Wednesday, March 15, 2006

First Outdoor Practice

There is nothing quite like the humility of the first outdoor practice in the spring. After months of carving outside-in passes into tight spaces, we now all realize we are not quite "all that". It happens pretty quickly. I think the first 20-minute point drives it home effectively.

It is easy, however, to focus too much on the throwers. Reminders to be: chilly, patient, etc. abound. I think much of the work needs be done downfield, though. After months of playing in smaller spaces, our downfield cutters are used to a) getting the disc in small spaces because the throwers can put it there, and b) not having to work hard in a large space. So, while our throwers certainly made some bad decisions, there were a lot of "coverage sacks" as well.

Regardless of whether we are able to get outside for the rest of the week, I think it is time to institute the "no pass over head height" rule. This will place the onus on the girls downfield to create good lanes as well as work early to get open.

At least we were able to get some zone D reps in........



Kenee said...

Talking of taking practice outside, I'm currently facing a dilemma.

We aren't getting enough to training to be able to practice 7 on 7 zone play but at the same time there are 17mph winds and practicing zone seems the only sensible option (apart from staying indoors!).

Any suggestions on drills etc that can be run in smaller groups (8-12) that work on the necessary skills.

I'm primarily concerned with practicing zone offence but anything that helps to teach the cup/wall how to move would also be good.

Great blog BTW, keep up the good work


gcooke said...

Hi Kenee,

I run into this problem sometimes.

12 isn't bad....I just remove the deeps (both O and D)

8-11 can be tricky. I think it can be helpful to do a) walk- thoughs of specific areas you want to focus on, and b) if for example, you want to work on the cup and dump swing, you can set up some targeted work that focuses on this and perhaps works with a wing or two.

Good luck!


Gambler said...

Without 14 players at practice, one thing you could do is do a zone-progression drill. This is actually how we usually teach zone at Stanford, but it's good for isolating particular elements of the offense too.

Start out by just having your handlers play against the cup to practice swinging the disc on offense and have the cup focus on cutting off the angles (6-8 people depending on what types of zones you run, although the drill isn't really designed for a two handler offense).

After awhile, the cup will start to cheat a little and over-commit to cutting off the swing since there are no poppers. That's when you add two more offensive players as poppers behind the cup (8-10 people total now). Obviously the field is stacked in the offensive's favor, so it should be easy to get the poppers the disc, but you should institute the rule that the handlers can only hit them in certain realistic situations.

After awhile, add in your short deep or wings (again, depending on what type of zone D you're running and how many people you have at practice) to give the defense some more confidence and make the offense work harder for the passes it was just getting with ease.

When doing this kind of progression, make sure to keep switching people between positions so no one is in the cup the whole time. Also, make it clear to the players what the different skills to focus on are at each stage.

You can also try to play zone offense with no defense at all. Sounds crazy, but a coach or sideline player calls out a certain number of passes that have to be between the handlers before they can hit a popper or deep. Once a popper or deep gets it, they are only allowed to throw to another downfield player if that player has perfect continue timing, otherwise they have to dump it back to the handlers who have a new number of passes to complete between themselves before they are allowed to look for a well-timed cut from a popper. In theory, it should help on patience, disciple, and downfield cutting.

gcooke said...


Great comments. Thanks for those insights.