18 October 2006

The 7 Postulates of Pulling

We undervalue good pulls. A quality pull will put the receiving team on the back foot, in their endzone, with time to get maybe one uncontested pass off.

A bad pull from your team says "We don't really care about defence, and we are happy to let our opponents start 44 metres from this endzone, instead of 60 or 70 metres downfield."

So pulling needs to receive more attention, more allocated time in training and more recognition by the pullers and the rest of the team. Not just occasional hollow support such as only saying "yeah, let's try and do better pulls".

The following 7 Postulates of Pulling are up for debate - but the need for more respect for pulling is not.

1. Only a designated puller may pull. (A designated puller is one chosen before training or the game, and has had pull training)

2. If there are too few designated pullers, the pulling captain chooses the substitute(s).

3. The puller must pull from the left or the right of the field, not from the middle where they would have teammates on either side.

4. The six teammates must stay on-side, so as not to get in the way or distract the puller's pull.

5. A puller shall throw a backhand.

6. A puller must have a pulling routine.

7. Pullers must be one of the four deepest defensive players (ie they are not asked to run down and contest the first couple of passes, by being in a cup, or marking a handler).


  1. Junior Worlds really proved to me the value of a good pull. Unfortunately, I didn't listen to Piers in the lead-up, telling me about how important it was... I found out because I was throwing too many OB and putting my team on the back foot...

    Of the Postulates, I totally agree with #1, #2, #3, #4 and #6. I agree with #7 except for special circumstances, e.g. your best puppy is by far your best puller, and you'll gain more advantage out of letting that person do both things... not common on elite teams.

    I don't necessarily agree with #5 - I think it should be true 95% of the time, but under some wind conditions the forehand may be advantageous. In particular, I'm thinking of strong wind blowing over the right shoulder of a right-handed thrower: the backhand won't float well in a strong downwind, and may go out the back; backhand roller would work, but a bladey R-to-L forehand will move more across the wind (making a tough read/catch, and potentially gaining distance), and then potentially roll out the downwind sideline (as opposed to the backhand, which would tend back toward the middle of the field).

    And I guess the other thing is if you have someone like Mike Grant with a ridiculous flick pull...

    My thoughts.

  2. I reckon most pullers would be better off spending more time refining their backhand pull to cope with all conditions, rather than having a forehand that might be better in only 5% of situations.

    Why split your pull practise between 2 options when one is used rarely and offers only neligible advantages over the other?

    I guess it depends on whether the advantages are negligible or not.

  3. I read your two posts on pulling earlier this summer. The one about A and B rated pulls especially was good. My pulls definitely got better in summer league after concentrating on such things.