Why Chaos And Risky Defence Are Better In Ultimate

Here’s the thing. We all play frisbee for different reasons, and my main reason is to have fun. So I don’t belong on a competitive team with winning as the primary focus. If I can win AND have fun, great. But I’d rather have a shit ton of fun, take big risks, try to build momentum and win or lose in epic fashion.

So with that in mind, I’m personally developing a playing style more aligned with massive risk-taking. This means paying way more attention to the thrower at all times, and trying to read what’s going to happen in order to do something about it. I leave my man to feel basically unguarded. Sure, I’m close-ish, but I’m playing with space. I’m poaching, trying to make my man look as attractive a throw as possible while staying confident that I can cut off the throw mid-flight. And if they throw over me, that’s more time for me to recover careless positioning.

At this point, I’d say (just as a wild guess) I’m able to see a play coming 30% of the time, and the majority of the time I’m completely wrong and out of position. But that’s OK with me, because I feel pretty strongly that if I’m able to drop my player and make an interception, the momentum gained by my team is far greater than the momentum lost by me being out of position and a pass being completed (even for a point). Being out of position is not spectacular, it doesn’t generally create a strong reaction. But bidding for an interception (and even missing) creates a sense of “swinging for the fences” that spreads throughout the team. I think this makes a team more volatile, more dangerous, and more fun.

I think it’s a mistake for a beginner team to try an play a “controlled” game. I don’t think there’s enough to be gained by playing safely, making only “sure throws” to justify that approach as a team’s strategy. New players, if given license to throw bombs in a game, gain a shit ton more confidence and valuable handling experience than if they’re pressured into always making safe throws (and dumps) to veteran handlers.

No team, ever, has been ignited by safely walking the disc into the end zone. On the other hand, even the opposing team will get up and scream for a spectacular layout D block.

Defending the end zone presents even juicier opportunities to read the play, and abandon your player, and make a bid for glory. Because you’re covering a smaller part of the field, I think it’s actually easier to poach hard in the end zone (providing you’re taking away the easy “in” throws and forcing the handler to put the disc over you, thus building the necessary time to catch up if you made a mistake).

Here’s my final argument for why poaching is better than not poaching:

Imagine a situation where all the players on the defending team are able to predict the throw a second before it’s released. This gives them all enough time to begin sprinting to the point on the field the disc is headed, leaving all players undefended but the player trying to receive the disc. Assuming the defender marking the disc doesn’t make the block, you have the defenders in immediate proximity to the handler reacting to the handler alone. This means bodies getting in the path of the throw (which we’re assuming is happening). So let’s then assume that none of those nearby defenders were able to block or intercept the disc, we now have all the mid-and-deep positioned defenders reacting to the receiver – who now has to make a fairly difficult catch due to being outnumbered by defenders. Yes, if the catch is made, the entire rest of the team is open. That’s the risk. But I still think that a team being able to collectively react to one throw at a time, and isolating/outnumbering the two offensive players involved in that pass, creates a defensive advantage. It also introduces a level of unpredictability for the offence to deal with, and as those of you who’ve played with me know, I’m a huge fan of creating a sense of chaos! I love when the other team is yelling “Man! No, Zone! No, Uh… What the fuck are they doing?”

We’ve all played “Man” and “Zone” and I think it’s time to embrace a new and somewhat random system where we’re thinking less about zones and players, and more about flight paths and developing a poaching mindset (admittedly structured almost exactly as a zone would be). I want to do some strange shit. I want to leave the handler unmarked (if we have a lead!) and double up on the in-cuts.

I want to see the game evolve.

 

The 1000 Rep Month: Day 3

Today’s workout was recorded first thing in the morning so lighting was a bit of an issue, but you get the idea. Improvisation was necessary to accommodate Isla’s desire to absolutely dominate me on the pull-up bar (and with me lifting her that many times, definitely contributed to the workout). Also, at the end of the video I thought Isla was concerned about me doing pushups (she’s never seen that before) but actually she was in the middle of shitting her pants.

 

 

The Key to Unlimited Energy

With a lofty title like that I’d better deliver! Here it is, short and sweet: passion = energy. Lia and I just came to this realization after coming out of a crazy busy week where I did the unusual: I got up with Isla my fair share of the time and didn’t need a nap partway through the day.

Today was extra odd for me – I only got 6 hours of sleep (I usually need way more than this, like an embarrassing amount, I’m talking 10 hours does wonders for me). No nap, not even time to think about a nap. We were out at the farmers market then hustling to prepare for camping, building fishing spears and going for a paddle on little lake, swimming and back home for more camping prep.

It was a massive day. All things I love to do. No lack of energy.

I’ve had small days, bleak, boring days where I’ve had to drag my ass just to make it to bed at the end of it. Whatever was on tap in my body chemistry for those small, shitty, boring days – it probably resembled the dregs of morning-after beer bottles strewn about after a college party. Cigarette butts and all. Flat and gag-worthy.

Today my brain was juicing rocket fuel. And now that I have made the connection between passion and my day-to-day energy levels, I’m going to be looking for more ways of getting into shit that I can become obsessed with.

I’ll still do all the other work that pays the bills of course. Just not only that stuff.

Become A Plastic Magnet in 12 Minutes

This drill will turn your hands into plastic-magnets. And yes, contrary to popular believe, plastic IS magnetic. Watch the video for proof.

Ultimate frisbee players are handicapped much in the way football players are – it’s tough to improve throwing and catching skills without a buddy, nice weather, and lots of space. Getting way better at frisbee doesn’t need to depend upon the availability of friends. You can jack up your skills by yourself, in your own backyard.

For this drill I’ve isolated the pop pass for practicing. If the Backhand is King and the Flick is Queen, the humble (but important) pop pass is certainly on the dais during every feast. It just doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

flick backhand pop pass

A new player using a strong fake followed by a reliable pop pass (to a dump or up field) can damn near eliminate typical short range errors. Short range flicks and backhands, by contrast, are tough to catch and difficult to throw. So we pop.

This pop pass/catch drill is designed to improve the certainty with which you:

  1. Throw pop passes at super short range.
  2. Catch single-handed on both sides.

So, as promised, here’s the video for turning your hands into PLASTIC MAGNETS:

The Wood Workout

Splitting wood brings me joy. So much so that I’ve made a video detailing how it has completely replaced my previous workout with an olympic barbell. It’s just one of those things that makes you feel like a beast. It’s probably in our DNA to get satisfaction from splitting wood, and one of those rare things we can do which is super destructive yet legal and socially acceptable.

 

The Broken Shovel

Unkie Gomie and I broke a shovel transplanting a tree a few weeks ago, and I was going to throw the shovel out and buy a new one.

Then I changed my mind, manned up, and decided I’d fix it instead.

This involved doing a bunch of things I love doing, like cutting and carving:

And burning (to get the old handle out of the shovel blade):

And drilling and fitting and hammering (had to drill a narrow pilot hole to make sure the nail hit the pre-existing hole on the other side of the shovel collar):

And grinding and filing (so I didn’t have a nail sticking out, which looked awesome but would have posed a serious hand-stabbing problem):

Result: a badass fucking shovel that escaped the landfill and is ready for another decade of abuse! Same blade, same handle (6in shorter) + a nail to hold the blade in place. The nail was pulled out of the floor joists in my basement where the previous homeowner had been hanging tools (I hope).

Fixing this shovel was one of the funnest projects I’ve had in a long while. There’s something wrong with me because I don’t get an appetite for this type of work. I don’t know I miss it. Then I do it, and it’s like I’m a crack addict, totally focused and inspired. Fully in the zone. Hours melt away and I don’t notice. Then I’m finished and I feel like all is well with the world, and my life couldn’t get any better. Just from fixing a shovel.

I don’t get it. But I like it.