Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Baca's Mailbag: The 2013 WC Layout

Andrew asks, "Are we going to see a world cup layout breakdown? Also would you be willing to include adjustments you made during the weekend?"

The short answer(s) are no and not really but that would make for a very short and unsatisfying post so instead I'm going to address a couple of related topics. In the first instance I'll address the strategy employed and in the second I'll highlight how the adjustments used complemented the strategy.
Before I get started there is one caveat. The concepts (founded on fundamental paintball principles) apply to any Race To format but the shorter the game the more critical each decision becomes and, as always, strategy and tactics are secondary to execution. Wait, make that two caveats. Even for teams strong on the fundamentals by the end of the season it's easy to let that element of practice get pushed aside. Don't lose sight of your priorities. All practice, whatever else it might also be focused on, must always be geared toward improving execution of the game plan as a team.

Our strategy was simple. It's practically standard operating procedure on any and every layout--don't allow the opposition to get wide. (If you've been diligently watching the PBA webcasts this year you also know that by Sunday if not sooner  many of the pro teams tend to slow play anyway. They go shorter on their breakouts in an effort to reduce risk so the more successful a team is in getting those OTB eliminations the more they encourage their opponent to opt for the slow play. Even so there are situations where the risk must be taken.) With open shooting lanes and a commitment to getting those eliminations even if it cost us bodies too we were sufficiently successful to encourage a lot of slow play from our opponents. Denying the wires on the breakout is its own reward but we took it one step further and developed a number of ways to specifically attack slow play.

Looking at the diagram the gray arrows indicate the general line-of-sight of a player in that prop and the gray shaded areas indicate zones those players can't see. That fact inspired two plays we used to consistently positive effect and also allowed players to move into and through those zones with guns up. With gun up and rolling and eyes up and surveying the field aggressively playing those grey zones allowed players to take advantage of what their opponent was or wasn't doing. Gun dominance OTB offers a lot of options--like early kills or extended primary runs. On our snake side play we were looking for a brief delay at the Can and the wider the opponent attempted to get OTB the better--leaving us to trail their breakout. The reason for the play was our determination that on this field it was very important to match up the snake wire and even better to take control early. This play allowed us at different times to do both and when run correctly was much lower risk than it may at first appear. The D-side play was a bit more complicated. Once in the grey zone the player 'reads' the center of the field. If an opponent is moving into the center there's an opportunity for an elimination. If that player is also looking to the D-side the option existed to break off the primary run and go to the corner or the insert dorito. (OTB laners were shooting both the insert and corner dorito.) If the center was clear, or looking the other way, we finished the primary run into the 50 MT looking for quick kills from the snake side primaries. With the option to break off the primary run this play was very flexible and helped us control the center of the field as well.

Take a look at the red arrows. From the D-side Can they illustrate the gap control and ability to contain wire movement by a player in the Can. This was the key bunker in playing that wire as it supported your lead and denied your opponent. Knowing this our focus when getting into the snake was to eliminate that Can player as quickly as possible in order to free up our dorito wire attack. The other two arrows on the baseline illustrate a key position in our efforts to breakdown the slow play. We determined in practice that players crouching or kneeling in an area behind the upfield Pins usually went unseen even by teams/players counter-laning back into the center of the field and those two spots provided excellent unblocked lanes inside of the insert Temple on the snake side and the insert MD on the D-side. And those were the two key bunkers to make on the majority of slow play breakouts. The opportunity to consistently attack those runners OTB delivered regular OTB advantages while disrupting (and regularly eliminating) the opponent.

Finally there's the role scouting plays. Even after we made the planned adjustment to shoot the inside lanes it was important to know precisely where we wanted them. Did a team or player tend to run straight at the prop and dive in or did they run deep and make an L cut up into the prop? Knowing such tendencies can be the difference between getting the critical kill and missing the shot. On Sunday against Heat we knew K-Fed would use the same run to the snake we used (see diagram) but only in a specific player configuration. In advance the players were told how to adjust when we spotted those players on the board before the horn. More simply, against Impact we thought there was an opportunity to shoot Dave OTB when he was laning crossfield and doubling the D-side Can. We shot it once in the finals and it was successful (Other Impact player combinations broke out differently and didn't provide the same opportunity.)

If you have any follow-up or related (or even unrelated) questions post them up in comments and if they aren't too hard I'll answer them.


redakuma pbnation said...

1. Do you target key players to try and eliminate off the break always?
2. if so who are your favorites you like to eliminate and why?
3. Do players on the field make the adjustments or are they called by the coach prior to the buzzer?
4. As a coach how do you address poor play/performance during a match by a player/ team?

Baca Loco said...

1. Typically not. Keep in mind in the examples given we knew where those players would be and how they would make their primary move.
3. In our case that call is usually made in advance.
4. If you mean talk about it I don't. That's an issue for afterwards. If you mean make changes as a match plays out that's normally prepared for in advance. Either there are concerns based on practice or recent performance that will cause you to make a change either by pulling a player for a match or reducing spins. Since changes in match require replacements it's best to know how you want to make that adjustment in advance. Of course there are moments when you simply are forced to wing it and then it becomes a matter of experience and judgment and trust.

Anonymous said...

What are your thoughts about how the center played out on this layout and how your team played it out?