Coaches Corner Themed Games by Brummie

Careful tweaks to a normal game can allow you to focus on specific areas that need more work

Rule Variations

There are many advantages to using themed games, including:

  • Enabling your team to get more repetitions of specific aspects of the game
  • Playing a game is relatively unstructured, and some scenarios very rarely occur. By putting your team into a scenario of your choosing, you can ensure that they get to practice these situations and become comfortable in them.
  • Allows the coach to positively reward specific actions such as swinging the disc or maintaining possession that aren’t directly scored in normal games.
  • Tweaking game conditions can encourage your team to play faster, move the disc quicker, or to take on more deep throws during practice, which should then carry over into competition.
5 Pull
  • Each team has one chance to score. If both teams turn over, start a new point
  • Offence gets 5 (or 10, etc) chances in a row, then Defence gets the same number of chances
  • Maximises the number of pulls, giving the offence more opportunities at running their pull plays
  • Increases pressure levels by only giving each team one chance to score
Beat the Trap
  • Defence get to choose how and where on the field the offence start every point
  • Initiate play the same way you would after a time out (i.e. offence sets up first, then defence can set up) to give defence the advantage. Allow defence 1 minute to work out the optimum positioning.
  • Define a victory condition for offence; it could be completing 3 passes, or getting the disc to the far sideline, or scoring a goal.
  • Optional: deliberately put the disc in the hands of your weaker throwers to get them more experience in realistic (and difficult) game situations, as though they had just taken a time out.
Puts the offence into really bad situations, forces them to work out how to escape them in real-time and under pressure
  • Goals must be scored twice (scored, then converted) in order to count
  • After every goal, the person who scored the goal has to take the disc to the scoring brick and check it in. Then the offence attempts to score again.
  • If the offence converts, the goal counts and the scoring team then pulls next.
  • If a turnover occurs, the first score doesn’t count and play continues.
  • Forces teams to play their endzone offence more often, giving additional endzone practice
  • Needing to score twice encourages high percentage offence; offences are more likely to play conservatively and treasure the disc.
  • Encourages teams to work on endzone team defence
Changing Goal Conditions
  • There are many options but some might include:
    • Double scores for throws from inside the attacking team’s half; this encourages aggressive deep throws
    • Moving the endzone cones to make one side of the endzone deeper than the other, then having defence trap towards the smaller side; this encourages teams to break the mark and makes it more difficult to score on the open side
    • Bonus points can be given for overheads, getting the disc out of a cup, or any other situation you’re trying to encourage
  • Players respond well to rewards and playing with different objectives can be an effective way to alter player behaviour
  • Benefits will vary depending on rules applied
  • Get both teams to stand on one sideline, with players mixed up.
  • Teams should know which endzone they are attacking
  • Blow a whistle; all players start running to the far sideline
  • Shout commands such as “LEFT” to get all players to turn left, “TURN” to get them to turn and run back where they came from.
  • Once players are mixed up randomly, a disc is thrown into the field and someone shouts which team is on offence. As soon as the disc is thrown, the game begins with normal rules.
  • Forces the offence to quickly organise and reset the disc in a chaotic environment
  • Forces the defence to scramble into position, quickly establish a force and contain the offence
  • Improves communication skills, confidence levels and organisation of a team
Endzone Shots
  • Teams take turns attacking and defending a single endzone
  • Start each point at the attacking brick, rather than pulling
  • If the offence turn over, the point ends immediately
  • Each team has 5 chances to score
  • Optional: After each goal, bring the disc to the brick and begin again. Keep scoring until your team turns over. Tally the score, then let the other team play offence.
  • Gives more repetitions of endzone offence
  • Reduces the amount of running, so also ideal if you have reduced numbers at practice
  • Only requires 40mx40m, so can be played when space is limited
Fast & Furious
  • Reduce the stall count to 5
  • Defenders are allowed to stall immediately after a turnover
  • Forces teams to play at a higher tempo
  • With a reduced stall, cuts must be better timed to ensure that cutters are open in the right place and the right time
  • Teams must get comfortable with a fast break offence, which means quickly organising themselves after a turnover
  • A lower stall will force teams to reset more often, encouraging handler offence
Make it, Take it
  • Games are scored, first to 3 points wins
  • If a team scores a goal then they are immediately on offence going in the opposite direction (i.e. as though there was a goal & pull & turnover)
  • If a team can hold possession then they will win to zero
  • Optional: if a team turns over, they lose a point. First to -2 loses.
  • Forces teams to value possession while on offence
  • Teams must generate turnovers if they want to win, rather than being content to trade out games
  • Start each point at the attacking brick, rather than pulling
  • Otherwise, play as normal
  • Gives more repetitions of endzone offence
  • Reduces the amount of chasing down on pulls, so also ideal if you have reduced numbers at practice
Short Huck Conversion
  • Allow offence to set up a deep throw
  • Defence cannot block the deep throw, but otherwise both teams play on from the moment the deep throw goes up
  • If the deep throw is incomplete, the receiver should pick it up and play on
  • If the deep throw is caught in the endzone, the receiver should bring it back to the goal line and play on
  • Gives more repetitions at converting short hucks, giving the offence chance to practice getting organised in a potentially chaotic situation
  • Teaches defences how to contain and prevent quick goals after a completed huck

If there’s a specific aspect of your offence that would you like to work on, try using this table for ideas:

Area to PracticeModification
Cleaning up a messy offence
  • Chaos
  • Short Hucks
Endzone Offence
  • ‘Endzone Shots’ (see above)
  • Tip: combine with ‘Brooklyn’ rules (see above) for added pressure
Keeping the disc off the sideline
  • Every time a team catches the disc within 5m of the sideline, the next pass must take the disc out of that sideline channel
  • Tip: mark the sideline channel out with coloured cones for a visual cue to your players, or have the sideline players call “SIDELINE” whenever the disc is caught near the sideline as an audio cue.
Playing under Pressure
  • Use 5 Pull rules. Only your O line receive. O line scores 1pt per goal. D line scores 3pts per goal. In a game to 15, if the D line can score 5 goals, they will win.
  • Tip: tweak the scoring to match your team’s abilities; an elite team can use 5:1 ratio for D:O goals, going on the assumption that 3 breaks are sufficient for an elite team to win a game. For a lower level team, this might be 2:1
  • Alternatively, the offence has to convert a given percentage of the points that they are going to play – for example, 80% of 10 pulls – in order to win.
  • Tip: to make this even harder for the offence to recover from, following a turnover the defence team only need to complete a certain number of passes to score a point
Pull Plays‘5 Pull’ (see above)
Receiving deep pulls
  • Allow the puller to start closer to the receiving endzone so that their pull lands deeper and/or hangs more in the receiving endzone
  • Having the O line going upwind repeatedly makes it more likely that your pulls will land deep
Receiving well-covered pulls
  • Allow the defence to start closer than their own endzone line to ensure that they get down on the pull
  • Tip: you can still have the puller releasing from inside their own endzone line to ensure that they still practice pulling correctly
Playing into windIf the wind is blowing, just get your O line to play in the same direction 5-10 points in a row, rather than switching ends each point
Sideline Trap
  • Start each point trapped on the sideline rather than receiving a pull
  • Tip: combine with “5 pull” for repeated attempts
  • Tip: combine with “Beat the Trap” rules for maximum repetitions; if the offence get the disc to the far sideline, score 1 for offence and restart from the same position.
Treasuring Possession
  • Play ‘Make it, Take it’ rules (see above)
  • Play ‘Brooklyn’ rules (see above)
Using the Width of the Field
  • Mark the centre of the field (or thirds of the field) lengthways with cones as a visual cue to your players to remind them of their position and the position of the disc relative to the field’s width
  • Use the cones to cue them as to whether they are cutting wide enough, whether your stack is positioned correctly, or when your dump should switch from playing behind the disc to playing level with it near the sideline, for instance

Not only will these themed games allow you to practice specific parts of your
team’s game, they can also be used to add variety to practices.


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