Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Mechanical cutting

I noticed that some of the tryouts this weekend cut very mechanically. They might fake, but then their actions do not depend at all on what their defender does. They don't even appear to be watching the defender at all.

Idris talked about this in his Oh you had 'em blog entry (Idris has this annoying practice of making everything point to idris.org/ultimate, even when you link to another blog from his page). Players just don't seem to realize when they're open. I commented there, "Bad players either plan too many fakes or else they get so caught up in trying to read the defender that they misread him. Instead, do a simple fake, expect that it's going to work, but be ready to do something else after 2 or 3 steps if you see that it hasn't worked."

Maybe the way to drill this is to have them watch real cutters and defenders and attempt to identify the exact moment at which the cutter simply needs to move in a straight line to get open. Anything a cutter does after that is at best inefficient and at worst the first part of a miscommunication turnover.

We sometimes say that a cutter has several seconds and several options before he has to clear, but that includes the setup time, which should occur before the disc is live.
1. The setup. As the disc is in the air to the new thrower, the cutter moves into position and might do a little bit of juking, but is basically trying to force the defender into a repositioning error.
2. The cut. Make a final sell and then go hard in one direction, making a commitment. THEN you evaluate whether you'll be open. When you get good, you'll know as you're making that hard move whether or not you're successful. If not,
3. The 2nd cut. Turn 90 or 180 degrees and go hard that way. If that's not open, clear. The only exception is when you're in an iso situation with a lot of field and the defender overcommits to the 2nd cut, and you are 100% guaranteed to be open in a good place if you return to your original direction.

I guess basketball players work on their fakes by themselves, repeating until they've internalized the sequences, but they will still need the feedback of whether their defenders are going to buy the fakes.


Idris said...

I use a free dns service which points idris.org to where i want.. cheaper than paying for a host... like if you wanted, you could pay $8.95/year and have your blog be www.parinella.org (which is available as of 30 secnds ago).

actually what you might do is point www.parinella.org to your homepage, then point www.parinella.org/blog to you blogspot page.

i've sinced made idris.org not be cloked.. to see what i mean check it out idris.org/ultimate now.

anyway... to cutting...

it happens in lower levels of basketball and lower levels of ultimate... cutting w/o the feedback... and the result is hilarious... especially when playing against "dumb" defenders... because people are like "you should have bit on that fake.. it was the smart thing to do" and the O player runs right into the D.

Edward Lee said...

Rock, scissors, rock was an excellent sequence. I just got unlucky because I didn't expect the other guy to be stupid enough to throw paper after the first two throws.

jason sweeney said...

"Instead, do a simple fake, expect that it's going to work, but be ready to do something else after 2 or 3 steps if you see that it hasn't worked."

I love that advice. It's part of the whole thing with players in their journeyman stage. They've spent their time learning the basics (throw, run, catch, repeat). They can do that. However, once they get to a higher level of play, they suddenly feel that they need to change how they play, rather than just improving their basic skill set. (I remember a guy I played with that faked every single time he got the disc. Never threw right away. Never. No matter the cut. Drove me crazy.)

A lot of really good teams play a very simple game -- they just play it really well. Do the basics -- just do them faster, cleaner, and smarter.

(Now if I can just take my own advice...)

parinella said...

The other guy was actually one step ahead of you. He knew that you tend to overthink on your throws, and that it would be obvious that only an idiot would throw paper, so paper would then be a winning throw.

Although I was talking more about cutting fakes, it can apply to throwing, too. But what you describe is what we mockingly call the "auto fake." It's not really even a fake, because it doesn't attempt to create an open throw.

I can actually see throwing fakes being more mechanical, since you're not running while you're faking and so the variables are fewer. And you can practice your throwing fakes easily, perhaps even in a mirror or in front of a videocamera, and thereby get the routine down.

(A mixed male player cornered me at a recent tournament and in the process of telling me my book was 80% trite and 20% crap and that perhaps if he could work with me next time it might come out a little better, suggested that I (we?) include numerous detailed throwing fake sequences (e.g., shimmy-fake hammer-throw forehand under).)

But even when you use a mechanical sequence, which you will do as you learn, you need to incorporate feedback from what the defender is doing before making your final bid, whether that bid is the last four steps of a cut or the release of a throw.

Jeff said...

Jim, the thing that amazes me watching you (and Cork, and Al from the handler spot) is how little effort seems to go into you guys getting open. Compare that to some of the Twisted Metal guys who sprint 50 yards up and down the field and are less open less often.

As you gain experience, things slow down. Cuts, fakes, footwork, positioning, even how the offense flows become instinctive and you can focus on reading the defense.

Becoming a better cutter is not a matter of adding the number of rules you follow (Jim lists only 3). Rather it's a matter of applying those simple rules to an ever increasing set of information. Experience is a matter of assimilating more information faster.