27 September 2006

Sandwiches before the point

Ever have teammates ask the linecaller "So what's the play again?"?

My solution for the linecaller is to remember a sandwich:

Bread, meat, bread.

Or in this case:

Say the play, say who is doing what, then state the play again.

Example: "We are playing backhand clam for 4, transition into backhand man."

Then "George, break, Tim, mark, Ted, you are in the lane. Pete, middle middle, Greg, left wing, Albert right wing, John deep deep."

"So that's backhand clam for 4, people, backhand clam for 4 into backhand"

This way players can first visualise the play, then hear their position and know where they fit into it. Then hear the play again, because half of them will forget the count or the force, or weren't listening to your first four words.

The sandwich should mean fewer instances of people asking "so what's the force?", while taking minimal time to call the line.

The sandwich applies to offence as well. And don't forget to use a person's name - its the thing they listen to the most.

20 September 2006

Naming a licence

So I like to name things (eiffel cut, gender bender, Lois Lane, turbo D, tiger, T-bone, alpha and beta pulls, etc).

But I need a new term for an aspect of Ultimate.

We talk about someone having a licence to pull, e.g. "Barry, that was a terrible pull, your licence to pull is revoked".

Now on a team with 14 average players, and one superstar thrower, a team may decide they want the superstar to get more touches, and take more risks with their throws, because the rewards are worth it.

And if the rest of the team is told they should engage their dump on a 5 count, but the superstar doesn't have to, because their throws upfield on an 8 count are better than the average player on a 0 count, what is the name of that licence?

On the beauty of blades

Some good points about blades are covered here in Idris' blog.

But here are more reasons why the blade is a good throw:
- many defenders don't expect it
- with practice it is quite accurate
- very quick release
- like the regular forehand, no pivot necessary when facing upfield
- takes advantage of the 3-dimensional nature of ultimate (throws can go over defenders, not just left or right of them)
- against stationary defences (eg zones), it is easy to pass to stationary receivers

Photo by  Snake3yes

Blades, of varying steepness, are also quite successful as breaks near endzones. As an offense approaches the endzone it is attacking, and it is being forced backhand, the breakside of the stack in the endzone is very open for a step-back forehand blade. I know at least 2 gun handlers who throw the break blade more often than a simple backhand to the open side when near the front left cone of the endzone.

So I am encouraging the handlers on my team to use blades more, especially against zones.

Stall counts

After chatting with Goldy, I have some thoughts on stall counts.

Stall counts seem to be contested more often than any other call (that's my rough impression).

It is hard to make a judgment on the timing of a spoken word relative to an action, particularly if your focus is on other things. So mortal humans disagree on whether the disc was released or not. (It is easier to judge whether a foot moved, or landed on a line, or whether you felt contact).

Now this process is only aggravated if you say "...8...9...10 stall!". The thrower has to judge the timing of the release relative to the word "10". But you have uttered a word straight after that. An excited word at that!

One way to help this is to not say "stall" straight away. Leave the "10" hanging in the air for all to judge.

And then say "I'm calling stall" a couple of seconds later. This also gives you more time to judge whether it is a stall or not, without the accusatory blurting of "Stall!" mixed into the timing.