Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Phone Calls ... Over the Wires

As a captain or coach one of the toughest responsibilities is line calling. This means picking the next seven players who will play the next point.

Pictured Above: More Terminus 2007 from Chad Borer.

There are lots of factors to consider when calling lines:
  • Who played the last point?
  • Who is playing well?
  • Who has been off and is getting physically cold?
  • Are you on defense or offense?
  • How tired are different players?
  • Who do you play next?
  • What are the matchups against your opponents?
  • What are the goals of this point?
  • What is the score?
In other words, there are lots of factors to consider when picking the next line.

Considering all these variables how do you pick a line? Before starting a tournament you need to have an idea what your goals are for the tournament. This philosophy will change as the tournament progresses, but it's at least a starting point. In each game, consider your team philosophy. For example, based on who you are playing you might decide to play everyone giving the lower players on the bench more time, or maybe you want to play your weaker players to see if they can win the game while resting your superstars.

Philosophy gives a macro view of how to pick your lines. Next, you need to do micro managing. Micro managing is based on your view of the flow of the game. There's no simple procedure that describes how to make these decisions, and I find over time I've gotten better at micro managing mainly from experience.

There are, however, a few things that will help.
  • One, you should record who has played each point so you can check if you are missing people or playing people too much.
  • Two, you should have a set of people who are allowed to suggest people. this cannot be the entire team or you will be overwhelmed with suggestions.
  • Three, you should have a team ritual after each point along the lines of:
    • celebrate
    • everyone steps on the field so the picker can see people
    • people are called one by one
    • an echo is made by the rest of the team so a called person gets out on the field
A few other tips for calling lines are:
  • use your fingers to count how many people you have called
  • if you call lines do it from game one at a tournament
  • have an open system where people can talk about their playing time, but not during a game
  • make team members aware that they shouldn't talk with the line caller during line changes
The last thing I want to talk about with respect to line calling is who should do it. A coach or assistant coach should call lines. In the case of a captain/coach, it doesn't necessarily mean you should call lines. Some people can't play and call lines in the same game since line calling throws them off their game focus. Other people, like myself, find calling lines actually focuses them on the game.



parinella said...

I'm not a sub caller, but some observations:
1. The sub-picker really should start mentally picking the subs as soon as the point is over or even before, if possible. Besides taking up time, delay can convey to the called-in that they are last resorts rather than prime choices.
2. Make known the policy of when you stay in and when you come out, which can differ from player to player. With O and D lines, everyone except two-way players will definitely come out after an offensive score. But what about after an O break?
3. Can we end this practice of rushing the field after every single goal, please?

Jeters said...

I like point 1 Jim. An alternative is to take a few seconds before you start calling out names to make all your picks.

For point 3, I think you just let the team do what it does. It's the enforced celebration that some teams have that I don't like.


LittleOrphanAnnie44 said...

peter, i think parinella was making an inside joke with point number three. DoG is famous for its on-field rushes nearly every point.

parinella said...

No, actually, I'm tired of the field rush. No other sport allows sideline players on the field to celebrate.

It's one of those rules (or non-rule, here) that really doesn't benefit any team or favor one style of play over another, but delays or otherwise harms the game. The delay of game rule is a good example of a rule that improves the game without favoring one team or the other (note: it does favor the offense, but since either team can be offense and it applies equally, no team benefits at the expense of another).

Adrian said...

You have 90 seconds from when the point is scored to when you have to pull the disc. Whatever your team does in that period of time is your team's business - they can get fired up however they want in my opinion. In other sports such a soccer or hockey where there is no set time limit for when play has to resume after a score, the field rush is clearly a bad idea. It has the potential to make the restart of play longer than it needs to be. But with 90 seconds clearly allotted to the scoring team after each point, and most teams taking all 90 of them anyways, regardless of whether they rush the field or not, I don't see why they can't rush the field and do whatever they want to boost morale/ get in the heads of their opponents.

dusty.rhodes said...

Didn't you mean "I'm tired of the field rush, it is a waste of my time?"

I agree with adrian for the most part-- do what you will with your 90 seconds. Just be within decency/fighting words standards and be timely when returning to play.

parinella said...

The only games I've played in where the time limits were enforced were NUA 1996 and Worlds a few times. Most (club) Nationals games don't have Observers, and those that do, have no penalties for excessive time, although they do try to get you moving.

Anyway, I generally hang out near our defending end zone, so when they score, all the opponents run by me and I can't hear or see the subber, and when we score, I'm 70 yards away.

When you get to the end zone, act like you've been there before. Are teams really that excited and surprised after every single goal that all 15 sideline players need to high five the goal scorer?

Do you all think it would take something away from the game if the practice were prohibited?

(I feel more strongly about invoking this during timeouts. More time is wasted here (per timeout). At least on the goals, the rushing team will be pulling and thus won't have to walk 70 and will have more time to get ready, so there might not be any real time delay, even without the time limit.)