There are few things I cherish in this sport more than a well-timed, rugged, yet beautifully executed layout. There is an unrivaled sense of absolute domination when you’ve bent the game to your will by means of a one-man aerial assault. When executed correctly, a layout is poetry in motion. Of course, not every one is ideal. Some are rather clumsily executed, occasionally leading to comedic sideline banter or gruesome moments when we all must take a knee in respect to the injured. One of the better parts of the game is being subject to abuse and it requires we put Layout Artists on notice. Two particular types during gameplay stick out to me:
The Gratuitous Layout – Successful, yet horridly unnecessary. (Offense)
Thankfully these usually do not go unnoticed. A player lays out and grabs the disc when there was clearly no need to leave their feet. Their goal is accomplished but at an unnecessary expense. Of course there are times when a layout is based on a desperate situation. Maybe it’s universe-point and you just need to be sure you secure that disc/possession. Fairly understandable. Others toe the line of logic and are outright ridiculous. If the height of the disc is flying above eye level, there’s no one else within ten yards and you have plenty of field in front of you, why not just run the disc out?
Don’t get me wrong; if I need to sacrifice my body, I’m always down for the struggle. Anything for the W. But those layouts add up over the years. I like to keep on my feet when possible. Yet, if you have outrageous durability or just plain love slamming your body on the ground, by all means, have a safe flight.
The Good (but Late) Bid – Made with good intentions but nothing to show for it. (Defense)
I hate the term “bid” in the first place. It indicates failure to achieve the desired result. The last thing I want to hear from a teammate is “Good bid, man.” Grass in my nappy hair is much more attractive when there’s a disc in my hand to compliment it.
Again, I understand those moments of desperation. Revisiting the example of ultimate-point, some times a team is making all the rights throws and you have no choice but to take a risk. There are other scenarios when a defender has a legitimate opportunity to get the D. Then there are those situations when a player lifts off with simply no chance of preventing a catch. I suspect certain players make ill-advised bids to demonstrate their will to make a play for their teammates, without regards to how it affects the point. That, or they simply are not quite reacting to a play quickly enough.
In any case, making a late bid means you’re eating dirt while your assignment has the disc. By the time you’re up they may have already thrown the disc and started cutting again. Worst-case scenario, there is someone open deep. A competent thrower will gladly take the unmarked huck. Essentially, a late bid on defense can start a domino affect in favor of the offense. All Layout Artists will fall victim to a fruitless bid at some point in their careers. It’s a high risk, high reward part of the game. Thus a player’s recovery speed is critical. If you don’t plan on calling an injury, get on your feet and get back to work immediately.
I realize it’s easy to preach this sermon from behind a desk. Come tomorrow, I’m sure I’ll be on the ground, gasping for air, suffering from a layout I should have never made. Only now there’s written proof of my hypocrisy.
Feature photo by Brandon Wu – UltiPhotos.com