Saturday, March 09, 2019

Freeze Tag Ultimate and Micro Freeze Tag

I had an idea a long time ago that some teams were good at reading dead-disc situations and other teams were bad.  By "dead-disc" I mean any stoppage where there had to be a check.  It felt like some teams/players could just immediately understand where the disc should go before it is tapped in and then throw it there to a receiver that was on the same page.  Perhaps a better example as a coach are the times that players fail to recognize the obvious place to deviate from a scheme on a stopped disc.

Anyway, I felt like it came down to readying a defense, but how do you develop that skill? I came up with a game that, despite being years old, I have literally never played.  The game is Freeze Tag Ultimate and the rules are simple.  You play ultimate, but each time the mark is set they yell "freeze." At that point then start counting down from five to zero.  During this time no one is allowed to move, not even the person with the disc.  When the mark gets to zero they start to count up, with a stall count of 5.  Still, people are not allowed to move with the exception of the mark and the thrower.  All cutters and defenders must stay still until the disc is thrown.  At that point everyone is allowed to run and we continue the process when the next mark is set (if no mark is set then multiple passes can happen without freezing).

The idea is that the person with the disc gets a chance to see where their offenders are, where the defenders are, and where they can get the disc too.  Similarly, the defenders can assess the situation and try to decide what is likely to be thrown so they can pounce on it.  By slowing this process down and giving people time to think about it you can let people develop that skill of "reading" the situation.

Well, today I thought of an adjustment to it that might make this game better, or at least different.  Rather than playing on a full field, it should be played in a small box (maybe 20x20) to shift the focus.  This doesn't help you realize the full field stopped disc situation, but it does give some utility in the reset game.  Maybe there should be a shorted clock, but the idea is that over these short ranges you have to read less-obvious advantages and throw different throws.  While I might just air the disc out to the best space in the larger version, Micro Freeze Tag is going to force me to throw short-range touch passes.

As I write this I can think of one more benefit of this type of game (which I don't know when I'll ever get to play, so this might all be bunk).  Especially in Micro Freeze Tag, where there is less space to work with, you can have a good discussion about how you move when you aren't the person being throw to.  In a full field there is plenty of thought about getting downfield to provide a continuing pass, but in Micro it feels like the game will be more about small shifts in the way that you move in a zone.  So, when the other person catches it, we want to make sure that we are giving them options in multiple places (whatever that looks like for us).  I think there might be something here.