweat and encouragement for each other, and I will remember those steep Linfield hills when the going gets tough in London.

Cool down: Mobility in the pool, glass of milk, sweet potato and cashew dip and 4 episodes of Brooklyn Nine Nine.

Monday 1/2/16
Colony training 7-10pm

I was looking forward to training, at work placement I’m on my feet most of the day so the opportunity to be free to move is always appreciated. My back was really stiff and took a while to warm up and I wasn’t as 100% committed in drills as I would have liked. I know I could be doing more mobility work to help this. Even though I threw well in game, my forehands have been feeling kinda ‘off’ for a while and I’m going to put some specific focus into them next week.
Offensively I had a great night, but defensively I was prone to lapses, giving away a couple of easy unders and forgetting who I was on while calling lines twice. At other times I could feel a calm focus and the footwork and turning practise I’d been putting in worked really well. I also hit this sweet leftie backhand pinned back deep in our own endzone so it was nice to find an application for a throw I’ve been putting a lot of time into lately. I probably played about 90% of points and maybe 8 or 10 in a row to round out the training session, the fitness is building steadily.


Tuesday 2/2/16
Today was a throwing and injury prevention day. I was pleased with the feel of my long backhands which is probably something I’ve focussed on most over the past year or so. Then I hit a lot of around throws on both sides and finished with a lot of flick hucks. They felt surprisingly good but my max distance has definitely decreased after not throwing as much the past few weeks. I want to add 5-10m to my hucks. I think if I can take more responsibility and hit that pass all the way to the endzone it will ease the pressure on the team to play that ‘scramble’ endzone offence, and eliminate some potentially unnecessary passes. Around 300 throws total.

I can feel my right hammy is a lot tighter than the left. I’m working towards getting my body horizontal in arabesque and my knee to the ground consistently in skater squats. These exercises were a big part of my PCL strain rehab 3 years ago and I’ve been feeling a lot of pain in my right knee recently so I’m getting back into this stuff to see if it goes away.

Wednesday 3/2/16
I was at placement 8am-6:30pm today and got home really tired. I know that this isn’t a big deal, and is a necessary part of a lot of peoples’ lives but I really struggle with these long days. I took the day off from running/lifting. I don’t usually like taking 2 days off but I was feeling stiff and sore from a solid 4 days of training. I did 25 minutes of mobility and stretching in my lunch break and another 45 minutes when I got home. I find it really easy to be lazy so I try to always link it to a TV show I’m watching. I’m looking to do some footwork tomorrow in the morning before training, and get some technical work in before gym and track Fri/Sat.


Thursday 4/2/16
Dear Dingo Diary,
As happens 4 -5 days a month I felt like shit. The little voice in my head convinced me not to train. I got home at 8pm and as club training was cancelled and I knew I had to be back on placement early the next day I watched TV for 2 hours and went to bed. I am acutely aware of how disappointing this is and how it’s not what my teammates will be doing tonight. Tomorrow is a new day. My plan is to do 2 sessions to make up for it plus some extra mobility to help me recover.

Friday 5/2/16
What a difference 24 hours makes! I got out and trained with a teammate from Sydney Uni and Colony and we ran a great session over the course of about two and a half hours. I felt like this was one of my most enjoyable sessions in a long time.

I ran through 9 different footwork patterns in the ladder. I feel as though I’m getting my quickness back and I’m very interested in whether or not it feels like I’ve improved at camp 2. I’ve always felt quickness has been really important to my game as I’m not the flat out fastest guy around. We next did some plyos and agility drills aimed at turning and change of direction specifically. I do these after ladders as it helps me to feel like I’m applying ladder patterns or principles in game style cuts or movements. We finished the session with some shuttle runs and straight line sprints. I felt like I was flying in the sprints and I think I really loosened up over the course of the long session.

I probably got in about 200-250 throws in rest periods and also as a specific focus. Breaking up training drills with throwing I feel more accurately replicates the mental and physical challenges of game day. Perhaps counter intuitively I’ve been nowhere near my throwing goal of 1000 throws a week (more in the 600-700 range) but they were coming out fantastic and I’m in a great mental space about my capabilities compared to the start of the week. I think my throwing skills more than any other technical aspect feels these ebbs and flows that operate seemingly randomly. As long as I keep plugging away and have a fresh mind it has a way of coming good of its own.

My knee was really sore after so I smashed a lot of stretches and mobility at home.

Saturday 6/2/16
Got out for a good hour + throw today with one of the kids trying out for the Aussie U20s team. Worked mainly on short passes and changing up my speed of throw. I’m trying to create a bit of a check down for hitting the breakside to give me as many options in about 3-4 seconds as I can. At the moment for a forehand force it’s looking like: high flick – low flick – high leftie – low leftie with touch – around backhand. Finished with some huck work. I’m getting reasonable shape and distance but I’m having trouble hitting a moving target, almost always under-throwing my target or skying the disc a little bit. So my next step is still to add speed and distance.


Sunday 7/2/16
Had a solid 150 throws and a long gym session today. I wanted to run afterwards but my back started hurting pretty bad after dead lifting so I changed my focus to a longer gym session performing a lot of upper body lifts and lower leg stuff on machines to ease the stress and pain I was feeling. Had an A+ brunch as well.
Looking back on the week it really feels like a microcosm of what a whole season feels like. It’s not often that I feel the high highs and the low lows in a 7 day period as I did. I think my standard was high, the key for me is in finding that consistency, which more often than not comes from simply sleeping and eating well, the rest seems to fall into place when I get those 2 things right.

If there is one thing I want people to know it’s that it was really hard becoming a dingo when I look back at it from a distance. There were lots of hard yards, lots of heartbreak and just enough victory to lift me up and keep me interested. The funny thing about the challenge though is that I never really thought about how hard it was going to be because there was always a friend to throw with or run sprints with. It was always the process that gave me strength when I thought I wasn’t a chance. And it is the process that continues to drive and encourage me. The hard yards are always the best bit.


Thank you Seb and Lado for taking us with you on a week filled with powerful efforts, moments of doubt and creeping insight. It is intriguing and encouraging to hear about the challenges and triumphs of another week of training.

For the team each week is flying by and on the eve of our second training camp it is important to remember that every opportunity to work and prepare should be seen and evaluated. Success at Worlds is based heavily on the training done, last week, this week, now.

Thanks for joining us on the Dingo Tracks. We’ll be back again soon. Our first tournament in Japan is in almost exactly four weeks. We look forward to sharing that experience with you soon.

Still ran Dingo, yellow dog Dingo,
dusty in the sunshine, always smiling.