Celebrating the amazing women of the World All-Star team

Saw this amazing announcement last night on Facebook:

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Honestly, even close to 10 hours later I’m speechless and can’t wait to see this group play together at Dream Cup.

Although all of the players are well-known, I thought thought it would be fun to put together a short collection of clips to celebrate this group of athletes who have done so much for the game – both on the field and through their incredible dedication off the field. So, in the order of the announcement and without too many words because the highlights speak for themselves:

(1) Georgia Bosscher (USA)

You can see one more terrific play of Bosscher’s from the US vs Canada exhibition game in this old blog post:

4 nice examples of fundamental skills from the US

(2) Carolyn Finney (USA)

We spent some time studying Fineey’s game in the film study group this year, so feel free to check out some of those posts. Finney also won the 2018 Michelle Ng Inspiration Award:

Announcing the 2018 True Veteran, Michelle Ng Inspiration, and Robin Davis coaching awards

(3) Anna Nazarov (USA)

I such a big fan of Nazarov – she is one of the most amazing role model’s in all of sports:

Why Anna Nazarov matters to me

(4) Sarah Griffith (USA)

Surge is everything that is great about ultimate:

My respect for Surge is infinite

(5) Alex Snyder (USA)

(the video should start at 12:50 here, btw)

Alex Snyder is one of the most decorated players to ever play the game – and also one of the most dedicated. Most recently she was one of the coaches of the US U24 team that won the gold medal at the world championships in Perth.

Learning from Alex Snyder

(6) Octavia Payne (USA)

Opi Payne won the 2017 True Veteran award for all of the work she’s done on and off the field:

Announcing the 2017 True Veteran, Michell Ng, and Robin Davis Coaching awards

(7) Claire Chastain (USA)

Claire Chastain has one of the most complete games of any player I’ve ever seen – there is so much to learn from her playing style:

A quick look at how Claire Chastain sees the field

(8) Yina Cartagena (Colombia)

It is an absolute joy to watch Yina Cartagena play ultimate:

Anatomy of a Cartagena goal

(9) Manuela Cardenas (Colombia)

Manuela Cardenas’s skills are just on the D line, either!

Some long throw lessons from Molly Brown and Revolution

(10) Valeria Cardenas (Colombia)

For more fantastic throwing lessons from Valeria Cardenas, see this short study:

Learning from Yina Cartagena and Valeria Cardenas

(11) Michelle Phillips (Austraria)

Writing about this 2018 All-Star team is especially nice because the Dream Cup was my first introduction to Michelle Phillips’s play a few years ago:

Australia’s Michelle Phillips and Moe Sameshima – I’m speechless!

(12) Catharine Hui (Canada)

Sometimes, you just can’t believe what you are seeing when Hui is on the field:

Is Team Canada’s Catherine Hui the best ultimate player in the world?

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Anatomy of a Lisi Lohre goal

Molly Brown’s goal on the 22nd point of their game versus Revolution is a fantastic example of great team work and great spacing. Here’s the full point:

Here are a few things that caught my eye:

 

(1) Revolution starts the point with a deep poacher who is not on screen.  Lisi Lohre finds a good position on the near sideline while her defender briefly guards Lisa Pitcaithley.  I think it is Megan Ives occupying a good position on the far sideline.   So,  with 3 handlers back and two cutters on the sideline, Molly Brown is giving Lisa Pitcaithley and Liza Minor all of the downfield space.

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(2)  Lohre stays glued to the sideline and is wide open – which gives Applegate an easy option if she needs it.  Ives’s defender is right on her, so the downfield space on the far side of the field is wide open.

Here Lohre’s defender is handing off Pitcaithley to the deep poacher and beginning to move to guard Lohre.

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(3) I think this shot and the next one (which happen 1 second apart in the game film) show the critical position of the point.

Ives continues to occupy her defender which leaves plenty of space for Pitcaithley down the field.

Lohre’s defender is coming to the near sideline and looking back at the disc.

Minor moves across the field and is wide open.  Her cut also pulls a defender out of the down field space on the far side of the field.

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(4) Lohre reacts instantly to the pass from Applegate to Pitcaithley (who isn’t quite on screen yet).  Her defender is caught moving up the field as Lohre breaks deep.

Ives’s reaction is also perfect – she can’t head down the field immediately since that would bring her defender into Pitcaithley’s space.

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(5) You can see the separation that Lohre has now.

Note also that in the beginning of this point there was a deep poacher.  That deep help is gone now and Lohre’s defender is on her own.

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(6) All of this coordination from Molly Brown leads to a really nice goal

One thing that is probably easier to study in the film than in a series of screen shots is Pitcaithley’s great throw out to space.

Fantastic work by Molly Brown.

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Anatomy of a Cartagena goal

[Sorry – I wrote this post in under 10 min – but I was so excited about this goal and the opportunity to learn from it. Hope what I wrote makes sense]

Point 19 is another great point to learn from. Here’s the full point:

Here’s some ideas to think about from the play – and specifically from Yina Cartagena’s work:

(1) Cartagena receives the 2nd pass on the far sideline. Revolution isn’t really looking to attack yet. Sally Lambert is covering the deep space.

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(2) The disc swings – Lambert comes to Cardenas. Jesse Shofner matches up on Cartagena. Still nothing looks super dangerous – the deep defender going down the far sideline will replace Lambert as the deep poacher.

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(3) The new poached Revolution player comes in – and the Molly Brown poacher also begins to come in. Now things start to get dangerous. The deep help is gone and there are dangerous cutting lanes opening up as a result:

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(4) Now the disc swings to the sideline and Cartagena attackes immediately:

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(5) And an easy pass to the endzone gives Revolution a really nice goal:

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Vertical cutting lessons from Lisa Pitcaithley and Liza Minor

The 18th point of the Molly Brown / Revolution game has a couple of great examples of how Molly Brown gets the disc down the field.

Getting the disc down the field quickly is obviously as important as it gets on O, and Lisa Pitcaithley and Liza Minor are two of the best cutters in the game. Let’s see how they get open. In the three examples below, I think the ideas to focus on are:

(i) How their footwork helps them create separation,

(ii) How they find space to cut into, and

(iii) Timing – and especially how the timing of their cuts keeps their defenders off balance.

Here are the examples:

(1) Pitcaithley catching the first pass down the field.

(2) Minor catching the second pass down the field.

(3) Pitcaithley catching the third pass down the field.

A quick look at how Claire Chastain sees the field

I got a question in the film study group about a play in the Molly Brown vs Revolution game, and thought it would be fun to take a closer look at the play. It turns out the play is a great way to learn a bit about how Claire Chastain sees the field.

Here’s the play:

Here are a few screen shots that I think help illustrate how the play developed and some of the downfield positioning that Chastain was seeing.

(1) When Chastain first catches the disc she sees how the D is setting up

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(2) A fake to Lisa Pitcaithley down the field draws the defenders to the near side of the field:

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(3) When Chastain comes across the field, she knows the front 3 players in Revolution’s zone are behind her. She also knows the position Elizabeth Mosquera (who is deep off screen) and Manuela Cardenas (right above the score box on the screen)

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(4) When Chastain catches the disc, she sees the downfield defenders in front of her have their back turned:

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(5) Next she checks Cardenas’s position:

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(6) So, having collected all of that information, she knows Pitcaithley is wide open. Amazing work from Chastain!

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Breaking down a deep cut

The 17th point of the Molly Brown vs Revolution gives us a great opportunity to study how deep cuts work.

I’ve broken the action into three pieces so that we can look at each part of the cut in isolation.

Here’s the first ~10 seconds of the point off of the pull. The player to focus on is Yina Cartagena. She catches the first pass, and here’s a picture of her position at the end of this clip to help you identify her:

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Some ideas that caught my eye here:

(i) There’s only one Revolution player in the deep space,
(ii) She’s guarded by two players – her defender and (what I think is) a deep poacher,
(iii) Cartagena heads wide to the sideline after dishing to the middle.

Here’s a critical position in the next few seconds:

You can see Cartagena with her defender. You can also see her asking the poached Revolution player to come under.

Not also that the deep space is still relatively wide open. There’s only one Revolution player and two defenders.

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But look at how quickly things change . . . here’s the field position just a few seconds later. Note now that all of the deep help is gone.

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Here’s the full 10 seconds of play:

Next – again just a second or two later comes this position:

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Cartegena is open deep with a beautiful cut from the wide side of the field. Revolution’s thrower just has to solve two problems:

(i) Move her mark to create a little extra throwing space, and

(ii) Make sure to get the throw past the poaching Jesse Shofner.

The next two videos show the great throwing work by Valeria Cardenas:

I love the lessons in this point. Revolution works together so well as a team – it is so amazing watching them play.

3 ideas to take away from the 15th point of the Molly Brown vs Revolution game

The 15th point of the Molly Brown vs Revolution game ends with an incredible goal, but along the way there are some nice lessons:

(1) No need to rush off the pull

I love how Revolution just takes their time – just short and simple passes to start the point.

For a fun challenge, try to guess where the next pass will go after this clip ends (I ended the clip a little early to try to not give away the answer).

(2) A beautiful cutting lesson from Yina Cartagena

We’ve seen the Revolution players use the cutting technique of getting the defender’s shoulders / hips / body turned. Watch Yina Cartagena use that technique effectively again on this play. She starts with the disc at the top of the screen and is guarded by Claire Chastain.

The next pass after the clip ends goes to the endzone – for a fun challenge, try to guess who and where the pass goes to.

(3) Occupy your defenders

Watch how the two downfield Revolution players – Valeria Cardenas and Laura Ospina – occupy their defenders. Cartagena is throwing into a reasonably tight space, but since the other downfield defenders are locked in on their own players, there is actually plenty of room.