19 March 2011

What Xs and Os miss

Consider a coach diagramming a play on paper.

For a 20 metre pass, whether the thrower has a backhand or forehand stance is usually irrelevant. The thrower is a small dot on a diagram and that is that.

But when the throw is 3 metres or even 1 metre, how the thrower is standing, or how wide apart their feet are, or exactly what angle the marker is taking away, are critical points. The Xs and Os of a written diagram don't point out where the thrower's left foot, right foot are, or where they are holding the disc.

Footwork becomes more critical when the throws are smaller. And where to land your feet. And where to hold the disc. And the reduced reaction time of defenders.

This is really apparent in the short range passing of popping against a zone. I've never used a diagram to illustrate tactics for popping. You cannot show the smaller scale, for instance, how footwork can move the disc 8 metres, even when the disc is only passed 1 metre.