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The Condor Zone O

by Lou Burruss

Up through the 90s, teams played a mix of two- and three-handler sets, but all zone offenses emphasized swinging the disc and attacking the far side of the field against a zone on the run. Then, the Condors, led by handlers James Studarus, Steve Dugan and Taro Ramberg began to run something fundamentally different. This was a two-handler set that didn't swing and attacked a stagnant zone. Their philosophy was that no matter how many defenders you pulled in, you weren't going to be able to stop two of them from throwing it back and forth to each other on little two to five yard passes. Then sooner or later, you'd make a mistake and they'd go through or over your cup and have a five-on-four fast break. That's when they'd chew you for big yards. 

Look around ultimate today and you can see the signs of this offense everywhere. Handlers who crash the cup? Yep. Teams throwing through and over the cup consistently? Yep. Teams breaking the cup and then stringing four or five passes together rapidly? Yep. Not having to listen to teams exhort each other to "Swing the disc" and "Tire them out?" Yep. 

What are the requirements for running this offense? You need are two savvy, creative handlers who can respond to a variety of situations and have the skills to break a cup down. These skills don't (and won't) look the same for any two players. Some players might throw lots of little cute throws like lefties or scoobers (they do work in the wind), while other players might wield a big hammer or a nasty set of inside outs. It doesn't matter so much what it is as long as they have something. You also need a team that can play quick once the zone has been broken. They physical skill of quick catch and release is a must and there are lots of fun drills for this. The mental skill of reading the defense is also a requirement. I like a four-on-three or three-on-two fast break drill to develop this vision and reinforce the physical skills. Good luck!

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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