Friday, May 18, 2007

Tournament 1 - Lesson 4 - That sweet external voice

Your on the sideline. Maybe you've been benched, or maybe it's not your turn to be on the field. Don't sit in a chair. Get your business done (water, food, pet the dog, etc.) and then get into position to help your team.

How important is being on the sideline? Here's what happened over the weekend.

Pictured Above: More photos of TUF with Mary Erclik getting a throw off a stretching mark (courtesy of Jaleel).

As the point started I was in a handling position. I was called to strike deep, did so, but didn't get open enough (the throwers opinion). I came in as a cutter, made some cuts, and then we turned the disc. No problem, I'm a little tired. We play some hard D for maybe one or two minutes and get a turn. I'm tired. We move the disc very slowly with lots of handler resets. Again, after a few resets and movement I find myself in a the horizontal stack and I'm bagged. My inner voice is saying, "just shift to the outer lane and stand to get some air. Do not cut anyone off on their cuts."

The reality is all four receivers probably had the same voice in their own heads speaking similar words, and then from the sideline I hear Brett Taylor yelling, "Peter keep cutting." I started cutting again, and it wasn't for me, I was cutting for Brett and the team.

"Just get relax or you won't be able to play D," said my inner voice.
"Peter, you're too deep, keep on moving," said Brett.

It was like the two voices were having a conversation, but the knowledge that someone was watching me kept me pushing for hard cuts. Did we score? I can't remember, but after the point I felt good and knew how important that external voice was.

Pictured Above: John Hassel and Dave Jansen looking on the sidelines waiting for the next point to start (photo courtesy of Jaleel).

There are some rules to effective sideline communication, which I'll discuss in the future, but motivational talk truly can have a profound affect on effort.



Tommy said...

I think effective sideline communication is very tough, and often the protocols for effective sideline communication are not adequately laid out. Often, particularly if your team has a small roster and/or short rotation, your sideline players are some of your least experienced players. I've been in situations where I've followed sideline directions that caused me to make the wrong play (dropping to players who didn't exist, for example). Sometimes on the sideline I haven't said something I should, because I wasn't sure it was appropriate and sometimes I've tried to help, but there have been too many voices, and I've just ended up adding to the confusion. I think that while sideline communication may come naturally to experience players in leadership positions, for less experienced players we often need a lot more guidance than we get.

yorkgradstudent said...

In Peter's example, I don't think he was getting much strategic advice, but encouragement to keep moving. That's important no matter what is happening on the field, and I don't think it requires that much knowledge of the game. His general point seems to be that talking to someone makes them push much more than they might otherwise.

If you set up your sideline correctly (e.g., having only one person communicate with a player on the field), then there shouldn't be that much confusion. If I'm paired with a player who is a lot better than me, I'm going to yell positive things and try not to give advice.

If you get unhelpful comments from the sideline, then I think you have a responsibility to discuss the situation with that player and figure out why they said what they said.