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Author Topic: College team with few players  (Read 6270 times)
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JCNickles
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« on: March 30, 2009, 09:48:48 PM »

I captain a small college team that has about 10 solid committed members. We're relatively young (this was our 3rd year).

We run a basic vertical stack, but with usually only 8 or 9 players at practice, the only time we can "practice" 7v7 is at tournaments. This leads to our offense being extremely cloggy, because players are used to having to run all the time when we scrimmage 4v4.

So my question is: Would it be more beneficial for us to run a horizontal stack? (i don't know much about ho stack) Because in a game of 4v4, once one person cuts from the vertical stack (assuming 2 cutters/2 handlers) there really isn't a stack anymore. And just from watching the game it kinda looks more like a ho-stack anyway. It seems like an easier transition when we play at tournaments to add 2 more cutters and one more handler to a hostack than it would be to add 3 more players to the vert-stack.

I'd say we have the personnel to run a ho-stack. We have 2 or 3 handlers with good deep/break throws. And our younger players are fast, good cutters.

I'd love to hear what you guys think about this, or any general tips as to how to teach offense/defense strategy to a small team.

Thanks.
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Kyle
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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2009, 07:29:28 AM »

JCNickles,

I tend to prefer the Horizontal stack but with only 10 players you will have difficulty keeping the pace of this offense for a full tournament.  What I would recommend from what you've said is to run a vertical stack but keep two resets (dumps) behind the disc so that you reduce the number of downfield cutters to only 4.  This will reduce your clogging but allow you to play the less energy intensive vert stack.

As far as defense goes, with low numbers like that I would suggest using a clam or some sort of custom junk defense that allows players to switch off to reduce energy output. 

Also, if you're only opportunity to play 7 on 7 is at tournaments - play a lot of tournaments - even if they are against much weaker or stronger opponents.   
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Tenk283
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2009, 10:08:36 PM »

Horo requires the cutters to maintain the formation (as much as vertical) and cut in a different pattern.

If they can't handle vertical, horo isn't guarenteed to work. It isn't a magical fix everything offense. You still have to work and play ultimate according to the tactics your team are using.

On "cloggy" offenses, you need to set down your cutting strategy. Give the players a structure in which they can work. Example: cuts can only come from the back of the stack. Everyone else has to wait and cannot cut til they are the back person.

I find that a bit slow though. What I would establish though is something like this:

- A cut MUST start from the stack. If you are on the open side and cut for the disc: YOU ARE CLOGGING.
- A cut MUST be directly towards the disc or directly away from the disc. If you are running sideways (that is, directly towards the sideline): YOU ARE CLOGGING.
- If the thrower fakes but does not throw it to you, or you are about 7m away from them (and they haven't thrown it to you), you have been looked off, get back to the stack (and don't feel bad). If you aren't jogging back to the stack: YOU ARE CLOGGING.
- If you get looked off and are returning back to the stack, but then make a little cut for the disc: YOU ARE CLOGGING. Remember, cuts must come from the stack. Experienced players get sucked into this one, they buzz around the disc and try to get it back quick so the offense doesn't turn it over. Its ok for low level games, but when it comes to big games, the experienced players end up being covered really well and: THEY CLOG THE LANE.
- The first person in the stack is always about 10m from the disc. They also need to be more to the weakside (side that the disc isn't on) than the strongside (side that the disc is on). Otherwise they narrow the cutting lane and the offense: CLOGS ITSELF UP.
- The deepest person in the stack should be no more than 20m away. Otherwise: YOU ARE CLOGGING THE DEEP CUT. Cuts needs to come from the stack and if there is someone mooching deep, its as bad as if they were mooching in the lane.

 Grin

hope that helps some.
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forrest10351
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2009, 04:12:44 PM »

if your playing 4 on 4 maybe you could make the field narrower than normal for a few points to give you players and accurate view of how much space they should have
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Mackey
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2009, 09:51:56 PM »

I find that a bit slow though. What I would establish though is something like this:

- A cut MUST start from the stack. If you are on the open side and cut for the disc: YOU ARE CLOGGING.
- A cut MUST be directly towards the disc or directly away from the disc. If you are running sideways (that is, directly towards the sideline): YOU ARE CLOGGING.
- If the thrower fakes but does not throw it to you, or you are about 7m away from them (and they haven't thrown it to you), you have been looked off, get back to the stack (and don't feel bad). If you aren't jogging back to the stack: YOU ARE CLOGGING.
- If you get looked off and are returning back to the stack, but then make a little cut for the disc: YOU ARE CLOGGING. Remember, cuts must come from the stack. Experienced players get sucked into this one, they buzz around the disc and try to get it back quick so the offense doesn't turn it over. Its ok for low level games, but when it comes to big games, the experienced players end up being covered really well and: THEY CLOG THE LANE.
- The first person in the stack is always about 10m from the disc. They also need to be more to the weakside (side that the disc isn't on) than the strongside (side that the disc is on). Otherwise they narrow the cutting lane and the offense: CLOGS ITSELF UP.
- The deepest person in the stack should be no more than 20m away. Otherwise: YOU ARE CLOGGING THE DEEP CUT. Cuts needs to come from the stack and if there is someone mooching deep, its as bad as if they were mooching in the lane.

I generally agree with what Tenk's saying (there's some nuance to be had with the spacings), but I'd rephrase everything positively--i.e., when you're more than 20m deep, cut back in hard to MAKE SPACE.

If it's the sort of thing you're going to teach and reinforce in your teammates, and something you'll be yelling out on the ultimate field, you absolutely do not want to be constantly screaming "YOU'RE CLOGGING!" from the sidelines or the field.  It's negative--not what players who (I'm assuming) are relatively new need to hear if you're going to motivate them to improve, and it's the opposite of instructional.  I'm clogging.  Great.  So what do I do now?

The mantra I embrace is simple: Make space.  Attack space.  "Make space" (more colloquially, "clear" or "clear out," though that tends to preclude making another cut to make space and encourage the clear "cut" jog back to the stack) is pretty clear and, in my opinion, pretty empowering.  Attacking space is the ends; making space is the means.

Words matter.

As for the original question of ho v. vert, I think it's something worth playing around with and trying.  If nothing else your team will be more familiar with it for the inevitable situations when they will have to face it.

You might also consider other spread offenses (we used to run a split stack back in the day, with 3 handlers flat and two cutters on either sideline--freeing the space in mid-field for attacking, essentially a series of isolation cuts)...there's no better litmus test than experience, so embrace the fact that your tournaments will be trial-and-error learning experiences and revel in the progress you make in the course of a day, or even a single game.
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Tenk283
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2009, 04:36:53 AM »

 Grin I was just trying to get the point across here. Because I don't have to worry about JC's feelings, I could lay things out nice and clearly. I bet you the recurring theme sticks more than anything else. Of course, if i was teaching irl, I would be alot more polite Grin
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