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Pretty Versus Efficient

by Brett Matzuka

From an elementary basketball analogy (sorry readership to those that know a lot about basketball), if everyone is doing their job, the point guard is keeping the ball alive and getting it into the post when available for the forwards and center to finish off. Much like this, in open field, the handlers are keeping the disc alive and looking to get it to the cutters whenever available. To this end, the cutters are the primary workhorses during this phase of the offense by getting the big gains and opening up the downfield. Once the disc is within the red zone, it is then time for the handlers to earn their keep. 

Back to the beginning, as a cutter, I am getting into my position in the endzone structure my team uses (vertical or horizontal) as quickly as possible to get my legs/breath back. I am assuming of course that we don't have a fastbreak opportunity or offensive advantage in running the disc quickly. Now, most teams I have played with like to use some sort of endzone play to score as it seems, and can be, effective. However, this is likely to correlate to something pretty or conventional. Pretty usually entails a dump-swing followed by some options from cutters followed by another dump-swing and repeated. Now, I am tired so my cut is unlikely to be at 100% which makes it more difficult to get open, let alone, there is a not-too-small probability that if I do get open, there will be a poach. This leads to me becoming more tired, and the endzone offense taking longer to score, which is contrary to my initial hope and team goal of an efficient endzone offense. 

Lets look at this mathematically speaking (extremely simplified but hopefully understandable). Assume: 

Probability of completed dump or swing = 95% 
Probability of completed upfield throw = 90% 

Let's also assume that these events are independent of one another, and an upfield throw equates to a score. 

Now, our "pretty" offense dumps and swings, and that option isn't on so we dump-swing again and then get an upfield option, the probability of this endzone offense scoring is:
(.95)*(.95)*(.95)*(.95)*(.9) = .733 probability of scoring. 

If our endzone doesn't score on that dump-swing, and has to go again, that makes probability of scoring equal to .666. 

So, our pretty offense can quickly lead to a turn with our tired cutters, which will make our cutters even more tired once we get the disc back due to their previous defensive responsibilities. 

Back to the original topic, I have gone to my position quickly to rest and watch the offense. Instead of sticking to our pretty offense where I might make a power cut on my turn to cut, I am going to rest and wait. I will let the handlers earn their keep as I said before by letting them move the disc quickly and get the defense shifting around. Then, once I see a thrower I know well, and have a connection with, get the disc with his defender tailing or out of position, I will look to make my move. I will look to see where my defender's momentum and the thrower's defender's momentum is going, consider what my thrower is willing to throw and what he prefers to throw, and try to match all of these conditions. 

By this I mean, find the space in the endzone, opposite my defender's momentum, that opens up the throw my handler prefers to use (no matter how ridiculous or unconventional). 

Personally, my favorite endzone is a vert stack that is stacked 1/3 of the width away from open side sideline, leaving 2/3 of the width of the field breakside, and letting the handler throw a scoob, high release, or low release into that space for any cutter to run onto. 

Back to our (extremely simplified) mathematical analysis, if you choose the throw the handler prefers (which should increase probability of success) then this can lead to a higher probability of scoring in a more efficient manner, which is what the cutter wanted from the beginning. 

So, this isn't pretty, but can get the job done in a more efficient manner with an equal to higher percentage of scoring. Assume: 

Probability of getting disc to middle of field = 95%
Probability of unconventional throw into endzone = 85%
(.95)*(.85) = .8075 probability of scoring. 

In conclusion, as a cutter, I want an offense that is extremely efficient so I don't have to risk a turnover and more running, let alone, I want to score in as little effort as possible for my sake and my teams. Letting the disc get to the middle and then giving the handler room and time to break the mark makes it easy on me as a cutter, and is a throw we practice time and time again.

huddle Issue 12 Endzone Offense

Tuesday, December 1st, 2008

Timing Is Everything
by Max Cook

Exploiting Defensive Adjustments
by Nick Handler

Know Your Thrower, Make It Easy
by Kris Kelly

What To Do When The Field Shrinks
by Peri Kurshan

Pretty Versus Efficient
by Brett Matzuka

My Favorite Move
by Miranda Roth

Field Quadrants
by Steve Sullivan

Scoring Without Breaking A Mark
by Ben Wiggins

Decisiveness Leads To Glory
by Ryan Winkelmann




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