huddle banner

Closing Your Eyes To Open Them

by Josh Greenough

Good field vision can be described as a contrast between being somebody with good field sense and somebody who has "visionary throws." If you have ever been called "visionary" I bet that it wasn't a compliment. 

Most of the time people who are described as having good field vision are players who have a general sense of what is going on with all 14 players on the field. This is broken down into four things: a good understanding of passing lanes, a strong mastery of various throwing skills, a knowledge of what the offensive system is trying to attack and what the defense is currently doing to stop that attack. Anybody who has a visionary throw has gotten away with a dumb decision because of a terrific throw and probably bad defense, i.e. it shouldn't have worked but it did. A player with good field vision can close his or her eyes and describe how all 13 other players are positioned and where they intend to go. 

When an O point starts there is usually a string called and somebody with good field vision is going to be able to quickly assess whether the called play is on or off based on how hard people are running down and what lanes they are in. This is true for both the thrower and the cutters. As a cutter you should be identifying who is covering you and who is poaching the lanes so that you can set up a good cut if you are in the string or figure out how to engage your player if you are not. When you are a thrower it is more important to be aware of all 7 defenders so that you can make the right throw. This is true in all non-string situations as well and you should be aware of the surroundings at all times. 

As a thrower there are 3 types of thinkers:

  1. New players can focus on the their immediate target and assess whether that player is open or not. This is a binary decision of whether to throw or not to throw. Ideally, the player will be able to see a poach and not make a mistake, but there is little to be gained by merely not throwing to somebody who is double covered. This is the minimal level of success.
  2. Moderate players can adjust to a secondary defender and see the poach who is affecting it. If the second player is in their field of vision they should spot that uncovered O player and throw to them since they are uncovered. This is good because it allows the player not to make a mistake and advance the disc, but does not take full advantage of poaches.
  3. Great players can see a poach and know what is happening outside of their field of vision. This is where great field vision is most powerful because it allows a player to know where to attack after only looking at half the field. This leads to quick decisions and massive shifts in the focus of the offense, which is devastating to the defense. Joe Montana and LeBron James are cited as having this kind of vision. They know what pass to throw before they look because they see a defender doing something other than guarding the prescribed player. They might not see their teammate, but they can see that they are undefended.

In the third scenario the thrower knows what is going to happen one throw ahead of time. In normal offensive flow this means knowing where the next pass is going to go before it's thrown, which will help with spacing and clearing. Also, if the give and go is a part of the offense then a player needs to know when to use it and when it would cut off upfield flow. Ideally a thrower would know where the huck is likely to be generated. Is it going to happen after a swing to the dead side or off an up line dump cut? In both situations it will enable better timing on the part of the cutters and throwers. 

On occasion it is up to a thrower to create some offense. More often than not this is in a zone where the offensive players are working to create good spacing with various defensive set-ups. The thrower needs to throw to a space where the offensive player can get to the disc well ahead of any defender. In man to man defense, this same theory can apply to stoppages of play, but it is more common in zone where the throw initiates most of the movement. To do this, the thrower needs to assess the defense and, via a fake or other gesture/positioning, cause some defensive movement that will open up the optimal target. When this happens the throw must be to a place where a teammate can get it but no defender can. This requires a strong understanding of what the offense is attacking versus what the defense is taking away. Examples of this are throws through gaps in the cup, short upside down flips over the top or deep hammers to wings. 

I see Ultimate moving toward an NBA/NFL defensive system where the D is trying to make the other team use their secondary option most of the time. This is achieved by taking away certain parts of the field or double teaming a great individual. If we then get into a pattern of O players trying to outthink a D line, with guessing games on both sides, I believe that it will be a major advancement for the sport. Think about Peyton Manning vs. the main linebacker or safety and you will get the picture of where we are going. 

Putting your head down and running hard against your matchup is going to be a less successful strategy in the next 10 years. 


huddle Issue 29 Field Vision

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

A Little Perspective
by Mark Earley

Closing Your Eyes To Open Them
by Josh Greenough

Understanding The Information
by Greg Husak

Yeah Iverson, We're Talkin' About Practice
by Ryan Morgan

Play A Different Position
by Ted Munter

Learn To Think so You Don't Have To Think
by Jim Parinella

Pattern Recognition
by Charlie Reznikoff





  • Issues

  • Features

  • Authors

  • About

      huddle issue034   huddle issue033   huddle issue032   huddle issue031   huddle issue030  
      huddle issue029   huddle issue028   huddle issue027   huddle issue026   huddle issue025  
      huddle issue024   huddle issue023   huddle issue022   huddle issue021   huddle issue020  
      huddle issue019   huddle issue018   huddle issue017   huddle issue016   huddle issue015  
      huddle issue014   huddle issue013   huddle issue012   huddle issue011   huddle issue010  
      huddle issue009   huddle issue008   huddle issue007   huddle issue006   huddle issue005  
      huddle issue004   huddle issue003   huddle issue002   huddle issue001      
      huddle feature026   huddle feature025   huddle feature024   huddle feature023   huddle feature022  
      huddle feature021   huddle feature020   huddle feature019   huddle feature018   huddle feature017  
      huddle feature016   huddle feature015   huddle feature014   huddle feature013   huddle feature012  
      huddle feature011   huddle feature010   huddle feature009   huddle feature008   huddle feature007  
      huddle feature006   huddle feature005   huddle feature004   huddle feature003   huddle feature002  
      huddle feature001                  


  • Authors

  • About / Get Involved