Analysis of 2018 Season
We played excellent ultimate in 2018, but we only had one style of play. We were very good playing person defence, and played with good flow on offence due to early cuts. We felt good & were wonderful to watch ;-)
2019 was the year of junk & poaches, working on our minds, hands and legs to understand where and when we have to cut & throw. We were comfortable playing against person defence & zone, but not against junk sets or poaches. That meant we had to work on changing our field vision.
Focus on Fundamentals
Back in January 2019 we started working on improving our fundamentals: triangle marking, throwing skills, defensive drills… all very easy and basic stuff to allow us to try new things and new throws not in our repertoire.
When we talk about throwing fundamentals, we were thinking about changing our vision of the field and our capacity to throw to different parts of the field. We had a very small repertoire of throws, but when playing against junk or poaches we recognised that we needed to change our approach. So, during the winter, we encouraged our players to throw all kinds of throw and did some new strange new things (for us… maybe not for Finnish or Swedish players!) to experiment with new throws. Like perhaps we play 3v3 and you can only throw backhand or only use a forehand grip, or with a minimum/maximum number of fakes to improve our speed of play.
On defence, we tried to get people comfortable blocking under and forcing people deep. This was very difficult for us to adapt to. During the 2018 season, we faced many teams creating flow from a handler position by cutting upline, then playing in a 2m lane from the sideline. And while we recognised it, we didn’t really have the instruments to block it at the time. So, we worked on technical drills & game scenarios to practice how to defend that type of offence; we always try to do more games than drills.
For these game scenarios, we play 3v3 on small fields with rules like “+2 points for each catch made on the open side” which is terrible for the defence, or “+1 pt for each defensive block” for the defence line. We also have to score each goal twice when we play 7v7 in order to give us more focus on offence & defence in small spaces and in a stressful situation.
Because had some problems playing against junks and poaches, we firstly worked on trying to learn how to poach and how to do a good junk zone, so then we could learn how to play offence against it! We concentrated on the fastest flow possible: we want to move the disc before the defence gets set, and so we played many scrimmages with stall 5 or even 3. In my opinion this is one of the most important things we did, not only for helping us to improve how quickly we catch and throw, but improving the timing of our cuts. Playing with a shorter stall, we found our cuts had to be earlier. If we can get the disc moving, we can avoid set plays. Playing with stall 3 forces the cutter to start early in order to get free from the defence in that time. I hate playing it because it’s hard, but it’s really helpful!!
Many of our players were also in Gyor and Heidelberg, and these experiences are good as bread (as we say in Italy) to improve us as players and also to improve our ultimate minds.
Leading to EUCF
After EUC and u24s, we had some vacations (important to avoid burn out), then we started training for EUCR.
The aim for these final sessions was to keep intensity as high as possible. And we had to get lots of throwing in; we are a physical team, rather than a technical one, so we know that after a summer break with lots of good Italian food our hands would be worse than our legs! EUCR was very difficult but it was a great opportunity to see Yaka and study them.
The month before EUCF was CRAZY.
We studied very team: watching three or four matches on YouTube or Fanseat for eleven different teams, writing everything down and studying every roster. We watched players on Facebook to recognise them, studying their favourite throws, cuts, what they like to do, etc… I was not alone, obviously, we were a team of eight stalkers, with two people watching the same game in order to give different opinions. The thing that changed everything for us was our match analysis: we knew everything about everyone.
And we trained how to escape from situations we didn’t like: poaches, junk zone, and anything that blocked our natural flow.
I think it worked very well, but we still have lots more potential for improvement. We are still young, still not as good throwers or defenders or cutters as we would like, and still not good at offence against junk or poaches. We improved, but we can do better!
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- The Around Backhand – Why and How
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- CUSB 2019: Building a community
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