Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Tournament 10 - Conversation 1 - Total flatball

I've decided from now on, I will occasionally call our sport flatball. Call it my own marketing for the new name and attempting to make the name publicly open unlike the word Fr!sbee (partially hidden for trademark reasons ;). So, what is total flatball?

Pictured Above: Kai Yokoo setting up for a hammer at Mixed Tour 2 (photo courtesy of Sam Hird).

After the Mixed Tour 2 event, our car load headed back to Silsoe (home to our host Andrew Tate) and watched some Euro finals with some good food and talk. Talking with people more familiar to football than myself, I asked a question about Total Football, a term I had heard in discussions about Holland football.

Total football is a concept where football players are allowed to leave a position and the other players in the team will replace that position. This leads to a game where any player could be playing any role. This was a revolution in football strategy.

Total flatball is this Total Football concept applied to Ultimate. The concept being that we are all handlers and cutters. No doubt, there are many teams that already apply this concept, but there are many teams that don't. As a captain or coach, you should start thinking if you have the personnel to apply the concept. At the least, you need to have practices where the roles of the team are somewhat mixed if not reversed to help players understand the nuances of other positions on the field.

The next question is if we make an effort to incorporate total flatball will it make any difference in our game. Against both a zone and a man offense, I feel that this style of play gives you more strategic options. The main reason is that much like those annoying games where teams don't play as you expect, a total flatball style of game introduces something different for teams that expect more rigid roles.

This is especially true for the "death of the static handlers", a concept many have been pushing for over the last few years. Active handlers result in better spacing, less poaching, and more disc movement. Against a zone, the total flatball concept can be devastating. I believe that zones are used to hide defensive weaknesses, and zones should be beaten againt strong teams more often than man. Total flatball will destroy zones, and might be your team's solution if you can't seem to break a zone with the rigid dump and swing method.



luke said...

this is the language i use when explaining frisbee to my hs team as well. it also reflects my overall criticism of H stack, as run by many teams... (that said the teams that 'take what's there', are playing total frisbee, but the teams that just have lane cutters stay deep, handlers handle, etc...)

but total football and flatball is / was predicated on skills, conditioning, and confidence. i guess by confidence, if a left mid or better example left back strikes deep, has the skills to finish, etc.... he must be confident, both of himself, and that a team mate will recognize his strike, and move to cover his defensive spot.

the frisbee corollary to this is that if you are a handler and you want to take advantage of an out of position defender to strike deep, maybe from the weak side, you need to have confidence in your team mates that they will keep the space clear, and that they will fill your role underneath with skill.

the compromise i've come up with is that every thrower needs to appear to be a threat to throw, and therefore we need to practice stack management (no hanging out deep, no aimlessly hanging around for the dump (as opposed to sometimes needing a dump... for sure), etc...

so if everyone is pretty to really good, you're golden. if you have some limitations (like only one long thrower) you'll have to modify it...

Angie and Peter said...

You might have some trouble with flatball from these guys