Brummie and Alex Brooks headed to Geneva to teach improved endzone offence (and help defence!) schemes, with some fun and competitive drills and games between 35 players from across Switzerland. In the afternoon, we worked on set plays (and how to disrupt them), culminating in an epic double-game point final game!
Skills Clinic: Saturday 18th November
Our goal on Saturday morning was to improve efficiency in front of the endzone. To achieve this we broke the scenarios of scoring down to:
- Scoring from the middle of the field
- Resetting efficiently and effectively to score
Scoring from the middle of the field
- Offset the stack.
- Identify the undefended space.
- Be decisive.
To practice these principles and new positions we drilled 3H Cutting in 2v2. Once we had this right we made the drill a bit more difficult, introducing more players and played 3 vs 3. Here we identified how defenders can adjust their position to take away and easy goal.
For defence, remember:
- Communication is critical.
- Always know who you’re marking (even if you’re poaching).
- Preventing an easy goal is a win (even if the offence scores with a tricky catch under pressure).
For offence, remember:
- Attack any poaches.
- Work together to create space.
- Communication is key (e.g. thrower tell the ISO to clear out, or cut!).
Resetting efficiently and effectively to score
After a short break we looked at a different skill related to scoring in the endzone from the centre of the field. Our goal here was to reset efficiently and effectively.
We applied this goal to the endzone, but the principles apply anywhere on the pitch.
The first scenario we looked at was scoring from a reset in the centre of the field. We used a dump set-up at 45 degrees behind the disc on the open side. They ran a behind the disc, breakside cut and threw to a continuation cut from the back of the stack.
- Turn your entire body to face your dump.
- Use your body to keep the mark away (Twerk, Twerk, Twerk).
- Throw to the breakside or directly behind you, their momentum will carry them onto the breakside.
- Don’t move until the thrower looks at you.
- Immediately pivot out and throw the around continuation pass, NEVER throw the inside-out.
- If the defender gives up the open side, go and score a goal!
The second scenario looked at sideline resets. We looked at aggressively attacking the upline space to score within a 1m2 box in the front corener of the endzone. If this wasn’t on we cut directly back the way we came for an around break and a continuation cut to the far side of the field for a goal.
To achieve this we covered the principles and cutting patterns discussed here: Scoring on the break sideline with cutters
As the player on the disc, remember
- Turn and look at your reset early (stall 4).
- Fake to communicate to your reset to cut back on themselves.
- Pivot quickly into space for the around break.
As the reset, remember:
- Commit to cuttting up the line for a goal (the defender has to believe you are going to score, even if you intend to cut back).
- Cut back following communication from the player in the disc (either verbal or as a fake).
- Look to swing the disc immediately (if no one is there you’re nicely placed to run endzone from the middle of the field).
We finished the morning session by combining the individual drills into a 5v5 games before moving into 7v7 with the following rules:
- Each team gets 5 chances to score in a row. 1pt for each goal scored. If there’s a turnover, the point ends immediately (D line don’t play O after getting a block)
- After the 5th possession, the O team gets a 6th rep. If they score, they get another go. Continue until eventual turnover, keeping track of total score (i.e. they might turn over on 6th rep and that’s it, or might score another 10 goals without turning over!)
- Once done, switch O & D. See if the other team can beat the current score.
With only 1 point in it the final game was a thriller for the crowd.
The goal for the afternoon session was to learn how to maintain flow against disruptive defences.
Given we had never played together we needed some pull plays in order to achieve our goal.
In teams we came up with a small selection of pulls plays. Alex’s team (Darks) focussed on Vertical stack whilst Brummie’s team (Bibs) focussed on horizontal plays.
Both teams practiced their pull plays without defence to learn by doing and get the timings right to continue their cuts.
Darks main plays were:
- Moses Away
- Wave (a Flood play from Side Stack; see Beating poaches in side stack).
- Chevron Brick Play
Bibs main plays were:
Once we had learnt our pull plays both teams separated to learn defensive sets that were designed to disrupt pull plays. The intention being to force the offence to adapt to a disruptive defence and score anyway.
Darks learnt Hasami, a 1.5 person defence which is detailed here:
When playing Hasami, remember:
- You should always be marking someone.
- Keep your head up and look to switch / poach when it benefits you.
- Communication is highly critical, talk, point, yell, whatever just make sure you share information.
Bibs learnt Frankie from the middle of the field.
When playing this type of switching & poaching defence, remember:
- Keep it simple.
- Stop the offence’s first option.
- Communicate on defence.
Both teams looked to transition early from their new defences into person defence once the initial play was disrupted. This led to a number of turnovers through the confusion created by changing defence. However, when the transition was mistimed, or players trailed their mark on defence there were often quick goals. For more detail on transitions, read here: Transitions.
We learnt a number of skills throughout the afternoon session, particularly around how to stifle flow. This allowed us to practise the inverse skill, maintaining flow against disruptive defences. We did this through Brooklyn rules games (if you score your team get one shot at a bonus goal by walking the disc outside of the endzone and running and endzone set), introducing some competition to our play.
When playing against a disruptive play you have to adapt quickly, remember:
- Communicate, tell everyone what you see so the entire team recognises what’s going on.
- Cut hard, run through any poaches to create space (the defenders want to stop you running behind them).
- Cutters get reorganised whenever there is a reset, this allows you to start fresh and exploit more space on the field.
Coaching Clinic: Sunday 19th November
On Sunday, we worked as coach educators with 16 coaches, helping them with practice planning, drill design, better communication and finished with some practical sessions coaching throwing skills.
How to get into the coaching mindset
We reviewed different learning styles and how best to deliver coaching, in order to understand small adjustments we can make to help get our message across clearly and concisely.
Throwing & Catching
We reviewed How to throw a disc.
Remember: The elimination of drops is the easiest route to reducing a team’s turnover count.
Spirit Of The Game
Remember that we are the guardians of SOTG and how we enforce SOTG within clubs will be vital to how our club is perceived in competition.
- How could you teach rules knowledge?
- How would you deal with people who don’t play by the rules / abuse SOTG?
Health & Safety, Risk Assessment
As coaches we have a responsibility for our players’ health and well-being; the absolute worst thing that can happen at practice is for there to be a serious injury that could have been easily avoided. Before practice starts it’s worth thinking about and inspecting the surroundings for potential hazards. It is also worth remembering that a thorough warm up and cool down has a dramatic impact on the chances of there being any injuries.
After a short break we looked at the skill of designing drills. This was an interactive session where everyone was involved in designing a drill.
In the same groups as the drill design we took a step back, looking at planning an entire, or part of a season.
Diagnosing throwing issues
There was an element a peer review at the end of each session but the overriding feedback was that:
- Following the GSWAP teaching technique was the most effective teaching method; see How to throw a disc.
- Always check people’s grip first.
- If there are multiple coaches, make sure they don’t contradict each other; this is best achieved by making a plan for the session and communicating in advance.
We set-up 4 cones in a 4m x 4m square in the centre of a short field with one cone in the middle. An offensive cutter stood on the middle square and a defensive player stood on one of the corners of the square. The disc started on the edge of the field with a player with their back to the centre square.
The player on the edge of the field is fed a disc by the queue and can turn around. They must then assess where the defender is and throw the disc to the other side of the offensive cutter. The cutter and defender can only start moving once the player with the disc turns to face them.
Progressions (to make it harder):
- Add an initial cut.
- Add defenders.
- Add a force.
Regressions (to make it easier):
- Remove defenders.
- Start with the disc in hand (no queue feed).
- Start facing the centre square.