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Questions About Your Zone O

by Greg Husak

There are a number of ways to try to approximate the weather approximations that a zone offense will face. Some of these strengthen the defense such as adding an 8th player to the d or shortening the stall count while others might hamper the offense no overheads or huck limits. 

There is really no good way to approximate inclement weather for the offense, but at some point you can handcuff the offense enough that when they face a weather situation with standard playing conditions they will feel that things are easy, and really that is the goal. 

There is no right answer for the correct approach to playing zone offense, but some are better than others. The Condors radically changed their zone offense after losing to DoG in the finals of nationals in 1998, basically borrowing whatever they gleaned from playing against DoG that year. The real story is deciding how your team can realistically attack a zone. Do you have consistent handlers who can swing the disc to tire the other team out? Do you have flashy handlers who can beat a zone by going over the top? Do you have runners who can keep moving around to stretch the defense and create holes? Depending on the answers to these questions, the optimal offense may be different for your team. The real key is to get players to know what their role is. Do you want your wings/poppers running around getting into the cup and pulling and prodding at the defense, or do you want them to be stationary and waiting until they are in a free space to receive the disc? Similarly, should your deeps be setting up for a deep cut, or should they be trying to pull the deep defender out of the play, or should two deeps be trying to split the deep defender? These questions can be answered through some trial and error, but eventually the team should be aware of what the goals of the offense are, such as "we're going to swing until Bob can uncork a huck", or "when it gets to the line, we want the deep flashing in", etc. 

Recognizing that the opponent is running zone is critical to getting a successful start to the point. Ideally the spatial distribution of skill on your team will look fairly similar whether the opponent is running zone or man. What this means is that your deeps in zone, are also likely the people who are looking to cut deep off the pull, while your handlers are around the disc in either case. Sometimes a clever zone offense doesnt need to announce the other teams defense to fall into the proper spacing, and even making some man cuts might free up space for other players to exploit in the zone. At some point the offense should settle into its zone offense, but I always preferred to try to get the man play off against a zone defense. If you can get the disc past an unorganized cup, there might be an easy chance to exploit the defense. 

Finally, I think it is important to put your most composed handler on the downwind side to be there for the trap. This may not necessarily be your best thrower, but rather the person that will create a sense of calm when in that situation. Freaked-out throwers tend to draw everyone closer to them, which might not be most beneficial to the offense. Rather, having a composed thrower will keep the offense in its form so that the thrower will have the best opportunities to complete things, the offense will maintain its plan of attack because the positioning is stable, and finally to give everyone else confidence that the zone defense can be beaten by sticking to the plan.

huddle Issue 18 Zone Offense

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

The Condor Zone O
by Lou Burruss

Adjustments & Positioning
by Jeff Eastham-Anderson

Prepping For A 4-Person Cup
by Lindsey Hack

Questions About Your Zone O
by Greg Husak

A Slow-Developing Chess Game
by Peri Kurshan

Wings & Poppers
by Ryan Morgan

Three Points
by Ted Munter

The Jailbreak
by Charlie Reznikoff

Effective Practice For Zone
by Miranda Roth

Personal Fundamentals Of Zone O
by Ben van Heuvelen





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