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Why The Ho-Stack Is Currently In Favor

by Chris Talarico


The horizontal stack has all but replaced the vertical stack because it does such a good job of creating space. When run effectively, four cutters typically are spread across the width of the field. This spacing between cutters makes defensive switches very difficult, thereby putting each downfield defender on an island one-on-one with their man. As any cutter will tell you, when you know your defender doesn't have help, you have the advantage. There's no need to sacrifice this advantage just because it's windy. 

In an upwind situation (offense going into the wind), the biggest problem an offense faces is the defense camping out underneath; always staying between their man and the disc. This makes shorter upfield passes very difficult, particularly in cuts (toward the disc). With the defense taking away the in cuts, it's the deep shots that are left open. But as an offense, you can't solely rely on hitting deep cuts in any weather, let alone against a stiff wind, especially if you don't have throwers with consistently accurate hucks or reliable upwind throws. 

A common mistake horizontal offenses make in the wind is allowing the stack to get too deep (whether consciously or unintentionally). The thought is that if you have more room to make an in cut, the more likely you are to make it successfully and get open for a pass. While this is true conceptually, the strategy really doesn't hold up. You end up limiting yourself to 5-yard-or-so completions and really allow the D to clamp down because they know where you're going. 

Instead, pull the stack in tighter than normal. As an offense, you need to establish that your cutters can get the disc going out as well as coming underneath. Cutters need to do two things: first, keep your spacing across the width of the field - in the wind it's even more important to not allow your man to poach or help on a throw to another cutter. Second, bring your defender in towards the disc as far as he'll go and still stay underneath you. You can do this by starting from a set position in the stack (if you are within 10 yards or so from the thrower) OR begin with an in cut. Either way, turn and go out decisively - don't juke or dance. Throwers: you're looking to get off a pass as soon as the cutter makes his move to go out. Note that this does not need to be a deep pass - and really shouldn't be a deep pass unless you're sure you've got the throw - it just needs to get beyond the cutter. The best throw in this situation is flat with a lot of spin - get it out ahead of the cutter and let him run onto it. Once the D recognizes that you can hit out cuts, they'll have to adjust to play more honestly and not give up that pass so easily. Now you have them respecting both the in and out cuts, and you can start using both effectively.


huddle Issue 1 Horizontal vs Vertical

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Cater To Your Team's Particular Skills
by Gwen Ambler

What Kind Of Team Are We?
by Chris Ashbrook

My Thoughts On The Stack Debate
by Tully Beatty

Advantages Of A Spread Offense
by Lou Burruss

Talent Determines Offense
by Jeff Eastham-Anderson

Advantages Of Either Offensive Set
by Dan Heijmen

Experience & Coordination
by Greg Husak

Horizontal Stack In Windy Conditions
by Ron Kubalanza

Which Type Of Offense Fits Your Team?
by Ryan Morgan

Some Thoughts From Australia
by Jonathan Potts

Vouching For The Vert Stack
by Miranda Roth

Why The Ho-Stack Is Currently In Favor
by Chris Talarico




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