The first time Paige Soper’s play caught my eye was this grab in the 2014 college finals
Since then she’s become one of the top club ultimate players in the world. This year she’s also one of the captains of Riot.
On the 3rd point of the Riot vs Revolution game you won’t see any of the off carts plays from Soper like the one in the college championship. Rather, what I want to highlight is her incredible display of fundamental skills. If you want to understand the building blocks of what it takes to be a world class handler, Soper is the player to study.
Here’s the first 30 seconds of the point – Soper starts with the disc on the far sideline. Things to watch:
(i) Study how her arm moves after she releases her backhands. Note that it doesn’t come across her body. A lot of players learning to throw backhands have a follow through that is too long – that extra movement makes it much harder to throw with a mark. Soper’s backhand form is perfect.
(ii) Watch her fakes. Watch especially why she’s faking and what those fakes accomplish.
(iii) Every catch is with two hands.
A few seconds later in the point Soper’s movement gives a beautiful lesson in short handler cuts (and there’s a slo-mo replay of the cut at the end of the clip). Also note:
(i) Two handed catching again
(ii) The form on the forehand – look how wide she keeps her arm, and that she’s turned her hips and her shoulders to the receiver, for example.
In this last clip you get a master class in two different skills:
(i) turning in the direction of the throw. Look how easy it was for Soper to catch, turn and possibly throw if she thought Verzuh’s cut was open. Turing the opposite direction of the throw stops your momentum and is a much slower motion.
(ii) The around backhand. Not sure words from me would add anything -> this is a perfect example of an around backhand. Absolutely perfect.
If you are a handler looking for player to model your game after, my vote would be that you start by studying how Paige Soper plays. The lessons from her play will help you improve your own fundamental skills and will definitely help take your own game to the next level.