Thursday, January 05, 2006

When does the run begin?

I have been thinking for a few years about whether it is possible to identify, in real time, when your opponents run begins. These thoughts largely stem from my inability to remember 6TM's turnover at 12-9 against CLX in the 04 semi's. The experience of this game also taught me that a 3 goal lead is not a safe lead.

The problem is that your opponents run begins when you are on defense. I think it is easy to say that the run begins with a break, but, if that is the case, then they began the point by pulling to which case you were on D when they scored the previous point. In a sense, it seems easy to say, when your opponent has scored on your D that "they were suppossed to score" or "it's OK, we are trading points". Of course, there is now the normal pressure and expectation that your O will socre. If your O gets broken, well, now it is time for the red flags to go up. But, in many cases, it is now a one point game, and their D is on a roll.

Perhaps the concern is actually not being able to identify that a run is beginning. Certainly, most runs are discussed with the clarity of hindsight, but maybe the D getting scored on is actually not acceptable, no matter if it begins a run or not. So, while is it convenient to discuss runs in the context of explaning the way a game went, maybe the game-time focus is on achieving the team goals on a point by point basis.


cash27 said...

George, I think the best coaches/players are able to tell when a run is starting. It is just a feeling that you get after a certain play in the game (not necessarily a score) that says uh oh, they are going on a run. The other team didn't even have to score.

It is those coaches/players that then take action to stop the run instead of doing one of two things

1. Dismissing the other team is about to go on a run.

And if they don't recognize #1, well then

2. Dismissing that a run is actually happening.


Kevin said...

I'm not so sure about Ultimate, but it is really easy to tell when a run is starting in baseball, basketball or football because of the crowd. The crowd just seems to get a sort of buzz and you just feel like every three pointer that you put up, no matter how improbable, will go in.

gcooke said...

Hey guys,

Thanks for commenting. I am not sure I am in agreement, however.

First, I am not sure that you can always rely on interpreting the emotional impact or energy level of a play. Certainly, if someone makes a huge block, you might think "Uh Oh", but how many times do you also think, especially if the guy picks it up, "He is going to throw it away".

Second, here is a scenario. I am aware that it is not comprehensive, but bear with me.

You start the game pulling. It is a big game. After every goal, both teams, in turn, run out on the field with the usual "You Da Man", high fives, yada yada......

You get to 2-2 and you are pulling as you are trading. They score and run out onto the field. Alex Masulis, the club mixed reporter walks over to you and asks how is it going. You say "Great game. We are trading goals".

They pull and come down hard. Next thing you know "Shit! We've been broken". Alex, being the good reporter that he is, is on the scene. You say "They just went up a break."

Now its 4-2, they come down hard again, the O gacks and they break you again. You call a timeout. Alex is approaching but you blow him off because you are pissed. You say to the sorry excuses for teammates, "They just went on a 3-0 run". Inside, you are pleased by the time out call to stop their momentum.

After the game, you say "We traded early on, but then they went on a run".

So, I think a run is defined as 3 unanswered goals, and the first goal is included in hindsight.


cash27 said...

I would argue that it depends on your team.

For instance, I've played on teams where a 3 point goal is insurmountable, and I've played on teams that have been able to come back from 3 or more consistently and without worry. So, I don't necessarily place an arbitrary number on what constitues a run. I generally try to focus on when the run begins.

To explain further, using your example...

If a three point lead is cause for concern, then you might notice after trading the first few points that the morale is low, or the other team is playing harder D, or the O is sloppy, or XYZ that you don't like about your team at a given point. It is noticing those types of actions and that you need to recognize a run could occur if things don't change. Note, could occur. You must identify it before it happens.

I might also state that in the situation you are addressing, that you are dealing with someone who may not be a good captain/coach or is overemotional.

Now, you aren't going to be able to catch all the runs, or stop all the runs, but to recognize them before or when they start can be of great advantage. That is my contention...and sure some do sneak up on you...but not all of them.

gcooke said...

Ok...I guess I suck at knowing when the run begins.....


cash27 said...

c'mon george, i don't believe that! :)

Ever hear that inner voice that says...they are going to go on a run, do something to stop it...then ignore it?

I equivicate it to a bad see it falling...and keep hoping the fall isn't the time you realize it is's too late...if only you had listened to that inner voice and sold :)

keep up the posting...i like it.


gcooke said...

I learned to buy and hold...forever......

I guess another way of looking at it is in terms of deciding to make a run. Sort of the flip side of the coin. Can you decide to make a run? Well, I think you can summon up extra energy and psych, but, of course, what actually occurs is somewhat out of your control. There is the old sports psych adage, "One point at a time". So, again, I think there is tension between remaining in the moment and focusing on the task at hand vs trying to create momentum for the future.


parinella said...

On the other hand, a lot of "runs" are really just figments of the human imagination, attempts to find a pattern in random events. Sometimes a good offense will get broken twice in a row without it being indicative that they're doing anything out of the ordinary or that it's more likely that the next point will be another break. Then, you'll take corrective action when none is necessary and you'll really create a run.

Maybe in order to tell if a run is happening, you need to look beyond whether goals are scored or not and look at how the team is playing. Are people failing to break the mark? Are cutters afraid to go deep? Are defenders giving too much space? In effect, you're creating a much bigger sample size by counting each of the individual actions as plays, and trying to evaluate the process instead of the outcome, which involves a lot of luck.

jtflynn said...

i like the stock analogy. a run doesn't necessarily mean anything strategic has changed. do you still like your matchups and playcalls? did the other squad score on amazing throws/grabs they will have a tough time sustaining?

you can never really know a run is happening until you're a few points into it. (don't mistake strong hunches that turn out right for "knowing" something you couldn't predict.) so, do you want to jerk your team around and kill their focus by mixing up the plan you decided was best for the game, or do you want to stick with your plan?

for those who understand that fundamentals of investment, it's no suprise that daytrading schemes was one of the biggest scams of the last 10-15 years.

portland, or

jtflynn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jtflynn said...

...and thanks to jim for beating me to the publish button. :P

gcooke said...

Yeah....what Jim and Shiv said! Seriously, good posts with good points.

I think Jim's bit about the imagination was what I was wrestling with. Very nicely said. I also like, if I may put it into my own words, the idea that you inventory the fundamentals. Check in on how the team is doing. I also feel that continual small adjustments help to maintain focus, and, perhaps, help to prevent runs.