Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Offensive Line-up

I was talking with one of my players yesterday about what was needed to have a successful offense. At the time he was of the mind-set that you need to have your "best" seven players on the field for offense (even if some of them are prone to turn-overs). This led to a conversation of what people do you need on the field to have a successful offense. We didn't really get to a conclusion before we had to head our separate ways, but I spent some more time thinking about it and I came up with the following:

For our game at Paideia (lets of working the disc with a few hucks here and there) I feel like on an offensive point we need 2 dominant under cutters, 2 excellent handles/resets, 1 dominant deep threat and 2 people to fill the gaps. Those fills are the people that know what to do when the opponent starts to poach and can do the things needed to keep the offense going.
Too many cutters lead to clogged lanes, too many handles leaves the cutting lanes barren. Too many deep threats means fewer under cuts and if we don't have those fills then the small things never get done.

I would imagine as you go from team to team and level to level the composition changes, but it remains important for a coach to think about what he or she needs on the field to score. Most of the people reading this have probably already gone through these thoughts, but it was a valuable coaching experience for our young player who had never really thought about that element of strategy.

Kyle deserves most of the credit for the conversation between my player and I, because it was something I told him about the way Kyle calls subs that really started the ball rolling for this conversation.


_dusty_ said...

Are they really your 'best players' if they are turnover prone? I'd say not having a lot of turnovers is one of the more important criteria for an offensive player.

A team with 7 Beau's wouldn't be nearly as good as a team with 6 Beau's and 1 Parker.

For the last few years Chain has had an O-player like Ben Spears or Ben Bain that keeps the offense together. These 'glue guys', role players or fills as you called them, do the small things. Burn the poach, find the soft spot in a junk D, get an easy reset on a high count when the dump is shut down, etc. They're not usually catching or throwing a lot of goals, but with out them on the field, the rest of the offense isn't doing much of that either.

mark said...

maybe instead of "best players" the more appropriate term is "biggest playmakers." the guys with the high plus/minus as it were - lots of turnovers, but lots of goals. It's easy to think that a line of guys who can all make big plays is better than a line with an appropriate mix of possession players and more aggressive playmakers. however, a team consisting solely of O players that don't take many chances may be similarly hamstrung as one that is excessively risky.

it's also worth noting that as there are more turnovers (be it due to a lack of skill or weather conditions) in the game the distribution probably changes to favor riskier players over more possession oriented players.

Martin said...

Thanks Mark, I think that is what my player was sort of getting at when he said "best players." We have one sophomore who is a beast of an athlete and has great throws, but occasionally gets too jacked up and overthrows his receiver. When asked, many of our players would describe him as one of our best players, but that doesn't mean he is good for our offense.

I think Dusty's statement that a team with 6 Beaus and 1 Parker is better than 7 Beaus is pretty obvious, the question that I wanted my player to think about is what is the right balance of Beaus, Parkers, Adam Simons and JD Lobues.

parinella said...

I toyed around with a throwaway stat called "Excitement Ratio" (or "Excitement Factor", depending on what you put in the denominator). It's a measure of how frequently a player's touches end the possession (either a goal or a turnover). The "most exciting" players were over 1 (or over 50%). It's not especially useful other than perhaps being able to win money by saying, "I'll bet you that there is a goal or turn the next time player X touches the disc."

I think I would rather have a receiver corps of four Mike Grants (Beau can't really throw downfield yet, can he?) than three Mike Grants and a good fill. Duplication of skills there is ok, maybe even preferable. Well, maybe a very good fill (or "possession receiver" you could call him) would improve the offense.

For handlers, I think there are enough different styles of handler cutting that I would prefer non-overlapping skills, even if the third handler isn't as good overall as another handler whose skills are a poor man's version of your #1 handler.

Martin said...

I think I would like a bit of overlapping skills in my handlers. Tully wrote an article for The Huddle where he talks about having:

"two or three [handlers] who are fundamentally sound, can hit a variety of throws, under different degrees of pressure, while the rest do what they're supposed to do and play their role."

His point is that you don't need a team of breakmark throwers because it only takes 1 or 2 to get things going. When I wrote that I wanted 2 solid resets/handlers that overlapping skill was to let them reset to each other. Maybe they both throw excellent breaks, but if we don't give them a quality reset then we are limiting their options to lower percentage throws.

Maybe a better example is with deep cutters. I agree with Jim that I would rather have 4 MGs than 4 Beaus. Maybe Mike Grant is a bad example, because I would clearly like 4 players that can do everything. But If I have 4 players which are clear deep threats, then aren't they cutting themselves off at some point. Shouldn't Mike Grant #4 wait to attack deep until Mike Grants' #1-3 cuts have expired? And if so, wouldn't Mike Grant #1 be ready to cut deep again by the time Mike Grant #3 is done? Sure, when Mike Grant #2 cuts deep, pulling the defense) Mike Grant #3 cuts under to capitalize and reposition the disc. But if Mike Grant #3 is really Beau (!!) then his repositioning of the disc isn't really as beneficial because he isn't going to be able to do much when he gets the disc. Maybe Jim is right and a good ratio is 3 Mike Grants and a good fill (Moses?).