Friday, June 08, 2007

Field sense

Here is a cool article on teaching field sense. Here's one really good quote:
Farrow has found that players who make poor decisions tend to glance at targets, rather than pausing on them. They're also more drawn to motion. "In a lot of team sports, you're attracted to the area of greatest movement," Farrow says. "But just be-cause there's a person running fast and waving his arms doesn't mean he's the best person to kick to."

And here is another interesting link, though interesting in a different sense.


Sam TH said...

Those articles are both remarkable. I clearly need to get myself some occlusion goggles, and also move to the West Coast, since Ultimate is clearly dead around here.

Greenough said...

Rumor has it that this article was written by a Bay Area ultimate player who works at Berkeley.

Anonymous said...


Yes a very interesting article, specially the part on how specific perception training can have positive effects on the ability to return a serve. This type of studies would be great they would be done in our own sport. This paradigm, novice and expert fiels is maybe the most interesting and fruitful way of understanding sports ability.


dsb said...

Pah. Nothing innovative about that. I am constantly performing the exact same kind of tests, except instead of occlusion goggles I use beer goggles, instead of timing of blindness I use number of beers, and instead of field sense I test the attractiveness of my social interests. With extensive practice I have reached the point where I can strike out with hot girls no matter how many drinks I have had.

I think I've heard of a drill (or maybe I'm making it up right now) where a deep cutter watches the throw go off and then runs to where he/she thinks the throw will go without looking back at the disc. This seems to tap into the same sort of thinking yes?

Could a disciplined player get the same benefit by just closing their eyes at key points in a drill (rather than go to the extent and expense of occlusion goggles)?

Anonymous said...


The reason that experts need less time to evaluate the situation is that gives them more free space in their short time memory. Which then gives them a possibility to process more visual information. You have probably seen a person who is a beginner att drivning a car. That person has to focus max and is not so good at talking at the same time, change music on the stereo, seeing possible problematic situations ahead. Our short time and long time memory is vital things in perceiving information and taking decisions.


dan said...

So what should a new ultimate player do to learn field sense?

I just started playing a couple weeks ago, in austin summer league. I never know when I should cut; half the time I take a couple of steps and see someone else starting a cut at the same time, into the same space.

The guys in the article seem to recommend playing in unstructured pickup games, but I've done that a few times, and I don't see how it helps. In those games, everyone is just running around randomly, so I just find some open space and then run towards it, and that usually works.

The perceptual training stuff looks cool, but I'm a few thousand miles away from the AIS campus.

Owen said...

Game sense is the name of this approach, here in Australia. It is one of the eight chapters in the textbook that Australian coaches (of all sports, including ultimate) receive during their accreditation.

dan, the precise solution to improving game sense is to work with a professor and his occlusion goggles and virtual reality set-up.

The easier option is play lots of games with decision making and moving variables/players: ultimate, hotbox, basketball, tag, soccer, goaltimate, schtick, hockey, etc.

And start young :)

For more, google "game sense sport" and "implicit learning sport". I have some posts on this stuff at my blog.

PS The Australian Institute of Sport has some sweet facilities, from the fields, to the pools, to the dining hall. The 2004 Australian teams had one training camp there. Hopefully the 2008 teams will visit too.

dan said...

Doh! I'm about two decades two late to start young. The only sports I played a lot when I was a kid were baseball and table tennis, so when something flies at me I try to catch it with my left hand or bat it back with my right :-)

I guess I better start packing for my move to Australia...