Defending Conservative Handlers

There are lots of great comments on yesterday’s piece on how to be a good handler, but this one from Seattle Sockeye’s Sam Harkness was particularly interesting.

He wrote:

[quote]Looking at it from a defender’s perspective, the risk taker handlers are extremely important.[/quote]

[quote]The more high percentage and predictable (don’t necessarily go hand in hand) the handler, the smaller the field is to defend.

Looking at the shape of the field as a defender is like looking at a constantly morphing blob of space with shadows crossing through it here and there. What’s causing the constant morphing and shadows? The mark, dumps and swings, deep help, stacks, cutters, defenders, expired cuts, threatening cuts, height of players, sidelines, weak throwers, strong throwers, risky throwers, wind, rain, etc. Great defenders can pick up on what this shape looks like, and start reading the patterns and predicting what it will look like next.

Example: The best hucker on the team has the disc, a defender backs their best deep threat and forces them underneath and the offense gets a 10 yard gainer instead of a goal. The deep threat is not a strong downfield thrower, pretty decent at dumping the disc, but is not going to throw any hucks any time soon. Now the defense has shrunk the field by about 30-40 yds and that blob shape the defense is aware of just became very very small and easy to defend.

The handlers that tend to be high risk throwers are the ones who are also making the field shape overwhelmingly massive. When the field becomes that big, predictability becomes harder and harder, making the defense worry most about containing rather than aggressively trapping or being unpredictable themselves. When this happens, the percentages shift to make high percentage throws even higher with defenders opening up the less threatening options rather than the soon-to-be goal options. Example: 20 yard gainers to the open side.

Although I stick to low risk throws myself, I feel there is a time and a place for high risk throwers to open up the field a bit to make things easier for the team.[/quote]

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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