Friday, October 20, 2006

Ben or Darth - Choose you a Path Better

One of the points that defense needs to debate in the modern game of ultimate is the choice of force. Too many teams blindly choose force forehand and haven't really thought about why they're making this choice.

Pictured Above: Kirk Nylen getting a throw off of Sam Kennedy in the CUUC finals between Torontula and McGill.

In my early days of ultimate, we forced flick for one reason. The assumption was that not every opponent had strong throwers, and therefore, their flicks would be weak and we could get lots of turns because of this. In the modern competitive game, the odds of having a really weak person with a flick is low, and even if that person exists is flick the best choice for five and six other opponents on the field.

Let us look at some of the forces and the pros and cons.
  • Flick - Some of the pros of forcing flick are it is the least popular (maybe common) of the throws and has a learning curve, it generally doesn't travel as far as a backhand, it has a little less spin than a backhand, and it is harder to throw softly for little (short) throws. Some of the cons are the flick is easy to release for a huck or normal, it could be argued that flick is an easier break force throw, and flick force can be broken with a hammer.
  • Backhand - Some of the pros of forcing backhand are it makes hucks harder (with the follow through), it arguably makes breaking harder, and it's harder to get a quick release. The cons are the dumps are easier, the throws are more stable in wind, and give and gos can be easier due to the backhand forward step.
I'm sure there are other pros and cons to each of the forces. There are also choices for other types of forces. I guess the most important point is to think about all of these forces and how they play into your teams defense. The other point is to constantly rethink and debate these beliefs. Over time these choices change as the game evolves.