huddle banner

Make It A Team Game

by Ben Wiggins

They say that coaching is the art of making decisions without statistical significance in the data. Ok, they don't say that...I say that. We have 6 minutes left in halftime, and our captains are getting together to decide if Big Thrower is just having a great half, or if this is a tactical change. To any reasonable statistical measure, we are flipping a coin here. The data just doesn't exist to tell us for sure whether or not this might happen in the second half, and it's gonna be a gut call if we want to switch tactics. Is this their new playing style, or will our scouting report come around before that 15th goal? 

My gut usually sticks with the scouting report; I have a lot of faith in how I scout teams, and if I was sure 50 minutes ago that this guy is a better thrower than cutter, well, 50 minutes and some lost sweat shouldn't change that. In fact, nothing in the first half has contradicted our report...heck, if we had been pushing him towards the disc, maybe we are already down 8-5 or 8-4. This might just be his day. 

If my team is a pressure-D kind of team, then that gives me another reason to stick with the ‘push him out' strategy. I don't want to let up on their offense as a unit, giving them a free reset to their best player, just because of a couple of goals. This is, to me, just too reactionary. If the situation were reversed, and we had a player that was typically big/fast that we liked to push under...but he threw 3 good hucks in the first half...I would be more likely to switch now, since we would be amping up our own pressure on those hucking to him. Now we are trying to play our game better, rather than worry about what THEY do...all that matters is us once that first pull goes up. Any adjustment we make should be secondary towards improving what WE do, not just trying to not lose to them. 

So, I'm reluctant to change thoroughly and start forcing toward the disc. 

How can we steal some blocks from a gifted player? 

First off, I am likely to change some of our other matchups. I'll put my smartest/biggest defender on their worst downfield thrower, and let them know to keep their head up and bust deep to go for double-covers on hucks to Big Thrower. We might give up an under-cut to their worst thrower, but we might catch them going back to the well once too often. I might put my smartest/quickest defender on their worst handler, and have them poaching into the lanes to block hucks from that flat region about 5 yards downfield of the disc. In either case, I am looking to my experienced off-ball defenders to make this a team game instead of a series of 1-v-1 matchups while their best player has the NBA Jam flying disc. Why do you think great D-teams always have at least 2 guys over 30 years old out there? Experienced defenders can make the kind of adjustments that don't force you to abandon your game plan. 

(I cannot fully express my outrage at the opposite; inexperienced defender with the "at least my guy didn't do anything, so I did MY job"...what, guarding the end-zone isn't your job? Guarding the disc isn't? What good are you if you care more about the guy standing in the stack than you do about the plastic they keep catching. Can you imagine someone feeling vindicated that they were a great defender because they successfully stood in the corner with Derek Fisher while Kobe scored 60? Go get in the game, or get off the line and let someone who isn't scared to be in a poster make us a better team). 

I like rotating different defenders on this player, especially since this lets me do some gambling against their pull play. If I smell a huck play, I'm putting in a bigger defender and fronting...let's get aggressive and ask them to huck against someone that, before this half, they would not have wanted to go deep on. If I feel like a throw is coming, I'm obviously coming with my marker. 

I'm telling my team at halftime that their offense is going through one player right now; he's scored half of their goals and they are relying on him for everything from deep cuts to throws to their primary decoy. We start shutting him down, and we can bring their house of cards tumbling down. This reliance on one player is our opportunity. Sure, they are a great team, and sometimes a great team wins with a 2-point halftime lead...but let's grind out some yards on offense and start playing 21-on-1 against their star, and see who breaks first. We have the team to do it, the offense to take care of what it needs to take care of, and it's on us to prove that what we have done in practice this year, and on the track, and in the weight room is worth it. Get on that guy, mess with him game. Get your teammates back, fly to the ball when it hits the air. Let's enforce our game on this patch of grass, and win or lose we are going to show them a level of defense they aren't ready for. 

huddle Issue 3 Defending A Hucker

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Question Your First-Half Performance
by Chris Ashbrook

Keep Your Opponent Guessing
by Gwen Ambler

The Answer May Be On The Field Already
by Tully Beatty

Stay Resilient
by Lou Burruss

Old School Vs. New School
by VY Chow

by Matt Dufort

Alternating Matchups
by Jeff Eastham-Anderson

Suggested Team & Individual Tactics
by Jeff Graham

What Do They Want To Do?
by Dan Heijmen

Make Any Adjustment...Just Make It Now
by Ryan Morgan

Never Lose A Game Without...
by Miranda Roth

Cue The Comeback!
by Kirk Savage

Make The Offense Uncomfortable
by Nancy Sun

What To Concede & What To Take Away
by Chris Talarico

Defensive Goals
by Ben van Heuvelen

Containing A Big Thrower
by Mike Whitaker

Make It A Team Game
by Ben Wiggins




  • Issues

  • Features

  • Authors

  • About

      huddle issue034   huddle issue033   huddle issue032   huddle issue031   huddle issue030  
      huddle issue029   huddle issue028   huddle issue027   huddle issue026   huddle issue025  
      huddle issue024   huddle issue023   huddle issue022   huddle issue021   huddle issue020  
      huddle issue019   huddle issue018   huddle issue017   huddle issue016   huddle issue015  
      huddle issue014   huddle issue013   huddle issue012   huddle issue011   huddle issue010  
      huddle issue009   huddle issue008   huddle issue007   huddle issue006   huddle issue005  
      huddle issue004   huddle issue003   huddle issue002   huddle issue001      
      huddle feature026   huddle feature025   huddle feature024   huddle feature023   huddle feature022  
      huddle feature021   huddle feature020   huddle feature019   huddle feature018   huddle feature017  
      huddle feature016   huddle feature015   huddle feature014   huddle feature013   huddle feature012  
      huddle feature011   huddle feature010   huddle feature009   huddle feature008   huddle feature007  
      huddle feature006   huddle feature005   huddle feature004   huddle feature003   huddle feature002  
      huddle feature001                  


  • Authors

  • About / Get Involved