Avoiding some of the most common mistakes that lead to dump turnovers.
November 15, 2016 by in Opinion with 5 comments
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With the fall college season winding down, there’s a lot of instruction and fine-tuning still to be done. One of the most common areas in need of improvement around this time of year: how to effectively reset the disc! No offense flows effortlessly without having to reset the count or get the disc back into the hands of their handler. Particularly in the early season, rookies are catching the disc and looking wide-eyed for a vet to come and get the disc away from them.
Sound like you? Seen that situation end in a turnover a few too many times? Yeah, we’ve all been there.
There are many reasons why your team may be turning the disc over at stall 8, ruining a beautiful red zone chance or grinding your offensive flow to a halt. Here are the five biggest mistakes your resets are probably making right now and what they should be doing instead.
1. Room For Growth: Stop Cutting So Close!
The most common dump mistake I see in developing teams is cutting too close to the thrower. This not only makes throwing the dump pass more difficult, it also makes catching the throw harder. Throwing short snappy throws — especially forehands — is a difficult task, particularly for inexperienced throwers. Dump cutters have less time to react to throws, good or bad.
Take in this example. The reset actually makes a pretty good juke move, but by the time she does that, she’s too close to the thrower! She has to invest extra time, energy, and field position (which she sacrifices, going from the break side to the open side) to get to an open spot. All the while, she makes the mark significantly more effective.
By the time she receives the disc, it’s from a harried thrower for virtually no yardage gain, with a mark, and close to the sideline.
That sideline thing is a big one that you’ll notice in a lot of these examples. In fact, let’s just make that the next thing we talk about!
2. Pick Their Poison: Threaten Two Things
Second, and a bit more advanced, is that too many dump cutters are not attacking the most important regions of field space: the middle of the field and the break side are high value real estate. Too often, I see dumps cutting behind their thrower and continuing towards the open side sideline. They end up losing both yardage and field position, when we typically want to be trading one for the other.
In the example below, we see a reset cutter come from downfield, invading the space between the set reset and the thrower. The cut doesn’t drive the defender or gain field position; all it does is give an option to move the disc backwards and get the count back to zero. On top of that, it’s not even full speed.
While it seems like the first reset thinks this is the best way to approach their defender’s loose defense, they don’t provide enough advantage to the thrower. The reset is ignored, clogging the dump lane and forcing the other reset to go up the line without a second option.
By getting separation and cutting to valuable field positions, dumps are able to dictate the ensuing mark and take important spaces for their offense. They can hit the break side or throw uncontested yardage gainers, or even attack with the give-and-go. But without gaining those elements, they aren’t doing much besides getting a fresh ten seconds. A good reset can provide so much more.
3. Be More Than a New Stall Count: Getting Separation and Space
It is another problem that too many dumps settle for “getting open” — enough space to catch the disc — rather than “getting separation.” The former allows dumps to merely reset the count and the latter allows dumps to do damage after the fact.
Here we see a pretty famous give-and-go from Dylan Freechild against Carleton. While the footwork isn’t traditional, Freechild does two of the things discussed above: 1) He gains separation with his moves and 2) Regains the valuable middle of the field. Because of this, he is able to dictate his defender, who is forced to take a wide angle to set his mark to stop a downfield break throw. Freechild doesn’t even need a standard continue fake and immediately has the defender beat upline as soon as he gets rid of the disc. Were his initial cut to the space behind the thrower and towards the sideline, Freechild would not be presented this opportunity and his defender would not be forced to work as hard.
Instead, we get a great example of how fundamentals and discipline don’t have to be boring and passive. Freechild remains characteristically aggressive and it pays dividends.
4. Two To Tango: Dump Timing & Communication
Another common error I see is dump cutters activating before their thrower is ready. Throwers and dumps need to operate in concert; a dump cut that happens before the thrower is prepared wastes the cut and strands the dump in no man’s land. That no man’s land is a position where it is difficult for the dump to then threaten at least two areas (in most dump cuts, it is up the line or backwards and across the field), thus making it easy for a defender to deny the preferred option. Not only that, an early dump cut also clogs the space a fill cut needs to provide another option
This works the other way, too. Throwers can’t wait too long to look to their reset. Resets can’t do the things they need to be effective in a second or two. Throwers also need to commit to their reset; give that cutter a chance to get open before you look elsewhere.
Here, we see the communication fall apart. This is in part due to all the congestion in the dump space, but the reset goes too early, the thrower doesn’t communicate well, and the reset desperately makes a bad cut to the open side sideline. Even though the offense scores, the reset execution was poor.
Throwers should signify readiness by “addressing the dump”: turning their shoulders, pivoting towards the dump, and making eye contact. And there’s no such thing as “too early” to look dump. In fact, small-ball offenses often utilize early and quick dump looks to attack before marks are set or playing the dump. On the sideline, I’ll often preach to look dump by the second or third count, when a mark isn’t anticipating it.
5. Develop The Skillset: Practice Throwing Short
Speaking of the thrower, there’s a key area of reset improvement a lot of teams don’t practice enough: short-distance throwing. Completing a pass over just a couple of yards or shaping it into a smaller window to someone moving away are very different throwing skills than firing something upfield where you’re putting a disc out into a lot of space for a cutter to attack. Dump passes require delicate control to both impart enough spin to get there and be paced correctly to hit a tighter window.
Here’s a strategic breakthrough: 100% of dump cuts require a dump throw in order to succeed. Why practice only half of the necessary elements? Even if you design a perfect reset system and prepare your handlers to make immaculate dump cuts, you’re still likely to be asking inexperienced throwers — who dump the disc so often — to make some of the game’s most difficult throws.
Practicing dump throws offers a great opportunity for undeveloped throwers to learn about throwing to space, controlling speed, and mastering shape. Throwers can learn to help their dumps by putting the disc out in front, allowing dumps to 1) gain more threatening continue options by putting the defender out of position and 2) gain separation and spacing. As a bonus, when resets trust throwers to execute, they are more likely to make correct reset cuts.
Make sure your players know how to use their pivots to angle themselves towards the reset, how to address their reset, and how to step out and confidently throw an around to space. It will also help a lot to know how to throw short dish passes.