Wednesday, September 2, 2009

DC Challenge Breakout

As promised here's another post on 7-man play focusing on the breakout. However, this time the object isn't so much to describe a breakout and the options available but to discuss the differences between success and failure.

The breakout given in the diagram is an aggressive breakout as it takes the fifty castle on the D-side and nearly the fifty on the snake side. In both cases it's accomplished the same way most of the time. It begins by running the corners deep along the baseline and challenging opponent shooters to reach those runners. At the same time the snake and castle runners are headed upfield using a can and rocket respectively to shield them until they cut low across the shooters lanes. If the shooters have elevated their guns to reach the corner runners and followed them out to the corners the snake and castle runners will go underneath their lanes.

We used variations of this breakout most games and only lost the snake runner once. Even so it wasn't as successful as it ought to have been because we failed to support and protect the leading players and we failed to consolidate those early advantages.

The follow-up, on this particular breakout, is where most of our variations were. The snake side MC (stubby can) began shooting inside cross field to counter D-side rotations though the distances and lack of holding a lane made it largely ineffectual for most of the teams most of the time it could, and did, delay movement occasionally. The stubby player then moves to the snake side can to help press the snake or quickly cuts upfield to the temple and/or brick in order to more effectively deny D-side rotations. One of the home shooters then had the option to fill as needed. The other home shooter had the option of taking the MT (rocket) on the D-side or the small dorito in preparation of making a wire side rotation. (Although a rotation from the rocket to D2 was also a common move.)

At any rate the virtue of an aggressive breakout is it puts players in a position to eliminate careless opponents and/or deny secondaries to teams that employed a more conservative breakout. This ability to deny secondaries holds the opposing team in position (as the typical game plan in that case is to deploy players sequentially.)

The points I wanted to make however are these: An aggressive breakout doesn't make an aggressive team and an aggressive breakout can easily leave a team overextended. (For those who are curious my team's issues with good 7-man play revolve around extreme differences in 7-man experience and variations in style of play. Thus it's very important we maintain as much consistency as possible and practice time in order to smooth over and resolve the differences prior to competition. And, the lack of those options is the reason for my ulcers and thinning hair. Maybe next year.)

Don't get me wrong, the aggro breakout can win games and win them quickly but it's about more than position. It's about using that potentially temporary advantage as a unit, as a team, to gain greater control over the field, support and protect the leading elements, and consolidate the advantage you gained with the aggro breakout. That is the difference between an aggro breakout and an aggro team.

Where the aggro breakout can get you in trouble is when it fails to eliminate opposing players quickly and where the team employing the aggro breakout leaves its leading element hanging. Elimination of those players re-opens the field and can result in a reversal of field position depending on how the leading element players were eliminated. Obviously, all this is easier said than done. Even so, an aggro breakout does not an aggro team make.

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