Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sectionals 2k9

This past weekend, Mischief played in the Northern California Sectionals tournament, our first stop in the fall series. Big thanks go to Chris Doyle for his 2nd year as sectional coordinator and to Gillian for her 2nd year as an awesome TD. We had 17 teams this year in an attempt to pull the size bid to the NW and get 4 bids to nationals this year.

We started out against Lemon Party, a team we've played a couple times in the last few years. We came out looking a little tired, but they couldn't match our athleticism as we outran them to a 13-2 win.

Next up was That's what she Said. This game started out trading points. They were doing a good job hucking on us and we just weren't clicking. I believe the score was 5-5 before we finally broke them on D and went on to take half 7-5. The second half our defense got amped up and we went on a decent run to finish up 13-7.

Our 3rd game was against the team 23 minutes. They were a pickup team created 23 minutes before the bid deadline to try and help get us the size bid. They looked a little tired and were still figuring out how to play together. We took advantage to jump out to a quick lead. We ran away with things to take a 13-2 win.

Our last game was against Butter. I don't really remember much of this game. We ended up winning 13-8. Winning our pool put us with a 9 am semis against Night Train.

Saturday morning, we rolled into Stanford and you could tell we all were fired up. We went into the game and after trading a couple points, we started getting breaks. We pushed our lead out to 11-5 before stepping off the gas a little and letting night train back into the game. We were up 12-9 and then 14-10? I think before they closed to 14-13. Our O got the disc and moved it really well up the field for the score with no turnovers. This gave us a bye and then finals against AIR who had upset CTR in the other semis.

For finals, we came out firing on all cylinders. We jumped out quickly to a 5-1 lead and took half 8-3/4. In the second half we kept the pressure on and took a few more breaks to finish as Sectionals Champions with a 15-7 win. Fist pumping starts now.

Highlights of the weekend included Will's sick handblock on the goal line, Taz's ridiculous huck to Emily who had an even more ridiculous grab, Shwu getting another D on a dude going deep, Christina skying fools, Sunya's layout catch on a sideline, Ryan with a great deep layout D that sadly got called back and many many more.

Many thanks to our injured captain Gizmo for running things and to Kari and Paul for sideline support all weekend.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

CTR is good

CTR played a very good game against Mischief at DUI 2009. Don't worry Mischief nation, there is definitely room for a lot of improvement on our part, and plenty of excuses can be made. We had an uncharacteristic number of unforced errors. We had plenty of drops and throwaways. But the fact is that CTR went from down 3-5 (down 2 breaks) to winning 13-5. They scored on offense and then broke our offense 9 times in a row.

Our defense wasn't great and plenty of folks made mistakes (of course including me). But don't look past CTR's talent. I'd guess that after going down 3-5 they had fewer than 15 turnovers. Maybe fewer than 10. To put that in perspective, we beat D'oh at Nationals despite having just over 20 turnovers, and lost to Shazam in semis having just over 20 turnovers. CTR had undeniably efficient offense.

So, I think we all have to look inside and fix what we can fix personally. Work on fundamentals, find that fire on defense, work on our flow. But at the same time, we need to remember that CTR played an amazingly efficient offensive game and if they can play that well every time this season, they will be the team to beat.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Another fist pump example

Here is a great example of a traditional one handed fist pump after a throw.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ramping up for 2009

Yes, it's almost March, but as far as Mischief is concerned, 2009 doesn't start until now.

The junta met last Sunday and started the ball rolling for tryouts. An updated schedule for the next 3 months is on the front page of the website. We'll be hosting high-level pickup again this year as soon as we get a handle on fields so stay tuned for that. Woot!

If you want to follow Mischief at tournaments, stay updated through Twitter.

Not much else to say other than that it's time to get the party started and rouse Mischief nation from its winter slumber! Double woot!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Practice under pressure

Start by reading this article about how to avoid choking under pressure:

One of the aspects of doing well under pressure is to practice in pressure situations. In particular, setting up fake high pressure situations so that when the real event occurs, everyone both can handle it and knows he can handle it.

One way to create high pressure situations at practice is to ask the team to focus and play hard. This can work well if everyone is sufficiently motivated, but doesn't work as well as the practice wears on or even through out the season. Putting aside internal motivation (which should be an incredibly high motivator), how else can high pressure situations be created during practices? How can we simulate the pressure from Nationals without playing against another team from Nationals who is just as fired up as we are?

Well, how about keeping statistics and reward those statistics?

A college that had a dominant women's soccer team would track all its players' speed by running sprints at the end of each practice. Every one lined up on one line according to speed, the fastest on one end, the slowest on the other. At the end of each sprint, the order would adjust, with the faster person still at the one end, but the middle runners adjusted according to who crossed the line first. This particular way of running sprints made it easy to see who was faster and slower, as each person was next to others who were close in speed to her. At the end of all of the sprints, the order would be recorded and posted.

The result of the sprints tracking was that the slowest person was incredibly motivated to become faster. The article I read went on to point out that the slowest freshman one year became the fastest sprinter by her senior year, because of the motivation from the sprints.

We could have a similar setup at practice for sprints, sure. It would help motivate those in the middle, and keep those at the fast end honest in moving!

Speed is only one aspect of the game, however. Scrimmages at practice could also be tracked, as the teams are fairly stable after they're declared at practice (and fairly stable through the season as offense teams and defense teams are selected). At the end of practice, keep the team divisions, but make a note of which team won how many scrimmages, maybe even how many points. Keep track of those values and rank the players on how they did, either by points or by scrimmages won.

I don't know that I'd recommend keeping stats on scrimmages the way that game stats are kept at tournaments. That requires a lot more commitment from a non-player.

The trick in tracking statistics, however, is to make sure every player continues to grow and expand upon his skill set. If you're tracking how many turnovers a player made at practice, she's going to stop trying to throw those throws that are *just* beyond her reach. Yet, practice is when you want her trying those throws so that she *can* make them in a game: you want growth at practice, not withdrawal.

Possibly having a non-tracked practice for people to try new positions and throws could also be beneficial.

For this reason, I would strongly argue against tracking "how many turnovers I had at practice." The skills and drills parts of practices don't lend themselves particularly well to statistics, and are opportunities for growth that shouldn't be wasted.

Of course, the true source of pressure in sports comes from actual competition. Heading out to a tournament and experiencing the pressure is a better source than the artificial pressure of tracking scrimmage stats. Just make sure the tournament's level is high enough, and that the team learns at the event, as even a loss is a chance to learn.