My kind of highlight reel

Check this out.

What do you see that’s missing from so many other highlight videos?

Uncontested huck catches.

Almost all of the big aerial battles are happening on D, or occasionally when rescuing an errant throw, but in general the offensive huck highlights show guys running on to well-placed long throws with the defender nowhere. Props to Charles Cleary for putting this stuff on the video – though the temptation to include the 50yd hammer was too much I notice… 😉

If the only top-level Ultimate you see is highlight videos, you could easily get the impression that the way to play is to toss it up and hope your big receivers bring it down. That’s usually wrong, unless you genuinely have receivers who are that much better than the opposition. You should be aiming to throw like the guys in this Ironside video, making decisions like these guys, getting separation like these cutters. The ability to win the battles is a backup for when the throw goes wrong, not an offensive strategy. There are situations where it’s worth taking a shot, don’t get me wrong – but if that’s your default plan, you’ll struggle.

Your job as a thrower isn’t to make the highlight reel, or to give your receivers the chance to make the highlight reel… Your job is to help your team score the point as often as possible. If you want to make the highlight reel so badly, play defence.

All those amazing grabs you often see, you can bet that when the camera isn’t looking the thrower is thanking the receiver for saving his ass. Ninety per cent of ‘great offence’ you see on highlight reels is someone making up for someone else’s error. Don’t be the guy your team-mates have to rescue…

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5 Responses to My kind of highlight reel

  1. Pingback: Practice versus Rehearsal – Part 1 | Understanding Ultimate

  2. Otto says:

    Great post, thanks for pointing that out! A couch I had told me something similar about offensive layouts: they are great for pictures and highlights, and it’s good to have players capable of making them right when needed, but a team shouldn’t depend on them. The best goals are those that seem simple to make.


  3. charli175 says:

    I think you will also like this one:


  4. MKT says:

    Yup. This is also why the pursuit of big-time TV coverage and professional leagues is a bad idea. Good Ultimate has plays as you describe; work the disc to the open receiver for the score. But that would not bring in spectators and TV ratings.

    What would bring in spectators and TV ratings? The types of plays that make the highlight films. Hospital throws. In their bid for ratings, the pro leagues (and if we’re unlucky USAU itself, which has largely resisted the temptation but also shown a few leanings in this direction) will keep tweaking the rules to make for “a better spectator experience”. Refs instead of observers is just the beginning. Shot clocks, two-point scoring lines, and other gimmicks will follow. If they make the sport more fun to play, great. If they make the sport less fun or more dangerous, not so great — but the almighty ratings are what rule TV, and what will rule Ultimate if we let the league owners, broadcasters, sponsors, and spectators decide what good Ultimate is about.


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