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What Do They Want To Do?

by Dan Heijmen

Whenever lining up against a gifted opponent I have always found it helpful to ask myself: what does this player want to do? In this case, this player is most comfortable and probably most confident in a handler role, staying behind the disc and throwing goals rather than receiving them. When playing against teams that have a player like this, someone who excels in many aspects, always make them beat you with their Plan B or Plan C, never Plan A. 

When playing Brown in 2005 (the year they ended up winning nationals) we knew what they wanted to do. They wanted to isolate Zip (Josh Ziperstein), and allow him to do what he does best: fake someone silly and bust deep. This would usually happen when their best thrower that year (Vandenberg) had the disc. This was an incredibly effective strategy for them. They had the best player in college ultimate that year (maybe ever) and one of the best pure throwers. This was their Plan A: Zip go deep, Vandenberg throw deep. When playing Brown that year in quarterfinals of Centex (the last game they lost!) we wanted to make sure that if they beat us, it would not be because we couldn't stop Zip going deep. So, we put one of our best defenders on him (Gigo Valdivia) with instructions to back Zip and let him get the disc underneath. We wanted to force Brown out of their comfort zone, which I believe we did. We ended winning an epic game on universe point. 

In this above described situation, I think you need to go into the second half feeling confident number one. You are down a break to a team that isn't beating you the way they want. Sure they are happy to be up, but as this game wears on they will unconsciously (or consciously) want to return to what got them there: their thrower throwing, not receiving, deep discs. Here's what I tell my team going into the second half: so far we are executing our strategy, but the results aren't there. What we need to do is ratchet up the intensity on their throwers. Make it so they don't want the disc in their hands. I would try putting a straight up mark on the players that have been hucking, with the hopes of disrupting or deterring their chances. You don't need to stop every huck; you just need to do whatever you can to make the throw less than perfect. Downfield I would put one of, if not our best deep defender on the player beating us deep. I woud continue to front him, but maybe not by as much. I would also instruct the players on the weak side of the field, to look for opportunities to help deep if an uncontested huck does go up. I would also make sure to remind my players that we are doing what we are supposed to do, have confidence in the game plan and make your opponent feel the pressure of playing outside their comfort zone. 

In the end, if a team is able to beat you going outside their game plan...well, hats off to them. But allowing them to beat you how they want to beat you is unacceptable. And if the strategy you went into the game with still isn't working late in the second half, maybe you just want to jump ship. Try force middle, even going zone or switching the matchup you have on their stud. Throw the kitchen sink at them. Make them play how you want them to play, force them to dig into their pockets for Plans C, D and E. 

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




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