Thursday, July 27, 2006

Smash a Zone with a Bathroom Break and Tarzan - RIP

This topic has been covered by many people before, but I think it needs to be reviewed and talked about. This is especially true for more intermediate and beginner crews.

What's the scenario? The opponent is playing a zone defense and all you hear from the sideline is, "guys! dump and swing". So, let's talk about dump and swing type strategy.

There are essentially three approaches (along the lines of traffic light strategy) to playing your zone offence. Red light = the ultra conservative dump and swing. Amber light = a dump swing general framework with options to take some risks. Green light = a free wheeling, do whatever zone break (over the top fan favourites).

Before considering what is the best option, let us consider some variables that might affect a coaches decision:
1. What are the weather conditions?
2. How good are your throwers (in the conditions)?

The first factor, the weather, determines what type of options are available. Is it possible to throw over the top? How risky are the swing throws?

The second factor, your throwers, determines how many dump and swings you can make before a turnover will happen. This factor also determines the throw options you have.

My feeling is that how many throws do you think you're team can throw (dump/swing) before there is a turnover is the coaches main decision point. Say this number is 10. This means that in 10 throws, your handlers will on average cause a turnover between themselves dumping and swinging. In this situation, your team needs to take risks every swing to push the disc upfield. Otherwise, your wasting the disc and not using valuable field yardage to protect your end zone. If your handlers can average 100 throws, then maybe killing the cup is an option.

I'm in the camp (with most teams that can't consistently get that 100 throws) of take risks and push the disc through a zone. At the beginning of a game, give your mids the green light to push the disc when breaking through the zone. Feel free to adjust these strategies as the game progresses, but early on risk and aggression are the way to go instead of conservative non-stop swinging and dumping. Don't think that I'm against the dump and swing, but there potentially is just as much risk in these simple throws.

It's Mowtown Throwdown in Detroit for some teams, so I hope to see some good ultimate, and I'll definitely have things to say after playing some top 16 UPA teams. Maybe ultra conservative might be back in style.



Anonymous said...

Shank says zone o is about attacking the middle fast, meaning either a swing to a give and go (fast!) or a blade/hammer (usually faster). Dump and swing only works when the other team has a fat cup.


Ringalo said...

I really like playing with only 2 handlers, making it so there are 4 people popping in the midfield. This can be tricky because the swing cut needs to be right on otherwise you have just lost yardage and the two handlers can become overwhelmed by the fast approaching cup. What I love about having only 2 handlers is eliminating the static swing pass that is usually used as a crutch, and putting them to some good up field use. By placing the sing in the popping/wing position, you have made a 2 on 1 battle for the disc on an up field swing pass. (2 poppers vs. 1 wing). Having more people in the middle provides a good opportunity for some great give and goes and takes the focus away from having to swing it back and forth in an effort to break the cup. 4 poppers is also a great way to drive the short deep crazy!

The loathing of zone has grown that much more after teaching it for three weeks! blah!

BC said...

Good Read. So true that it is really sad how many people don't understand this. I'll risk one 60-70% throw over many 95% any day. Math people! This same logic applies to the huck game. Just let it go people!