30 August 2011

Playing styles at ECC 2011

The Australian Open and Women's teams competed at the Emerald City Classic in Seattle recently.

In the Open division, Revolver and Ironside were the cream of the crop, with Ring of Fire coming back from losses to Maliki and Buzz Bullets to win the games that mattered, getting to the final, before falling to a dominant Revolver team.

Revolver play Ring of Fire in the Open final
The US teams regularly isolated a cutter of choice out in the strong side, while stacking other players right on the sideline. This usually gave them their first choice cutter and hucker combination.

In contrast, the Buzz Bullets played handler isolation against us for the first 20 points, until we switched to forehand (instead of backhand) force. They immediately looked for a few hucks from horizontal play. They were happy to grind it through handler play, as they were generally more nimble, and had real talent at that position. A couple of players on Buzz Bullets are there for their height on defence and are not as skilled at cutting or throwing (true for many teams, I guess).

Several teams also attacked through break throws, deliberately designing cutting angles to provide this option and looking for open side throws, inside breaks and outside breaks as the cutter moved laterally. Only an active and balanced mark would regularly hold up against this tactic.

The US teams were not overly physical, as a couple of teams have been in the past. All fair play. Except one Ring of Fire player who defends like a TSA security agent on speed, patting down his opponent with lovetaps, instead of working on his footwork.

It was a valuable tournament experience for the Aussie teams, playing against opponents for the first time in the lead up to Worlds 2012 in Sakai, Japan. With a chance to reflect on tactics and systems, and an opportunity to strengthen the rosters and our fitness, we'll be ready to match it with the top teams next year - several of whom we got to play in ECC.

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