Thursday, October 27, 2011

2011 World Cup Practice, part 1

We actually went three weekends in a row leading up to Cup but this series of posts is going to focus on the weekend with Dynasty when we had the event layout to scrimmage on. In the two preceding weekends I designed specific layouts for us to play intended to help us focus on certain elements of the game. I made the wires difficult to play, with unusual and smaller props, and set-up a number of edges that required routine gunfighting for control and making moves. The fields also, under ideal circumstances, allowed big moves--and one of the two layouts had a snake broken up with MR bunkers and gaps--so I got lucky guessing that one. The object was to force the team into repetitive actions during the play of the points that reinforced (and sharpened) both the individual and unit skills necessary for success. I tend to prefer duplicating game conditions as much as possible over most sorts of drills. (Certain drills however remain necessary and when doing those we also try to make the action, however limited, consistent with the way we play the game during a match.)
The final weekend's prep began for me when the field layout was released on Wednesday. (If you didn't play Cup it would probably be helpful to print out a copy of the layout to see the props, angles, etc. being discussed. I'll post one up in the next post as well.) I reviewed it cursorily on Wednesday and Thursday to get familiar with it without drawing any conclusions. On Friday I began breaking it down in earnest. My routine, which is just my routine and possesses no magic formula or secret, starts with lines of sight (and used to include taking measurements. The measurements were a guide to distances from likely guns in relation to gaps players move through. I don't do that anymore because I've been doing this so long I don't need to.) With the lines of sight a picture begins to develop of your lane options OTB and which bunkers offer which shots and vice versa--who can shoot you and from where. At this stage it's all a rough projection that needs to be confirmed on any given actual field since conditions are always somewhat different for a variety of reasons. With experience a sense of how the layout will play begins to form. (Also, with experience--or Warpig's 3D field simulator--it's possible to also consider how the different elevations in play will effect situations on the field. By elevation, I mostly mean player position; standing, kneeling, crawling. Tight in a prop or able to play more loosely. Elevation affects gun angles and vision. What you can see and what you can shoot at.)
My initial evaluation was that the field encouraged defensive play from the midfield MT and the snake insert TCK on the cross particularly given the fact Home was a Pin. Those uses were all the more likely because of the limited ability to attempt to control movements from other positions on the field. On the snake side the TCK, insert Temple and corner SD were all poor options for controlling rotations into the snake. Only the forward Can provided the open angles and field of vision and it was a high risk primary. Even Home was less than ideal given it's bunker size and the number of positions that could bring paint to bear. On the D-wire the midfield MT had very poor visibility to the D-side and the length of the wire was sufficiently aligned that controlling movement up the wire from the wire was basically impossible. That left the insert MR and the two upfield Cans, one on each side of the field. The Cans were high risk and the MR put the player trying to control wire movement at a disadvantage vis-a-vis pretty much everyone on that side of the field. The issue for both the MT & the TCK on the cross was distance from the zones covered and inability to see players making aggressive inside-out runs until it was too late necessitating a constant stream of paint to hope to be successful in consistently denying rotations up the D-wire or into the snake.
The other "problem" I had with that was playing defense OTB tends to make your team reactive instead of proactive. You are waiting for some condition to be met or the other team to do something before taking the initiative and/or playing offense. Frankly I think that's a bad idea all the way around.

Tomorrow. (Next time.) How early points played reflected expectations (or defied them) and how each team adjusted to changing attacks.

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