Brummie Scone, the coach of the Great Britain Open team that lost in the finals of Worlds to Team USA (largely San Francisco’s Revolver), left the comment below on our post about team practice and the tradeoff between skills and drills.
It gives some great insight into how a top level team prepares for difficult game scenarios:
The kind of “skills drills” that were referred to above (such as dumps, continuation etc) probably made up less than 25% of our practice time (probably closer to 40% at the start of the season, down to 5% or less – i.e. as part of a warm up – just before Worlds).
Traditional, “games” of 7-on-7 ultimate probably less than 20% (although the closer we got to Worlds, the more that changed).
What do I mean by this? Well, let’s imagine you have a pull play that ends with a huck, and an endzone 7-on-7 drill. If you catch that huck short of the endzone, do you wait for everyone to set up so you can run your drill? You may get in trouble if you do. We spent time working on the boundaries of where our plays/patterns started and stopped, so that we could play seamlessly. I’m not saying that the results were perfect… but what we did do was get into everyone’s heads what they should be trying to do when things don’t work as planned.
Adaptability is crucial in ultimate, I don’t think you can teach people how to do it, but what you can do is have your team buy in to doing things one way or another. For GB, one example was that if we got an isolation in the endzone, we’d throw it, every time. You can see this from the videos from WUGC. I certainly think that our approach, with such a young squad, contributed to our (questionable) success.