Friday, July 21, 2006

Use the Force ... Screw you Ben

One of my favourite calls from the sideline is, "no break". This statement alludes to the concept that if the force is in a particular direction (home/away means force to that side of the field) that the marker (person defending the current opponent with the disc) should not allow a throw to go in the direction opposite of the force. For example, if I'm forcing you home (home is the sideline where my bag of stuff is), then you will break me if you can throw in the direction opposite to home.

This is my favourite call since it is relatively impossible to achieve. A good thrower can almost always break the force. We will start this discussion from a classic drill called "Three Man" or "Trois Hommes".

In "Trois Hommes", three people (shockingly) work in a drill where one person has the disc, one person marks the disc, and the remaining person is in a position to catch a 10-15 yard throw. The marker is using a straight up throw which means she is directly in the throwing path between the thrower and the receiver. The thrower attempts to break the mark (without using over the top throws), and the receiver is not allowed to move. Once the throw is thrown, the thrower runs over to the recent receiver, and the action repeats. Hopefully, that makes some sense.

Well, the interesting thing about this drill is that it is very difficult to get a hand block or stall down, and not get broken by the thrower. This is my preliminary proof to the reality of a thrower breaking any type of mark since in this drill the thrower can throw directly through the mark.

This, however, is not sufficient proof because this drill does not take into account both the defender on the receiver and the action of a receiving cut. Taking these two variables into account does not really add more difficulty to the break (they're more about timing and positioning), these variables are not sufficient to make a break impossible, or arguably, even that difficult.

What we need to consider is the type of break that we want to stop. I'm going to define three categories of breaks (consider that a longitude line (meridian) extends directly from the thrower and intersects 90 degrees with the front end-zone line). :

1. The upfield slight break (US Break ... for my friends to the south) - this is a break where the disc is thrown at an angle of 15 degrees or less from the meridian. The throw is a slight break of the mark with a gain in distance.
2. The hard angle break (HA Break ... funny) - this is a break between 15 and 75 degrees with some sort of gain in distance.
3. The swing break (S Break ... got nothing) - this is a break of the force between 75 degrees or greater where the disc is not moving upfield and possibly back field.

At this stage I'm not going to get into which break is the most dangerous, but I'm sure most of us are worried about the HA Break. I also believe that most people when they yell, "no break," are referring to the "no HA Break".

Still, the funniest thing to see at the end of a point is a so called veteran come over to a youngen after an S or US break and yell at them for letting out a break (mind you, if the veteran is 7 foot and incredibly agile, maybe they can claim never being broken).

Sure this is funny, but what can we do to stop the different breaks. Well, first a team needs to decide which break you want to help prevent (let help prevent mean make that throw as hard as possible). Now let us look back to the "trois hommes" drill for some inspiration on positioning.
In the drill, you have essentially chosen to help prevent one of the breaks. As you do this drill, move closer and move farther away from the thrower you are marking. What you should notice is as you move away (to a limit) the thrower has more of a challenge to throwing by you. Interesting... Second get a feel for where to look at the person. I've had a lot of recommendations for mirroring the feet of the thrower.

To summarize, on the Ultimate field, breaks are not stoppable, but a team can try to prevent breaks or at least make them harder. I believe you can make one type of break really hard, make a second type of break kinda hard, and one type of break will always get off. Your defensive teammates need to know which one to really worry about (the really easy). But in general, let the call "no break" mean someone's in trouble and has lost their man to the break side.

Some other classics calls are "poach" and "chilly". I like chilly, but hate hearing it.

PJ

4 comments:

kirker said...

nice work jeters! i agree that breaks can be tough to contain- but little things like marking up at specific angles and keeping hands low can help minimize the damage. one thing we see the sockeye boys do is the "clown" mark. they jump, kick, and flail their arms about in a seemingly random fashion. although it looks a little crazy, it is very effective at discouraging big throws.

kirker said...

jeters! glad to see that you are sharing your wisdom. minimizing breaks can really can be tough to contain- but little things like corraling your marking at specific angles and keeping hands low, fast feet, etc. can really help minimize the damage.
one thing the sockeye boys have mastered is the crazy phrenetic mark (aka the "clown" mark). they jump, kick, and flail their arms about in a seemingly random fashion. although it looks a little crazy, it is very effective at discouraging big throws and breaks.

kirker said...

nice work jeters! i agree that breaks can be tough to contain- but little things like marking up at specific angles and keeping hands low can help minimize the damage. one thing we see the sockeye boys do is the "clown" mark. they jump, kick, and flail their arms about in a seemingly random fashion. although it looks a little crazy, it is very effective at discouraging big throws.

kirker said...

nice work jeters! i agree that breaks can be tough to contain. little things like corraling the mark at specific angles and keeping hands low can help minimize the damage.
something the sockeye boys seem to have mastered is the phrenetic mark (aka, the "clown" mark). they kick, and flail their arms about in a seemingly random fashion. although it looks a little crazy, it is very effective at discouraging big throws and breaks. one thing you quickly discover when attempting such an active mark is the level of fitness required to be an effective mark. if a team is consistently being broken, it's probably more a sign of fitness than anything ...