Thursday, August 24, 2006

Who the Heck are You? - Really, you're on my Team

One of the major challenges for any team is what we like to call chemistry. Team chemistry is the concept that like the bonding of chemicals into new molecules or new chemical (not a mixture) a team with chemistry will be a tight unit with understanding of one another where one person almost knows what the other person on the team is going to do.

Pictured Above: Torontula a few years back a t a November tournament called GUT Rot held in Guelph, Ontario.

How do teams achieve chemistry? The classic method is by playing with one another over an extended period of time. I would argue that this is true, but I do feel that a team and it's practice methods can be developed to accelerate achieving team chemistry. In my opinion it all comes down to touches and interactions.

One drill to accelerate chemistry, that I came up with (modified from a basketball drill), is three on three continuous. I'll try to describe this drill in words. A miniature field is created. This field is about 15 yards wide and 25 yards long with 1-5 yard endzones. A marker disc is put in the middle of the field, and a line is made at the mid point of the field on the sideline. This line is where people line up to join into the drill, but people in the line are not actively involved. Two people at the front of the line go into one half of the field as defenders. The next three people move into the other half of the field and get one disc. The next person in the line is called the chaser.

We now have the starting conditions of the drill. The three offensive players begin passing the disc in fast break style. The two defenders are only allowed to defend people who have crossed the midway point of the field. Essentially, the three want to score in the end-zone.
The chaser is actually the third defender, but is only allowed to join the defense either once the disc crosses the halfway point, or any offensive player holds the disc for more than 1 stall. If the three offensive players score then they immediately continue in the opposite direction to score against two new defenders and a chaser from the front of the line. If the defensive players D the disc, then the three defenders go on offense and try to score in the other endzone with the new defenders. And so on...

With about 9 people this drill is incredibly fast. I like about 11 to 15 people as an optimum mix where it is important to move around in the line so you play with different people. This drill stresses resets, germans, mini cuts, and communication on both offense and defense. Most importantly, since there are only three players on offense, everyone gets lots of touches (look at number of touches in a scrimmage).

You have to love a drill that includes touches and game situations. Best of all, the drill will help accelerate that team chemistry we all want.