Tuesday, August 29, 2006

On Subbing . . .

I mentioned this in a comment on Luke's "Priorities" post. Last year, I really thought that our team had reached a kind of "critical mass" of talent, and so I decided that it was time for us to play like the big boys and girls. Accordingly, I created an O- and D-line.

What a disaster.

(This recalled a thought I've often had, about exactly how youth ultimate differs from the adult game--a topic for another post, perhaps)

But it got me thinking, really thinking, trying to break outside the box and come up with a good subbing "philosophy." Naturally, this idle pondering produced nothing of lasting value.

So, how 'bout it? What do your teams do? What have you seen out there as far as subbing goes? HOW do you sub? And why?


Coach Becker said...

On a side note, I find this to be among the most challenging things that a coach must do--balance a concern for equity and even-handedness with a desire to field the strongest 7 we've got.

Quite the conundrum.

Lukester said...

I keep our squads tight and small at the varsity level. Players are expected to be conditioned well enough to play 4-6 points in a row. This differs from a lot of other teams who preach a 1-3 point average. I simply found over time that there are a few skilled athletes that can run at a high rate for a longer time. It serves our team better to have them in longer and give them only small and short breaks.

At westerns this last spring we took 1 senior, 9 juniors and 5 freshman. Of those, there are a solid 10 upperclassmen who get the majority of the playing time. Subbing for westerns pretty much was a player thing and only at critical times or at the start of the game would i call full lines. I subbed in our freshman when I could, but they came to the tournament knowing that they wouldn't be guaranteed any playing time.

You can see how many points our open & girls players played by checking out our stats on the spring 2006 history page: http://chsultimate.com/spring2006.html

Ryan said...

We've done different things in the past, and a lot of it depends on the kind of game you're in. In a blowout, starters don't play much beyond the first few points (or if the teams start to trade more than you like). In a more competitive game, it depends on the roster you're fielding. If you've got a very athletic (but not very deep) team, chances are you have several good players capable of playing almost the entire game, and you can rotate players on defense (while always fielding almost full-strength O-lines).

This past spring we had about eight healthy great O-players that would play every time we received (with the odd man out rotating), unless it was a blowout. Seven of them were also very good defenders, but with the exception of the first few D points, we rarely put all seven (and we had a couple strong defenders who were less confident on O) out there together (unless we were trailing). In a game where our O-line scores with ease, we didn't mind resting half of the strong two-way players to give younger players more experience and give the starters a rest. If you go up 4-0 and trade to 15-11, it's still a victory and you're still fresh for the next game of a tournament (hence our 15-10 victory over Memorial at easterns).

Two years ago, we had a starting 7 and three players who were competent (and very well-conditioned) O and D players, and the 10 rotated when they were tired or needed a rest. The rest of the A-team played in games that weren't close and got better (which helped them as they all ended up starters this past season).

We've never had the problem of having a lot of players who are equal in experience and skill, which may be more of the case in newer teams.

Coach Becker said...

Very helpful comments, folks. I was so locked into an O- & D- mentality, I hadn't considered a "hybrid" philosophy like those described above. Sounds like a perfect fit for our team.

Anonymous said...

I'm on Wissahickon and last year we only had about 7 players on the team show up to every tournament including easterns. So we didn't sub. Although the starters get tired, its a great stratagy because we were so used to working with each other we tied for 5th at easterns even with minimum subbing.

John Bloch said...

I play/captain/coach for South Eugene High School, and my thoughts are that the most competitive team must be fielded at all times during a crucial game. The best players, regardless of O line or D line must be in the game, and impact the game, especially at the high school level. To be one of those best players, conditioning is a factor. You cannot be a top player on the team if you are not in shape to play quite a few points in a row come crunch time. I've played tournaments where myself and Jacob (the other captain) have been forced to play every point of every game along with our other top players. Generally we have our four players who are expected to play nearly every point, and then we have a series of players that sub into the other open 3 spots. I think to win big games at the high school level, you need to have your most talented, fit, and dedicated players in nearly every point. Due to the vast number of turnovers often occuring in high school ultimate, good offensive players must be out there with a D line. I think that just a few players of great talent affect the game severly in high school ultimate, so those players need to expect to play practically the entire game.