The powers that be have chosen this weeks game to be Warwick Bears 3 vs Cambridge Strange Blue 3 from Midlands Uni Open Outdoor Regionals 2014. Footage: Part 1, Part 2 (apologies for the idiot muttering/commentating in the background). The conditions were tough, with a blustery cross-wind (towards the camera) affecting both teams equally, but Bears came out on top in this scrappy game. We will look at some reasons for this and a couple of improvements that could have made playing in that wind that little bit easier.
Protecting the open side
For most of the match, all the Bears 3 players give a good demonstration of how to ‘not get beaten to the open side’, and as the wind made the break throw much harder than usual this was enough to cause lots of trouble and turnovers for Cambridge. As a result, they often got stuck on the downwind sideline and were forced to attempt tricky throws into small spaces. This happens often in the first point, notably at 1:10, 2:30 and 9:00 in Part 1 and also later on at 9:20 in Part 2. The defenders on the dump marks also do a good job of stopping any easy reset and the Cambridge handlers never look comfortable throwing to the dump. Towards the end of the footage, some of the discipline slips and Cambridge work it well up the open side until the defence clamps down again – 25:25 and 26:00 in Part 2.
Swinging the disc to get it moving
Bears also had some trouble when on the sideline, but taking the in-field swing option helped them get out of it quite a few times. This helped to get both the disc and players moving into space and allow some nice offence to flow. Examples in Part 1 – 0:26, 4:45 and Part 2 – 5:20, 8:00, 13:25, 20:05 all lead to good opportunities to move the disc downfield and/or score and the Cambridge defence never really stopped it. When this option was not used and difficult throws up the line were forced a little, more turnovers occurred – no specific links needed, just watch any 5 minute segment of the footage and you will probably see a couple. This is one of the crucial reasons why, as I’m sure you remember from being coached the sideline play, the main aim is to swing the disc to the middle of the pitch. If Bears 3 had the confidence to do this more, I am sure many points would have come as a result.
Taking the right chances, calmly
Doing this well is important in almost every game, but it stood out as something Bears could have done better. Good examples are the hucks at 5:25, 10:15 Part 1 and 15:50 Part 2, however on these 3 occasions the good initial play is let down by a rushed pass soon after that gives away possession or wastes the opportunity to score. Some of the more wayward hucks going upwind were never really on and there are a couple more shots towards the endzone that could have been better; Part 1 – 0:40, 11:50 and Part 2 – 9:10, 14:00, 18:50, 19:30, 27:05, 28:00. Overall, this game was a battle of attrition (and a bit of territory) and Bears 3 looked the better team on both sides of the disc, but they could have scored more points by swinging the disc and choosing their big throws more carefully. These things will come with experience and I am sure many of these players will be pushing for the 1st team next year. Having said all that, in tight games like this a one-off big play can help you out, as at 22:00 in Part 2 where “dat swing” leads to some nice flow!
Questions to think about:
What throws worked well for Bears and which did not? What directions were these thrown in? Why were Bears’ open side cuts more effective than Cambridge’s? Which team reset the disc better and did this have an effect on who had more possession?