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"Point Guard" Options

by Ben Wiggins

When I play, I often pick up the disc after a turnover. When I coach, my teams are in this situation often (as Lou noted, college teams have dead-disc situations much more frequently than in club Ultimate). Given the inherent confusion of the moment, I value a simple communication system in order to create positive and coordinated disc movement in a chaotic environment. 

I really don't care if everyone on the team can call plays. How many players are really going to be picking up the disc after a turnover anyway? 2-3 on your team, total? 4? What I do value, however, is a system where those few players can simply and clearly tell the rest of the team what they want to happen. As a coach, I like to be able to call out a sequence to beat a specific poach or matchup. I like running very few plays, but having an extra level of communication ready to describe individual moves. 

One system I've used: Every player on the team is assigned a letter. Unless they are a play-caller, they really only need to remember that single letter (which is great for the majority of the team that is rarely going to be encoding the information). We then use either a number or a letter for 4-5 different kinds of cuts. 1 = deep, 2 = in, 3= break, etc. This means that I can walk to a disc, and see that the defense is planning an in-out bracket of two cutters. If those cutters are 'R' and 'S'. I can call R2 S3, telling both cutters to come underneath to different sides of the field. It doesn't matter that neither cutter can see the bracket; they'll give me bracket-beating options naturally. 

You can cook this system up by adding in numbers for dump-swings, give-go moves, and continuation (for example, R2 S2 might be simultaneous cuts, but saying ''R3 and S1'' could give me an open R cutting for a break throw and then looking for a huck to S. 

When I played basketball, my team ran 6-8 plays during the course of a game. Each play, however, gave me different options that I could use. If we had a nice size mismatch at small forward, there was a play that (even if not the first option) would send our SF into the post. Running a (relatively) simple system to give your on-field 'point guards' (or at least your coach) these kind of flexible options might be worth your time. 

Obviously, this is useless for pull-plays and sacrifices the timing/precision of well-practiced set plays. I've had the privilege of playing with excellent and intelligent defenders (two of whom are writing in this Issue) on my team who, in scrimmages, would tear apart set plays after seeing them just a few times. To me, the ability to react to dynamic situations with simple play-calls is more important than a really smooth team play. 

huddle Issue 22 Set Plays

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Selecting Plays For Your Team
by Lou Burruss

Simplicity, Creativity
by Lindsey Hack

The Double Flat Stack
by Andy Lovseth

Great Play(er)s
by Ted Munter

Secrecy & Spying In Ultimate
by Charlie Reznikoff

by Adam Sigelman

Point Guard Options
by Ben Wiggins

The Benefits Of Theft
by Seth Wiggins





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