Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A Response to What is Strategy

I was just reading the discussion on about “what is strategy.” It’s something I haven’t really thought of before, interesting. When we think about things in the abstract, it seems like we should all be looking to make the Perfect Choice every time we have the disc. By Perfect Choice I mean the choice that gives your team the highest percentage chance of scoring this goal (not necessarily the highest percentage pass). I also think it’s probably a rule that the more options that I have the less likely I am to choose the Perfect one. It’s too much to ask of your players/teammates to tell them to just go out there and throw the pass that’s going to lead the highest percentage scoring opportunity every time. In game situations a guys being stalled, he’s probably being fouled, if he’s on Chain he sees guys running all over the damned place – bottom line - players aren’t going to select the Perfect Choice every time.
From this perspective, I would argue that strategy is an elimination of options – or perhaps hopefully the establishment of a hierarchy of options. For example, when x happens our job is to first look deep, if that’s not there look for the under, if that’s not there let’s dump it and hit the swing, etc. In a sense, strategies replace the search for the Perfect Choice with the search for the Correct Choice. The Correct Choice is the throw that the team has decided in scenario x because experience has shown the Correct Choice to lead to a high percentage chance of scoring.

From the perspective of strategy being the elimination of options, I think it’s possible to see the danger of over-strategizing. Over-strategizing would be setting up a system that eliminates too many choices. Our strategies need to be flexible enough to allow our players to be creative within the framework of our system.

I realize that I’m rambling a bit so email me or post if something’s not clear, or if you just think I’m nuts.

1 comment:

wood said...

Ok, so I keep getting hung up on the 'over-strategizing' bit. The question it brings to my mind is how much strategizing do we do, and how does that vary based on the team in question. Certainly, just as not all teams are best served by the same strategy, so it would seem that different teams are best served by different amounts of strategy.

Example: A college team would probably benefit from a more structured strategy than a veteran club team would.

This was an issue for Rival this year, we were learning a new offense and the leadership decided to start out with a high level of strategy (little flexibility). The thinking was the team needed to learn the system first, before learning how to be flexible within the system. We met considerable resistance, because (in my opinion) we had a group of veterans who knew that an inflexible system was flawed. Unfortunately, they lacked the patience to wait until after the system had been learned to add flexibility.

So, is it really the best plan for a new team (new team being a team that is learning a particular strategy, irregardless of their experience level) to have a higher strategy level (more structure/fewer choices) or to start out with a lower strategy level (less structure/more choices)? Maybe this is dependent on the overall experience level. A college team may benefit from more structure more than a club team.

Over-strategizing might be beneficial then for new (by the above definition) teams or by teams with a low overall experience level (ie a college team).

How then, do you determine the optimal strategy level for your team?