Thursday, January 27, 2005

Three thoughts about forcing backhand - by Wood

Wood sent me this in an email recently, and it's pretty much exactly the kind of thing i'd like to have on this blog you go.

First, usually the forehand force is used because it is a more difficult throw. However, I feel this mostly applies to beginners, and most club players have forehands that are as good or better than their backhands. The one exception is probably deep throws. So maybe teams force flick to make deep shots more difficult (although as the level of play increases I think this becomes even less of a factor).
Second, the backhand release and flight seem to be slower (it's not just me is it?). This would suggest it would be preferable to force backhand because it would give your defense more time to react.
Anecdotally, I know that when I am playing short deep in the zone, I am much more likely to be able to get a d on a backhand swing pass than a forehand swing pass. This may also be due to reason three...
Third, the backhand release is such that the thrower's back is to most of the field, whereas the forehand release positions the thrower to face the field. This should make throws to the breakmark side more difficult, and make it easier for the thrower to not see a defender who is in position to get a d.


Parham said...

I also like to force backhand when the opponent keeps breaking the mark with hammers. I also like to force backhand when the opponent is really skilled at and consistently uses the invert flick to break a force-forehand defense. However, I think that latter is more of a problem with marking.

Stating the obvious, defensive strategies change a lot depending upon the division in which the game is played (women, open, mixed - and - club, college). I would teach entirely different strategies to the GA Tech women versus Godiva or Ozone.

Noah said...

Wood, I definitely agree with the observation about players' flicks becoming more dominant than they used to be.

From the college perspective...

It seems that in the college men's game, most players have grown up both a) forcing flick and b) being forced flick. For these reasons, in the past year or so it seems that lots of players (especially on certain teams) now have better flicks than backhands. In some games, simply forcing a team backhand can reduce their deep game and also limit their ability to break the mark. This is especially true against teams with one or two main handlers, who have become used to throwing open-side flick hucks and breakmark flicks, but whose backhand throws are less practiced.

A final thought: although the backhand (especially for hucks) requires a longer wind-up than the flick, changing your grip from flick to backhand generally takes less time than switching from backhand to flick. So, with a decent fake, a good thrower can reduce the time disadvantage of having to step out and wind up for the big backhand.

RubeRad said...

I've mostly only played pick-up, but I've observed that all the best handlers prefer the forehand over the backhand. So when I'm marking a good handler, my first approach will be to block the forehand, so I make him take the time to look for a second option. I know personally I much prefer to throw a forehand, because of improved visibility of the field, and ability to reach past the mark.

Against a novice with a weak forehand (or weaker than backhand), I'll force forehand every time. But in competitive play that is probably less relevant (as noted above).