Friday, April 27

So, The D Team?

Details are not yet certain, but there is some truth to the rumors.

I could end up on the D team this year. The first question that arises in my mind is: Well, should I purposefully play bad defense so that I can go back to the O team? Hmmm... we'll keep that as a last ditch effort.

The second thing that comes to mind is the question of how I will need to change my game to play with the D team. Well, first and foremost, I'll likely have to learn how to play real defense. This could be tough because over 4 years of college the most advice that I got in terms of D was "Run harder than the guy you're covering." That doesn't seem particularly useful. I should clarify: That worked pretty well in the Metro East. I got a bunch of Ds in college! Then again, we never made it to Regionals and as soon as I started trying out with Pike, it was clear that I was completely outclassed. Fortunately, Pike was patient with me and I slowly learned to play O-team defense over four years. That is, don't turn the disc over. If you do, blame it on someone else and wait for the other team's D-team to give you the disc back.

There was a point during the regionals last year that it occurred to at least one vet on our team that my particular brand of angry spikage somehow hinted at a D-player's rage hidden underneath the O-player's shiny exterior. During the offseason, I thought about this and realized that there was, at very least, some truth to this notion and that no matter which side of the disc I played on, I should learn how to play real defense. So I've started the season with the D team.

The experience, thus far, has been both positive and negative. I'm enjoying the challenge of learning the other side of the game, but I'm still getting used to playing offense with a group that is rather tired. The spaces that open up with the D-team's O are completely different than the spaces that were open with the O-team's O. The delineation between handlers and cutters is more starkly drawn, which is awkward for me and the rhythm of the offense is completely different.

On the other hand, my "god-given" (so to speak) skill of outlasting my opponents helps me even more on the D-team than it did on the O team, and the D team seems to understand my angry outbursts better than the O team did.

At this point, as I discussed with B-Lo, I'm more concerned that I'll end up like a retelling of Flowers for Algernon and slowly regress into a grunting, knuckle-dragging, hack of a D-player. This genuinely worries me-- I don't want to be infected by the D-team. I mean, at this point I still get all of the jokes that the O team makes and can read Parinella's blog (or Al's for that matter) without feeling guilty, which are all good signs. If any of that starts to change, or I get tricked into doing something really dumb at practice, I may have to request a move back to the other side of the disc.
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Workout Total:
Leg Circuit, second part for the week
Explosive upper body work
Shoulder rehab
Stretching

8 comments:

Bill Mill said...

Welcome to the dark side :)

Fire and brimstone rule over beauty and flow on this side of the disc.

parinella said...

When one of our handlers went over to the D team, I said that the move raised the average IQ on both teams.

dusty.rhodes said...

Further proof that I'm not dumb yet: I didn't have to read that comment twice to get both jokes.

I'll have to revisit and reassess later in the season...

Mackey said...

Oh boy, old man Dusty is gonna have to run and play D? You sure you can last more than a few points having to chase the pull down the field?

It's a good thing you're doing more conditioning--D team takes more endurance than O line, over the course of the tournament. Assuming, that is, you actually do your job and the D stays out for a couple points in a row every so often.

I've been making the opposite transition this season, from D to O line, with decent success. My cutting hasn't improved all that much from the general "run hard, and if they're still there, change direction" strategy that worked so well cutting on the D line, but it manages to be effective enough.

Any more specific observations about D-line O vs. O-line O? I find with Dartmouth, at least, our D tends to run a more motion-based offense while our O only falls into a motion O when our primary cutters aren't clicking. For us, I feel like the D line tends to think less of itself and is more willing to move the disc, while the more ego-driven O line likes a bit more glory and tries to do something with every reset of the stall count.

dusty.rhodes said...

Mackey:

Remember, this isn't more conditioning for me. This is differently structured conditioning. I suggest you return to Mars and attempt to cover me or get open on me this time around.

Interestingly, thus far the D-experience has been *less* tiring than O. I mean, occasionally on the D team, there are points that I don't play. With the O team, that was not the case.

The D team O (at this very early point in the season) is exactly the opposite of what you describe. Same with the O team O. The D team seems more likely to hold onto the disc and throw it as far as they can, while the O team wants to move the disc very quickly and make it easy.

This is likely reflective of the amount of running done before playing offense.

Also of note:
Before playing with the D team, I hated the D team. After playing with the D team, I still hate them. BUT, now I hate the O team too.

Andy said...

With the D team you get to do my favorite Ultimate cheer of all time after a timeout or stoppage of play:

"GIMME A D!"

"D!"

Mackey said...

Return to Mars? I've moved on. You, too, I hope?

Interesting take on the O stylings. I think, even if a D team is tired after the turn, they generally stand to gain more from running the other team's O around as much as they can. Do you prefer one to the other?

dusty.rhodes said...

I'm a creature of habit, Matt. Much like "the salmon of Capistrano" I'll return to "A place where the beer flows like wine... I'm talking about a little place called [Mars]."

As for the O after a turn, this is a debate that I've been on both sides of. While there is utility in tiring out those lazy O players on D, you still need to score the goal. If you can do both, then do both. If you can't, you need to make an interesting choice: Do we break them down physically (relentless cutting) or mentally (put the disc in the endzone for an momentum-score)?

It is definitely more nuanced than that quick assessment, and it depends on many contributing outside factors, but the end decision has to be a team-level strategic choice. I would argue that the more flexible your D-team strategy (oxymoron) can be, the better you will be able to adjust by opponent, game, and even points within games.

Things like "How long is our O team usually on the field?" or "What type of D does their O team play?" or "How deep does their O rotation really go?" or "Is there a complete chump defender on their O team that we can key on?" or "How deep does our D line really go?" and whatever else you like can be taken into consideration here. On some level, you need a base strategy that defines who you are as a team, but you also need to be willing and able to alter your plan of attack based on the strengths and weaknesses of a given opponent within the context of a larger game/tournament plan.

In essence: There is no one answer. There are many paths to enlightenment.