Saturday, April 18, 2009

Paideia Cup: Day 1

Today was the first day of the Paideia Cup in Atlanta. It is a high school tournament that draws some of the best teams in the south east and up to New Jersey. The field was a little light compared to last year (where a Seattle combo team won it all), but it was still an illuminating experience for this first year high school coach.

We had been to Deep Freeze earlier this year, but it was a first tournament of the season and the competition was still covered in winter sleet. All three of the teams we played today (Page, HB Woodlawn/Yorktown, Red Bank) were well skilled and very intense. All had coaches, and clearly had an offensive scheme of some sort. We aren't exactly the most defensively diverse team out there (we run a zone . . . AND a man), however we were able to make defensive and offensive adjustments that really opened up the games. It seemed like other teams adjusted slowly to our tweaks, but those adjustments were happening. The teams that I've had the most success with were teams that were able to defensively make on opponent change from Plan A to Plan B. We were able to do that today, and it rallied us 3 wins by more than 8 points each.

The competition was very good (despite the somewhat lopsided scores), but it seems like playing against college teams has really paid off. We were so accustomed to getting few chances with the disc on defense that we learned to be more frugal with the disc after an opponent's turn. That was the difference in most of the games today. It wasn't that we were getting tons of blocks, but we didn't give them the disc back after getting possession. It was refreshing to see our players be that intelligent and patient. Our captains also did a (slightly) better job with subbing. We kept productive lines on offense, while getting our secondary players chances to get blocks on defense. As a result it seemed that everyone felt involved and was making plays. Morale was really high, but that is easy when you are winning.

Weather permitting we will play again tomorrow, so hopefully we will continue to play well and take home a title. I'm also hoping that we can teach the team one or two more defenses to try out. There was a time that a good poachy force middle would have wrecked a team.


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