In a post which appeared previously on everyone’s favorite hate site, a well thought out treatise was provided which explored just how the Beaver’s manage to win games (and, as the author posits, win them so very boringly). While I’m not taking issue with Ben’s points–I think they are pretty damned accurate, in fact–I do take issue with the idea that this is the end all, be all strategy to win.
Let me rephrase that statement: I refuse to think that the problem is the immaculate strength of the play. I think the problem is how people are falling into the trap of it without thinking.
Bike polo, as with any other sport anywhere that has ever existed, gets into ruts when it comes to how people play and what they think is effective. Folks will run the same sort of play in football as they have for decades because hey, it’s effective. But what if I told you it’s effective because the other team became used to that play and it’s effectiveness, disregarding the possibility of coming up with a more clever counter play?
The point is, it’s rather easy to think that the Beavs have it all worked out (in fact, they kinda have), but it’s silly to think that this one play is going to be the very thing that destroys the enjoyment of bike polo. Let’s take a look at the play as laid out by Ben:
Ben’s Picture, not mine
Okay, so for one thing, those are enormous goals.
Anyway: there are some suppositions in this strategy chart I’d like to suggest. First: the goalie can’t move. I get it, that player really shouldn’t move, perhaps, given that Joey is bearing down on him at Mach Win, but as Rob Biddle has aptly showed me on multiple occasions, it’s very possible for the goalie to roll out and challenge an incoming player effectively. Second is the idea that [RED 2] is forced to go after the ball carrier.
The only thing you have to do in bike polo when it comes to strategy is figure out who you’re going to blame when it doesn’t work.
[RED 2] has a few options, I think. They could cut off [BLUE 2]‘s progression, or place himself on the opposite side of [BLUE 1] to create a pinch between [RED 3], [BLUE 3] and [BLUE 1].
Hell, realistically this is all dependent on how the other team sets up. If they know they are playing the Beavers (and, really, c’mon), they could simply choose to all pursue the ball carrier directly, or cut off blocks to ruin the play. The benefit of this, assuming that you’re able to strip the ball, is that you now have a wide open shot on goal as all 3 of the opposing team are out of position to defend.
While I certainly respect the idea of this play (and the fact that it’s very successful right at this moment), as soon as something is discovered, it is often countered. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see podium teams drill themselves to beat this play (and in that process develop some new super-play that we all can get bored by).