Systems

Articles on systems for playing

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.

Flexagon Defence

Foreword

Flexagon approaches defence from a new angle, bringing together elements of man-to-man and zonal defence. Flex is neither “man” nor “zone” – it’s a hybrid. Pressure is applied to every offensive player, whilst the defenders are constantly working together as a team.

Consider a vertical stack. If every defender marks man-to-man, then they are all essentially trying to cover the same open side spaces, leaving the force to cover the break side. This is uses very little teamwork. However, every offensive player is under pressure from a defender, which is good for the defence and bad for the offence. If the defence plays a zone, then the stack is cancelled and the offence spreads out and becomes a ‘zonal offence’.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Zone Defense Analysis

Thanks to Ben Greene for breaking down this defense during the January 2011 USA Ultimate Level II clinic in Chapel Hill, NC.

This presentation attempts to answer the following questions about zone defense:

  1. What are the advantages for the defense in terms of space? What are the threats for the offense?
  2. What disc position is most advantageous for the defense? For the offense?
  3. What (lack of) thrower skills bring advantages for the defense? What skills bring the offensive threats?
  4. Under what field conditions does the defense have the advantage? … does the offense have threats?

Vertical Stack Endzone Defense

Defenders can act as a team to restrict a centre of the field vertical offence. The goal of team defence is to trap a vertical stack on one sideline or the other by forcing throws forward, aggressively preventing upline resets and taking away the huck option with a last back. The scenario is quite easy to setup from a dead disc but can take a team several practices or games before being able to execute during normal flow or game play. Most players will agree it is much easier to defend against an offence from a dead disc than it is to defend a team that is moving the disc well. To that end, it is quite easy to beat handler defenders up-line during normal flow, which results in well timed hucks to cutters with separation. So, at best you may trap a team successfully 10 times per game and force 3 or 4 turnovers. At some point, however, the offence will work the disc to within a few yards of their scoring end zone.

Let’s Talk About Space

Recently I have been consuming quite a bit of Ultimate. After an injury-induced hiatus I am now playing in two leagues and I have also been watching as many games as I can find online, particularly with some great content coming out of Worlds. I have really enjoyed being able to watch so many great games!

Whilst being exposed to all this ultimate I have observed an emerging point of interest that I’d like to talk about a bit in this post. Specifically, the importance of space on the field and how space can be considered a commodity. It is a fairly fresh thought process for me so hopefully it comes across as something useful for other players to consider.

Ultimate Intelligence – Head to the End Zone!

This is the first of a series of Ultimate Intelligence posts that I hope to write. These posts will hopefully provide some useful information that you can use to improve your game in a variety of ways. For the most part Ultimate Intelligence will be about on-field performance and may include tips regarding tactics, physical work or mental perspective.

This post will focus on an improvement that can be made from both an attitude and a tactical perspective. This isn’t necessarily an advanced tactic, any player could take these instructions on board and incorporate them into their game.

Ultimate Project #13

Michael Lawler takes us in detail through 2 poor endzone points in the Brute Squad vs Scandal game, Boston Invite 2011. Before watching this video, you should check out Ultimate Project #5 first – which shows 4 good endzone points. Watching Project #5 first will show you what good endzone points look like and as Michael says, puts you in a good mood before watching this one. It’s good to learn what both good and bad points look like both to learn what good and bad positioning is all about and also see how execution matters that close to the endzone.