You know that moment I’m talking about. When something almost feels right or you almost think you figured it out. It’s simultaneously one of the most exciting and frustrating feelings. You can feel how close you are to something, you know you’re just about to figure it out, but it’s still just out of reach. I’m becoming something of an expert in that feeling this year!
I had one of those amazing, exciting, frustratingly close to the real thing moments at Ultimate last night. It was the perfect set-up.
Both teams were tired. I was on D, just trailing behind my player. I saw her set up the cut, saw the handler looking at her. I let her get just barely a step ahead of me. The minute he threw I sped up just enough to go from being behind her, to the inside of the cut. I almost got the D.
One more step closer and I would have had it. A layout and I might have had it. It was so close I could almost feel the disc fly under my hand and in to hers.
As frustrating as the “almost” moment is though, just before it I had a moment that was perfect. There was no “almost” to it. I saw the offensive set up, I knew exactly where she wanted to go, and exactly how far I had to let myself get so the handler would feel safe throwing it. I wasn’t quite fast enough to make the D, but in someways (as frustrating as it was), I consider that to be the lesser consideration of the two.
I’ve never been great on defense. Put me on an O line any day. Give me the disc, let me handle. From a handler’s persepctive I understand the field. I know where I need to put the disc to move it, I usually know where my next cut is or when the cut isn’t mine to make. Tell me to cut and I’ll run. I’ll find the open lanes. I won’t always time it perfectly, but I’ll keep their defense moving and open the lanes for other cutters.
Put me on defense and I’m lost. Two years ago I would have been traveling three steps behind my O player no matter what. My defensive is reactive, not proactive. I’m usually basing my D on what just happened. Last night I saw the offense as it was happening and I reacted immediately. More than reacted, I was thinking about where I needed to be and setting my feet accordingly. It was a great feeling. Even though I missed the D, I predicted the cut, the throw and almost had it. What a great night to play Ultimate!
Ultimate goal for 2012: Predict the O. Learn to layout D.
If you don’t have a goal for this year yet, make one now! Work on it at every practice, every scrimmage and every tournament until that “almost” moment is gone and then find a new goal and start over. That’s what I’m going to do, and I hope everyone else does to!