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Selecting Plays For Your Team

by Lou Burruss

The trick to a good set play package is selecting the right plays for your team. Here are some basic guidelines: 

1. Make it worth your time. There is only so much your team can learn, so you want to make sure you are getting the most out of what you are practicing. If you are playing elite club ultimate, over half of your possessions are going to be off of the pull, so learn more pull plays. If you are playing college ultimate, only a third of your possessions are coming off the pull, so put more energy into transition plays (dead disc plays and fast breaks.) For example, Sockeye typically runs about 15 pull plays (40 in the play book) and 2 or 3 dead disc plays. This year, Oregon ran 3 pull plays and 2 dead disc plays. 

2. Keep it simple. The-best-play-of-all-time is also the simplest. Stand five guys on one side of the field and let your best player get open on the other. Who runs this play? Jam? Ironside? Sockeye? Carleton? Burning Skirts? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. I'm not a big believer in trickery. Learn a few simple plays, get really damn good at them and shove them down the other team's throat. 

3. Space. The-best-play-of-all-time is also a classic example of managing space. Using the set circumstance of a pull, the offensive team can open up an entire sideline and the deep space for a single cutter, making it very difficult for the defender to cover all the options. It is also possible to organize the players on the field to take advantage of other kinds of space. The two commonly used formations are the German and the flat stack. I like the German because I think it gives the main cutter some nice side-to-side space that leads to some great downfield options. I don't like flat stack plays very much because the lanes are too crowded and you have to move several cutters out of the way in order to make space for the intended target. Why not just start with them moved out of the way? Admittedly, things are a little different at the elite level because of the sophistication of the defenders, but the basic plan is the still to make space for a single cutter. An elite pull play might put three guys in motion, two of whom are making space and one of whom is the cutter using that space. I don't think this is necessary at the college level; I have yet to see a college team consistently pull off the three-way switch necessary to shut down a pull play. 

4. Practice. And more practice. 

Good luck. 

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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