Friday, June 24, 2016

Stupid Games (part 3: Frisketball)

I have been playing Frisketball since 2011 when a bunch of Paideia Juniors and I made it up after our season ended in the spring.  We could only get a handful of people, and didn't want to drive out to a field or put on cleats.  So we needed something akin to pickup basketball where you could almost always play (on the same field) and people could come and go with little disturbance to the overall game.  Frisketball was created and is best played with between 4 and 8 players.

The rules started almost identical to Hot Box.  The playing field is the basketball court.  The goal is to complete a pass to your team inside of the paint.  That is it.  Super simple.

In the past few years we have evolved the rules a little bit, making the game more like basketball and finding other tweaks.  Here are the basic rules that we always play with.

- Stall is 7
- Picks are discouraged, but so is calling picks
- Neither offense nor defense can stand in the paint for more than 3 seconds
- If you throw the disc in the hoop it is a goal (good luck)
- Double-teams are allowed

The game is all about shifting spaces and the rectangular nature of the goal makes scoring interesting.  It is a game that encourages fast play, creative throws, and offering appropriate help defense.

A 2-on-2 game is hard because the defense will always play towards the paint and with only one other person as a viable target it becomes difficult to find useful attacking space (but there is plenty of reset space).

A 3-on-3 game is exciting because there can be lots of swinging to shift attack angles, but there still aren't enough people for you to rest too much.

A 4-on-4 game is tough because the defense can clog so effectively.  The offense needs to be much more coordinated, which can be very rewarding.

The game can also be full or half-court depending on numbers and available space.

A few of the alternate rules that we have installed in the game:
- No over-and-back: in a full court game once the thrower establish one point of contact beyond the half-court line if they go backwards (either with a pivot or a pass), it is a turnover.

- Out of bounds: if any point of contact for the thrower is on or beyond the out of bounds line it is a turnover.  This includes stopping with the disc after you catch it (it also creates interesting trap situations on defense).

- 10 second rule: in a full court game the offensive team has 10 seconds (from in-bounds possession of the disc) to get the disc past the half-court line.  This 10 seconds can be counted by anyone on or off the field, and must be counted down from 10 to avoid confusion with the stall

- 2 point line: in a full court game, if a goal is thrown from beyond the half-court line it is worth two points

- Jump ball: in a full court game, to start the game you can have a jump ball at center court.  If the disc hits the ground without being caught then the team going away from the side where it lands starts with the disc at its current location.

Frisketball is really tremendous fun.  People who are bad at ultimate can still be good at frisketball.  It is easy to play with all ages and across gender.  It isn't a lot of running, but is incredibly tiring.  It can be physical or gentle depending on how you want to play it.  If you give it a go and have feedback please don't hesitate to post it as a comment.  All of those expanded rules were the rules of just having fun with it, so more collaboration is encouraged.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Stupid Games (part 2: BruteBall?)

Ok, I've got a few tweaks to scrimmages lined up, but since it has been almost a month since my last post I'll go with something that is more unique.  I cannot claim credit for this game.  At best I could give credit to Noah Cohen, but I think he learned it from someone in North Carolina.  Patrick Hard went to school in NC, so let's pretend he invented it.

The game's name is still up in the air.  Noah called it "honey pot" . . . I am not calling a game that I might be teaching middle school kids by that name.  From now on I will refer to it as BruteBall (please someone leave a better name in the comments).

The game feels similar to KanJam in that there is a can (in this case a larger, circular trashcan).  But unlike KanJam it isn't a passive game about throwing and deflection.  It also isn't symmetric.  The game is played with exactly 3 players.  Each possession two are on offense and one is on defense.  The offenders are trying to put the disc in the trashcan in pretty much any manner they can, but the disc can't cross the plane at the top of the lid while it is still in someone's hand.  So you literally can't jam the can.

Like ultimate, you can't travel when you have the disc and you have a stall (in this case 6 seconds).  But unlike ultimate, the defender doesn't have to mark in order to stall.  You would think that scoring happens when the offense puts the disc in the can, but that isn't the case.  Each possession, a point is scored for the defender if there is a turnover.  Then the defender rotates to a new person and you start a new possession.  The only rules for the defender are they they cannot cover the can with their body/arms.  Games are played to whatever you like, but 5 seems to work pretty well.

To start a possession the defender just tosses the disc somewhere in the playing area and the game starts.  The playing area can be as large as you like, but must completely surround the can.  It doesn't have to be a circle where the can is the center, but the can needs to be accessible from all sides.

So what is this game about.  It might seem like the thing to do defensively is to just sit at the can.  There are no rules preventing you from doing that, but it will allow the offense to get really close to the can, and then it only takes the offender getting the disc around your body and dropping it in to score.  You might logically think that the thing to do is to stall while playing tight defense on the other offender.  But then you leave an uncontested throw for on offender and if the other one sneaks past you then it is an easy goal.

Instead the thing to do is to figure out the balance between the two.  You play the lane to block a direct shot while trying to also contest a pass to the other offender, all while stalling.  So this game is working on help defense and controlling angles (I guess . . . it is mostly just fun).

That is it for another installment of Stupid Games.  I'll come back next month with something else . . . maybe with pictures.