Sunday, September 16, 2007

goaltimate strategy

We played some goaltimate at the start of practice last weekend and actually had to stop in between games to explain some basic strategies. Although I was surprised that we had to, I guess I shouldn’t have, as most hadn’t played before. The two key ones were:
  1. Get the disc to a power position just in front of the goal.
  2. Position yourself on defense like you’re playing basketball, not ultimate.

Now, the first of these may be partially or mostly dependent on the style of offense and defense that we play, which is largely unchanged since we won $2500 at the Inaugural Goaltimate tournament in San Diego in 1999. Atlanta had great success against us at the Goaltimate Grand tournament by setting up 5-10 yards outside the goal and extending the defense, but otherwise we’ve not really gone with any setup much different from “get it in front”, and the defense is generally “clog the front”. But perhaps this is due to offensive success at the fast break, quickly taking advantage of any defense that extends all the way out to the clear line (and fails to get the turnover). Hmm, another factor is that probably half of all goaltimate games played in the Boston area in the last 10 years have been in the snow, which acts as a great impediment to wanting to run a lot. Whatever the reason, we tend to play half-court.
For defensive positioning, we face-guard a lot when we play ultimate but that is deadly in goaltimate. Even when the defender does more triangulation, the basic position is between the thrower and the receiver. In goaltimate, the default has to be between the receiver and the point beneath the center of the arch, facing the clear line with body turned to the outside. But some were initially playing even with or in front of the receiver, allowing the receiver a clear path to the goal for a leading pass.
There was also a little bit of unawareness of feet, with at least two uncontested, not that difficult catches coming with a receiver just beyond the goal.

We played again today and though it was better, there was still a little more faceguarding than is good. We also got plenty of good experience at dealing with bad calls from the other team, and one of our games ended up with both teams declaring themselves the winner.

I suggested once or twice that we ought to play a full game (or even a point) completing following the rules, but then I thought, "what's the point?" other than to prove a point. Notable violations would include miniscule travels, saying "stall" or just "one" instead of "stalling", invasion of body space, and offsides by both teams if playing ultimate. I vacillate between being a rules lawyer and a hippie. Most of the time, I end up following the rules myself, noting others violations, and doing nothing about them other than an occasional snide remark.

Got off one good zing as a teammate was misintepreting the rules on a few occasions, as he does with the golf rulebook. "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, Jordan." Alex laughed, as did I, and that's all that matters.

Anyway, any comments on goaltimate strategy?


Frank Huguenard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Huguenard said...

I can see where people who prefer Ultimate wouldn't want to give Dischoops a try but it's a pretty safe bet that if you asked most of the people around the bay area that have played both Dischoops and Goaltimate, at least 9 out of 10 would prefer Dischoops.

It's a much funner game. I hope you all in Boston can give it a serious look and I'm counting on you guys to supply a team for the Coup de Grass Open!!!


Jim Biancolo said...

This isn't really a strategy comment, just a play variation... Around here Goaltimate seemed to turn even our most conservative players into turnover machines. Points would last forever with any number of ill-advised goal shots, many of which would go right to a defender. So we started playing with Callahan goals, and play improved instantly and dramatically, and became much more fun (a few would disagree, but not most, I think).

AJ said...

This is really bizarre...I started a writing a goalty strategy post yesterday....scooped again!

oh well, guess i'll have to wait a few more months before my big comeback.


Anonymous said...

OT - what's the masters crew looking like?

parinella said...

Frank, if we played Dischoops, we would probably adapt the rules to be more or less goaltimate with a second hoop, rather than including the rest of the package. Maybe we'd add the self-pass, but probably not the strip rule, and definitely not the travel=turnover rule. Should we bother?

Jim, another method is to make the turnover guy sub out, but if you only have 5 or 6 per team, it doesn't make as much of a difference in most cases (maybe just the extreme cases). And if you have more than that, maybe you'll play ultimate instead.

AJ, feel free to blog away. I was actually hoping to hear more firsthand of the devastating Atlanta offense, the single most effective offense I've seen in any sport.

anon, I'll cover that in another post coming up soon.

scrooner said...

This may be obvious to anyone who plays goaltimate regularly, but one of the first techniques I teach people when we're they're starting out is what I call the "inchworm". It's a different sort of give & go between two people. Rather than passing to someone and then running past them for the next pass, it's a lot easier to pass forward, dump straight back, and then pass forward again. This is my preferred method for a clear...saves a ton of energy for scoring cuts.

We focus on that power position too, though we usually try to set somebody up with the disc on the corners, ie. even with the goal posts. The player on the corner passes it to the power position & cuts sideways through the goal for a one-timer pass.

parinella said...

Good one on the clear, scrooner. Relatedly, players should wait for an extra second or two (or float/lead the pass more) on clearing passes to give the receiver time to get to the clear line.

One of the guys I play with has this annoying habit of jogging _very slowly_ to the clear line, with his head down the whole time, only glancing back when he is at the line, about five seconds after he should check in. And this guy is otherwise a fairly good player.

scrooner said...

Ugh, it's amazing how many people in our games turn the disc over on clear passes. The risk/reward ratio is not worth a high risk clear pass, especially since just being stalled out before you throw the pass is better than turning it over on a clear.

AJ said...

I was actually hoping to hear more firsthand of the devastating Atlanta offense, the single most effective offense I've seen in any sport.
Ha…yeah, we get that a lot.

My general mantra’s:

Offense: “there’s no reason to turn it over if you’re not taking a goal shot.”
This really is pretty self-explanatory, but with the amount of space you have to work with, and the fact that defense has to give so much respect to the goal side, you really shouldn’t have trouble working it down into the red zone.

Defense: “there’s only one place to score.”
The single thing that surprised me the most at the Goalty tourney, was the way other teams were contesting the clear with hard man to man defense. I think it’s completely insane. It’s considerably easier to generate turnovers defending the goal…and of course it has the added benefit of not risking giving up uncontested goals.

In the Red Zone, we ran 2 basic sets.

In the 3-1 (Space Monkey), we’d spread the handlers outside the goal and try to post up the “monkey” in the goal. If the other team allows you to post a guy up it’s pretty easy to throw a scoober to whichever side of the player’s body the defender is not on. A couple of year’s later, I saw the Illinois men doing the exact same thing in their End Zone ultimate offense. Seems like they’ve gotten away from it now, but I thought that was pretty clever, and if you have the personnel it can be very effective in ultimate as well.

In the 2-2, the set Jim was talking about, we’d spread all four players outside of the end zone. The handlers set up in the middle, and the cutters line up wide of the goal. The offense works by exploiting the fact that everyone knows that the space immediately in front of the goal is the power position. As a cutter, you set up on such a line that you can easily pick your defender off the pipe. By setting up on this line, you force your defender to choose. He can either stand behind the pipe, giving up the power position in front of the goal. Or he can defend the power position, standing in front of the pipe, and make himself susceptible to the backdoor cut. Again, if you set up correctly as a cutter, the defender can’t guard you straight up or you’ll just pick him off the pipe.

In San Diego, most defenders elected to stand in front of the pipe, and we were able to get easy goal after easy goal throwing scoobers to space and letting our cutters run onto them.


We didn’t do anything particularly interesting, but I think we did a better job playing team defense. One thing we’d do when the disc was about 20 yard out was have the last guy spy the goal and push the other defenders onto the non-goal side of their men. It was more and less effective.

One thing I like to do is immediately double team the goal scorer, forcing him back towards the pipes after a scored goal.


AJ said...

re: dual goal goaltimate:

one guy in Atlanta was obsessed with this back in 2002ish, so we gave it a try a few times.

It was a disaster...possibly due to laziness, but it was way to easy to score.

Not sure if this is an issue in dischoops? maybe playing with less pipes in the goal (making it smaller) would help.


Jim Biancolo said...

Jim and readers, do you play with the 3-second rule?

parinella said...

We don't use the zone/3 second rule, as it was instituted as a counter against the way we played. While I didn't like it because it hurt us, I also had no problem with it on another level because it was Rick Conner's tournament and money and no one was forcing us to play in it. I do object to it as a general rule, however. It strikes me as being one of those "inclusive" rules designed more to allow weaker, less heads-up players to do better rather than to allow the better team to win.

Gambler said...

In all the goaltimate games I've played in, setting picks is always the most underutilized strategy element.

AJ said...

haven't played goalty in a while, don't think anyone is enforcing the 3 second rule though.

one year in league we set up a 6-foot rule, a la in the old NBA defense rule. So a defender had to be within 6 feet of an offensive player at all time. Caused some arguments, but it made the game WIDE OPEN. Tons of long shots, tons of picks FAR away from the goal...just generally fan friendly.

scrooner said...

Our pickup game rule is that you can't guard the goal unless you're within 10 feet of an offensive player.

dsb said...

Since no-one's mentioned it, a simple tactic we use for our games is to always take away the post side on the mark when the disc is in the power position (force towards the majority of the goal, as it were). We've done this ever since I started playing, so I have no idea what it would be like otherwise.

Oh, and the last couple years we've gotten in the habit of using the OB line behind the clear line to keep people from just hucking it for clears. Has made the clear defense a bit more viable, although only 1-2 defenders at a time...

scrooner said...

We used to play without any boundaries, and yeah, it gets kinda silly with people just bombing the clear passes. We now use boundaries similar to the port-a-field setup, which is rectangular. We have a 60 x 40 yd box, with a 20 yd clear box, 20 yds between the clear line & the goal (we just use the clear line as the 2-point line) and then another 20 yds to the back line behind the goal. This is a really easy setup to do, and most ultimate players I know are a little bit more comfortable with straight lines.