Author
Brian Lo

Gunning for Goliath

So my last post was about how to approach games where your team significantly outmatches your opponent. But the more interesting question is what to do when your opponent is significantly stronger than you.

If your team is one of those teams that takes themselves seriously, then you probably have goals.  And if those goals are appropriately high, then you probably have a team ahead of you that you need to beat (unless you play for Fury or Revolver). Maybe your goal is to make the second day of Regionals or make Nationals or make quarters or win everything. In all divisions, those teams on their respective bubble are wondering how to knock off that team just ahead of them.

Random Spew on Catching

So Brodie just posted a video about catching.  It got me thinking about writing a post on catching, but without a way to structure a bunch of random thoughts, I just have a mess of ramblings on catching, both obvious and non-obvious.
  • Catch the disc however you feel most comfortable.  That said, get comfortable catching the disc in a lot of different ways.
  • Actively open your hands and spread your fingers.  I notice as I fatigue, I sometimes don’t open my hands up as wide and am more prone to not take the disc in cleanly.

Improve Your Marking

As I mentioned once before, my sporting love before ultimate was volleyball.  Another tip I learned was when preparing to receive serve, you want to stand with your weight forward on the balls of your feet and slightly pigeon toed – that is with your toes slightly pointed in.  The reasoning being that your ankle joint provides optimal force moving forward compared to laterally, and it’s even worse when your pushing backwards.  So by angling your toes in, if you need to step left, the closer your right foot is to pointing to the left, the more force you can generate in that direction.

Land on One Foot

I remember a long time ago reading an article of Parinella’s somewhere where he explained a better way to toe the line is to only keep one foot down to maximize your reach rather than trying to dig both feet in.  Such a simple tip, and it reminded me of my days before ultimate.  Before frisbee, my previous love was volleyball.  I used to subscribe to a volleyball magazine and there were always these quick 1 page articles with a  handy little nugget of wisdom (think Zip’s Tips minus the sandwich eating suggestions).

Throw It Early

To follow up on my post Checking Your Shoulder – Buttonhook, let’s talk about when to throw to those cuts.  In general, you want to put the disc up as early as possible.
There are a lot of factors involved in decision making, but in an ideal world, you want to be releasing your throw after the cutter has planted and has started their first step back toward you.  Putting the disc up early has various benefits:
  • Maximizes yardage on the incut.  The longer you wait, the closer to you the cutter gets and the less yardage gained on their incut.

Check Your Shoulder – Give-Go

Last example for now.  Give Go.

Handler’s at the brick with the disc.  Ho-stack setup with 2 dumps and 4 across.  A few cuts get looked off, open side dump’s defender sags into the lane.  Handler swings to the poached dump and immediately runs up line for the give go.

Give go handlers in this scenario tend to watch the thrower expecting the disc back.  Good handlers will still take off immediately after throwing the swing, but will take a quick look over their shoulder at the lane while they’re in motion.  Check your shoulder!  Why?

Check Your Shoulder – Buttonhook

Ok, another example.  Check your shoulder on buttonhook cuts.

When cutting away, look back at the thrower (aka “check your shoulder) before you plant to come back or even start to slow down.  You see it all the time when you set up a drill that involves a buttonhook cut that cutters run toward a cone facing away, then plant and whip their head around all at once.  Perhaps the thinking is that by running deep and facing deep that looking back will tip off the defender that you plan to cut back… or maybe this comes from timing routes in football.

Experience Matters

Let’s compare two similar players with the same quantifiable skills and dimensions.  One of the intangible differentiators is experience.  We’ve all seen those tall, fast kids who are always open at the wrong place or wrong time… or the squad of youngsters who can’t keep from throwing into the lazy old guys’ poaches.  We often chalk this up to a lack of experience.  Well, I’ve been working on a definition for this type of experience.  You can let me know what you think.

  1. Experience is knowing where to look
  2. Knowing what you’re looking for.
  3. Recognizing what you see.