huddle banner

Advantages Of A Spread Offense

by Lou Burruss


Without question, the horizontal offense is a better wind offense. That doesn't mean it's the right choice for your team. The horizontal offense offers a couple really nice advantages in a high wind situation, but if you don't have the personnel to run it, it'll be worse than a vertical offense. Ben wrote "equivalent talent," but I ask what talent?

(Quick aside: Sockeye and Furious are the two most effective teams at running the horizontal offense, but they are fundamentally different. Sockeye runs the high-tempo, zig-zagging offense I describe here; Furious runs a muscular, isolation, big cut, big throw offense that is a vertical offense in a horizontal disguise.) 

The horizontal offense opens up the area in front of the disc for aggressive handler cutting. In a windy situation, a five yard leading pass to a handler running across the front of the disc is safe and with the yards-after-catch, an excellent way to advance the disc. The downfield cutting in a horizontal offense is fundamentally different from vertical. Vertical offense relies on long (6-12 yards) cuts to out-muscle and out-run the defenders. Horizontal offense relies on the stop-cut; a quick change of direction cut that relies on the cutter's judgment ("which lane do I chose?") and the thrower's ability to break the mark. When it is windy, the long comeback cuts necessary for a vertical offense lead to some nasty and difficult catches. The stop-cut cutter is just beginning to come back when the disc is released and they can adjust and snap on the disc before the defender has time to react. Fronting defense is also much more effective against vertical offense where there is only one comeback cut lane. In the wind, it is easy to front and challenge the thrower to huck it. In a horizontal offense, the cutter is choosing from multiple comeback lanes and the defender can't camp in all of them. 

So why would you chose a vertical stack offense? A horizontal stack offense is a seven-player offense. For it to really work, everyone has to have a clue. At the high school and college (and some club teams) level, you don't have the luxury of seven people with a clue. Cutting in a horizontal offense really relies on reading the field, finding lanes and knowing your thrower. It is much easier to teach how to run a vertical offense and have it work. Horizontal offense also depends on everyone being able to deliver the disc to every kind of cut. You can play in a vertical offense if you can run and throw a 2-yard dump. 

In brief, tailor your offense to your talent and adjust to the wind. Don't try to learn two offenses. So, do you have a lot of experience and a lot of quick handlers? Horizontal. Got a couple big throwers and a lot of tall, fast people? Vertical. 


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




  • Issues

  • Features

  • Authors

  • About

      huddle issue034   huddle issue033   huddle issue032   huddle issue031   huddle issue030  
      huddle issue029   huddle issue028   huddle issue027   huddle issue026   huddle issue025  
      huddle issue024   huddle issue023   huddle issue022   huddle issue021   huddle issue020  
      huddle issue019   huddle issue018   huddle issue017   huddle issue016   huddle issue015  
      huddle issue014   huddle issue013   huddle issue012   huddle issue011   huddle issue010  
      huddle issue009   huddle issue008   huddle issue007   huddle issue006   huddle issue005  
      huddle issue004   huddle issue003   huddle issue002   huddle issue001      
      huddle feature026   huddle feature025   huddle feature024   huddle feature023   huddle feature022  
      huddle feature021   huddle feature020   huddle feature019   huddle feature018   huddle feature017  
      huddle feature016   huddle feature015   huddle feature014   huddle feature013   huddle feature012  
      huddle feature011   huddle feature010   huddle feature009   huddle feature008   huddle feature007  
      huddle feature006   huddle feature005   huddle feature004   huddle feature003   huddle feature002  
      huddle feature001                  


  • Authors

  • About / Get Involved