Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Rainbow of Ultimate

A few years back, there was an open team from Ottawa called GLU (green light ultimate). I find the name and the concept of traffic lights quite applicable to Ultimate strategy. In this article, I'll briefly describe how I think the three colours of the traffic light should apply to a team.

In the most basic form, the three colours correspond as follows:
Red Light - A very tight ultimate game in which players are playing high percentage ultimate.
Amber Light - A mixture of a tight well planned game with the option of letting loose under the right conditions.
Green Light - Loose ultimate to the point where you can almost be careless.

The reason I like these three options is that it represents a theme which I'll probably come back to; the more ways a team plays (repertoire) is the key to being able to adjust both pre-emptively and post to another team. The lights of type of offensive play are one element to be added to a teams repertoire.

The only other two things I want to talk about with respect to ultimate and traffic lights are:
1. Green Light Ultimate and my perspective
2. How to train a team to play in different modes

First, green light is a special case. If you're a somewhat experienced ultimate player think of those games when you play a relatively new athletic team, and that team plays an unorthodox game, but somehow comes down or in general succeeds. This is what I think green light ultimate should emphasize. I think one great option, playing "out of the box" ultimate, is a great option to surprise teams.

The second point that I think is useful to discuss is how to train for all these different modes. Well first off, you need to have a team that is disciplined, because red light (as you define it) is tough ultimate to play for some players, and green light is similarly difficult for some players. If your team has discipline, or is willing to try and achieve that discipline, the next step is simple, and just practice and play under different conditions.

Stage one of your team's repertoire is develop different modes of offense.



Tom said...

I think it's as important to have diversity in the types of risks to be taken as well as in the level of risk. I was talking to Warren the other day about this and about the difference between what I see as "thrower risks" vs. "receiver risks". A thrower risk would be attempting a pass where the reception is easy (if the throw gets there) but the pass is difficult... anything that has a chance of getting poached, hand-blocked, etc. is a thrower risk. A receiver risk is attempting a pass where there's a margin of error for the thrower, but the receiver must make a play, such as a deep huck or a german or something. It's my observation that if a team's risk-taking becomes unbalanced, it may have a stifling effect on the team's development and success as players don't develop a "complete" game, and the offense becomes excessively predictable.