Friday, November 10, 2006

Who Do You See?

One of the skills for a thrower is learning to both watch upfield and setup your throws. This involves the challenging skill of faking out your opponent without watching how they move so you can watch upfield.

Pictured Above: Torontula Women's team going up in a scrum with Queen's.

A popular drill that we use to practice this skill is three man ("trois hommes"). What the coach and player have to watch for is that when you are faking out your man, you are focusing on the person you are throwing to and not the person who is marking you.

Sounds simple, but this skill will take a while to develop, and it's tricky not to want to look at the person you are trying to fake out. However, as you make your fakes, one element of selling a fake is looking upfield. The second element is really developing peripheral vision and instincts.

In basketball, one way to improve your peripheral vision was to dribble staring in a direction and have a person off to one side wave their hand, wave coloured flags, or hold a certain number of fingers up. The player would need to identify what happened using only their peripheral vision. As you can guess the respective order of peripheral vision challenge is movement, colour, and finally, details. This can be easily modified for ultimate during a simple throw back and forth.

To improve your instinct, it is a simple matter of faking during drills and games. I find that players, including myself, develop faking patterns that they regularly go to when they need to get a throw off (defensive point that could be exploited). Watching veterans who throw similar to you may provide faking sequences that would have value to yourself.

A good thrower needs vision and skill to get the throw off. Three man provides a great medium to practice these skills if executed correctly.