Thursday, June 23, 2005

MTV Offense

Ok, not really MTV. I stumbled across the "Empty V" offense last year while searching the web for 'ultimate frisbee strategy offense'. I keep wanting to try it but have never had the opportunity. Basically, it looks like a spread offense with two diagonal (V-shaped) lanes. The purpose is to give the thrower more "offensive opportunities." Russell Young apparentally came up with the offense. I'll let you check out his page on the Empty V for a full description of the offense. I'm curious what everyone thinks of the offense. Has anyone run anything similar before? He's got some other interesting ideas on his site including disliking the force, stack, and zones (w/cups). I'm also starting to wonder what an MTV offense would look like.


Jeff said...

My team sometimes runs a 3-handler offense with 4 people downfield in a vertical stack. Looks similar to the empty-V, but with only one person in the 1 and 3 areas. That is, if I understand what the empty-V O really is.

As for the MTV offense. My only hope is that Pauly Shore, Downtown Julie Brown and Dan Cortez are involved.

aj said...

Looks like fun. I don't quite follow where the continuation cuts are supposed to come from though. Seems like you'd have to make a lot of passes to move the disc up the field.

We should take a group of goalty-ers out to a tournament sometime and run one of these offenses. I'm always afraid that the numbers are going to catch up to you eventually - and you'll turn over your 30th 98% pass...but it would be fun to try.

Tarr said...

Color me unimpressed. The website contains a bunch of talk about using all these passing lanes, but is very short on specifics of how flow continues or how this evolves as players move downfield. It seems like it encourages lots of short passes in the 15 yards around the disc as people swarm about in a barely discernable pattern.

It's not surprising that this guy doesn't like the idea of a force, as it gets in the way of running this offense. The way he says is is that the stack and the force have an incestuous relationship, but I think this belies the fact that a force is, in fact, an effective defensive strategy most of the time.

He also seems oblivious to the development of more refined spread and non-stack offenses (H-stack, Sweedish/split stack, German, etc) that seem far more effective than the "empty V" in creating space and allowing continuous flow. Not surprising, since these only got a foothold in the states in the last 6 or 7 years, and have only become widespread in the last three years or so.

russell young said...

Hi, I am Russell Young, writer of the page in discussion. Thanks to whoever dropped me a note that this was being discussed, and sorry to be a few days late - the site is blocked in China, so I had to arrange a proxy to get access to this discussion.

3 points on the discussion so far, only one of which is directly addressing the comments. The first is that my main objection to the stack is its use as an exclusive offense - like any other offense it has its strenghts, and if a team matches up well for it and the situation calls for it, it is an OK offense (though I personally do not find it much fun). It is true that, living in China for the last 10 years, I am not up on newer trends in offenses, and the fact that apparently once again there is thought and experimentation going into offense is great.

Second, I don\'t claim the empty V is any extraordinary offense. What it is is a basic implementation of a different offensive paradigm. The parts that I may not have stressed enough is that it is an offense controlled by the thrower rather than the receiver. Throwing is harder than getting open and catching, so rather than have the thrower have to watch one or more cutters and get off a throw when they are open, he picks the location he wants to throw to, and it is the cutter\'s task to get open in that area. This allow the thrower to prepare with effective fakes, and make the throw he wants to the location he wants. The strength of this offense comes in when both the thrower and the cutters communicate by reading the same potential areas to attack on the field. The empty V is kind of training wheels that lets a team that has not yet learned each others\' cuts to interact effectively.

Finally, the third point is to reply to the question of the second cuts. These pages were written as a supplement to the actual coaching I was giving the team at the time, so they are not so complete. Since my goal was maximum flexibility in the offense it is not so simple to document step-by-step what responsibilities each player has, and we tried to be more concrete by demonstrating in practice. However, I can give an idea for the vanilla implementation.

As the offense starts the two free handlers will set up to move into the V or the outlet slots. The middles have the choice of either setting up cuts to follow closely on the handlers, assuming they do not get it, or of running second cuts to the handlers\' primary cuts. That is, they would visualize where and when their handler would get the disc (recognizing the same target destination chosen by the thrower and entered by the initial cutter), and picture when and where upfield the next throw would \"naturally want to go\". This role can also be played by the deeps, if for some reason the handler does not make the second cut (prepares for a followup primary cut, or heads out long).

The goal, as in many other offenses, is to start stampeding the defense and not give them opportunity to recover. Once the initial break has been made the defense should not be able to get set, so it will not take so many conservative throws to get upfield.

And, a coaching accomplishment: my Beijing Aeronautics University team played at our first tournement this weekend (yes, playing the empty V, or at least as close as their nerves allowed them to play.) We lost our first game to Shanghai (a team of expats) 9-1, but settled down in our second game to lose to Beijing (expats) 9-7. We have not played on a full-size grass field before, and no amount of talking could prepare them for the defensive intensity of high-quality teams, but all in all I was quite pleased with the outcome.

Jason Becker said...

Jason Becker here; I coach a HS team in St. Louis, MO.

I'm surprised no one's addressed this issue yet. It seems to me that, by making the two cutting lanes (yes, just like stack, MTV has only two upfield lanes) DRASTICALLY narrower than they are in a properly centered stack, you are basically waving a giant flag that reads "Poach Me, Silly! I'm going to cut into this "less than a second-"wide space and you know it!"

I applaud the efforts at innovation though. The stack's ubiquity is, indeed, annoying.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tarr,

Can you explain the Swedish/split stack that you mentioned? I'm familiar with the horizontal and the German, but not that one. Cheers.


Leo said...

Hi John,

I haven't got a clue what is meant by the German stack, but the split stack (at least how we play it here in the Netherlands) has 3 handlers on a horizontal line, and 2x 2 receivers on both side lines, about 20 meters away from the handlers. This gives you the whole middle of the field open for cuts in about any direction. There are 4 possible plays: 1)either one of the sides start moving: both inwards, one towards the disc, the other one more for the break (follow up from the other player in the side, after that the other side goes for the score)2)one player from a side goes towards the disc (A), the other one goes long(B). If A gets it, B is follow-up, if B gets it, the other side is folow-up 3)one person from each side starts to move 4) the receivers don't really do anything while the handlers bring it up as far as possible (works extremely well when you use the other options regularly!)
Hope this helps...