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Keep Your Opponent Guessing

by Gwen Ambler

This week's question is essentially asking what do you do if your original game plan and strategy for how to play a certain player doesn't seem to be working. In this case, I would consider coming up with multiple different strategies for minimizing that players' apparent strengths. Here are four possible strategies (and in the order I would attempt them) for dealing with a player with dominant throws: 

1. Front her to try and deny her the disc on any easy pass, forcing her to make plays in a way that is not her preference (i.e. going deep to try and catch goals instead of throw them). This strategy is what I would always try first, but in the scenario outlined, it didn't seem to be working. While you might abandon this strategy for awhile, don't forget to try it again later in the game. 

2. Guard her on her inside hip so that you can always see both your woman and the disc and try and push her out wide to the open side. This is a containment-type defense where you concede certain passes but try to take away the player's most damaging un-marked throws. This positioning should make a handler stay near the disc because she would seem more open cutting in than away, but the defender is close enough to make a play on a bad pass, or put on a mark if she does catch it. A good marker is vital for this defense. By positioning yourself in the inside-out space, you ensure that she is less likely to catch a pass on the break-side and get off a huck. When she catches the disc, the sideline should yell, "Thrower!" to alert the downfield D that a huck might be coming. The defense's priority is to only have her throw open side hucks so that the downfield D can anticipate where the deep looks are coming from. 

3. If the downfield defense is still getting burned by her long throws, I would then set up a clam defense where the player in question and the other two handlers are marked person-on, while the four remaining players play more of a zone downfield, covering players only when they cut into their space. This should ensure that there is always a defender last back ready to defend any deep pass that gets put up. Even if this defense is only used as a transition D, forcing the offense to adjust to multiple defensive looks during a point can be effective. 

4. The last specific defense I would consider is a box-and-one. Even if it is not windy, this defense can be effective if your opponent is used to relying on its main thrower to run its zone offense. Set up a 3-2-1 zone where the extra person guards the target handler person-on, fronting her and trying to deny any easy reset. If the handler goes deep, the defense will have help from the zone's deep deep defender. 

How many different defensive looks your team will need to use in a game to shut down a specific player really depends on how good she is and how much her team relies on her. The better the player and the more well-rounded the team, the more quickly they will adjust to a specific defense. That's why it's important to have numerous defenses to alternate between so you keep your opponent guessing and you can narrow down what sort of defensive options seem most effective. 

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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