Thursday, November 20, 2008

The good and bad of inside out throws

One of the challenges of coaching is having young players as well as older players understand the difference in the window of opportunity of i/o throws and o/i throws. Especially break throws.

No matter what level of team here in the northeast, at least once a game, there is always the dreaded i/o break turnover to someone making a cone cut from the back of the stack. Their trajectory is never really narrow enough to shield the defender, and it never had a chance of being completed, but people will always, always try it.

The above is my poor attempt to draw an accurate representation of the temporal and spacial windows of a cutter and of a thrower's two main break options, the around and the inside break. I say poor because I think I have only depicted the spacial windows, and some can debate about those as well.

The setup is your typical endzone cut. A person is cutting from the back. Ideally, they would be starting their cut at the very end of the endzone , but this is showing the typical poor use of endzone real estate. The cut begins in the middle of the field and about 5 yards from the back of the endzone. This is a typical endzone offense.

Because he is cutting at the cone, he is cutting at a 45 degree angle (20 yards from sideline, 20 yards back from cone). This is a much more horizontal cut than people normally cut when they are cutting on the field, and, because of this, the window for the i/o is smaller and shorter than it normally is.

The above diagram is not perfect. I am using it merely as a visual aide to get my point across.

The point:
1.) The I/O Break window normally in the endzone is EARLY in the cut.

2.) Most turnovers on I/O breaks happen because people throw them too late in the cutters cut. Most turnovers happen because people typically aren't throwing the disc to get to the receiver in the of the red. They typically are throwing the disc by the time the receiver has ran into the i/o throwing lane. By this time, it is too late.

3.) I think the around break is more successful because the temporal window to throw happens later in the cut, so a thrower can decide to throw the break later in the cutters cut. It also gives more leeway to people with slower releases.

I think, in college, the turns happen because they decide to throw the throw too late and then either wind up throwing behind the receiver, or trying to make up for lost time by throwing it fast and hard which makes the throw unpredictable and uncatchable.

Aside: I wanted to put a third layer on top of the two layers that demarcated the temporal windows of when to throw the throw, but that confused even me and I thought of the idea. It would be sweet if I could do a 3D one with that though!


p.s. I am going to draw a couple diagrams containing situations where i/o breaks are sweet later this weekend.


Pete said...

I think Disc-Receiver-Defender is the paramount consideration for the thrower. Where are you going to put the disc and When? Will that time and place allow your Receiver to make a solid catch with the Defender unable to make a play at the disc?

The Thrower must ANTICIPATE cuts so the throws are on-time and well-paced (nice soft throws). Further, the Thrower must have the humility to decided/admit when a throwing opportunity is too late, dump the disc, and try again.

Josh Mullen said...

pete I agree with you and I will address this in a later post.

Sorry for not updating, my washer broke and I am in the process of fixing it.

Nothing like fixing home appliances and cars by yourself to make you fully appreciate how much money your time is worth.

I will have time over thanksgiving (and two plane flights) to write some stuff.


Mackey said...

Hey Josh,

A little late to this--I think this is really valuable stuff. I've definitely been victim to the IO turn myself, and I think we can all picture a few throws like that we'd take back if we had the chance.

I will say that while you're diagramming a typical setup, there's always the potential to make that IO window more effective, not by jamming the disc, but by getting a better break THROUGH the mark with your pivot.

On Dartmouth last year we had a couple handlers with this capability--one did a great job of bodying you out with his step for the IO flick, and the other was left-handed and similarly could step through the mark if it was too close.

From a position PAST the mark the IO becomes extremely easy and can be thrown to a much larger swath of field. This is something I'm going to eventually do a post on, but I think if you want to make the I/O more effective it not only pays to focus on the thrower's decision-making but their throwing mechanics as well.

Mackey said...

Oh, and an extra though re: temporal margins...have you considered flash animations?

Check this site out.

parinella said...

A few comments, somewhat connected, possibly redundant:
1. It seems that it's not i/o throws in general, but specifically forehand i/o throws that are the issue.
2. Most of the bad throws arise because the pass is thrown too fast (almost impossible with the backhand i/o), leaving no margin of error in any direction.
3. Distance is important. Up to about 10 yards, you can throw just about anything (even lefty) and you have margin, because the defender will not have time to overcome any separation. This might be more related to where the cut is coming from, though. You specifically point out that this cut comes from the back of the stack, while in real life it is often (I'd say "usually" or "almost always", but not sure many would agree) better to have this i/o cut come from the middle or front of the stack. It's really a much easier pass to hit, that simple 10 yard break.

Josh Mullen said...

Jim, that is exactly the point I want to get at.

There are basically 2 cuts that I think the i/o are good to use.

1.) A cut from around 10 yards off the disc. Boston uses the front of the stack as a dump and we use the i/o a lot. It is high percentage here because we throw it early, and if the defender has his weight the wrong way, he is never going to defend it because he has no time.

This can also be an "opportunity cut" one that happens when a guy gets a swing pass, the back guy cuts for the around break, the mark shifts over to stop it, and then you get another cut that comes slightly after for the wide open i/o.

2.) The second happens to be on cuts that happen to be narrower as in more vertical than horizontal. This would be a gut cut if people understand that lingo (as in closer to the vert stack). This cut happens a lot in ho stack cutting. It looks like the handlers are breaking the mark more than they are because they are throwing a pretty much straight throw to someone cutting to the breakside.

I basically wanted to show the cut that leads to a metric f' ton of turns in college the dreaded back of the stack because we are brainwashed to make space and cut.

I don't care how fantastically awesome people are at throwing the i/o, the key to success is early recognition and early release. The folly of this throw is that people see this cut developing too late or think the window is still open when they would benefit greatly from either realizing they should go with the around that allows for a greater window and the need to release happens later in the cut.

crap, my plane is leaving. more later.

pittsburgh here i come (well, washington, but i have to fly to pittsburgh to get there).


p.s. nothing like leaving for a couple days and leaving a washing machine in a heap on the floor. maybe the cats will fix it.