Tuesday, August 21


The Good, The Bad and The Ugly?

Not really. Just the good and the bad. Frank got some crazy ideas, but he's not as mad a everyone thinks, he just doesn't seem to deal with people well.

Here's what it all breaks down to with me:

His *ideas* have more merit than most want to admit. I agree, specifically, with the notion that we should all be able to throw with both hands. Possibly not at the same high level with your non-dominant hand, but still. For those of you who have broken your throwing hand, you know that it isn't that hard to become serviceable with your off-hand in a season. Take a period of a year or two and you can become dangerous with both hands. I do not understand why more people don't agree with this.

Also, the idea of emphasizing the give-go and the various extensions of the triangle offense within ultimate is a worthwhile concept. There are similarities between basketball and ultimate. Certainly not a 1 to 1 correspondence, but there are enough similarities that the strategies are related to each other. We've all experienced covering/being that handler who never has the disc more than 1-2 seconds at a clip and never stops moving. Irritating as hell, right? Well, imagine that being the whole basis of the offense. Irritating as hell. All Game Long. And no, the defenses that we currently use will be unable to consistently stop this sort of movement. Then again, the defenses that we use today are unable to consistently stop high-level offenses anyway.

There's the issue. Right there. See it? Frank doesn't seem to accept that ultimate is a sport (despite his complaints about the rules, which always sound, to me, like someone looking over the rules to Bridge and complaining that it isn't more like Magic: The Gathering). As such, the prevailing strategies in sports are determined by the winners. You can complain about elite teams all you want, but until you beat them, they have no reason to take note of you or your ideas. No incentive other than common courtesy and curiosity. That's the deal. Not that it isn't a raw deal, but that it is still the deal.

The other logical gap that Frank moves past via ignoring is that one strategy cannot be optimal for all defenses and conditions. Teams will build a defense against your chosen offense designed to take you out of your comfort zone. At this point, you'll need to mix your strategies. This is something that his view never truly seems to allow for.

To summarize: I agree that an increase in base-level skill is needed (including, but not limited to throwing with your non-dominant hand). I also agree that many teams hold the disc too long and fail to utilize the types of strategies and moves that Frank prefers.

If he could just stop being so over-the-top and 100% sure that he is 100% correct, perhaps he'd better communicate his ideas. The problem is in presentation and extremism. There should be more of his-style of ultimate, but that should not be the only style. There should be huge hucks and lane cuts too, but that should not be the only style. There isn't one right way or wrong way to play and when the argument is couched in black and white terms like that, Frank's side loses every single time. There is no evidence that the offense will work against a good defense. Until he convinces someone to take him on as a coach/coordinator/something, it'll stay that way. Either that or some rogue team taking his ideas and adapting them as needed while taking the ultimate world by storm.

Barring either of those? He's just an interesting footnote in "Ultimate: The Next Couple of Years" (the obvious follow-up to Ultimate: The First Four Decades).
Workout Plan:
30 min Explosive Strength
10 min Interval


Bill Mill said...

We sometimes throw lefty when we do our throwing position exercises.

On the one hand, it's difficult to imagine a quality basketball player that can't dribble, layup, and hook with the left. On the other, Kobe doesn't shoot lefty when it's more convenient, he just gets open for the right no matter what.

And great throwers do just that; shred you with their right hand wherever they want.

The only situation I'll even think about lefty is a very short throw to my right side, right in the awkward range for a flick; a quick lefty backhand is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. It lets you shield the defender with your left shoulder.

dusty.rhodes said...

All true.

That being said, the basket doesn't actively catch what you throw to it either.

And, if he's near the basket/in the lane, Kobe (and every other high-level scorer) will shoot with whichever hand is open.

The key twist from Frank's perspective is that by co-opting the notion of dribbling to mean "give/go," he can make passing and dribbling analogous. Which they simply aren't. And who can't dribble with their off hand?

Anyway, my thought is that by simply being able to do it, you will be a better thrower than if you are unable to do it.

Personally? The short/quick lefty backhand is the only lefty throw that has made an appearance in a "real" game situation. I see a couple of other opportunities for lefty advantages in specific situations. I'm still working on those.

Bill Mill said...

Hmm, what if I imagined a perfect two-handedness:

Maybe if I had a big lefty flick, I'd use it on the left-hand sideline for better extension and quicker release?

Maybe I'd make sure to never set a pivot foot, so that I could conceivably fool a marker with some sort of move (could I make a quick rflick -> lflick transition quicker than flick -> backhand move?)

Maybe I'd play the first 3/4 of the game only righty, then fool my marker lefty on a big play?

Maybe I'd throw a big lefty hammer if I had one?

Still, when I apply the "regionals test" to these, I have a tough time imagining any other than the first or fourth being useful.

Interesting to think about though.

gapoole said...

I've somewhat passively worked on my lefty backhand, to the point where I am about 50% sure it will go where I want it to and look like a real throw. That short, upline forehand really can be awkward, but it would take significant practice for the lefty to be a higher-percentage choice. I've thrown it in summer league, a few times.

Another advantage to throwing a lefty backhand is when you are stepping out to throw a leading dump pass (almost a dishy) to flick side when you are being forced flick. That way, your arm protects the disc--it is more likely that they will foul you if they try to D your throw.

ben h. said...

Sorry to digress. Just wanted to get your thoughts on the format for MA Regionals. Supposing 16 teams make the trip this time (rather than the 14 last year), which format works best: the double-elim or pool play (four pools of four; or two pools of seven)?

ps. My lefty flick is nasty.

ben h. said...

And perhaps more importantly, what do you see the MA regional coordinator doing? Anyone have ideas what his/her plans are?

dusty.rhodes said...

Double Elim. By a Landslide.