Friday, December 08, 2006

Forcing Confusion

Well, I'm glad I got that last post of my chest. Apologies to the sensitive types out there.

I was traveling over the holiday and I got to wondering what level of confusion/unpreditability is ideal to force an offense out of the comfort zone. Clearly, you need to do things that the O does not expect, but you cannot be so completely random that your teammates cannot anticipate what will happen in a given situation.

In order to devide a system of defense that maximizes the chance of forcing a turnover while minimizing the chance of complete failure, you must consider what paradigm an offense or offensive player is using to make sense of the game. Once you understand how a player is thinking through the game, you can discover the blind spots in their thinking. The options that they do not consider are the options that they should be forced into taking. This can take two major forms:

1. Take what the opponent considers to be "power positions" (this varies dependent on strategy by team) and attack their efficacy by only allowing those positions to occur when/where the defense knows that it is coming. The D is then prepared to take the offense's favorite option from that position away. The key is making it look like you don't know what is coming when, in fact, you have made their emphasis on one aspect of an offense your strength instead of theirs. This is Patriots-style Defense. This will force them down the decision-tree to a sub-optimal choice. If they are a good enough team, they may win anyway, but it will be more difficult.

2. Understand what their last option is and force them to do that ad nauseum. This takes a deeper understanding, because you need to understand their hierarchy of choices more fully. If they are, on counts 1-3 looking to the strong lane/deep, perhaps you should jump on the huck and poach the lane. Then as they progress to the second option (often the break lane) you should steel your mark, and be ready downfield to recover to the break side. As they then turn to the cag, the mark and the defender need to work in concert to make the completion as difficult as possible. Similarly, in a zone, if you can determine the progression, the defense can adjust as the stall count changes.

These notions are the building blocks of a defense that works to out-think the O as opposed to just trying to bludgeon them with some BDAs.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Champs Plus Mixed

Sockeye wins. Like I said. A self-administered punch to the ear has been had.

On to other business:

How do people think that mixed is of the same quality as open/women's? (see rsd)

Open/Women's combo teams beat top mixed teams. Every single year at all those summer coed fun tourneys. Every year. How can you think the talent level is the same?

Those dudes out there are playing against chicks. That's 3-4 people on the field you can sky at will, even if you suck at ultimate. Men against women in a directly physical sport (not tennis or curling, or even volleyball, por ejemplo) is not the same as men vs. men or women vs. women. How you can think otherwise is beyond me. If you can name a physical sport where an equivalent level male doesn't have a significant advantage over an equivalent level female, it will be news to me.

If you need to think twice, as has been suggested both recently and in the past on rsd, about contact with player x vs. player y, there is an error occurring. I don't avoid contact with whimpy little defender any more than I do against big strong defenders, except to gain an advantage.

I don't care where/when mixed occurs. It *should* occur because people want to play it.

That being said, for the love of god stop treating it like it is on the same level. It simply isn't. There is more space for male cutters, less space for female cutters and the good teams generally (exceptions noted) consist of reasonably to very talented men who get kicks out of skying chicks. If that's what you dig, that's what you dig. If you'd rather have some opposite gender teammates to spend time with, that's cool too. If you want to play with your significant non-same-sex other, enjoy. But for the love of god, please do not compare the competition to open/women's. The same level of intesity/talent/whatever is NOT there.

I don't hate you for playing coed. I don't want you to stop playing it. I don't want you to move it. I don't care if it dilutes open/women's/whatever. I don't care if it detracts from our sports image. I don't care about any of that. I really want you to have fun doing what you choose to do.

But don't ever call it the same as open or women's. It can't hold a candle and likely never will.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Status after Day 2

Well, yesterday's predictions weren't quite, uh, accurate. Weather affects this silly game so much...

In the end I got the quarters teams right, just different routes and matchups. Metal still can't crack the quarters bubble. Condors really don't have it anymore. Chain hucking in the strong wind=bad for opponents. Monster and BAT are 0-fer Nationals thus far. Central is still not looking good. Can we get an open anti-wildcard as a parting gift?

Bracket predictions:

Furious v Ring
Chain v Revolver

While Ring gave Sockeye their best game thus far, they won't be up to taking down the other NW power in quarters. Vancouver advances.
Chain is playing better right now, and wins to avoid the pre-Q give them momentum instead of the losses to sneak away from the pre-Q like Revolver. Chain in the Semis!

Sockeye v DoG
Bravo v Rhino

Sockeye ends DoG's season. Again. Sockeye is just too much to handle.
Bravo pops Rhino's dream of Semis. JB smells new blood and will not be denied this time.

Furious v Chain
Sockeye v Bravo

Chain and Bravo are outdone. Nothing to be ashamed of, 95% of the country thought that FG/Sock would be the final. Bravo makes an early run to give a scare and Chain does not go quietly, but the NW will be taking home both a trophy and 2 wildcards...


Status After Day 1.

Pool a:
FG 3-0 (Check)
Condors 2-1 (one off)
Rhino 1-2 (one off)
Monster 0-3 (Check)
Too much faith in the mystique. Need to accept that myth was busted last year. Or I underestimated Rhino... we shall see.

Pool b (Check all):
Sock 3-0
Chain 2-1
SZ 1-2
TS 0-3
Bingo. Hot Chain action and a slew of Domination from Sockboys.

Pool c:
DoG 3-0 (Nope. Bad offense.)
Revolver 2-1 (Yes and no.)
Machine 1-2 (Yes)
VC 0-3 (Yes and no.)
I'm surprised, though not shocked. Revolver to the top w/ a win instead of the bottom with a loss. Big point, bring out the call game. Bring on the refs!

Pool d (Check All):
Bravo 3-0
RoF 2-1
TMU 1-2
BAT 0-3
JB brought out the whoopin stick. And I foolishly posited that it would be a game. TMU was trying their best to go 0-fer Thursday. Ah... youth.

All 4 NW in the PPools. 4 other regions represented with 1 team each.
All 3 Central in the LPools. 2 SW, 1 each from S, NE, MA.

Instant analysis: Contract the Central! Expand the NW!

Power e:
Furious wins out.
Rhino plays down-- DoG will not let another also-ran from the NW beat them this time.

Power f:
Sockeye wins out.
Chain plays down-- Ring keeps sending fleet after fleet at them.

Metal and Condors play up from the bottom. Machine can't stay with the dors and SZ doesn't have the hosses to run with the kids from the NE.

Condors v Chain: Chain takes the Condors down in a battle of 05 disappointments.
Rhino v Metal: Metal still can't win the important game to earn their status as elite.

The sun's coming up bit by bit... the coffee is hot... the bacon is sizzling... the urge to kill is rising...

I absolutely love mornings in Sarasota.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fearless Predictions.

Last year I predicted that I would win.

I didn't.

Since that didn't work, I'll try predicting the whole tourney as an outsider and see if that bestows any better luck.

Pool a:
FG 3-0
Condors 2-1
Rhino 1-2
Monster 0-3
Condors regain some old SB power on Day 1 despite the new roster. Monster is way overmatched here.

Pool b:
Sock 3-0
Chain 2-1
SZ 1-2
TS 0-3
Chain plays hot on Day one to earn a PP berth. TS is in Awe of this level of competition. Inexperience Kills.

Pool c:
DoG 3-0
Revolver 2-1
Machine 1-2
VC 0-3
VC believed the hype. Machine's ChainPike import plays big in the upset.

Pool d:
Bravo 3-0
RoF 2-1
TMU 1-2
BAT 0-3
JB/Ring is a fantastic game. TMU almost upsets Ring on big plays, but Ring has too much experience, still. BAT is in a down year, perhaps a longer downtrend.

(I though about envisioning some fun ties, but that required too much thought. This is order of finish.)

Pool e:
1-0 FG, DoG,
0-1 Revolver, Condors

DoG win out (FG rests players in both games)
Condors play their way down.

Pool f:
1-0 Sock, JB,
0-1 Chain, Ring
Sock wins out. Those guys suck.
Chain plays their way down.

Rhino vs Chain. Rhino's breakmark attack lasts better in the third grueling game than do Chain's aggressive downfield rips. Tight, but Rhino pulls it out.

Condors vs TMU. TMU pulls the big upset against SZ in an epic game to earn the right to play the Condors. A 5 player Pike reunion after their mass exodus of 07. All of TMU is running on fumes at this point, and the Condors outlast Metal after resting in the power pool instead of fighting in the loser pool.

DoG vs Rhino
JB vs Volver

OlDoG smacks Rhino, who lack the big-game experience.
JB finally breaks the curse by getting a favorable matchup and then rolling.

Sock vs Condors
FG vs Ring

Condors can't hold a candle to Sockeye.
FG wins a game over Ring that goes tighter than expected.

Bravo puts OlDoG down. AlJim's reign of terror is over, despite spurring the young D-team on to a late-game run. aka an attempt by Bravo to work on a new semis curse. Bravo in the finals = Big News of the Day.

Sockeye comes through against Furious in an epic battle. Role players and Sockeye's obsessive advance scouting from Ultivillage prove to be the difference.

As usual, this game does not impress as much as the semis always seem to. Sockeye rolls out the big guns and frustrates JB from the outset. Top to bottom Sockeye may be the strongest team in the UPA. JB has flareups of absolute brilliance, but it is not enough to overcome. 15-11/12. Sockeye returns to the throne for a year.

Everyone punches themselves in the ear a la Fight Club.

Maybe later I'll make fun of the Mixed division, see what I can remember from the women's games I've seen this season and figure out what my predictions mean for wildcards.

Wait, two of those things are irrelevant at best...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Justice League Falls.
Pike Falls.

Truck Stop Glory Hole? Are you fucking kidding me?
I'm shocked. Who the hell is on Truck Stop?
Those teams had to play 5 games on Saturday and 4 on Sunday? What is this, a badminton league?

No Idristainment at Mr. Biggs?
Not Shocked. NW is tough.
Another Karlinsky at Nationals? The Russian Mafia strikes!

Are there any other upsets brewing? Is Metal going down? DoG? S-Z? Condors?

Apparently, I should be eating crow and giving dap right now.

Congratulations to Truck Stop (now change your god-awful idiot name), Revolver (hooray youth) and Rhino (I don't think I like y'all, but that may have been a long time ago). TCB for Sock, FG, Chain, VC, RoF.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Irregular Updating. Goddamn Summer. Much better to brood over this stupid sport as the weather turns cold. The heat lends itself to such optimism. Weather and attitudes are so sunny at this point-- no one has failed yet.

So how will this season play out? Lets try this for Nationals:

NE(2): Punk-Rock Poseurs, Video Game Nerds

NW(4): Anadromous Pinkies, Perturbed Smaller Brained Simian, Mythical Fire-Breathing Reptile, Spiderman Villain

MA(3): Symptom of Genital Disease, Pointy Stick, Native American Tribal Name

S(3): Housing for Poor People, Steely Dan Song, Repetitive Reinforcement of Negative Input

C(2): Noob Saibot, Gas Guzzlers

SW (2): Animated Boor, Carrion-Consuming Birds on their way to Extinction

Another year, another year. No alarms and no surprises. When will these teams stop dominating their regions? Not anytime soon, by the looks of it. Rhino might get beat. Potomac might get beat. Goat will be close but won't pass the test as Metal tasted Nationals last year and wants more.

More of the same. Now we've got to wait until October to see anything new.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Flick Foot Position

I was discussing this with a teammate the other day and we couldn't come up with an answer:

What is the best angle at which to plant your non-pivot foot when throwing a flick?

There seem to be two schools of thought on it

The first looks like this.

The second looks like this. (This picture also shows an example of the awkward off-hand position that many throwers exhibit.)

I plant my foot the same way as the thrower in example one does. A quick trip through the vault of memory seems to support the notion that most players plant their foot in this manner. I feel very balanced in this position, as it would be difficult to knock me over with a foul, thus enabling me to get the throw off even if I'm bumped pretty solidly. My hips are still facing forward (which prevents me from needing to throw across my body), and it is easy to stay on the balls of my feet (giving me some extra quickness of the pivot).

When we tried the second style of planting, it felt rather awkward, but I'll chalk that up to it being new. The more interesting part was that we felt like it was an all or nothing position. That is to say that if we didn't get the throw off, we were stuck in a position from which it was difficult to recover. Not only do you need to pivot your hips an extra distance, but it was nigh impossible to stay on your toes.

Now, as I mentioned, this was the first time either of us pivoted that way, so it naturally felt awkward. What we're looking for is the opinions of some people who actually pivot in that manner.

Were you taught that style of pivot in particular?
Who taught you?
What was the explanation?
How do you feel about it now?
What advantages do you feel it gives you?
If you try to pivot the other way, what are your thoughts on it?

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