Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I'm going to go to a very fundamental aspect of Ultimate for this entry, the simple act of catching the disc. There are a lot of different ways that people catch, some good, some bad, but there are a series of basic ideas behind catching that should be universal in Ultimate. I'll start with very basic stuff, if you think you're bad-ass and don't want to read about beginner stuff, skip down. If you're having trouble visualizing what I'm saying then try acting out the motions yourself as you read.


When I'm teaching a person to play who has never played before, one of the very first things we talk about is the pancake or alligator catch. Here's the visual: take both your arms and extend them out in front of you, one on top of the other, with the palm of each hand facing the palm of the other. Now make a big alligator motion, chomp chomp chomp. For a beginner, this is how you should always try to catch the disc, it allows for me disc control, you don't have to worry about the trailing edge and is very simple.

One thing that I teach that a lot of people forget to do is to make a concerted effort to catch the disc at the maximum extension of your arms away from your body. A lot of people pull their elbows to their sides and catch the disc with their chest as kind of a backboard for the disc, which is a bad habit. This is especially true when catching an underneath throw, where the disc and your body are traveling towards each other in a collision course. Even if catching close to your body makes you more comfortable, it's still a very bad habit because playing against an elite defender every inch you have as an offender counts. And being able to catch a disc with another six inches of extension can be the difference between a completion and a D.

Another thing that every person should practice when making a pancake catch is catching with either hand on top of the disc. The majority of the time, this will not come into play when making a catch. However, if a disc is  to the right of you when you're making the catch it's easier to have your right hand on bottom, and a disc far to the left is easier to catch with your left hand on the bottom.

Double Duck

Another way that a lot of more experienced players catch is with both hands on the rim of the disc. Here's the visual: extend both arms in front of you with your hands next to each other, both palms facing downward. Now put your thumbs underneath the fingers on their respective hands and make a little duck quacking motion by moving your fingers up and down.

This method of catching is difficult for some but allows for two advantages. First of all, you are always catching the disc at your arms' full extension because it's the more natural catching motion rather than pushing your elbows down and bringing your hands closer to your body. So by doing this you are always having that extra several inches I spoke about in the alligator portion above.

The second advantage to catching like this is that it is more natural for underneath layouts. If you are cutting underneath with the disc coming straight at you, if you need to layout for whatever reason with two hands, the double duck allows you to get to the disc sooner, since you aren't having to get a hand both above and below the disc, and it is much easier to coordinate your hands and body.

One-Handed Catching

Obviously there are tons of situations when you're going to be forced to catch one-handed. High or low discs, situations where you have to have absolute maximum extension, or where you're laying out. There's a couple of things to keep in mind when you're going after a disc one handed in any situation.

First of all, you have to be comfortable catching both left and right handed at all times. This is important in tons of different situations, but for the sake of this entry we're going to focus on why this applies to avoiding trailing-edge catches.

As a receiver, you want to avoid trailing edge catches at all costs. These are very difficult for any player to make 100% of the time, and the smaller your hands are, the harder a trailing-edge catch is. When I say trailing-edge, I mean catching the disc in the same direction that the disc is spinning. Think of a right-handed flick or lefty-backhand coming in over your right shoulder on an out cut. If you extend your right hand out to the disc and go for a catch on the side of the disc closest to you, the disc can easily mack off your hand since there is nothing but your grip to stop the rotation.

The way that this catch should be made is to extend your left hand out and catch the disc on the back-side (furthest from your body),  Additionally, when you make the catch your thumb should end up on the top side of the disc with the rest of your fingers down below (similar to a backhand grip), since you would have to extend your elbow out at a very-awkward angle, with almost no extension on your arm to keep your fingers on top and thumb on the bottom.

Here's a visual: hold a disc in your left hand out in front of you and imagine it spinning with a flick rotation (counter-clockwise). Extend your right hand and go for a one-handed duck catch on side of the disc closest to you (fingers on top, thumbs on bottom), Picture the rotation and how the disc could easily glance off your hand. Now switch the disc over to your right hand and extend your arm. Picture that same rotation, but now extend your left hand and catch the disc on the backside with your thumb on top so your left forearm  is almost curling all the way around one side of the disc. This is the proper catch since the disc's spin is leading into your grip rather than away from it.

The same situation applies for a righty-backhand or left flick rotation (clock-wise spin on the disc). You want to make these catches with your right hand on the backside of the disc whenever possible.

Obviously, a player can't always avoid making trailing edge catches. Sometimes you aren't close enough to get to the backside of the disc or there isn't enough time. One thing you can do is layout for that extra extension to get the backside of the disc. If you still aren't close enough, then the best thing you can do is to make an attempt to time the catch as precisely as possible so you're getting the full force of your grip on the disc right as you come into contact with the disc.

What can I do to work on catching?

If you're struggling with the absolute basics of catching, meaning that you simply have a lot of pancake drops, then the best thing you can do is to get repetitions that mimic in-game situations. Straight come-to drills where you're catching as you make an in-cut are very helpful here. If you're just throwing with a partner, then one of the best things you can do is to have them wing the disc at you as hard as they can over and over. Once you get used to catching discs coming at you at high velocity, everything else will be much easier.

Once you've mastered the hand-eye coordination (or gotten pretty damn good at it), the next thing you want to work on is a variety of catching techniques, like what I talked about above. Get comfortable catching with both your left and right hands, both high above your head and down below your knees. Get comfortable making pancake catches with either your left or right hand on top of the disc. And finally, get comfortable laying out to make a catch, even if it's just so you can ensure a pancake or to avoid getting the trailing-edge.

The final thing you can do to work on good solid catching (this is excellent for throwing as well), is to work on grip strength. All the best catchers I know, guys that rip everything down at all angles, have very strong grips (Jordan will prove it to you in an arm wrestling match I'm sure). These are the guys that can consistently get those out of reach trailing-edge discs because their grip is still strong enough to stop the discs rotation.

One method that works wonders for grip strength (from conditioning expert Tim Larkin), is to set up a pull-up bar anywhere and to just hang with your hands a shoulders width apart for a 200 count. Once you've got that down, trying hanging for a 200 count without your pinkies on the bar, then without your ring fingers. Beyond that, you can do your 200 count with just one hand, and beyond that, one-handed with a dumbbell in the other hand.

While this is by no means a comprehensive guide to making all sorts of catches, these are all good tips and tricks to lower your drop rates and increase the consistency with which you can catch the disc. As always, any comments are welcome.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spirit of the Game

Probably one of the most fundamentally important issues to Ultimate is the concept of the Spirit of the Game. Taken directly from the USA Ultimate 11th Edition Rules:

"Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play. Protection of these vital elements serves to eliminate unsportsmanlike conduct from the Ultimate field. Such actions as taunting opposing players, dangerous aggression, belligerent intimidation, intentional infractions, or other win-at-all-costs" behavior are contrary to the spirit of the game and must be avoided by all players."

I'm a super competitive player and coach. Every game I've gone into from random league games to nationals elimination games are games I want to win. I play to compete and to win as much as I can. However, this does not mean that I do not respect and believe in the Spirit of the Game. 

Spirit has nothing to do with cheering the other team after the game, or avoiding big collisions or even not spiking the disc. Spirit is about a respect for the game and a respect for your opponent.

When I say respect for the game, first and foremost I mean knowledge of the rules. I still can't believe how the vast majority of players are so clueless about the actual rules. Personally, I have a very acute knowledge of the rules, and I'd say in about 75% of games I play in or coach, I still have to correct people. My biggest personal peeve is the "it's your call" advice to a player in an in-out or up-down situation. Because as I've explained to dozens of people, it's the best perspective of a player of the field, which is not necessarily the person(s) involved in the play. 

To have a respect for the game, you need to understand how the game is supposed to be played. I don't agree with all the rules in the rulebook for sure, but I know what they are and I make sure that I adhere to those rules as much as I possibly can. As a coach, I always encourage my players to make the proper calls at the right time, even if it is not to my team's benefit.

The second thing that Spirit means is having respect for your opponent. You respect their rights as a player and competitor as much as you respect your own. As corny as it may sound it's very similar to the golden rule. I'm not going to gratuitously bid into someone with no chance at the disc because I don't want that to happen to me. I'm not going to show the disc to my opponent after I score because I don't want the same done to me, etc.

However, I don't believe spiking in itself an un-spirited thing. Spiking is showing that your fired up, that you're pumped to score. The vast majority of spikes aren't meant to be disrespectful to the other team, they're meant to get your  team's blood flowing. As the game has progressed at the college and club level I think that more and more people are realizing this. I can think back to times (especially when playing co-ed), that any spike would get mumbles of "douche" from the other team. But, as long as the spikes aren't directed at the opposing team and don't damage the disc, they're is nothing un-spirited about them. In fact, I'd say that a good spike embodies the "joy of play" as much as anything. 

Another aspect of respect for your opponent that I believe is prevalent is the nature of hard, physical play. I always teach and encourage my players to play a physical game, because that's a cornerstone of good play. It's not about hacking on the mark, or intentionally barreling somebody over, it's about good-natured physical play, like jockeying for position on a deep throw or getting a solid layout-d where you knock the disc away before the contact with the offender. 

Now there's a fine line between physical play and dangerous play, but playing physically does not mean you are playing un-spirited. The two biggest parts of the rules that need to be examined when dealing with physical play are as follows: 

"XVII. Positioning
A. Each player is entitled to occupy any position on the field not occupied by an opposing player, unless specifically overridden elsewhere, provided that no personal contact is caused in taking such a position."


"XVI. Violations and Fouls
4. Reckless disregard for the safety of fellow players or other dangerously aggressive behavior (such as significantly colliding into a stationary opponent), regardless of whether or when the disc arrives or when contact occurs is considered dangerous play and is treated as a foul. This rule is not superseded by any other rule."

The things to keep in mind of when dealing with positioning are that two players going for the same space on the field are both entitled to that space. And while contact may occur if both arrive at the same time it's not a foul on either person because they both went for uncontested space. However, if Jon Fasterthankatfish is covering me on an underneath cut where I begin with the inside position on the disc he cannot go through me with his speed to D the disc. He's can go around me, but "personal contact is caused" if he attempts to just run through me (Corwin getting run over at the Conference Championships, I'm looking at you). 

Now the line between good solid defense and dangerous play can blur. I was at Heavyweights with DTL several years ago and we ran into situation like this: The opposing team set up in a center stack in the endzone, with their primary cutter (a female) setting up in the back of the stack. She made a good cut heading towards the cone and was open force-side on her defender. One of our male players recognized the play and poached off the front of the stack towards the same cone. Our male player got to the cone slightly first, D'd the throw cleanly, then collided with the cutter, knocking both of them down and breaking her collar-bone. The other team was upset, calling it a dangerous play (the gal with the broken collar-bone called a foul which our player did not contest)  

Now I want to step back for a second. This is a special situation unique to co-ed because of the general size difference between guys and girls, but let's look at the play not taking gender into account. The defender and offender both went for open space on the field, both of which they were entitled to occupy. The defender obviously got there first since he got a clean D on the disc. Now, in no way am I saying that the outcome of the play wasn't unfortunate. I've never want to see any player on the field get hurt, but the foul should have never been called. I actually think that the foul being called and not-contested is a decidedly un-spirited outcome. Firstly, it wasn't a rules violation. Should both players have gone for the disc knowing a collision was imminent? Heck yes they should have, it's a competitive game! Secondly, it degraded from respect for the opponent portion I talked about above. Should our defender have given up on the play and allowed the cutter to score? No way, that completely disrespects the cutter as a player. 

If we step back into context, there may be some unspoken rules in co-ed about male-female collisions, and given that, perhaps the call made was correct ( but I'm not going to start in on that topic, another time perhaps)

In the end, Spirit can be made into a fairly simple couple of concepts:

1) Know the rules. Think to yourself anytime a call is made involving you, what rule does that pertain to, what happened, then make the correct call. That is the spirited play. An uncontested stall or conceding that someone was in the endzone is not inherantly good spirit, it's good spirit if it was the CORRECT CALL.

2) Respect your opponents on and off the field. Don't engage in dangerous play. Don't taunt your opponent or spike the disc in their face as they lay on the ground after a good bid. Spike the disc towards your teammates, give a yell at the sky, then give them a hand up. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

South Central Open Finals - CU Mamabird vs CC Wasabi

It was about as pristine as one could hope for an ultimate tournament this weekend in Commerce City, CO for Southcentral Regionals: hovering in the high 70s with hardly a breeze. After both teams going undefeated and relatively uncontested (CC's closest game before the finals 15-9 vs Texas, CU 15-11 vs Texas), both seemed fired up to play each other for the one seed.

My boys had been eliminated from contention earlier in the tournament by Kansas State and after playing out some consolation bracket games, the majority of the team settled into the north end zone to watch what we expected to be a very hotly contested game.

Having played or coached against Mambird and Wasabi every year for the last eight years I have to say this year these teams were fairly evenly matched. Mamabird had an extreme depth advantage (CU is a college ultimate factory), but Wasabi's top 5 or so players this were at least as talented if not better than CU's top 5. Let me note that I'm not positive I'm correct on exactly all the names and numbers, so anyone more involved can feel free to correct me. Additionally, I may not be totally accurate in the order of the scores

The game started with Wasabi pulling to Mama, the disc was centered on the first throw after the pull, Nick Spiva handblocked the next throw and Wasabi punched in a quick break. CU then reeled off an O point followed by three breaks to go up 4-1. #13 handler on Wasabi looked shaky early on in those breaks, with a very bad huck turnover and a lost disc on a fake, giving CU the opportunities it needed to take a big lead. Wasabi took a timeout to regroup.

From here the game became a bit less sloppy for CC. Both teams offenses really started to click more at this point with both teams running very deep oriented offense out of their respective center stacks, with Mamabird taking half 8-5.

Some notable plays from the first half, #15 on Wasabi (name?) is an absolute monster, with both his speed and huge ups. Had a big sky for one score over #23 on Bird. #21 on Wasabi (green hat) being covered by Jack McShane gets separation deep, huge space huck goes up and and McShane makes up ground and actually goes slightly past #21. #21 lays out and grabs the disc for the score right as McShane  moves to D the disc.

In the second half, it was much the same as the second part of the first half. CC runs what looks to be a junky poach/zone the first few throws of each D while CU flat marks for the first several throws then transitions to a straight force. Both teams are looking to huck and it's a great game to watch. Wasabi actually gets a couple breaks back and brings it to within one, but the teams trade the last four or so points with CU taking the game 15-13.

Some notable second half plays: At a high stall count Spiva puts out a beautiful backhand which is caught outside the goal-line then thrown for a score. The marker called a stall but the observer overruled the stall due to a fast count and the point was thrown again. Later, a deep huck goes up to #5 on Mamabird and #15 on CC makes up ground and runs past him in the endzone for the D (although #5 immediately cramps up after the turn, which may have been a factor on the deep run, but didn't look to be). Wasabi actually had a chance at one point to tie the game with a break, but the receiver going up big for the deep had the dusc just glance off his hand.

On the whole this was a stellar game to watch. Respect to both teams who play a very similar, very entertaining style of game. My all-region nods for CC would go to Nick Spiva (amazing all-around player), #15 (looked like the best athlete on the field all game) and Ezra (monster mark for someone his size). For Mamabird, Matty, #23 (Jimmie?), and #11 (Evan?) all seemed pretty clutch for their team, but they have so many talented players it's hard to single out only a few.

I'm very curious to see how CC does at nationals, because while they are a very talented team, they don't seem super deep (I counted 11 different players that played total in the finals). Can they maintain a high level of play with that tight of lines for 3 days at nationals? Based on what I saw, I'd say yes, they could beat any team in the country, but if any of their top 4 gets hurt, they didn't seem to have a lot of throwing depth behind them.

Congrats to everybody who played hard this weekend, it was a quality tournament.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Mental Game Before A Big Tourney

A shorter entry for tonight.  So what should a young player do when preparing for a big tournament mentally, such as college regionals this weekend? I thought I'd throw up a few thoughts and things I've found work for me. However, I believe that some things are good for everyone to work on, a lot of mental preparation is a personal process.

1) Take care of your body. I realize this is a physical thing, but it helps your mental game immensely. Don't do silly things like drink alcohol the night before or eat a crappy dinner. Drink lots of water in the week leading up to a big tournament. Carbo-load throughout the week to give your body the energy it needs. I'm sure the people that know me are like "TK!!! Come on! I've seen you drink the night before a tournament!!!" That's true, but in college I gave up drinking for 4 weeks leading up to sectionals and throughout the series. The reason this helps the mental game, is that it takes away as many physical distractions as  possible for the tournament. There's nothing holding your body back that your mind has to think about, even if it's something as small as a tiny bit of dehydration.

2) Have both team goals and personal goals set. This one is fairly simple. Your team should be discussing goals as a team for the weekend and game by game. As far as personal goals, have your captains or coaches help you with some personal goals (not getting beat deep early, containing 100% of breaks in zone, etc). But I also think it's important to set some of your OWN personal goals. You know yourself as a player better than anyone else. Is there something that terrifies you to throw? Can you handle marking someone taller/faster? Those kind of things are great questions to ask yourself when setting personal goals for a tournament.

3) Get fired up. I think this is especially important in college, where so much of the game is about effort and energy. Think about the kinds of plays that fire you up. Watch some highlight videos on youtube, or some old team videos. Think about what it is about Ultimate that gets you out of bed at 6:30 in the morning ready to run for eight hours at a time. Think about what you're going to do out on the field that will fire you and your teammates up. And most importantly, think about what you're going to do on and off the field to maintain that intensity level.

4) Be realistic. A big problem I had as a younger player, is the night before a tournament I'd get super excited that I was going to absolutely destroy the other team. I was gonna be unstoppable on the field and push the team to the next level by myself. Confidence is a good thing, but setting goals and personal expectations too high is going to set you up for disappointments. I'm not saying you shouldn't expect to get a game changer, everybody can be that person, but going into every tournament expecting the performance of a lifetime isn't realistic, and you want tangible goals. There were games where I felt I had played amazing, but I never had that transcendent performance I had expected, and as such, learned that it was better to have goals that challenged me, but I wasn't out there winning the game single-handedly.

Good luck to all the college teams playing their hearts out this weekend across the country.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Zone, Man? When? Why?

As per a suggestion from one of my players I'm going to make a post about zone versus man and when I think each should be played. Now, this is a very difficult question to answer because I think the answer is different depending on the level of ultimate. I would probably say completely different things for league play, versus club, versus college, and I'm not even going to speculate on women's (no experience there), but given that it's just about college regionals, I'm going to focus this blog on my opinion for college teams.

For starters, anyone who's played on teams that I've coached or captained knows that I am a big fan of zone in college. In general college throwers are less experienced, don't necessarily have a complete range of throws (all the breaks, over-the-tops, etc), and have a greater tendency to make poor decisions given that lack of experience.

However, I have a very different perspective as to when to play zone versus man, given the conditions. So I'm going to through several different conditions that people tend to see and why I'd play zone or man in that situations. Before I do that however I'm gonna go over some basic zone stuff.

A zone can do a handful of different  things. First and foremost it disrupts the opposing team's offense. Playing zone forces a team out of their base offense into something that usually resembles a horizontal stack, with horizontal poppers and deeps spread out with 3-4 handlers behind the disc.  

Secondly, a zone should be forcing the offense to make a greater number of throws. In general, there won't be a deep option because of the nature of zone, so the offense is forced to make many more throws than one-two huck.

Thirdly, a zone can be a simple disruption play. If the opposing team has a successful pull-play they like to run  or whatnot, like a center stack or Boston, zone can force them out of that pull offense, then settle back into man after a handful of throws, similar to the disruption I talked about in my first point.

Lastly, a zone can be an equalizing factor. If your team struggles matching up physically with another team, then a zone can be something that puts things on more even ground as it allows your best deep always to be last back and limits the advantages the opposing team if they are more athletic.

Upwind Situations:

I absolutely detest teams that play zone going upwind. I realize that throws are difficult, deep throws and over the tops are limited, but what it boils down to, is those things are all true for man as well. When you're playing a zone, you're allowing their best throwers to consistently get the disc and be able consistently make their throw of choice (for me personally, I love always having a backhand option as an offensive handler, and against a zone defense I probably throw close to 85% backhands). If you're read my thread on flat marking, then you know that I think a solid flat mark with good fronting underneath is the defense of choice for upwind situations. If you're doing this well then you're taking away both the inside-out forehand and backhand and are not allowing the thrower to step forward into their throw, making every throw except something that goes straight behind very challenging.

Downwind Situations:

When there is a significant downwind I think that zone is the oftentimes the best option. In college, most (not all, but most) teams are looking for a quick deep strike on downfield points, so as to win the field position game and not give the defense a break opportunity in the offense's upwind half of the field. Playing a zone gives you several advantages if the game has turned into more of a punt/field position scenario. First of all, you're putting your best deep defender (at least I hope you are), back to stop the look that they are mostly actively going for. Secondly, depending on the zone you're playing (I like a 3 or 4 man force middle contain in this situation), you're forcing them to make at least a handful of swings before they put a deep or over the top throw out there. The swings themselves are either going straight behind, which is an upwind throw, or they're moving across the field horizontally, making them a bit more difficult crosswind throw.

Additionally, if you do force a turn on those swings, you have a numbers advantage, as your entire cup is theoretically somewhere near the disc. So the fast break opportunity is easy, and as my teams have heard me say a million times, wind games are won in transition.

Some people argue that over the tops are too easy going downwind, and the offense can simply throw over your cup. This is true, but whatever that throw is, it is, at the very least, a slightly lower percentage throw than a classic backhand or forehand, and assuming you play a decent zone, you're going to be forcing an over-the-top throw somewhat far downfield where you deep has a good chance to get a D.


This is a tough answer. Running a trap to the wind side of the field can often result in a turnover if you're able to get the disc fully trapped. Also flat-marking isn't as effective as the crosswind allows for looser inside out breaks and hucks.

I more often than not end up playing man in this situation, because a smart team is not easily trapped, and even from that trap-side of the field the deep punt from there is not super difficult. So in general I'd say play  man in this situation, forcing with the wind, meaning the open-side throw is the direction the wind is blowing. This does two things. First, it makes an around break a fairly upwind throw, allowing your marks a bit more leniency in shifting flatter to take away the inside-out break. Because the break threat is less, your downfield defenders are given more leeway to play harder on the open side, forcing the disc inevitably to the side of the field where the wind can keep a thrower/offense somewhat trapped on it's own.    


Zone, zone zone! The disc is wet, catching is harder, throwing is harder. The more throws you can force an offense to make, the more chances you have for forcing a turnover. Obviously, that logic is true in any conditions, but given an average college players' general ability to catch and throw, the percentage increase from the wet disc and cold conditions make this an ideal time to play zone and force the opposing team to throw more throws than they'd prefer. Additionally, upside-down throws are significantly more difficult to catch when the disc is wet, making a zone that forces the offense to make over-the-top throws (like a 4 man cup) ideal. At the very least start in zone to disrupt the huck play, then as the field length shortens transition to man.

But what about that annoying metro east team that always plays zone in any conditions and we can't figure it out and we're sad and we just lost to a bunch of short fat guys:

I've played against several teams that play zone close to 100% of the time (mostly east coast teams for some reason), and while I'm not going to say it's awful,  I will say that in general I think that is very poor strategy. If you're teaching your team to play zone even a majority of the time then you're using up time that can be spent learning good solid man (especially for young players).

Even if you spend all year on your zone and it's very successful and you run it to perfection, ONE THROWER can beat it. And if that's the case, that one elite thrower, just took out your whole team strategy.

Three years ago at regionals we played CU in pool play. There were minimal conditions, but our defensive game plan was to play our 4 man cup-contain (which we had practiced diligently all year), to limit their hucking game and force them to beat us with over the top throws, since they were the more athletic team. We executed the zone very well, they were able to swing, but not able to gain yards, and we were able to limit their deeps and keep them in the middle of the field. After about 5 throws they put the disc in Mac Taylor's hands and he threw a 50 yard line-drive hammer down field to the space we were leaving open, zone broken. He threw exactly what we were trying to force, a challenging over the top throw, that was the whole point of our zone. The next point he did it again, and the point after. At that point I looked at my defensive captain and we both agreed, ok, they can consistently make that throw, gotta try something else. My overall point here was this, they had one extraordinary thrower, and he alone broke our entire defense. If you're team is a team based entirely on zone, you may beat some teams, sure, but every pretty good college team has at least that one big thrower, that can put the disc anywhere on the field, so if there aren't enough conditions backing your scheme, you're screwed.

In the end, a lot of zone/man options are based on what the other team is doing or their strengths and weaknesses, but in general as you get to higher and higher levels of the sport from elite college up to elite club and whatnot, you see less and less zone because the better the throwers the less functional any zone gets.