Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Days 50 - 53: Anticipation Meets Preparation

August 2, 2011

7 days - Blue Band Officer Week
14 days - Blue Band Marching Auditions/Band Camp Begins
32 days - Penn State vs. Indiana State
39 days - Penn State vs. Alabama
46 days - Penn State vs. Temple

It's now exactly one week from now that the 2011 Blue Band Officers will be gathering in State College and heading off to our annual retreat in Port Matilda before spending a week getting everything prepared for the season.  Tomorrow marks one month away from the first game.  Once that week begins I'll start doing almost-daily posts from then until the end of band camp on the 29th for a bit of an inside look on how we're leading up to the first game of the season on September 3rd.

What being one week away means for me is that now since I'm done working at all of my jobs for the summer, I need to spend at least one hour a day on making improvements on every aspect of my position this season:  fundamentals study/practicing command calling, refining the new upbeat stretches/warmups, conducting, and mace spinning/tossing.  I'll be doing flips three times per week now to make sure that I have solid command of my "air sense" and getting the correct instinct for how much speed I need when the uniform (and this year's additions to it) is added.  In addition, I'll be spending a great deal of time working on the strut that happens before the flip.  I wasn't really happy with my strut last season, and it was certainly the weakest portion of my audition the first time around in April 2010.  My back bend isn't drastic enough, my head isn't far enough back, my left leg doesn't come up as far as my right one does, and I don't strut for a long enough time for it to be a marquee part of my entrance out of the block band.  I've been doing a stretch called a "bridge" in order to start making my back more flexible, and then I've been doing single leg bridges in order to stretch the muscle just in front of my hip bone, which is where most of the resistance comes from during the strut.  It's a rather unnatural position for the body to be in, especially when sprinting at high speeds, so of course it is going to feel foreign to the muscles that are used.  I won't know for sure how effective all of this preparation is until the first game, since the uniform adds its own challenges and restricts my body in certain ways.  Doing everything in gym shorts and t-shirts is a piece of cake at this point.

My cardio workouts have been unreal the past month or so, I'm now consistently enduring an entire hour on the elliptical on full resistance, burning an average of 1150 calories an hour with an average heart rate that has been dropping off by 1-2 BPM every single workout. That means my body is being put under far less stress each time for the same result in output, and as a result of that, I'm feeling stronger and stronger every single day.

As far as this season goes, there's still a ton of question marks in my book.  I still don't know any of this year's shows or the music that goes with them, I still don't know if there are any new stands tunes being added, I still don't know if there are any visiting bands from other universities, and I still don't know how many prospective rookies are auditioning this year.  It's all trivial information, but I do like to be thinking in the past, present, and in the future at the same time.  All things in good time though.

Now that I've given myself a nice afternoon break from the heat (and flies), it's time to get back to work.

That's all for now.
Thanks for reading.

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