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Never Lose A Game Without

by Miranda Roth

As a wise woman once said (props to those who get the joke), never lose a game without playing zone. I think this thought answers the question but taken to a broader sense: never get beat over and over again without changing something. 

So your scouting report was wrong or the team has adjusted to all their opponents having the same scouting report on their strong player. This happens very often with great, specialized players. If an amazing receiver gets forced under enough she will become a great thrower. Now what do you do in this situation in real-time? 

First, play zone. If you are worried about a one on one match up, the best way to increase your chances is to allow more defenders to contribute to the match up’s offensive obstacles. Lots of zones would work, but particularly difficult for many all-star players are box and one zones or transition zones. If you play box and one then you are guaranteed to have at least a 2 on 1 situation in all deep looks (your deep-deep and your player on vs. the other team’s star) AND if she goes back to being a throwing threat, you have your player on (maybe with a straight up mark) and a wall of three close behind making her life miserable as a thrower. One thing to be cautious of with a transition zone is to make sure you transition a strong defender onto their main player—sometimes it is worth taking a little extra time or giving up a few free-ish passes to get your match ups straight. 

Second, take note of who has been throwing it to the player in question. Would a straight up mark help, either in discouraging the throws or pushing throws out of bounds? Do the throwers have equally good forehand and backhand hucks (maybe try forcing a different direction)? Maybe getting closer and more aggressive on the mark would really help keep those long throws from going up. I have also known some teams to foul on the mark in this situation. Though I do not encourage this as a strategy (at least not until we have foul limits for individual players), you may want to encourage your marks to be so aggressive that they MIGHT foul. 

Third, ditch the scouting report. Back the heck out of the player in question. Who cares what she’s done earlier in the season, the way she’s beating you in this game is what you need to deal with at the moment. This can also be used in conjunction with a change in marking strategy. 

One other thing I’d like to mention is an interesting strategy I’ve heard for how to get match ups to work. It’s all good and well to put your best defender on the other team’s best player, but if the other team is deeper and generally has more strong players on the field than your team does, you can think about doing what I call the "Tennis Shift." 

In tennis team matches, there are positions 1 through 5 with 1 being the highest (best) players and 5 being the lowest (weakest) players. Sometimes, to win more of these match ups within a match, a team will shift its 5 spot player to the 1 spot and shift the rest of their match ups down. This basically concedes the 1 spot to the opponent, but you have a way better chance at winning the other match ups and maybe the match as a whole. The way this can be applied to ultimate is that you have 1 through 7 defenders to mark 1 through 7 offenders. If you don’t think their #1 is guardable by your #1 defender, try putting your #7 on their #1 and try to win all your other match ups in such a way that the impact their #1 makes is greatly reduced by the players around her being shut down. 

Now, to be fair, I haven’t actually tried the Tennis Shift. My thought is that it could work, but you might not necessarily put #7 on #1 it might be a relative shift. It is very important to think about match ups. Some other things to think about might be putting your tallest defender on the player in question if she is beating you based on height or use your fastest defender if she is beating you on speed. 

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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