As mentioned in the previous blog post I ‘m a performance coach for the best Quidditch team in all the land, literally. My job is to make them be as athletic as possible and reduce non-contact injuries so that when they run on the pitch, they actually look like they’re flying. In this segment I will talk about how to train for quidditch for inquiring minds, quidditch athletes wanting to be more serious, and for general knowledge to my readers wanting to learn about training. I’ll talk about the overall performance needs of the sport, an indepth look at the weight room and a sample session, and then some brief looks at other performance topics. I can’t give away all the goods, plus I want to keep this brief. Most of you are probably more interested in the weightroom (although there’s a lot to being a quality quidditch athlete) but who am I to deprive you. I’ll be light on the nerdy sport science verbatim. So let’s dive into training for quidditch!
The Performance Needs of Quidditch
Outside of high importance of anticipation and awareness (especially of beaters and their bludgers), there are some important physical pieces that should be trained to support being a more dominating force on the field. I will highlight 4 that I feel are priorities in training for quidditch:
- First step quickness
- Many plays in sport are made and lost based on the ability to start beating the defense from the first step. Although experience helps with the anticipation that’s tied in with this, training the neuromuscular system to react faster and in the nitty gritty, get strong enough to be able to overcome inertia to explosive strides are going to be crucial components to improve this ability.
- Ability to change direction, effectively and on reaction
- Anyone can turn left but can you hit a left turn while running right mid pitch to be able to set up a right side step away from the keeper and shoot the goal, in 2.5sec? Quidditch is a very fast paced sport and things are happening all around and a high quality chaser, beater, snitch, and seeker are going to be able to move fluidly on the pitch.
- Strength in the glutes
- As my athletes hear me talk about a lot, you gotta have a quality butt. Mano y mano, with 2 athletes of equal skill heading off, the one with the stronger and larger butt is probably going to win. In an earlier blog I talked about the importance the glutes play in sport performance, but I’ll quickly reiterate a couple points: power production as it’s the strongest area of the body and injury risk reduction. Strong glutes help decrease risk of ACL tears and other knee ligament issues as well as hamstring strains.
- Repeated ability to be explosive
- The pitch of quidditch is rather small, 60yards from end to end and 36yards from hoop set to hoop set which sets it up to be an explosive strategic game versus about “traditional” endurance need in say, rowing. Also, a match only lasts 20-30min on average which is short for a field sport. You have to be able to go from 0-100 in every direction, often. Therefore, creating the adaptations in the body that allow for athletes to perform above 95% of their best effort for 20minutes and over many games is crucial,
Upon observing tryouts, watching practice, matches, and youtube, as well as giving the pitch a run of myself, I found these to be of a high priority to create as the basis of programing. Every week these abilities should have been addressed. Let’s take a look at how a session should be put together, what it should look like over time (especially for athletes who aren’t very well trained), and some examples.
Creating a Program
When creating a training regiment for quidditch I suggest starting with the end in mind, meaning that you create what you want the end goal to reasonably look like, say championships, and build to the present from there what it will take. Typically, you want to be able to produce a lot of force, for long periods of time, while maintaining fluid movement. Simple enough. Generally, always do cutting, plyos, speed before the weight room as that’s most efficient for the body, although there are some exceptions beyond the scope of this article. I’ll highlight points about training for strength, multidirectional speed, and sprinting work capacity. I’ll create a sample weight room workout and then tell you how you can alter it.
Since many reading this may primarily want to know what to do in the weight room, I’ll cut to the chase. The most important pieces you want to train are the glutes and hamstrings which control hip extension (hip thrusting basically) which is the most powerful movement in sport. This is what’s going to give you the most bang for your buck so that you tackle better, sprint better, and cut better. Squats, lunges, step ups, deadlifts, RDLs, and hip bridges are great selections here. In regards to upper body, strength is also important in buffering for chasers, having more “umph” on the bludger when beating, and also pulling someone in for a tackle. Presses and rows are crucial here. It’s also important to keep them well balanced as many people enjoy pressing and sit ups but neglect their back which messes up posture.
Okay, so let’s take a look at a sample training session for a preseason strength and size program. Keep in mind, there are many, many ways to set this up. I prefer to have athletes do full body training 2-3x/week aiming to be strong at movements, not particularly just having strong muscles. Big triceps and chest are nearly pointless, but being strong at pressing gives you an advantage so I don’t train this body part one day and another the next. I don’t do chest day, we just find many ways to press through the week. If you have no idea how to weight train for quidditch, this is a good start.
4×4-6 BB Back Squat or (Goblet Squat if you’re a newbie
3×6-8 TRX Row (or any pulling exercise with a horizontal torso placement)
3×6-8 DB Incline Bench Press
3×8-10 DB 1 arm 1 leg RDL
3x30sec Plank Hold
3×8-10 Cable Palof Press
3×8-10 DB Lateral Lunges
I recommend keeping the reps under 10 to be able to better focus on strength, 6 being more optimal, and decreasing in volume as the season progresses. It’s also enough volume to help with the look of your physique over time. Now, if you have NEVER lifted a weight or are very new to it, I would recommend you do upwards of 10-12 reps to get used to the movements for a few training sessions, or weeks if needbe. Every 4-6 weeks it’s good to change up the specific exercises or the volume/intensity. I tried to keep that really basic and not just feed you a fistful of information, so comment or email me if you have questions, concerns, or need clarification.
As previously stated, quidditch is a very dynamic sport. Beaters roam like hawks and must be very explosive in any direction, the snitch can do nearly whatever they wish at will, causing cheers from the crowd and headaches from seekers. Although I wouldn’t want to play against Usain Bolt, I feel that if in any way I had an advantage, it’d be because I can cut side to side pretty fast and there’s a fair chance he may not be able to, in comparison to how fast he is straight ahead vs my straight ahead speed vs cutting. He probably still embarrass me though, maybe (pride). So it’d be difficult and tedious to type you through creating a sufficient multidirectional speed portion but I’ll highlight key things for you to focus on while training it.
- Two parts to train:
- Shuffling and sprinting out of a shuffling (beaters roaming/defensive chasers being alert)
- Cutting into and of a sprint
- Cross step and drop step
- Two ways to train for cutting
- Planned course movements and how to make the cross and drop step in motion
- Reactive course movements based on other players
- I recommend doing this training early in the session while fresh, unless purposely doing it for conditioning
This can probably be summed up in one sentence. In quidditch, it’s most useful to be able to sprint 40m 10 times near top speed in a few minutes (slight arbitrary) than it is to be able to run 3 miles in under 20minutes. Conditioning sessions should be mostly consisted of repeated sprints and short rest. Not that you shouldn’t be able to run a sub 20min 5k (3.1 miles) but it’s not as specific to quidditch so such running shouldn’t be the focus of conditioning. Boot camp workouts are cool too, especially for seekers and snitches who occasionally have to brawl it out.
- Repeated half pitch sprints with 30sec or less of rest are a great start
- Agility drills leading into short sprints
- 100m sprints with 1-2min of rest can be useful to work on speed endurance as well (say taking the quaffel from behind your hoops and sprinting down on a fast break attempt)
This was a pretty simple layout of what to look for when training for quidditch. There are other components and more to go in-depth to for training but all that is beyond that scope of this blog. Given that many athletes are going to look at “training for a sport” mostly about lifting weights, I aimed to give some light on that piece. Also to do my due diligence on the topic it’s best to talk about some other important pieces to being a quality quidditch player. If you have any questions or need anything in further detail please comment below. Consultations, you can email me at CombatCutInternational@gmail.com.