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Ultimate Frisbee: The defensive mindset

pacman for the win!

A friend and I were talking about Ultimate a few weeks back and an interesting topic came up. My friend expressed his affinity for the offensive side of the game, and was wondering what could possibly be as much fun about the defensive side. I happen to like playing defense so this was an interesting question to me.

We got into the relative pluses and minuses on either side while watching some college football and the conversation ambled towards what could be called an answer.

On the offensive side, the fun part is pretty obvious. Everyone recognizes the handler that threads the game winning throw. Same with the receiver. It’s easier to forget the rest of the offensive, but usually we don’t mind so much. After all, our team just scored.

The life of a defensive player, especially in casual leagues can be very different. You can play your heart out, and make some significant impacts, and your teammates can royally screw you over by blowing their coverage, their assignments, or by failing to give their full effort. Keeping the other team from scoring requires everyone on the defense to be playing effectively, and unfortunately you can’t really force your teammates to play any harder or smarter than they already are.

That’s why defense is really a mind game more than anything. Defensive players will have a lot more fun, and be more successful if they adopt a “not my guy, not this point” mindset. The defensive player’s goal is their designated space, or their designated mark. Keeping them from making that game winning play is the most important thing. Defensive players like to go up against the taller, or faster opponent. It gives them greater satisfaction when that guy doesn’t touch the disc for a whole point, even if the other team scores.

For a defensive player you have to accept that sometimes you may lose the war, but that’s no excuse for losing the battles.

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