Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Yeah, you notice it.
Starting 7 of throwers that act like bad asses on the field and get the groupies off it:
Eli Janin -EGO
*Honorable mention to 808 from LPC
Too bad only 2 from this list are going to Nationals. Well, I guess that just means more women for this handler who is just developing his swagger.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
While I had misgivings about the tournament name being essentially without meaning, all in all, I thought this tourney was a great success. The out of the way location was entirely justified when I first set foot on the grass. Immaculate, free of hazards, lush, even, unsloped, perfect. I haven't seen such amazing grass since i was in Ohio for '06 Nationals (hopefully ill be heading back that way soon). Every field was lined with Port-o-fields and every field had a scoreboard. There was even sufficient space between fields so that bags could be clear of layouts. The schedule was my first time playing with Cultimates new predetermined format and worked out well for us - 5-2 vs very good teams. 6 games vs scheduled teams, 1 bracket game based on the results of the previous 6 and point diff.
Things appear good Buuuut...ultimate players can always find something to complain about, especially when its about Cultimate. The water was from a hose and tasted like swimming pool. The "MetroMint" sponsers were handing out FREE product but free MetroMint still tastes like used tea bags. Sponsors "Nutella" and "Ocean Potion" also had free chocolate spread and sunscreen but each sample came in the small individual sample size and that's a huge waste of packaging. The Observers who were participating in a major rules experiment with active up/down and travels were calling travel on "technical errors" because some players didn't know the rules about live vs dead discs - how unfair to those illiterate amongst us! Oh, and Skip - there was frost on the ground Sunday morning which was a massive inconvenience for us Southern California teams.
The only valid criticism was about the format which i'll talk about later.
(for a better write up of how the Squids played check out this or this)
We were up on Washington 9-7 and they something and they became a great team. It seems that we started making execution errors but isn't that what teams always say against good D? I sometimes think that this loss was a result of loss of focus and waning mental energy, but isn't that what I always say about games we "should" have won? Wash goes on to whoop Mamabird the next day and currently looks to be the 1 seed in the Northwest. Damn, we had em.
UBC had some dudes but even those dudes weren't superstars. They had a really effective poach strategy in some other game while I was scouting them, but I always felt this game was in the bag. Maybe it was the heat, but they did great at Stanford Invite last year. I can't tell if they thought our jokes about "eh" and maple syrup were funny. As I learned last year at Cal States with YR, Furious definitely does NOT think "eh" jokes are funny, especially during on-field disputes; Ill put UBC down as a maybe.
I talked to Florida guys in between rounds. Brodie, Cole, Chris, that other dude I don't know the name of. They seemed really eager to talk to me which I didnt quite get but I understood later: most everyone hates them so much that they rarely get to chat on a friendly basis with their peers. They are actually cool guys who like playing Frisbee as a team and are having a good time. Maybe their sense of humor is strange (last time I drunkenly talked to Florida guys at the TiV'07 walking party -which was SWEET! - they played a pretty (retrospectively) funny joke on me), but aren't most of us Ultimate players kinda somewhat "different" from normal in our considerations of fun and funny? Yes, they unabashedly admitted to intentional fouling "to stop flow" and inappropriately justified that with "but at least we don't contest a good foul call". Yes, they think the "wussy" elements of our game are wussy. Yes, they antagonise. But ultimately, they seem like good people who are making their own fun out of their situation. I vehemently disagree with them about the fouling thing, because, you know... the Preface, but I oddly respect them for at least taking a firm stance on the philosophical problem with the current requirement of objectivity from subjective players.
Western Washington is a good team but they didnt come to play vrs us in the last round of Saturday. Their guy that plays for Sockeye did some cool stuff but not that much - he had the same strategy on his amazing pulls as the Cal puller: he put 60% of them OB or out the back but did trap me 2 times which resulted in some hard throws. Im still undecided about this strategy -especially late in the day when your D line doesn't have the legs to fully get down to trap a Purple-Stared pull effectively. I honestly feel that this game was won by our sideline. I made a point of talking to our young players before the game and emphasising the importance of their energy. I told them that even if they don't feel any energy at all that they should fake it because any noise from them will pump us up. God bless their little hearts, our sidelines were loud and involved - theirs were silent. Our players had a spring in their step, their guys played drained. The beers passed out by our coach at the end of this game were hardily deserved by our young'ins. Both teams were fumbling around in the first points as if wondering "well, this game is gonna go to whoever wants it, any takers?" and our young players took it with their voices (It also helped that they played great in our force middle zone). Thanks.
Sunday. Frost, lots of it. UCSC Slugs, Davis Dogs, Oregon EGO. Watch some finals. Ill write about this later in pt2 but its time for me to go to bed.
Btw, congrates to Davis and my brother on sectionals this weekend, im very proud.
Friday, April 17, 2009
While this tourney used to attract the best of the best, many people I talked to expressed real desire to come but just couldn't justify another 3 dayer right after Trouble In Vegas. Im not sure what should be done - maybe move it to the next weekend - but something has to change next year.
Decent win verses UCLA - coulda been better but Ill still take a 2 point victory. UNT looks good, Cal looks good. We win the showcase game vrs CalPoly Slo easily - we played well but they had injured dudes which has been a problem for them all season - will a healthy SLO show up to the series? I hope so. We win our semi vs UNT by a decent amount because of our multiable zone looks - that UNT captain is sure good - the kinda baby faced one, is that KRich? The final verse Cal is mostly windy and I think I am playing pretty good handler. The swings are crisp, my blades just seemed to come out right, and I crashed and threw through the cup a few times - I love that feeling of ease. Cal had a strong puller with an interesting strategy: he would jack every pull 110% instead of going for the conservative. Sometimes (~45%) these would be out the back but he did trap me in the back once or twice. Whata you think about this choice? In the end they proved to be too smooth and even when they did turn it, they played great D. Congrates to them, I believe they could be a quarter finalist if they make nationals but they will certainly have to fight to get there with Oregon, LPC, Davis, UCSC, and Stanford.
Of note: As TD my worst mistake was not assigning responsibilities in advance to my teammates to help with stuff. calling freshman at 6 am to try to get them up on Sunday morning to help with food and setup was really stupid. The best decision made was to shorten the tourney to 2 days because of the impending rain on Monday (thanks Dutchy). Everyone was happy on Sunday afternoon with their 8 games and no one was wet. The girls, however, played the entire thing through horrible conditions on the backup fields 2 hours away.
Overall, I had a great time organizing the 2 tourneys the squids hosted this year - im a good TD because I like the science of producing a good tournament and talking with other teams but my organization skills need some work.
Stanford and Centex and Sectionals to come.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
The West coast season started with Sean Ryan on UCSC's beautiful fields with an ocean view and produced lots of interesting results. The Squid lose to UCLA on DGP to end Saturday which lights a fire under me personally that will remain burning all season. Cal Poly finishes 4th with a bunch of players reaching highpoints in their play simultaneously - can they keep it up? . The Northwest shows their dominance - Stanford over LPC on universe point. Davis takes third.
I am particularly interested in the Northwest results because my brother is a freshman on what seems to be a very talented Davis team (wins over UCSC and Tide at this tourny) and I have many friends on the LPC team (they would have won if that last huck had been 5 feet shorter). I have high hopes for both of those teams, I hadn't seen Cal or Oregon or Western or UBC, but i leave NorCal with a general excitement for my team and for my buddies.
I am the tourney director for the SoCal Warmup at UCSD and it goes smoothly for the most part (Im really upset that Arizona didn't get to come because of an error on our part). This tourney is a warmup event - Tide, UCLA and the Squids bring split squads (we had 3) so not to much can be taken from this but I do have some observations. 1. Long Beach wins the tourney with some nice looking play. They are a contender - they've come a long way as a team in a relatively short period of time. 2. We have some sweet freshmen with serious potential. Look out for Michael "Hyzer" Tillman and Danny "Didj" Broberg both as potential FOTY candidates. 3. Claremont always comes to this tourney with a theme and really plays the part. Last year's manly lumberjacks were real good but didnt the flannel get really hot? This year's baby blue T's with the perfectly stencilled Hodag were perfect. There was cursing and spiking and did one of their guys really take steriods for a month to nail the role? As TD, I should plan more in advance.
SB Invite has always been a important one in my mind. I love coming out of Winter Break's hibernation ( hey, 40F is really cold if you are not used to it) and showing the ultimate world what we've got. There is always a intense aura Saturday morning - its as if everyone is holding their collective breathe and wondering who is for real. Looking into other team's eyes durring the warmup lap, catching up with old friends, there is so much potential to put up a statement. LPC loses to Stanford again on DGP - if only they played at the beginning of the day when LPC's top 7 were fresh... We come out hot which is a real nice contrast to years past. We beat Arizona well but their roster is still in question - are some of their great players returning - I geuss we'll see this weekend. Cal lost the showcase to Tide but I suspect that just decided to give it up cause they already head thier pool won. No matter, they show everyone whats up by crushing LPC and Stanford in the semis and finals.
Vegas - my team decides not to go this year, I go for the observer clinic. Apparently our sport has rules. The obverver clinic was indoors durring the downpour but we saw the carnage when we got to the fields later - it was pretty bad. Correll looked good in their quaters lose to Mama which happend to be my first game ever as an oberserver - who is that 6'8 dude? He's good. I observe the Belladonna/Blu Semi - who is the chick with the dreads? She's good but watching a full game of women's in the wind is pretty hard - they should back crash more. Colorado/Florida final and I get the best seat in the house as an observer. Unfortunatly, it turned out to not be that great of a game: Florida scores with Punt and Z while Colorado is having trouble with basic offense. Brodie has the sickest upwind hammer I have ever seen, what a beast. Yeah he threw or caught 75% of the scores, but its impressive to see a team play to their strengths and adjust to the situation. Yeah, i understand why everyone hates them - its not that fun to play against, but they are pretty savage compeditors - on the last point with the Gators up a few the hard cap sounds. Brodie coulda just let that last Colorado pass go and still have won but he choose to layout shoulder height, full extention, to try and make a play -he missed, cleanly - and got spiked on by the overzealous 'Bird reciever. He gave himself a concusion and earned a lot of respect in my book.
Presday, Stanford, Centex, experiemental observer stuff and of course Sectionals to come when I get back from Long Beach.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Forge skys you over and over and over and then grabs the winning score with a reverse layout.
Bobble rips a forehand pull to the back of your endzone then jumps 4 feet higher than the rest of your team's jump to catch the swill you put up.
Dibs breaks you inside and then inside again and then you adjust so he breaks your around. His cheeks remain puffed.
Pumba's nose does not get re-broken. (Cross your fingers that Minnesota and their septum-deviating elbows don't show up in Long Beach).
Cork does the calculations and makes the play. He doesn't run more than exactly required though - he wouldn't want to get unnecessarily winded.
Soda is louder than the rest of the sideline combined.
Biel is faster than you.
Kenobi cuts and cuts and cuts and cuts and cuts and then you are gassed and he is almost done warming up.
Kattan ends up having more assists than anyone else because you want to deny the deep shot so mistakenly give the under. He manages to not throw a flat throw all weekend, only OI or IO.
You get demoralized. You lose.
This started as a reply to Matt Mackey’s post about Zone O fundamentals but became long enough for my own post. The following are some thoughts about what skills make a Zone O player good. I guess these aren’t exactly “fundamentals” per se’ as some of the stuff is pretty advanced, but some thoughts I had while reading his post.
Throwing and Catching
1. Being able to catch a pass and then throw very quickly afterwards. If you receive a break from the trapped side the best thing to do is to keep the movement to the high side and that cup is gonna be sprinting to set the trap on you. The quicker one can move that swing the better.
2. Related point - Being able to throw and catch very quick passes. Because those time windows are small (D is running to reposition and set the cup) zipping throws takes precedence completely over floating a disk to space which happens a fair amount in Man Offense.
3. Being able to gain yards on any particular catch. If you can catch the disc while in the air with lots of momentum going forward, those 2 yards you can gain before your pivot are set are important in 2 ways. First, 2 yards is 2 yards and well take what we can get, but more importantly, if a cup is set and then you catch a short dish as described, you can suddenly make the cup very out of position and therefore throw through holes that weren't there for the previous thrower.
4. Retaining composure when forced to make risky throws. Yeah, sometimes the disc gets trapped on the low side and the cup is not giving you anything and the crashes are covered well. Apart from the fact that hammers, scoobers, ect… are more categorically prone to getting D’d or falling incomplete, if you are not “in control” of your stall count and those risky throws are closer to punts than then real throws, then you will just have a much lower completion percentage for those throws. Realize that sometimes those risky throws are just necessary because the D has forced you into that disadvantageous position - if you allow yourself some time and mental concentration to make a focused throw you will get better results even if it sucks in general that you have to resort to the cross field hammer.
5. Knowing when to swing immediately and when to look for holes after catching it. My O line and I are working on this (I get yelled at when I don’t swing immediately but I get praised when I throw through holes because I didn’t swing it )
6. Trusting your teammates throwing skills and decision making. Yes, you must acknowledge that Sophomore Jimmy doesn’t have the upwind OI and you shouldn’t expect it, but if you resort to only forcing them to make 2 yard dumps, then you just pump up the throw count and thus the risk of turnover.
7.Being able to recognize and call “Double Team”s without losing your focus on player and disc movement. This is the skill I lack the most even though I think about its worth a decent amount. I talk the talk but when I’m playing handler in Zone O I just seem to not even think about Double Teams. It sucks that throwers have to focus on playing and calling the Doubles but that just is the current state of our sport. Ideally a thrower would totally dissociate his normal focus from violation calling but the overwhelming empirical observation is that when a thrower is gonna call “double team” they look at all the cup players, think about it, completely stop focusing on their teammates and yell the call in frustration. They’ll get 2 counts but they lose 2 counts in the process. If someone could retain focus on their team mates but be able to make calls like double team that don’t stop the play, they would have a huge advantage (808 is the best at this particular focus splitting)
8. Being ok with turnovers. There is wind and turnovers are gonna happen – if you get mad about them and lose focus then the D wins. You or your team mate turns its just get on D – stop the fast break and you have a pretty good chance of getting the disc back because the same inclement conditions that caused your turnover will effect the tired and less skilled D team to the same degree.
Friday, April 3, 2009
One reason I am interested in on-field trust is that it seems to affect me greatly at times. Am I more aware because it holds sway over me or do I let it hold sway over me because I choose to notice and put emphasis? I bet its both: one problem with intellectualizing sports is that process provides more to think about when what we strive for is a non-thinking, "in-the-zone" experience.
In its most basic form, lack of trust is not throwing to the rookie at all.
Frisbee is very different than football because if you just keep the disc moving, you are fine. In football you have to make play, stop, make play, stop ect...
One of the things I dislike about my play as of late is my pattern of getting mad at my teammates because the "right" cut isn't there or I am not thrown the disc when I should be. This must come from a lack of trust in my teammates decision making. Its a totally unproductive response. In its worst form, this causes me to force throws to cuts that aren't there or aren't open to show what i do want. Well, thats stupid, the team doesnt see what I do want, they just see decision turn overs. It leads to rushed, or delayed throws that are always unfocused. It is me trying to "do to much".
I said in Trust pt. 1 that the trust I'm talking about is not about believing in my teammates to execute "above" their physical level. Its not that we should expect to outrun, outthrow, out jump, and outlayout the opposition - no, that's just disrespecting or underestimating opponent's abilities. Trust is knowing that a teammate will perform AT his physical level and with decision making that is deemed to be good based on agreed upon choices (agreed upon = practiced, drilled, or predetermined strategy and tractics). This is playing "within" ones self (something else I am really interested in - future post)