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The Benefits Of Theft

by Seth Wiggins

Steal, steal, steal. If you are the smartest play to have ever played the game, you may have reason to rely on your own originality. If not, find out who is—be it player, team, or just a better division—and how they position themselves to be successful. Any stoppage of play, between points, after timeouts, after violations, will allow you to see what they want to do, given the context on the field. Pay attention during your games. Scout opponents during your bye round. Watch film. Stealing from others may seem unoriginal, but ignoring available information about successful strategies makes your team worse than what it could be. Watch and learn, but remember what you're looking for. Effectiveness in Ultimate is the combination of strategy and athletic ability; enough of one often makes up for a lack in the other. Unless you realistically plan on doing the same, ignore strategy that aims to out-muscle other teams—look for teams and plays that are successful even against superior athletes. Then use it like you drew it up yourself. 

An example of a stolen play is one that comes (I believe, but who knows or cares?) from Vancouver's Furious George. It can be run with any formation downfield, but it starts with the disc near the middle of the field, and two players on the sideline—one even with the disc, and one downfield. To start the play, the cutter even with the disc makes an up-line cut towards the middle of the field, and then goes deep. The cutter downfield near the side line then sprints parallel with the sideline back to the disc. Thrower gets the disc to the sideline to the downfield cutter, who then looks up to the handler cutter either continuing his cut deep, or coming underneath. 

This play is currently run by most teams in the Northwest. We've all seen it many times, but it continues to work again and again. The reason for its continued success is what you should be looking for in a well designed set play: Its ability to force a defense to concede what the offense wants. When the defense knows this play is coming, it can adjust in a number of ways, but none of them (at least that I've seen or tried) could consistently provide a better outcome then what the offense wanted in the first place. The downfield cutter's defender could come all the way around to stop the first cut under, but this would give the thrower, usually the offense's best, a deep shot to a receiver with space. Deep help could come, but would also free their cutter to get an open look in the middle of the field. The mark could adjust to take away the sideline, but this gives up a dangerous downfield break opportunity. Zone defenses, full of holes themselves, lead to dangerous match-up problems later in the point. The defense is stuck—and forced to give the offense what it wants. Think as hard as you can how your plays can do the same—but if a different team or opponent is doing a better job, be smart enough to recognize as well as benefit from their work. 

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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