Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Giving More Football Options a Chance

I always enjoy a good Bowl game and the NFL play-offs this time of year. In some ways, I wish Ultimate had the per play element of football where strategy would become even more emphasized. Instead, the continuous flow of Ultimate means that we need to look to basketball, hockey, and the other football for ideas for continuous offensive plays (though the similarities tend to be limited).

The button hook, passing lanes, and the long bomb are similar in both Ultimate and football. The main difference between the sports is the hang time for the pass, the flight path, and the release point of the throw. In Ultimate, the thrower has more control over these differences than a quarterback; however, the overhead release, straight running path, and short hang time throw is the least used pass in Ultimate. This is the case since the throw needs to be very accurate, and the receiver needs to be well trained in catching blades and sharp angled, fast moving discs.

For these reasons, I believe that we've passed over these options within our offences. The tendency towards possession and risk reduction mean we don't consider these as reasonable parts of our offensive plays. I'm wondering if these assumptions should be reviewed.

Consider trying a drill like "Routes on Air". Five throwers start with discs in roughly the same position on the field. Five receivers (covered or not) in a horizontal stack (one receiver is a back field handler) run predetermined routes. The five throwers throw to a pre assigned cutter using the overhead release, fast moving throw. Everyone throws and everyone cuts, so figure out some sort of rotation (5 throws, 5 receives, rotate...).

You might find that some of the routes you make in this drill become options for certain throwers. You might find that wind conditions make these plays very difficult. The worse case is your receivers become better at running routes and catching.



George Brell said...

Biggest difference is that football teams get the ball back after they throw an incomplete pass. In elite level ultimate where the control and catching ability is widespread enough to facilitate the use of such throws, the focus is so heavily on possession that it seems counter-intuitive to use less catchable throws.

Also, football receivers never have to "clear" since they are given a chance to reset. Certain plays in football are designed with this understanding. Also, formations such as trips would simply cause picks.

While I agree that there are things to learn from football, I find that I learn more about how to move as an individual (receiver double moves, hard cuts, etc.) than I do team strategy.