All guidance up to date as of 5th November 2020. While this guide was specifically written for UK Ultimate, the general guidelines will be suitable for most countries. Please refer to your own local government’s guidance for specifics.
5th November 2020: Organised sport is currently prohibited in England, please refer to UK Ultimate’s Covid Guidance for the current status.
UK Ultimate’s Phased Return to Play Guidance permits training according to the restrictions in Phase B:
Phase B UKU Guidance
In Phase B, “Limited & Modified Club Training” all activity throughout the session should be completed with all participants (i.e. players, coaches, managers, spectators or any other non-playing volunteers, staff or participants) maintaining social distancing of 2m.
It is to be expected, and is reasonable, that from time to time, participants will inadvertently and briefly encroach within 2m of other participants. According to the DCMS Risk Exposure Framework such interactions remain low-risk and do not require additional measures.
The number of permitted participants and related constraints varies by location, but across the UK the maximum number allowed under this guidance is 30 (including non-playing participants such as coaches).
Phase B Training Suggestions
Without being able to come within 2m of each other, it means that most “traditional” forms of person defence are not permitted. This makes it a perfect opportunity to focus on throwing, cutting & team movements. Try some of the following:
- Throwing skills: if in doubt, throwing in pairs or small groups can be a very effective use of time. Especially when windy! Try some of these throwing tutorials to improve your pivoting, balances and release points. Try switching between Backhand North Pivot and Backhand South-West Pivot, or try improving your Backhand Release points (then do the same for forehand!). Get some overhead practice in too. If you want to emulate the effect of a marker, try some of our innovative methods: Low Releases or Wide Releases
- Improve your cutting: Colour Cutting
- Throwing long to cutters: It’s likely that you’ll be rusty at throwing to cutters moving at game pace. Different throwing shapes for long throws will be a good exercise to improve your throwing skill and remind cutters how to read throws of different shapes. Try some of these:
- Diagonal Away Throw to Diagonal cut
- Diagonal Away Throw to Straight Cut (FM)
- Diagonal Away Throw to Straight Cut (trap force)
Remember: no forcing on the disc!
- Simple cutting drills: Fundamental cutting shapes can be used for most offences, and having missed an entire season it’s likely that your body is no longer used to multi-directional movement. Basically, expect your body to be rusty at changing direction, and it’s likely that you’ll be rusty at throwing to cutters too. Spend time practicing basic “V cuts” like these:
- Team cutting patterns: an important element of generating flow is the ability to time cuts, and to change positions to make good use of spacing. Try some of these drills undefended to practice spacing & timing as a team:
- Poaching: if you can’t play close defence, why not play loose defence? Set up some fun games where no players are allowed closer than 3m to one another. The player with the disc can self-stall by counting out loud after they catch the disc. To make life easier for the offence, try removing a defender so you’re playing 6v7. To make things harder for the offence, you can try reducing the stall count, or having a “shot clock” to restrict the overall amount of time that the offence is allowed to score. Remember: if the disc hangs, then you still need to maintain distance, so you should automatically count any hanging disc as a turnover. This will encourage cleaner and more effective offence. Get ideas for effective Poaching.
- Defensive Pull Coverage: this one is simple. Line 7 defenders up on a field, and practice your pull coverage; no need for the offence! The aim is for one of your defenders to catch the pull as far away from the starting point as possible. A good pull covers a lot of distance AND has hang time. Get a player on the sideline to time your release & time the pull; anything over 6 seconds is good.
- Pull Plays: ask one defender to pull to the offence, and get some practice fielding the pull. Work on techniques for handler movement – like this: Handler Return Move – and downfield cutting patterns – like this: String
Note: as of 6th September 2020, UK is still in Phase B
Phase C UKU Guidance
Drills or games that involve marking receivers (i.e. any offence player that is not the thrower) are permitted, but must not include deliberately setting up “face-guarding” an opponent within 1m and remaining in place for several seconds.
Players marking the thrower must be at least 1m from the thrower. That is, wherever the WFDF rules (in particular 188.8.131.52) refer to the defender being “one disc diameter” from the thrower’s body or pivot point, “one disc diameter” is replaced by “1m”.
There must not be a stall count
For drills where it is practical and safe, it is recommended that the thrower, and the defender marking the thrower should both wear a mask.
Phase C Training Suggestions
Due to the inability to closely guard downfield players for significant periods of time, there won’t be a great deal of difference except for the option to add a marker wearing a face mask to a thrower; this is likely to prove too much of a logistical challenge. In particular, if you’re used to running a vertical stack endzone offence where most of the offensive players are stood still, then closely guarding them isn’t allowed under the rules. However, guarding static players at a distance is (as per advice above) and you are allowed to closely guard actively moving players
My suggestion would be to and adapt the games & drills from Phase B:
- Add defenders on cutters: this will enable you to add decision making into drills, as well as reminding yourself of the footwork required to get open! Try Away, or then Open or Engaging Defenders
- Handler sets: play 3 v 3 handler sets like Sideline trap – 3 handlers or 45 degree dump behind, or try adding a handler move to your pull play, like this String Handler Move 3-on-3
- Get creative! Review the options for Themed Games and combine this with the poaching games from Phase B to come up with game that will improve your throwing, decision making and team work
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