Monday, June 25, 2007

Tournament 6 - Lesson 1 - Club system and chemistry

We had a challenging weekend at the Boston Invite. Sure, lots of the teams that beat us went on to have great weekends. Sure, we learned lots from defeat. Sure, we had a great time. Losing is still a hard thing to deal with. In my post tournament and game discussions, we did come up with one thing that makes it a little more challenging for a team like Grand Trunk.

Pictured Above: Adrian Yearwood marking a throw by a player from Red Circus (photo courtesy of Dave Tingle)

Grand Trunk sits as the second of three teams in a club system. Over the four years of existence the team has seen a high turnover of players. Our competition this weekend was either the top club team from a city (where the population dictates that there is only one team) or a college team that has been playing together for a full college season and more. In our second tournament as a team, we have lots of potential but we don't have great on field chemistry.

It's pretty obvious on the field. Handlers will throw what they think is a lead pass as the cutter makes a different cut. Defensive switches aren't always successful and teammates lose their patience with one another over it. People aren't expecting no look throws from certain players. The list goes on.

So what's the solution? My favourite option is play together more. We're only guaranteed 5 tournaments this season. I think that's too little, but teammates do have lives beyond Ultimate and it's not a viable solution to increase tournament count.

Another option is simplify your game. Turn the team red light on for certain types of throws like breaks, over the top, and shovel throws. Turn the red light on for certain players. Ask them to throw only simple throws, but preference to dumps to your veteran players. Simplifying the team game has its own problems. Teams will key in on the style of game you play and since it is simple they know what you're trying to do.

You can also increase chemistry by splitting the team into smaller groups. We did this at Cleveland creating three lines, and you could clearly see lines starting to understand each other. This is also the case for having an O-line and D-line division within the team.

Great chemistry can take years to get. Fortunately, over a season, every time you play together the chemistry gets better. For a team like ours we need to realign our expectations and make some adjustments based on how well we're playing together.

Boston Invite once again impressed me on the quality of play at the mid and low elite open division. Ever since Grand Trunk won the open division in 2003 the tournament has been getting better and better competition wise. The tournament has always been one of the most competitive and well run tournaments we attend during our season. Thanks to George Cooke and Geoff Doerre for their efforts in organizing this tournament.