Knowing is half the battle
I bookmarked this video by Brodie a while back and wanted to add a bit more context to the points he is addressing.
I think sometimes it is easy for those of us who play (or played) at the higher levels to forget how much of the game is still a mystery to younger players.
I was surprised to hear that viewers of this play thought Brodie might be ‘poaching’, as if that is always a bad thing. While poaching often gets a bad rep due to the fact it might be employed by ‘lazy’ defenders in your summer league; the reality is one often should, from a purely competitive stand point, try to maximize one’s ability to take away field space from the offense. ‘Poaching’ (depending on how one defines it) can be a very effective strategy for helping limit an offense’s options (or at least putting one in a better position to help on floating hucks, etc.). Obviously, one needs to ‘poach’ in context of the overall defensive philosophy of one’s team.
On teams I work with, we are always talking about the on field ‘situation‘. Elite teams (and defenders) are always trying to maximize the amount of information they know about any given on field situation. They then can make intelligent gambles or strategic decisions to try to change the risk / reward choices available to the offense. This is what Brodie is doing on the fly in this video, as he lays out verbally.
Brodie mentions a few things he is taking into consideration as a defender in the given situation in the video (open spaces available on the field, thrower’s skillset, his physical advantages over his mark), but there are many others. The list is actually quite exhaustive and it is important to try and collect as much of that data as possible. One thing that is key to the success of elite defenders and teams is their ability to constantly manage a myriad of factors that exist in any situation, and adjust accordingly.
A good summary of on field information for you to try and analyze in game situations
- Both team’s offensive and defensive tendencies
- Success rates of various offensive choices in a given game, tournament, or season
- Wind direction and intensity
- Skill sets of players on the field (both on your side and your opponents)
- Time of the season (is this a must win game? or do I have the ability to play riskier to develop my abilities?)
- Exhaustion level
- Athletic and skill differentials
- Defense/force being played
- Offensive strategy being played
- Distance to the goal
- Position of the disc on the field
- Thrower’s skill set
We need to get a bit smarter in our analysis (and our teaching of our younger players) than ‘Don’t poach! It’s lazy!’.