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Author Topic: Beating a "Pommy" Zone Defence  (Read 21375 times)
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Tenk283
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« on: July 22, 2008, 05:10:25 AM »

Anyone that was at the ECCs saw that the Pommy was the zone of choice.

Now, how do you beat it? Newcastle had no problems. But I figure, we should all share our ideas on what you can do to beat the pommy defensive set. All the teams seemed to handle it fairly well at the ECCs, but what exactly was each team doing?

I'll give my thoughts on how to bust it after everyone else gets a chance.
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Tiger
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2008, 08:44:39 AM »

Owen has done a very good post on this very subject.

http://thinkulti.blogspot.com/2008/01/ways-to-attack-zone.html

Points 1 and 2 are especially effective against the type of weak zone defences that are encountered at league.
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Just Dean
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« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2008, 05:47:33 PM »

Would anyone mind describing, briefly, what a Pommy zone is, please?
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Tenk283
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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2008, 06:07:09 PM »

Oooh, excellent question.

A "pommy" zone is different to a "puppy" (first and major misconception). A pommy is a 1-3-2-1 zone.

1 man on the mark (called the "pommy" or "rabbit".
3 men in a "wall" behind the mark. One on the open side, one directly upfield, one on the break side. These three stop any up the field passes.
2 men are "wings". They look to stop any throws over the wall, and any throws up the line.
1 man is "deep". Stopping any hucks. Hopefully.

The pommy is designed to trap the offense against the sideline and force them to throw risky passes to get out of trouble. A pommy is fairly effective at crushing inexperienced players and you don't need a bunch of "superstars" to clap on a really fearsome version of this zone. Your deep doesn't even need to be great in the air. Hucking over the cup is virtually impossible, unless you are 6'5" and have an awesome high release huck. (Stacey, one of the girls from Usyd got a few big blocks on handlers trying to huck over the cup when she was in the wall)

The pommy forces towards a sideline (which sideline is up to the person on the mark, it should change to force towards either the closest sideline or the weakest handler), then as the disc approaches that sideline, he starts to force upfield slightly. Thereby forcing the throw into the wall.

Quote from: Owen from "ThinkUlti"
Here are some ways to attack a zone. I didn't realise there are so many ways to attack a zone until I stopped to count them. Anyone got more?

1. Sneak in and pivot through
The poppers step just inside the wall or cup, lean forward to receive a short pass (less than 1 metre), and pivot past a defender to throw to a teammate. The disc is not thrown through the cup - it is carried through by a legal pivot step of the popper. This requires footwork not used anywhere else in ultimate, so it takes specific practice.

2. Stand in space
Poppers stand behind the cup or wall in space. If the wing defenders are kept preoccupied, at least 1 of the 2 poppers should be free enough. The handler throws a hammer, blade or scoober to the open popper.

3. Decoy runs to make gaps
One popper moves through the cup to move a defender. The handler throws through the gap they leave to the other popper, who has positioned themselves where they think the gap will appear.

4. Flood the weak side
Position a handler on the opposite side of the field to the disc, and have 2 poppers nearby. Leave the handler with the disc all alone with 4 defenders near him/her. When the disc is swung with a hammer or dump-swing, the poppers are ready to give-go, as the disc should arrive before the cup, clam or wall arrives. Frisbees are faster than feet.

5. Flood deep and hammer
Put 3 or 4 players deep, each trying to draw a defender. One offensive player should be left open for a hammer or blade.

6. Dump and swing until a wing is open
This is the status-quo. It is simple and so is usually the first tactic taught on zone offense. It uses the assumption that "the cup will get tired and slow down and we can then pass up the wing, before we make a mistake". This assumption is usually false in beginner and intermediate ultimate. My reasoning: if you throw just 7 passes sideways, each of which is 90% safe, you are more likely to turn it over than not. And you haven't even gone forward towards the goal. And isn't that the aim of offense?

Number 1 I have never seen pulled off. But I can tell it would be effective. However, wouldn't it require a popper that a) knows where the next player is standing and b) can fire a pass to them before the pommy/wall can readjust?

Number 2 was seen alot. However, this option is diminished in wind, or if your handlers aren't confident throwing loopy passes.

Number 3, is there any particular way to "sell" your cut to draw those defenders? Normally I come storming into the cup calling for the disc loudly, but that doesn't always work.

Number 4, sweet tactic. Even a swing pass normally beats the wall (wall gets the wing reciever on the way over though), it could be an effective way to bounce the disc up the line before popping it back to the middle (or swinging it).

Number 5 again is dependent upon your handler's hammer ability. Not everyone can throw a 50yd hammer with consistency.

Number 6 still has some feasibility though. If you have good handlers, they won't turn it over. I saw however that "swinging" worked best when the handlers didn't sit on the disc. Catch and throw if the up the line wasn't on. The axis could sit on it, but the points couldn't. From what I saw at the ECCs, a pommy gets better, the more time goes on. The defenders can settle into their positions and can start shutting down options. So by not sitting on the disc, the chance of completing a swing pass becomes more like 95%. If your poppers are active, a swing pass can turn into a big up the line pass. Or another is where the point gets it and throws it "around" the wall to the middle of the field in a sort of "break pass". Same sort of tactic as bombing hammers over the wall, however a tad more consistent. Especially if the wing is distracted by the other popper looking for the upline pass and the point is particularly proficient in break passes. The middle is horrendously open in a pommy, so conceptually, the offense should focus their attack through the weak point?

Once a break is made, channel towards the middle and bust through the gap in the secondary?

Thoughts outloud.......
« Last Edit: July 22, 2008, 07:36:03 PM by Tenk283 » Logged
simmo
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2008, 03:13:15 AM »

The biggest weakness I see in most axises (axi?) is that hanging onto the disc. When I play axis, I swing the disc as soon as I get it. If this happens two or three times, the fence will start to bypass the axis and start running straight for the next handler as soon as the dump goes off. The axis throws in a MASSIVE fake, then goes straight back to the handler they got it from. The fence has over committed, and all of a sudden you have half the field open for give-go between two handlers, a popper and a wing.

It's even better if instead of a MASSIVE fake, you simply throw a no look back to the handler you got it from. Defenders really hate that.
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Tenk283
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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2008, 03:39:36 AM »

The axis can afford to hang onto it though, if they wish. If they are being forced towards a sideline, they have an easy throw to the handler on the open side. If the pivot (ie. End of the wall) comes around too much, you can either throw a pass through the wall to said open side handler (which is a slightly upline pass) or pass it off to a popper who does the same thing (using method 1, I assume).

[@Just Dean: did that help? You can find a fuller explanation on the "ultimate handbook". Google it, you'll find it.]
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Just Dean
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2008, 06:39:57 AM »


@Just Dean: did that help?

Yes, thank you.
In the UK we know this as 'Junk'.

This does however lead to the next question.  If the first and major misconception is that 'Pommy' (or 'Junk') is different to 'Puppy', what on Earth is 'Puppy'?

My favourite tip when playing zone (incidentally, being on a team with capable handlers we tend to choose option 6 as if the opposition play any zone on us in conditions where hammers are an option they're making a big mistake), is that the wing handlers should use the width of the pitch but never get trapped right on the line.  Leaving two metres really can make a big difference, especially when there's a big sideline contingent.

Oh, and if it's uber windy, let's think about getting a fourth handler in.
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Tenk283
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2008, 08:22:35 PM »

Check this thread, i've posted something on what I believe is a "puppy" defence. I may be wrong however.

Using the width of the field is a big thing. Even when playing against a mere standard zone, some handlers don't use the width of the field because they get caught up in the dump and swing rythym of the point. I agree with Just Dean, it does help to use the width, stretching a zone is the first part in breaking it.

As for leaving two metres? Thats an excellent point. Especially with a pommy. That way, a popper can get the disc right on the sideline and swing back to the axis without any risky throws. Or another handler can get it out there and swing it, or break the zone.

A fourth handler? Something i've considered... But its really a matter of how good your team is. Having four players behind the disc with two popping and 1 deep kinda says to the defense that you aren't going to try the long bomb, so all the players can cram in and it shortens the zone and decreases the amount of room you have to work in. There is nothing more dangerous than getting a 50yd pass when you are playing deep because you have stretched the zone.

Perhaps I can explain: if the wings crash in and are within 5m-10m of the cup BUT the deep recievers make the deep defender stay deep, it creates a massive hole in the secondary which allows for big hammers or throws to the space without much danger. By having only one man pulling the deep defender deep, you allow the zone to crash in, without much threat of anything happening. Sure your ability to handle the disc goes up and the passes become shorter and a higher percentage. But you have to complete them in a smaller area with the defense breathing down your neck because they know you can't bomb it long. So you are either going to swing it, or pop it.
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Chris
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« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2008, 08:14:05 AM »

My understanding has always been that Pommy and Puppy Fence are essentially the same thing, no significant difference... but I could be wrong...

When I see a defensive team running down to put on a pommy zone or puppy fence my eyes light up (assuming you have a team that is relatively comfortable with the disc as has the basic throws mastered and conditions aren't completely miserable). If you work on the simple rule of keeping the disc moving you can pretty much keep yourself out of trouble in addition to running the defensive wall and puppy into the ground plus not overly exert yourself on O, as the only real pressure of this offense is felt when the puppy and fence are set on one of your weaker handlers.   

The way I always encourage people to play against a puppy is 3 handlers, using the whole width of the field, two poppers/cutters that generally sit behind the fence and look for the scoober from the axis handler as well as providing a cutting option for the wing handlers when they receive the disc. Longs/deeps should be exactly that... deep - though looking to cut back under towards their respective wing handler when the disc on their side of the field making the defensive wing have to cover a deep cut and a cut from the popper for a second or two until the fence can get across...

Normally once the puppy fence is set I like to just have the 3 handlers swing it back and forth it amongst themselves for 30 seconds or so, just to make the fence run because with fatigue comes opportunity as the puppy mark gets weaker, the gaps in the fence get larger and the spring in the fence's step is greatly diminished.

With this style of play the main metre gainers come in the form of the scoober over the top to from the axis to the poppers or the axis swinging the disc really efficiently to the wing handlers to look for metres into the poppers behind the fence or metres to the wing deeps up the line. Those are my two preferred methods of gaining metres against a Puppy Fence, obviously if you have a more accomplished handling line the cross field hammer form the wing handlers also becomes a reasonable option, though is high risk high reward.


Things to be wary of:

As I mentioned above the biggest threats with this sort of defense come when the puppy and fence are allowed to set especially on a wing handler... I have a general rule I say to developing players up here in QLD - if the puppy gets the word "stalling... 1" out then you have held the disc for way too long.

Down field players may at times get bored but taking your eyes of the disc and the flow of the disc is a sin on the frisbee field - this is especially true in zone because the gaps and spaces on the field are forever changing and floating around and not paying attention when playing against zone always lead to missed opportunities.

Offensive seeps need to make sure that the defensive deep feel as if he is a good throw away from being burned. The deep realistically should have to cover two players, and if those players aren't stretching long and wide then the jobs of the defensive wings and deeps is made very simple. 

For successful offense against this style of zone I generally you need at least one person stretching long, that the deep defense feels obligated to cover, AND it helps no end if you have someone on the team that can actually put it to them.

The biggest risk when it comes to playing against this sort of defense is generally handlers getting casual or bored... and just sticking it, rather than being patient and slowly working it up.

IMHO - Puppy/Pommy style zone should never work when conditions are reasonable and the offensive team are willing to take their time, throw within themselves and choose good options...
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2008, 09:55:03 AM »

Tenk,
Quote
1. Sneak in and pivot through
The poppers step just inside the wall or cup, lean forward to receive a short pass (less than 1 metre), and pivot past a defender to throw to a teammate. The disc is not thrown through the cup - it is carried through by a legal pivot step of the popper. This requires footwork not used anywhere else in ultimate, so it takes specific practice.
Quote
Number 1 I have never seen pulled off. But I can tell it would be effective. However, wouldn't it require a popper that a) knows where the next player is standing and b) can fire a pass to them before the pommy/wall can readjust?

I cant remember who told me but someone was running forwards, caught the disc behind them with their pivot foot at the front, then stepped forwards from the catch forwards and threw and someone said "perfect pommy catch' (it wasn't against a zone)

We had a drill at the Jan juniors selection camp to practice this idea, it was a wall of 3 people who couldn't move their feet, and 3 'poppers' who had to get it past them without throwing over the wall (we were in an imaginary box with a roof and walls) because of the narrow area you couldn't throw around the wall, and you couldnt throw through it (the 3 stationary players could touch hands) so you have to use That 1. idea from owen. the handler (in front of the wall) passes to a play who has their pivot foot pretty much on the same line as the wall, they catch the disc and pivot through the wall to the other side and release the disc. you can definetly pivot and throw faster than the wall can back up 1-2 metres and form up properly, and besides becuase of the zone if you play 3 handlers 2 poppers 2 wings/deeps, the wings and deep should be keeping 2 upfield defenders busy and ideally the poppers would standing in space for an easy throw.

That drill helped me learn what to do!


Chris,
parinella (and i think idris nolan some gun handler from JAM) advocate handlers being very active and try to avoid swings and look for more popping action (eg 2 handlers only 3 poppers) who aim to throw over or through the wall rather than always swinging, idea being that if they can get it past the wall they will be able to burn the defense a fair bit (5v3 behind the wall) all based on quick movement of the disc (as you said) Tiger made this badass post (http://sifultimate.blogspot.com/2008/07/heres-looking-at-you-kid.html) and there are some comments about the more active less swinging style zones and basically popping be comes more important than handling.

« Last Edit: July 27, 2008, 10:00:15 AM by a1214 » Logged

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Tenk283
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« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2008, 01:16:06 AM »

hmmm, might have to try that drill. See if I can get it going. As a reciever type, its something I should be able to do. I can visualize what must be done. But thats still a way from actually doing it.

Anyway, back to beating a pommy. Scooba's and throws bombed over the wall are a dangerous throw. That is what the zone is forcing. Passes under pressure. A hammer or scooba in the wind are horrendous. Unless you are a class handler (and I mean, seriously classy), its not going to be an option. Swinging whilst looking for those over the top passes may be a strategy, but throw in some wind and two handlers that can't throw a decent hammer in the conditions and your zone offence has fallen apart.

Diversity seems to be a big issue in effectively taking apart a zone. If the zone cannot focus on one type of zone busting play, they cannot stop it. Hammers can be stopped, the wings crowd in and the mark jumps. Same with throws through the wall, or popping in close, the wall can crash aggressively (basically everyone clogs space so the pass is majorly inefficient, is incomplete or the handler hangs onto it). All of the options suggested by Owen can be stopped if they are planned for. But use all of them in concert with one another and i think there will be zones in tatters all over world.

ps. Chris, I'm trying to work out whether a pommy and a puppy fence are the same thing. Check out the aptly named post in this section. You may be able to give some input.
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gref
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« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2008, 03:35:28 AM »

Seen the uq highlights video from last unigames? There definately some scoobering over the zone there Tongue

Also, Chris doesn't really throw hammers, he just scoobers all the time. And I have to catch the swill.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/aIndTKf5qDE" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/aIndTKf5qDE</a>
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Tenk283
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« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2008, 04:54:29 AM »

You can see the conditions are pretty idyllic in that video though. Doesn't look like too much wind. Most of the throws are fairly straight. Busting a zone over the wall is easy in good conditions..... A good team can handle it with ease.
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