Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Knowing What To do in a Time Zone

Hey Folks,

This is one of the topics that is open for lots of debate, but it's something a team should add to their playbook so everyone on the team has an idea about the team's philosophy. What am I talking about? This is a discussion on when and why to use each type of zone - these are my current perspectives that I give to my teams.

Just to make sure everyone uses the same terminology we will use a numbering system that represents where people are relative to the disc. The first number means that those people are closest to the disc and so on. For example, the 3-3-1 means 3 people on the disc, 3 mids, and 1 deep.

The Classic - 3-3-1

For most of us, this is your day one zone. The first 3 people form what is called a cup. The next 3 form a mid section, and 1 deep protects against strikes to the end-zone.

In my opinion this zone forces middle unless there is a very strong wind that says otherwise. The reason for this is forcing in one direction means that the cup can easily broken (think three man drill). Forcing middle really means that the zone wants to contain and increase the number of passes that the opponent will throw. Ds are going to come with sloppy over the cup throws, and too much risk.

Wall - 1-3-2-1

This zone has one person chasing the disc and forcing it in a specific direction. The next three people form a wall that forces the disc to go around it, and not through it. The next 2 people are in the positions on the outsides of the wall where a possible break can happen. Finally, there is a deep protector.

I feel that this zone is a short-term containment zone. I like to use it to force teams into a zone offence, and the nice part is we haven't committed too many people up front. The transition form zone to man is relatively cost free in the back field, and the worse case is that the handlers get a few extra throws in the transition.

Chinch - 3-3-1

Similar to the classic except a monster chases the disc and two people are ears that force the handlers to throw the discs backwards. Mids are expecting the disc to be thrown through the middle and try and protect against those throws.

Chinch is a push the disc backwards zone. This is a hold zone that seems to work spectacularly against some teams and disastrously against others. This is the type of zone that you test against a team to see their reaction. Also, we can transition relatively easily from this type of zone since everyone is covering a person.

Swiss Cheese - 2-3-2

Not one of my preferred zones. Two people are cupping the disc, we have mids, and two people are protecting against deeps.

I think this zone is only good for protecting against a team that hucks all the time. You probably want to play the zone until the opponents are passed half, and that makes it easier to stop the huck. This zone is very susceptible to give and goes between handlers (3 vs 2).

Pictured Above: An in the dirt layout at ULW 2005.

Well, there's a brief smattering of zones. Those are some zones my teams tend to run, and those are my theories to why we run them.



Tom said...

Hi Pete,

Could you elaborate more on the 1-3-2-1? I've played it and seen it played a lot of different ways: a tight wall that's almost like a 4 man cup vs. a loose wall that's actually looking to cover people; marking with a force vs. marking straight into the wall (which really screws with inexperienced handlers); slanting the wall vs. keeping it straight; etc. There's a lot of variation, and it's not really clear to me when to use which approach.


Jeters said...

Hey Tom,

I'm talking about a tight wall with a force to a sideline. These adjustments that you speak of are a teams decision. the key is to determine what the goal of the zone is and then adjust the zone and team to achieve that goal.