Thursday, August 07, 2014

The power of the かいひステップ

I just woke up this morning to literally see the final score of the Buzz Bullets vs Ironside prequarters game at Worlds.  Buzz shocked everyone (or at least me) by winning 17-16.  Since I wont be able to actually watch the game for a bit I can't really give a good analysis, but while watching the highlight reel I noticed something that Scion Scone wrote about in an ultiworld article not too long ago.  He commented about the way the Buzz generates hucks to odd spaces.  We've known that was the case for a while, but I've never really looked at how or why.  Usually my time watching Buzz is about seeing how well they get short breaks and their strange, no-mark zone.

Then watching the highlight reel from the Worlds game I noticed something.  Prior to throwing those hucks Buzz turns the wrong way.  To further explain, when a player is cutting and catches the disc the direction they turn is typically the shortest path to facing upfield.  On an slanted openside cut that means turning over the openside shoulder, on a breakside cut that means turning over the breakside shoulder.  This has a great natural feel and can make for quick disc movement because the player's momentum expedites the turn rather than hindering it.  I can go on for a while on this, but the important thing is that most cutters turn this way.  On all of the dangerous hucks (the one Scion is referencing) Buzz turned the wrong way.

So why does this matter.  Let's imagine a pass going to the open side and a defender trying to get the block (as many Ironside defenders were trying).  That defender, especially if it is a well versed Ironside defender, is going to start on the open side and try to fight for open side positioning.  That way they are closer to the block without just being flat out faster than their defender.  But there is a disadvantage to that tactic.  If you don't get the block you are out of position to set the mark because you are on the open side.  This is a common problem that happens all the time in the States, and teams try to exploit it.  But the amount that you can exploit it is limited if you are still turning with your momentum.

Again, think about this on an openside cut.  If I catch the under and then turn to the open side, my ability to throw a huck to the opposite third is limited.  Let's say it is a backhand force, and I catch the disc on the strong side.  I turn to throw a backhand and realize that my defender has over-commit to that side.  So I've got a wide open flick huck, but my turning momentum (not an actual physical term) is the wrong direction.  In order to get power on that flick huck I will have to pivot over and generate new momentum the opposite direction.  That takes time.  While I wont be marked, I will likely feel pressure and my receiver is getting farther away by the minute.

But what if I turned the other way?  Then my momentum is turning the correct way for that huck.  I can drive it farther, and do so faster than if I turned the other way.  The speed on that delivery is really key because it can further exploit someone in the same third running away from their defender.  If the deep target's defender is on the open side (which they would be, right) then they are out of position for this breakside huck.  If I can get the disc out quickly they wont have time to recover.  If I pivot the wrong (or actually the right) way then it takes longer and the defender has time to recover (or get sideline help).  Think of it as a turn that gets away from your defender.

So the かいひステップ (Kaihi-step: Kaihi means Avoidance . . . I think), is turning the wrong way on an under cut to push the active space back in the direction (laterally) from where the disc came.  Should it be used all the time, no!  But using it in a spread scheme when the disc gets near the sideline seems like a potentially good idea.

I'll go through and look at the film soon and try to follow up with some video, but I wanted to get this idea down on "paper" before I forgot it.