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looking for input on pack pull back/20ft rule tactic

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looking for input on pack pull back/20ft rule tactic

Postby rollergrrrl » 11.26.08 3:09PM

Hi there! First congrats to Gotham Girls for the championship! I am a jammer for my local all star team and just got finished watching the championship game for the second time. My reason for posting today is that I am trying to decide how I should feel about the tactic where my blockers play mostly at the back of the pack trying to kill the jammer and I wind up up front fending for myself against opposing blockers and relying on the refs to hopefully call 20 feet on them so I can keep going. I played a game this past weekend and that happened a lot and I don't know if I just wasn't running them out far and fast enough or if the refs just weren't calling 20 ft. (we won btw so we must have been doing something right- haha!) At first I was kinda put off but then after watching your championship game, I see that it is a pretty common tactic. But then I hear things like "defense wins games". So I'm not sure how I feel about it. I don't want to seem like a needy jammer but just can't help feeling frustrated sometimes by it. I figured I'd come to the pros for input here. Thoughts, comments?
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Postby Ana Bollocks » 11.26.08 3:56PM

We use it.

Sometimes we use it incorrectly and a jammer gets beat on. I'm sure they don't like that. I don't blame them.

But sometimes it is the fastest way to get a jammer through with the least damage.

I don't think it's either all good or all bad. The key is figuring out when it's most likely to be helpful and when it's not.
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Postby corndawg » 11.26.08 4:40PM

Like all tactics it has advantages and disadvantages.
I personally think it is a great tactic to develop but one that needs to be well practiced and rehearsed. The teams at the Northwest Knockdown had some great moments when the well executed 20 feet trap (or whatever the term is) worked like a charm.
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Postby tigoe » 11.26.08 4:43PM

Ana Bollocks wrote:We use it.

Sometimes we use it incorrectly and a jammer gets beat on. I'm sure they don't like that. I don't blame them.

But sometimes it is the fastest way to get a jammer through with the least damage.

I don't think it's either all good or all bad. The key is figuring out when it's most likely to be helpful and when it's not.


I'm guessing there's an issue of jammer-to-pivot communication here too, though, isn't there? My impression from trackside is that if a jammer and the pack, particularly the pivot, are working together, this usually works well because you can change tactic when jammer defense is needed.

Gotham's got a large number of jammers who jam like blockers, too, which makes a difference. I was noticing at ECDX and even in Portland that this doesn't seem to be the norm.
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Postby hambone » 11.26.08 10:58PM

it is a very common strategy - to isolate a defender or two battling your jammer out front so that they are no longer in the pack and the jammer gets a free pass out.

It doesn't work very well at all if the pack isn't going sufficiently fast. I've reffed beginning derby bouts where no one even came close to being 20 feet from the pack -- because there just wasn't any speed out there to permit that kind of separation.

So once the players in a league get good at 'pulling 20 feet', the next thing to happen is that front-of-the-pack blockers retaliate by getting good at blocking -- not by simply keeping apace in front of the opposing jammer, but by also keeping them slow. Once pivots get really good at that, then the rest of the opposing pack goes, "well, crap, that's not going to work" and then goes back to plan A - direct combat. Then it's a neat ballet back-and-forth within a jam -- and within a league's development as skill levels escalate up and up.
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Postby rollergrrrl » 11.27.08 4:38AM

hambone wrote:keeping them slow. Once pivots get really good at that, then the rest of the opposing pack goes, "well, crap, that's not going to work" and then goes back to plan A - direct combat.

Yes! I noticed that in the championship game. If their jammer was up there too long the blockers switched gears and one or two would come help. In my game this past weekend the other team did exactly what you said whenever our blockers stayed back- they successfully slowed me way down and ganged up on me. I think right now though some of our blockers are still a little slow to switch gears if things aren't working out up front- to coming back up for direct combat and playing defense. And I think some of our refs were pre-occupied and not calling 20ft.
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Postby hambone » 11.27.08 12:54PM

don't be too hard on 'em ... getting 20 feet consistently called is a huge challenge for a ref staff.

When you first start reffing you're so pre-occupied with watching people's arms and feet as individuals that it's easy to forget to constantly update your own personal 'overhead cam' of the pack location in relation to the action you're watching.

And it also helps if you have a consistent group of refs working and communicating together to help each other out identifying the pack. There's a lot of spoken and unspoken communication going on there on the infield which can take months to develop as a squad.

Skaters shouldn't feel above shouting "that's TWENTY!!!" if the ref isn't thinking about it at the time, especially if everyone's learning together in a league's beginning days. The worse that can happen (as a skater) is that you get a reputation for crying wolf, which is not the worst thing in the world (as long as you discuss it politely afterward and keep skating and focused on the action at hand, lest you get blindsided or lest you let an important opportunity slip by)

What league are you skating with?
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Postby abrahamdrinkin » 11.27.08 1:49PM

hambone wrote:Skaters shouldn't feel above shouting "that's TWENTY!!!"


To be clear, I'm pretty sure Hambone is suggesting you should say "that's TWENTY" out loud but not directed at the referees. You just kind of say it to the universe, or the other players or anybody but the refs. I don't recommend shouting at referees and I don't think Hambone does either.
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Postby rollergrrrl » 11.27.08 7:15PM

hambone wrote:What league are you skating with?

I am with Memphis Hustlin' Rollers. We just played our first WFTDA bout this past Saturday against Dixie Derby Girls. Woot!

Yeah about the refs- yes they have a lot on their plates fo sho. I don't think I could do their job- haha! We have some great refs on our league. Oh and before I forget- thank you thank you thank you all for your input. We've been doing the 20 ft trap thing for a good while now- it's just that I've always felt conflicted about it, but I think I have a better perspective on it now. It's just a situation that I am going to have to buck up and deal with- I need to make sure to not let them slow me down, not anticipate, just keep moving and pulling them forward as fast as I can to the point where it is obviously 20+ft and the refs call it or the opposing blockers pull back themselves.
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