Tuesday, June 07, 2005

"Pully" zone

At summer league last night, a couple of our guys suggested running a traditional zone set (three people in the cup forcing middle, two wings, a short deep and a deep deep) with something called a "pully." What happens is that you have two combination short deep/middle middles (sd/mm). When the disc is on the right side of the field, sd/mm #1 is the middle middle of the cup, while sd/mm #2 is playing short deep in the center/left of the field. When the disc is swung to the left, the points chase, the former middle middle drops out to play short deep on the right side, and the old short deep comes in to play middle middle.

It was beyond eight guys who had never played together before, but I really liked the idea. It was also explained that the way you know which guy plays middle middle is that you set up two pairs consisting of a point and a sd/mm. So when the right point is marking, the right sd/mm becomes the middle middle in the cup. When the disc is swung to the left side of the field, and the left, side of the field, the left sd/mm comes up and fills in the cup. The middle middles only change when the person marking changes.

Does this make sense? I had never heard of this, so it must be some kind of Northeast or Midwest thing. I like it in theroy because I think you could create turnover oppourtunities with the switching in the middle of the field, especially in conditions where the offense might not necessarily get forced into making errors (i.e. low/no wind).

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? Is it a high-level club defense I am not familiar with, or is it something that wouldn't work outside of the college/league level of play? How would you set it up in mixed?

Thanks. Happy to be here.

--He

5 comments:

wood said...

Sounds new to me as well. I've run zones before where you switch out players from the cup before, but usually it was just to cut down on all the running.

I'd like to try this zone out sometime to see what it's like. It does seem like it has a high confusion factor. I'd worry about the area between the sd and the deep being weak, particularly when the disc is in the middle of the field. The sd would have to play pretty close to the cup, but I like to play the sd close anyway.

As for mixed, it could probably work ok. I'd think you'd want 2 male sd/mms, with 2 female points.

Tarr said...

Purdue men practiced this some this year. I never liked it, and convinced them that it wasn't a good idea for us.

The biggest weakness IMO is that you are essentially absent a short deep during the transition. As such, a clever team can easily get one over the top when the force changes. It takes very fast transitions, or clever coordination with the wings, to prevent this. Basically, your wings have to be able to play as if it is a 4-person cup during the transition.

However, if your team, or more specifically, the wing defenders, are already comfortable with a 4-person cup, I think this could be a clever way to reduce movement and coordinate having one "cup-ish" player playing farther back. I didn't like it for Purdue because we never used a 4-man cup.

Miriam said...

This is the way we (Umich women and Michigan club women) used to run our regular zone all the time. The middle-middle and short deep were practically interchangeable. I thought it worked quite nicely because as the disc swings across, the middle-middle and short deep kind of break out into a poachy D just covering whatever poppers are in the middle of the field and then when the points get back on, they reform the cup. The handlers see a combo of zone and person around them which is hopefully confusing and unpredictable.

It was awhile back- maybe 4 years ago?

I think we got away from it because it does take two people that are very heads up. Not so good when you've got lots of people just trying to learn zone for the first time.

A simpler version is to have the middle-middle shade towards one of the points and the short deep fill in that larger hole but not so close that it becomes a 4-person cup. The short deep can choose which side to send the middle-middle to based on where the other O players are.

Marshall said...

Like Miriam is describing, I'm used to playing a system where the MM and SD work together and very fluidly. It can accomplish much the same goal as a designed swapping of roles, but with less risk of what Adam describes (absent SD) because they can flex to the receivers more effectively. It definitely requires heads up defenders in those roles who can anticipate the threats, though.

Anonymous said...

I witnessed a version of this win the '95 Hats Hops and Hucks and began teaching/using my own form of it called the "Squeeze".

-Squeeze-
1. It starts off as a standard 4-person cup (2-2-2-1) to get the offense into a standard “stand around and play against a zone O”. Once they have fallen into this, the zone turns into a force middle-middles matchup zone.

2. The shift to the squeeze starts with the non-marking chaser fading outward to essentially “man up” on the opposite field handler.

3. Then the 2 middles, who are your best "switching-type" defenders, fade back into short deep position...where they play match up D in the middle of the field as appropriate.

The only time one of them would get back close enough to be near the markers is to break up a G&G.

Overall, their challenge is to not chase a popper too far out of the middle...they need to be able to look around and identify the most dangerous opponent in the middle of the field.

Typically these 2 will takes sides of the fields, but overlap switching does occur.

Most teams play offense against cup zones the same way, so until folks realize this isn't a "normal" zone the middles rarely get out numbered.

4. The 3 in the back form a pivoting triangle. The wings/flats have to be active when the disc changes field. The monster plays towards the break side and the flat/wing on the force side drops 3/4 deep.

The flat/wing on the break side pinches in and out to keep the break side handler from getting a yardage gaining backside break pass up the line. At times the wing may need to drop a little to "sandwich" with the monster, but not at the expense of giving the handler an easy up gainer.

The challenge for this wing position comes when the break side handler gets the disc. At this time the flat/wing must begin the pivot of the triangle.

5. The “triangle pivot” occurs when the break side handler receives the disc. As the disc changes field, the flat/wing on the break side has to go back to sandwich the deep line throw. Don’t worry about the popper, as they are man covered by the middle. The Monster waits to leave his guy until the flat is getting into the play. Once the switch is in play, the Monster slides to the deep break side allowing the other flat to pinch in.

Sounds a bit hectic, but it really isn't...in fact it often occurs slowly because the offense is not in position to expolit the opening...the D can adjust well before they do.

6. The handler that was previously marking (and broken) goes slowly to re-mark, allowing the other chaser to switch to the middle handler(they had been marking). If the mark leaves too soon, the disc can go right back and forth to the middle handler on a repeating give and go (since the flat is now dropping back to cover the line).

Getting the mark set is not as important as making it so they have no one to throw to. Once the man in the middle is getting in position and the mark gets set, the only throw is cross field to the far handler…this is what you want.

The point about markers moving slowly is a big benefit of this zone...you don't burn out your chasers. In fact, if you have a good mark, you can catch you breath marking in this zone!

7. Full cross-field swing.
In a decent wind this is one of the lower percentage throws for the offense. But when they do complete the pass to the far side handler, the shift requires the same pivot/timing as a break.

As the disc changes field, again the flat/wing on the break side has to go back to sandwich the deep line throw. Not worrying about the popper, as they are the middle's responsiblity. The Monster waits to leave their person until the flat is getting into the play. Once the switch is in play, the Monster slides to the deep break side allowing the other flat to pinch in.

The non-marking chaser switches fairly slowly to be the new mark, allowing the other chaser to switch to the middle handler. Again, if the mark leaves too soon, the disc can go right back and forth to the middle handler on a repeating give and go (since the flat is now having to drop back to cover the line). Remember, getting the mark set is not as important as making it so they have no one to throw to! Once the man in the middle is getting in position and the mark gets set, the only open throw is back cross field to the far side.

8. When on a sideline.
If the middle handler drops back and towards the disc, the chaser stays on him. The expectation of this is that the far side handler will come into the middle. The middle on that side can flash to him, but don’t give up a down field throw, because if this handler gets the disc he has noone to throw to. If/when they get the disc The chaser covering the droped back handler goes to the mark disc.

As soon as the handlers spread out, the zone returns to “normal”.

9. Playing into and out of a standard 4-person cup (2-2-2-1) is relatively easy. The monster calls
"insert lingo" to switch.

10. All that is required to play this is 2 "athletes" in the middle and 2 chasers with decent marks. Add either some wind or a true monster presence and this zone works very well. Then again, it could be because not many folks have played against it....

Oh yea, in the begining (like most zones) sideline help for the wings goes a long way towards getting them to recognize when to do the triangle pivot.

Hopefully all the banter isn't too hard to understand. The images in the playbook certainly helped folks get it...

Try it, maybe you'll like it :)

Regards,
M.J.