Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tournament 14 - Lesson 2 - Sweep, Sweep, Sweep that tunnel away

We've all seen it before in a game. Player Z with the disc looks upfield and sees an open cutter. They throw the disc to be thwarted by player X who creeps into the lane and blocks the throw. The poach wins again.

This play happened to both Boston and Goat in the final game at Regionals, and in both cases they were monumental in terms of momentum swings for each team. So how do you prevent this from happening?

First off, lets discuss a little about the eye and your brain in terms of what you see. Many players believe that their peripheral vision is good enough to handle seeing the field and avoiding the poach. First off, you should know that much of your peripheral vision computing is built for detecting movement and not details. Some of the sensory information from the periphery is not actually there and is drawn in by the brain. This is exemplified with an actual blind spot due to your optical nerve. You can go experiment with your blind spot here to understand that it exists and where it is.

Basically, your eyes are great sensory devices, but you can't rely on a single point of view as a true picture of field reality. This leads me to the concept of eye sweeping. You need to constantly be moving your eyes and making calculations instead of focusing on a sole receiving objective. This can be tricky, and the reality is at higher levels in Ultimate the game speeds up and you need to speed up your game calculations and decisions accordingly. This is one of my favourite arguments for training with video games in parallel with playing high quality ultimate.

The conclusion is simple and obvious. The more information you have, the better your decision will be. Keep the eyes moving and train your peripheral to detect movement. Zoning in or tunnel vision rarely results in a benefit when simple and quick team disc movement are in many cases a far better option that will avoid the poach. Finally, don't forget the fake as a tool to cause movement and activate your periphery vision.



ben h. said...

two thoughts:

1. rather than constant eye movement (or sweeping, as you call it), the thrower would benefit more by a quick once-over from right to left. or rather, from the forehand side of the field to the backhand side of the field. or instead, scanning the field from open side to break side.

further, that once-over should be sufficient for at least the first 3-5 seconds of the stall count. the offense needs to make themselves available in that span of time (and during the thrower's brief scan).

2. re: fakes i make it a habit of not teaching a player to fake. a rookie player is better served by learning to incorporate the occasional fake when necessary (i.e. telling that player when/where a fake may have been useful in a previous situation) rather than being told to just fake all the time.

Sport Management Steven said...

Great post Jeters!