Saturday, December 03, 2005


I have some time this morning as my wife is sick. I am tending to the house stuff, and this means missing the beginning of the GHHH tournament in Warwick, RI. The powers that be decided to rename 6TM the "George Cooke All-Stars" for the tournament, so this might be my greatest achievement in Ultimate so far (especially since Jim is on the roster!). In any case, I am trying to figure what will do most to contribute to the legend, showing up mid-stream (roll the Chariots of Fire music)...or not at all (what a tribute!). Tough decision.

Anyway, on to the subject at hand: systems. I have to be very careful here as this is dangerously close to Crazy Frank material. I think I am a bit pissed that I feel I have to even mention him, even if it is in a dismissive form.

Phil Jackson's book "More Than a Game" provides a good explanation of the Triangle offense. It also sheds some light on what the environment was prior to Winter's invention. The O was basically pick and rolls, cuts off picks, and various means of setting up isolations.

While I do not think that the seven principles of the Triangle can be used, as a whole, for Ultimate, it does provide a framework for thinking about the basic principles of offense in Ultimate. For me, it also makes me wonder if there are additional principles (and systems) that will show their head some day. Jim has expressed some interest in the idea of a "motion offense", and it will be interesting to see if new and unique systems develop in our sport.

There has been discussion about the differences between the West Coast style of play and the Dog style of play. I wonder if these are actually different systems. Certainly, the decision making process is vastly different, but are they actually different systems? I am not sure.

I think it is possible to consider that there is one basic system right now...with variations. Furthermore, I think it is possible to boil down this system into two principles: 1) create isolations, and 2) have multiple options for the thrower. Are there others that I am missing?

The Triangle principle of each player being a threat has lead to discussions of a "motion offense" for Ultimate. It is challenging to think about new principles that could create new systems. Most of the time, I don't feel like I have that kind of vision. While I lack vision, I do spend time questioning my assumptions. Hopefully, this keeps me open to new ideas.

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