Monday, August 15, 2005

more from Jim the D guy

Offensive players are such simple creatures of habit, and as a result their individual moves and team structures can be figured out simply by watching them for long enough. And they're selfish, too. And lazy. And they cry when they break a fingernail.

This is most obvious off a called play, especially one where each player's motions are choreographed. If your man isn't a featured cutter, there's an excellent chance that he won't be cutting hard (selfish and lazy). As soon as you see him sorta but not really cut, you know that a set play is going to the place just vacated. And the thrower is afraid of incurring the wrath of the play creator (who is probably the coach or captain who is in charge of subbing), so he's going to throw it because "it's the play". Poach block, give and go for the goal, boo-yah.

Even if there is just a four-man string called, if your guy is cowering on the sideline or just mingling with the other sheep, he's not in the play. If he is alert and separating himself from potential picks, well, at least he's not an idiot, but he's live, so get up there in his face. (Just a secret between us defenders: hack the shit out of him early and often. So what if he calls a foul because you grabbed his arm as he was running by you? It stops the flow, right?) And take note whether he lines up in one part of the stack when he's in the play and another when he's not.

But your savvy and attention to detail will really pay off during the flow. Some self-proclaimed smart guys will claim that they take what you give them, but they are so used to playing against stupid defenders that a smart defender will be able to set them up. (Well, it's not so much we're stupid as we're egotistical. "Ooh, I'm so fast, I'm just going to run by him." But simple physics shows that just a half second head start will usually be too much to overcome. Try this experiment during your next track workout. Take the 2nd fastest and 2nd slowest players and have them race. Give the slow guy a one yard head start, and let him start whenever he wants, with the fast guy reacting. The over/under on when the fast guy will catch him is 40 yards.) Make him think that he can just run straight after a token fake, but you will already be moving in that direction, with your excellent positioning preventing him from going the other direction.

But you don't have to "set up" the cutter in order to play good defense. Just know his habits. So-and-so always fakes for the dump and cuts up the line. Whats-his-name jukes at you and cuts in. blah-blah fakes in and sprints straight deep. It's not a fake if you know what he's doing.

And this applies to marking even more. Learn what he does to break the mark, or if one fake always leads to a particular throw.

No matter how good you are, you're still going to lose 4 out of 5 confrontations. Just try to minimize your losses in those 4 and make that occasional victory a big one.


luke said...

along those lines (knowing 'o' players' habits)... back in the good old days when I was playing w/ chain lightning (who, do to a misprint spent all of 1992 as chain lighting), i was a total rookie.

back in those days (or maybe most teams are like this), there was very little mentoring that went on. I think the idea was that if the old guy helped you out, you would steal his place. A truly clever, evil old guy, would have taught BAD habits to keep his spot... Needless to say, I was just a rookie, was very frustrated by the way things were done...

But I approached Stu Downs, and very seriously told him that I was noticing that he ALWAYS planted on his right foot on his in cuts, but that he ALWAYS planted on his left foot on his fakes.

He bit hard, but I was too good natured to let him flap in the breeze too long.

mick said...

Speaking of old guys giving advice (or not), actually, I'm not that old-a-guy so I don't know if I qualify as an old guy giving advice, whatever... Anyway, I was playing against a 17 year old up-and-comer from a neighbouring town a couple of weeks ago. He was giving us hell when he was in "O" most of the game.

The ONLY thing we had agianst him was that me and the captain of my team noticed that he always cut towards the disc in this particular half-assed way when he was going to really bust long. Rather than it being a fake it was a big signal to both of us to bust long to shut it down. We saved a lot of points by noticing this little fact.

Anyway, we then had a moral dilemma, do we tell him about his fake or do we continue to exploit it every time we play his team? Like I said, he's young and was busting our asses all over the field. In the end we did the right thing and told him what he was doing... though rather than it being a conscious choice I think it was the beers we shared with his team after the game that loosened our lips...

parinella said...

Good for you. Maybe he'll move to your town and play with your team next year.

I recently decided not to tell a potential competitor something that was awry with their offense. We've just been struggling with them too much recently that I couldn't afford to give them an edge. It was nice in the old days that I could be altruistic and reveal our competitive advantages, knowing that we were probably still going to be better and that we might have come up with more advances in the meanwhile.

In our town, advanced tutoring/mentoring is much more prevalent than it was 10 years ago.

luke said...

boston (celtics) was/were famous for training their replacements, just as they were famous for being old.

is there a connection?

luke said...

oh, one thing to add, often if you recognize the play, but if you are not in position to 'do' anything... just yelling the name of the play (cross is the one it always seems to be) seems to wreck the play...

Mark said...

While playing this weekend at the Boston "Corporate" league tournament (hucky, and no, I didn't go to NU), I began thinking about playing D and how sometimes you just have an O players number. They just can never get open when you are guarding them. The same thing can happen the other way. Whatever you do, you can never contain their skills. I don't think it's a matter of one person being better or anything though. Maybe it's that the O player has a similar style of O that you play and you can predict what they are going to do? or maybe you can just read their mind. just a thought.