One of the cool things in sports is mind-melding with your team. Knowing where your receiver is likely heading is of course key, but there is also planning a play, in real-time. Sometimes you can just feel someone specific is watching you for a signal of what to do next. Such signals have to be very subtle for the defense to miss them, and be readable 20 to 40 yards away.
In the LA summer league, we were playing with a friend of Michelle from college, Frankie. I was taking a dead disc from out of bounds and walking back to the field to restart play. The stack was already setup, but I could feel Frankie’s eye on me, looking for a set play. I twitched my head slightly to the left; just a tiny thing that the defense would not notice. As soon as the defense tapped in to restart play, I stepped way out to the left and broke the mark with a beautiful curving flick. I sent a floater to give Frankie more time to read and make the catch but it wasn’t necessary. Frankie burst out of the stack with a hard sprint to the area I had indicated, catching his defender completely off-guard; Frankie actually had to slow up a bit at the end for the disc to come down.
A similar event was with one of Michelle’s traveling teams. I was pretty much retired from competitive play, but they were doing a beach tourney in LA, so I tagged along for some 3rd string, backup handler work. This play was also with a dead disc, out of bounds on the right side of the field, a few steps from the endzone line. The defense can do a nice job here because the space is so small. As I walked up to the line I could again feel one guy was intently watching me, hoping for a signal. I went again with the head twitch to the left, but this time I used an overhead scoober throw: a tricky one to throw but you can float it to space nicely and by going over the mark it completely destroys their endzone defense. As soon as the disc was tapped in, I quickly faked a backhand throw to the force side; that tiny endzone corner that people try to hit but is easy for the defense to disrupt. Then I rose up and did a no-look scoober over the mark, lofting it high so my receiver had more time to make the catch: an important factor in both beach games (the sand slows down runners) and for the ‘just in case he didn’t see my signal’ situation.
He made a huge fake cut to the force side: basically a big jump for the first step. That got his defender moving a bit to my right for a bit of separation, which is all you need in beach play. My receiver then used that big first step/leap as his dig-in for the true cut to my left. Once again I didn’t need to have floated it; the receiver was there in a heartbeat for an easy catch. As we lined up for the next point he grinned at me and said “I think that’s your best throw” which isn’t true, but felt really good anyways. 😉