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Provide New Information and Reinforcement

by Shane Rubenfeld

Sideline talk should make the players on the field more effective in two ways: it should help them make different decisions than they might make otherwise, and it should help them (re)act more quickly to game situations. In other words, the primary functions of sideline talk are to provide new information, and to provide reinforcement that cuts down processing time. 

'Provide new information': tell the player on the field anything they can't see that might- or should- change the way they play for the next few seconds or passes. Generally, this type of sideline call will mostly come on the defensive end, when your players are primarily focused on their assignment. The 'UP!' call is perhaps the most basic of these, and the absence of this call as a team habit is a hallmark of inexperience. Does your team use any of these calls from the sideline: "Broken!" "You've got time!" "Who's poached?!" ? 

'Reinforcement': In my experience, it's more difficult to provide helpful sideline talk to the players on offense. Most of the time, cutters know their job and cutting can be incredibly subjective, down to abstractions such as the number of steps you need to make your move, or the feeling of how close on you your defender is. Reinforcing talk that helps make decisions faster can cut down on offensive miscues and the awkward waffling that often happens at the transition between cutting and clearing. "Clear out" calls can help a cutter instinctively peel out of a lane instead of taking an extra three steps wondering if the disc will come. "Look dump", "swing it!", "move the ball!" et cetera can remind a handler of his obligations. Overdone, these can quickly become overkill, but used judiciously these reinforcing calls can facilitate your cutting system and keep the disc moving. 

On defense, reinforcing calls will largely bolster the willpower of the defensive player, and thus production. The player knows very well that he should play the open side of his man, but often he is tired, sore and unfocused. Staying in his ear when he's out of position will remind him that his job is important and appreciated and often provide the needed energy to finish out the point. 

The most effective sidelines will specialize sideline players. Instead of just watching the game and calling out things that you notice happening, assign sideline players to different onfield players or to different roles. Here are two sideline roles that I take most frequently: 

*Talk to Deep-- Have someone always talking to the deepest player; in addition to making sure no one sneaks out on him, you can also keep an eye on whether the thrower is taking notice of a deep cut. If I always know who's deepest at a given moment, or which tall fast guy can lend support, I can scream his name out the instant I see a big thrower start his windup or get the disc upline. The second that will give before everyone else yells 'UP!' can often mean two steps, a full commitment, and the D. 

*Behind the Marker-- My favorite sideline role is to take a position directly behind the thrower when the disc is coming in on my sideline. Talking to the mark, I can see everything the thrower can see. Its generally obvious from that position who the cutting options are and when the thrower's faking, and I can help the mark only shift the force in reaction to real threats. I use the calls 'left hand' and 'right hand' to cut down processing time, as opposed to 'no I/O' etc. A good pair of marker and caller can often take risks-- such as jumping the dump look on a higher count-- that would be foolish without a caller confirming that no one dropped an assignment on an open side cutter. 

Does your team emphasize sideline talk? Do you acknowledge this each point? How much of your talk provides information or confirmation?

huddle issue030 Using The Sideline Voice

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Keep It Calm
by Jody Avirgan

Two Things Durings A Point
by Jeff Eastham-Anderson

Standardizing A Team Way Of Communicating
by Greg Husak

A Strong Sideline Voice
by Tyler Kinley

Tangible vs. Intangible
by Brett Matzuka

A Constant Stream Of Specific Information
by Colin McIntyre

Make It Useful
by Jim Parinella

Sharing The Work
by Logan Pendragon

Assisting The Visually Impaired
by Taylor Pope

It Takes Practice
by Moses Rifkin

Loud + Positive = Good
by Miranda Roth

Provide New Information and Reinforcement
by Shane Rubenfeld

The Zone
by Ben van Heuvelen




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