Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The hardest thing to do in Ultimate is.....

...man d...and it is the most overlooked. Sure, the O guys get all the attention, but, remember, they have an advantage. Here is a partial list of what someone playing man d downfield must keep track of:

-where the disc is
-keeping their hips turned such that they can see the disc
-where their person is
-what the habits and tendencies of their person are
-what the strengths and tendencies of the thrower are
-the force
-where the person they are guarding is in the stack
-what the weather conditions are
-knowing that what you are giving them is what you are supposed to be giving them
-anticipating that they will cut to the space that you are giving them
-communicating with your teammates
-knowing if you are last back

I think I take it granted sometimes that all of the above (plus what I have omitted) is understood.

Having said all of this, perhaps it is true, then, that the hardest thing to do in Ultimate is play man d in Mixed Ultimate....as there is many more opportunities to create isos downfield?


Bill Mill said...

As an ex-mixed defender, now open defender, I'll say that open man D is definitely much harder than mixed man D. In mixed, I used to be good for 3 or 4 Ds per game strictly on throws deep to women; those opportunities no longer exist in open.

Anyway, man D by a *woman* in mixed might be the hardest - she often lacks support, since guys don't want to switch off with her and create a mismatch.

gcooke said...

Hey Bill,

Thanks for that perspective. For you, is it based on (my guess) the higher athleticism in Open?

....or are Mixed teams not effectively creating isos?


$ said...

Was talking about this the other night, actually. (unfortunately)

Even if mixed teams are creating effective isos, the throwing window to any women is going to be much smaller than it would be in womens or open basis.

The throwing window to a women deteriorates quickly as the distance increases. This is mainly due to the fact that a huck to a women can not hang or otherwise be errant as men are waiting to poach on those throws. Most men are generally, taller, faster, and can jump higher than women so they can make up the distance quickly.

I would imagine Bill got most of his additional D's on huck type throws where in the Open or Womens bracket they most likely would have been caught. I've seen this happen quite a bit.


Shawn said...

I am making the transition from Mixed defender to Open defender this year, and I anticipate the task to be much more demanding, both mentally and physically. I'm guessing I will be slightly more physically challenged just due to general higher athleticism (and even size?) within the Open realm; but a much more daunting adjustment will be the mental game. There are so many more deep throwing threats, I can't take that "underneath hedge" break that I had done in Mixed when a girl or less skilled guy had the disc that I knew didn't have the long look. There is a similar reduction in the amount I will be able to poach to the force side. (Do open teams even force sides anymore?)

In addition, our mixed team very rarely focused on switches, as it led to the mismatches mentioned above, and allowed me to focus on just one person for an entire point, which requires a bit more legs, but much less brain activity than the complex switching that will likely occur in the coming season.

Then again, I think there is less expectation in Open for D-lines to force turns, and more emphasis on converting the rare turnover opportunities into D-line scores. So although I will feel like I'm not being as effective, I might just be meeting status-quo. Commence preemptive justification for failure....NOW.

I also heartily agree with the statement that women in Mixed man defense might be the toughest assignment out there.

Any more stories of Mixed-to-Open defenders? Mixed-to-Women? OPEN TO WOMEN(preferred)?

Neva said...

Having played both mixed and women's at the Nationals level, defense is much easier is mixed. Disregarding athleticism, there are two main differences:

1. The points are much shorter in mixed because of the men - more hucking, better throws.

2. Related to #1 - there aren't that many times during the point where your woman is in a position to make a viable cut. That is, if my woman doesn't get it on the in cut, she won't be in the right position to make a cut anytime soon. The men move down the field so quickly that for her even to get to the proper position takes some time, and at that point someone else is likely in a better position. And in general, it's a higher priority to get the disc to men, because they have better throws (longer, more breaks). The only times I've really had to work in mixed is when guarding a really good female handler - even then, it's harder in women's.

This is actually the main reason I prefer playing women's to mixed.