Friday, September 26, 2014

Getting Wide 2

Step One of 'Getting Wide' invited you to closely examine your current practices and routines for, well, the routine and predictable. Here in Step Two we will examine some proactive steps that can be taken to improve our chances of success in getting wide off the break.
To begin we need to add to our available information. We need to track where we're getting hit when we fail to get wide OTB. If we have prepared properly in walking the field we should know what likely lanes exist. Now we need to know which ones they are in fact shooting. That information allows us to adjust--and the first thing we may need to adjust is our path. And not only the path we're having difficulty with. For example, on the snake side what we want is to create as much space (distance) between our path to the snake and our path to the corner. First thing we do is always run the corner deep; on the baseline. Our purpose is to force laners to pick their target. As much as possible we don't want our paths to overlap and we want to extend the distances between paths as much as possible. But that's only a beginning point.
Unfortunately it is sometimes more complicated than that and another reason it's important to recognize the lane(s) your opponent is shooting. As part of our preparation we learn the lanes not only so we can eliminate our opponents OTB but so that we may also have prepared options for avoiding those same lanes. (This is not always possible but sometimes seemingly minor adjustments to your runs will increase your odds considerably--but only if you're aware of the incoming lanes and have prepared alternative running paths in advance.)
So far we have dealt with what the runner can do to get wide consistently but it isn't just a problem for the leads--it's the team's problem--and is most effectively addressed by the team as a whole. (First thing we do at this stage is recognize the critical importance of being able to run & gun effectively--and the necessity to run & gun as our default action--especially OTB. And if it remains a weakness redouble our efforts in practice to improve.) The other areas we consider as a team are our chosen shooting lanes OTB and alternative methods for achieving our primaries OTB. Teams tend to focus their OTB lanes on eliminating opponents breaking wide or opting for longer breakout runs. But another way of determining your lanes is to consider the impact of your chosen lanes on your own ability to get wide or reach distant primaries. Do options exist where we can pick up eliminations and suppress our opponent's ability to lane teammates OTB? Typically this is done with edgers delaying their own breakouts or choosing closer primaries in order suppress the opponent's principle laners but can as easily apply to any position on the field your opponent is using to lane from.
Finally we have the option, as a team, to run the same primaries in a number of different coordinated ways. Using the snake side example again does the layout allow us to run our lead into the corner instead and quickly bump into the snake? If so that's a viable alternative to a direct snake run every time we want to be in the snake quickly. Alternatively are we running the corner as well as the snake on the same breakout? If so, first make sure there is sufficient space between the two runners so that no one lane can hit both of them. Now we have numerous additional options. Run and gun the corner with the snake runner edging as he delays briefly before making a direct snake run. The object is to draw the laners attention deep to the corner runner so that our snake runner moments later reaches his/her primary cleanly. Alternatively you can reverse the order, send the snake lead first trailed by a running & gunning corner runner who will get some good looks at the laners focused on the snake runner.
The overarching point is there is always more than one way to skin a cat. Be creative and put a little extra thought into the process and you will find multiple ways to achieve the same primary goals. And when those options become part of your routine arsenal of plays you will increase your odds for success as you become less predictable and more dangerous OTB.
Let's recap. Avoid habits that give our opponents signals to our intentions. Be unpredictable. That can be in our breakout choices or how we achieve those choices. Be prepared to adjust without being constrained. Don't let your opponent dictate what you will or can do. Work together to achieve the desired outcome. Put all these pieces together and not only will it improve your efforts to get wide but every other aspect of your game as well. 


Mike said...

These last 2 posts have been great.

Baca Loco said...

Thanks, Mike.

Anonymous said...

Great reads!!! 2 questions though: 1) Should the corner guy always run and gun or should he just run there sometimes? 2) when run-n-gun, should the corner shoot his mirror, snake runner or up the gut for the most part?

Baca Loco said...

Thanks, Anon.
1--Run&gun is the default option although there may be circumstances where you just run.
2--focus on countering any laners. (With added bonus of OTB vision of center runners coming upfield.)