Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tournament 8 - Lesson 1 - Solving zone troubles

This weekend at No Borders we were playing our last game against a team that was ready to lose. They, however, came out with a zone and 4 points later were up 4-0 and getting more confident by the point.

I was impressed with our team. No one was panicking yet, but you could sense the tension building. We decided to put a line of handlers out (one guy is normally a cutter but could be a handler). I've used this strategy in heavy up wind situations before, but this was a downwind situation. I feel that handlers are better decision makers for the most part, and with a line of handlers instead of 3 or 4 handlers feeling a huge pressure on their shoulders a line allows you to look around and see that everyone is in the same boat. Very calming, and in this case, very successful.

Pictured Above: More from Blender 2007. Deanna Langer gets off a high release backhand (photo courtesy of Kevin Brown)

We broke the zone and then went on a run for the rest of the game. The funny thing about a line of handlers is the guys who played poppers or cutters fond themselves in a strange position.

On Sunday, the morning wind was pretty strong. Most teams were playing huck and pin style of games. The cup we were facing was determined to not allow anything through it. This meant we had to attack from the sidelines. With four handlers we essentially worked with little resets and somewhat random movement to push the cup to their limit. We never broke the zone, but we did accomplish one thing. We tired out the defense to the point that they stopped playing zone and went to man on a few occasions. Against man our flow was good, but like the zone we approached the end zone, but made key errors when it counted.

Zones are fascinating. You play a certain zone against one team and it can stifle them completely. Against another and it's crushed almost instantly. Of course factors like personnel, team quality, and conditions are all huge factors in that equation. They're still fascinating.