Offense

Articles on playing offense

Training Hex offence with your team

 

Hex is a new offence which most of your team will not have seen or played before – introducing it can be both fun and exciting, but will certainly come with its challenges. I’ve had experience introducing the offence to a variety of teams and players, from primary schools through University level teams to GB, and along the way have learned plenty about how to make the introduction as enjoyable and productive as possible. I hope to share what I’ve learnt with you in this article.

Strategies for 3 on 3 Ultimate

About a month ago, I received an email from an ultimate player. His name is Daniel and he was wondering what offensive and defensive strategies I would suggest for 3 on 3 since he had a tournament coming up and had only ever played normal 7 on 7 before. I’ve included my response below along along with some observations and feedback from Daniel after the tournament (his team lost in the championship game).

Exercise Caution With Set Plays

About 5 years ago, I was at a practice for the men’s team I was on. We were working on a particular play. What I’ll never forget is how regimental our play practice was. Literally we were working on player movement as precisely as a few feet rather than having general lanes and letting the offensive players run their lanes based on the positioning of the defense. It felt more like a choreographed dance than a play that contained room for variety within each lane or cut.

10 Tips for a Rookie Handler

When I was learning to play Ultimate, I didn’t have a coach, mentor, or Ultimate Rob videos. I had to teach myself the game and whenever my friends learned something new, we’d spread the knowledge with each other. I was one of the slower learners on the team and required as much assistance as possible, so putting me on the handler line wasn’t the best option. I was a cutter by default. When I came to college, my throws were naturally better than most because I had been playing for a while, and my team was brand new. So my journey began from moving from a cutter to a handler – yet again without a mentor. Teaching myself this aspect of the game was incredibly difficult. Here are 10 guidelines for rookie handlers that helped me learn to be a handler.

Handler Cutting

The Basics

There is a principle I want to start with here that transcends the position on the field that you’re making your cut (downfield, handler, whatever). This is probably the most important cutting principle anyone can learn: take what the defense is giving you. If my defender playing off me 5 yards to contain the line cut, I’m not going to cut up line. If my defender is backing me by 10 yards because of my 40 inch vertical, I’m not going to go deep (initially). It’s a fairly simple concept, but I see so many young players learn one method of cutting (5 hard steps out and under) and make that cut no matter how the defense is set up. If they’re going to play off of you as a defender, then take the open cut, it’s simple.

Effective Coaching of Drills

As an intermediate player I used to wonder why our captains and coaches insist on running the same drills over and over again. Frankly, I found it boring! I assumed drills, like warming up and stretching, was a waste of time. I used to be all about the scrimmage at the end of the training session. I slacked off during drills, didn’t really focus on what I was doing. To me, then it was about doing enough reps before the captain/coach let me play ‘actual’ Ultimate.

The Mexican Offence

Many of you are familiar with the vertical, horizontal and spread offence but not many of you have heard about the Mexican Offence. It’s relatively new and was developed by Felix Shardlow from Brighton Ultimate in 2012. It’s not for every team but depending on the types of players you have, this might be a good system for your team to incorporate. Here is a video showing the Mexican offence in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j01Py8Jl6N8 and more can be found on the Hexagon Ultimate  YouTube channel.

Forehand Mechanics That Aren’t Taught

The best way to describe throwing a forehand is comparing it to a vertical jump. As we know, vertical jumping ability is directly influenced by the speed of the force exerted against the ground during a fixed span of time; the faster the application of that force, the higher the jump. To translate this concept into throwing a forehand, we can infer that the less time it takes to apply a given amount of snap to the disc, the more rotations will be yielded per ‘x’ amount of time. With this, if you look at an exceptional thrower like Alex Thorne, you’ll notice that he has one of the quickest releases out of any thrower in the nation. Furthermore, those quick releases all generally look more or less the same, regardless of the distance of the throw. Such quick releases coupled with a strong snap provide for a throw that will fly through the air with very little observable disruption from wind.

Handling and Marking Q&A From a Fan

This post was in response to a fan who had a few questions about handling and marking both on offense and defense.

Rob,
I’m a combination handler/cutter for I just had a few questions about handling against tight marks and vice versa, marking tough handlers.

I’ve only been handling for a few months, and I’ve found that in the three tournaments I’ve played at I feel like I’m usually just cycling the disc back to an upline handler or dump rather than making throws to cutters. I’ve only turned the disc once across those three tournaments while handling, which I guess is good but most of the throws I have made haven’t been that long of a throw to get turned, if that makes any sense.

Tips for O Line Handlers

This post was inspired by a question on facebook from one of my fans. Let me know if you have any questions related to o-line handling.

Q: Hey bro,could you give me some pointers on how to be an O-Handler?

A: Sure thing! Here are some tips on being an O-line handler:

1. Your role as a handler is to move the disc up the field and score a point. What this means is that your biggest focus should be on valuing the disc. You cannot score if the other team has the disc. So, you should only be throwing high percentage throws (a 50% throw is not a high percentage). Think 75% or higher. Ideally you should be throwing to a cutter who is open, within the range of a throw you can consistently throw.

Improving Horizontal Offense Initiation Plays

Receiving a pull is an area in which a team should be extremely proficient, as it is an event that occurs hundreds of times over a season. It is a mistake to not take advantage of these moments in which the defense is not entirely set. The ideal situation occurs when the offense initiates play from the brick and scores a seemingly effortless, or uncontested, goal.

Zen Throwing Routine Video

The Zen Throwing Routine, developed by Ben Wiggins, is a combination of a group of exercises that he found to help develop his own balance and versatility in throwing. He was inspired to put this into a cohesive form as a partner-slash-alternative to Lou Burruss’ Kung Fu Throwing, which is a very effective plan with very different goals.

To view all of the 21 steps in the Zen Throwing Routine, visit the playlist here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLezzWvSJAw_Y9WqN4bE1v6EzatYqh2d0M.

You can download the complete Zen Throwing workout here: http://bit.ly/zenthrowing.

What is balance?

Kung Fu Throwing Video Tutorial

Kung Fu Throwing is a system developed by Lou Burruss and Mike Caldwell in 2005. He wanted to come up with a structured throwing plan to help developing throwers. As the only two Seattle Sockeye players who lived on Capitol Hill at the time, Mike and Lou would meet often to throw. Lou solicited Mike to help him with this and to their surprise they found that it was an excellent system for established throwers. (They were in their 7th and 9th years on Sockeye.) They did KFT once a week the entire season and Lou’s throws were more consistently on than any other year.

Timing Horizontal Cuts – Drill of the Week

The drill of the week from Playspedia is all about Timing Horizontal Cuts. I find this drill especially useful since running the horizontal correctly is all about cutting to space and this drill will help your players understand where the space exists and how to move there.

  1. Set up in 3 lines.
  2. 4 sets up for an In-Cut. 2 and 5 watch and prepare to set up their cuts.
  3. As 4 cuts in, 2 starts to set up for an In-Cut, 5 can slowly set up but mostly watches.

Storm – Play of the Week

This week’s play of the week from Playspedia is called Storm. This play, used on a brick pull, is really simple yet I feel that it would be quite effective. Since the cutter is striking deep on the break side, the defender will keep an eye on them but will probably play off a bit. When the deep strike suddenly cuts to the open side, deep, I could imagine that it would catch many defenders off guard. I think it’s worth trying but would probably only work once per game unless you’re playing a team who doesn’t pay attention.

  1. Set up from brick mark

Frozen Squirrel – Play of the Week

This week’s play of the week from Playspedia is called the Frozen Squirrel. I like it for the name and for it’s ability to score on a zone. The best takeaway from this play is to realize in order to get a good deep huck on a zone, you first need your deeps to come under. Nothing will stifle a zone offence and take away the huck threat more than players hanging out deep.

The play breaks down as follows:

  1. Middle handler throws to open side handler
  2. Break side handler (1) sprints to opposite sideline to catch throw

Changing the Team Strategy

Malissa Lundgren, Ultimate Canada’s 2011 Female Athlete of the Year, discusses how the Capitals were more successful after changing their team strategy following their 2009 semi final loss in the UPA Championships to Brute Squad. In 2010, they would go on to make the finals where the lost to the powerhouse women’s team, Fury.

Vertical Stack Revisited Part 3

I am going to close the idea of a dynamic vertical with several odds and ends that tie the concepts together.

  1. Recognize the strength of your thrower. When your thrower is capable of hucking with precision, delay your strike-cut until after possession has been gained. If the thrower is only comfortably throwing 20 yards, leave for your deep strike a second prior to the catch and then cut back under for a 15-20 yard gainer.

Vertical Stack Revisited Part 2

The previous article described using a vertical stack that would shift to a position, within an arbitrary boundary, that was opposite the field position of the disc.  The rationale behind the lateral shift is to take advantage of the strengths of both centre of the field vertical and vertical side stack offences, while reducing the impact of their major weaknesses.  The advantages of centre and side stack vertical are large throwing lanes and isolated cutters.  The purpose of this article is to explore the options available to throwers, cutters and continuation cutters in order to execute a low risk, yet effective offensive strategy.

Reading Between the Lines

Whether you’re a player, a captain or a coach, you will have invariably dealt with lines – either being called or calling them.

I think there are 4 scenarios for calling lines which depend on the type of game you’re playing:

  1. If you are playing a team that is either stronger or weaker than you, I think it’s a good idea to call positions and rotate among lines.
  2. If you are playing an evenly matched team and you will end up trading points most of the game, I think it’s a good idea to call O and D lines.

Strategies for Indoor Ultimate

Indoor ultimate is different than outdoor ultimate for a few reasons: there is no wind, the field is smaller, there are less players on the field, the disc won’t float as much and there are usually walls/ceilings to contend with. This usually means that the games will involve more precise throws, a different strategy since there will be less players and depending on if you play continuous scoring or not, retaining possession matters more.