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Everything Should Be Intentional

by Bryn Martyna

If I was teaching a young player to learn to cut from the "hot" or iso'ed positions in the middle of a horizontal stack, I would emphasize a few keys points, which are generally applicable to getting open on a stopped disc within any offensive structure, but are particularly important for a horizontal offense. The points I make are assuming that the defense is not poaching, as cutting against a poaching defense would require a more in-depth discussion of how to run a horizontal offense in general. 

Things to think about when cutting from the iso'ed spot of a horizontal offense on a stopped disc: 

The 45 angle: Position yourself strategically before you start your cut. 

The success of your cut may be pre-determined just by the way you position yourself. On Fury we talk a lot about using the 45 degree angle (and by "we," I mostly mean Sprout [Nicole Beck]). If you set up at 45 degrees from the thrower on the open side, you leave yourself a nice window on the break side to work with. You also put your defender in a tricky positionmdash;if you create enough of a window, your thrower has a pretty easy break option, but obviously your defender can't come all the way over to take it away without giving you the open side. At that point, you have put your defender in a position of having to worry about a number of different possible cuts at once before you have even started moving. The Japanese do an excellent job of using this angle in their cuts and it is very challenging to cover. 

What do you want to achieve? Know your role. 

If you are being put in the iso'ed position in a horizontal offense, it is probably for a reason and you should know from your captains or coach what you are expected to achieve. You should also obviously have a sense of your own unique strengths. 

If you are generally a lot faster than your defender and you are expected to be a deep threat, make sure that you are setting up nice and close to your thrower. A great deep cut can come from setting up on the 45, cutting to the break side, then turning and going deep. Generally if you are iso'ed, you should even have enough time to turn and cut under for a gainer if you are covered deep. 

If you are expected to get the disc and look deep to another isolated cutter, you obviously may want to set up your cut to get the disc underneath. You always want to be flexible as you make your cut (see point #5) but you also want to have an idea as you start your cut of where you want to get the disc. You are on offense and in control. 

What is available? Know your thrower. 

Knowing your thrower and their strengths and weaknesses will help you set up the best possible cut. Even if you are an excellent deep cutter, if your thrower is just not comfortable making a deep throw from a standstill, you won't get the disc. In that situation, if you are truly open deep, you won't be in a good position to make an under-cut. At that point, you should clear within the structure of your offense and create space for another cutter. 

Another common example is that you may know that your thrower absolutely loves her inside out. This will allow you to set up at an even more extreme angle on the open side to set up that inside out cut. As a general matter, the more experienced your throwers are, the more places you will realistically be able to get the disc which will allow you more flexibility/creativity in your cutting. 

If you are cutting for a thrower who doen't have every throw in her arsenal, you (and your defender) may know that you need to work extra hard to get open coming in on the open side. At that point, you may want to think about trying to set up "poor man's break" situations by having the thrower dump to another handler on the break side and then look upfield to get it to you. 

Finally, I would strongly encourage you to talk to your throwers and find out what they prefer; don't assume that you already know. I have gotten so much out of having these discussions with my teammates and it has directly translated into better connections on the field. 

Who is guarding you? Know your defender. 

At any level, it is only to your advantage to watch your opponents and study how they play. If it's a team you play a lot, you may recognize that certain players tend to cover you, and you can study how they play defense. Do they typically over-pursue on hard cuts? Do they poach? Do they make lay out bids? Are they strong in the air? You can also play off your defenders' expectations of you if you know they have seen you play. If they have seen you generally catching the disc to set up underneath, it's great to make a serious deep cut early in the game (hopefully coupled with a great deep throw!) to keep them guessing. You can often get at least one free deep or underneath look just based on your defender's expectation of what you normally do. 

If you're a deep cutter, you may find yourself being backed all the time. I think there are two schools of thought on this situation, and it really depends on the offensive structure within which you are working. On the one hand, you may still want to set up as close to the thrower as possible and cut deep to find out if they are really covering you or just standing there. On the other hand, you may be able to drive your defender quite deep just by backing up (back to the importance of positioning before you start your cut) and get a very easy 20 yard gainer right away. Knowing the structure of your offense and your other cutters should help you make this decision, and it's always good to mix it up. 

Be flexible. 

Hopefully flexibility is built into your offense. Horizontal offenses can be very creative and dynamic, thus unpredictable, and very difficult to cover. However, on any given cut you will only have a certain amount of time to work. Know within the structure of your offense how long the thrower will be looking at you. Make the most of that time, then get out. Which leads to my final point... 

If you don't get the disc, create space for good things to happen. 

Your clear can help make the next person's cut successful. Everything you're doing on the field should be intentional. 

huddle Issue 11 Cutting From The Middle Of A Ho Stack

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Use On-Field Cues
by Gwen Ambler

Five Easy Steps
by Dusty Becker

It All Comes Back To Throwing
by Lou Burruss

Sockeye's Wheelhouse
by Mike Caldwell

Understanding Offensive Priorities
by Greg Husak

Everything Should Be Intentional
by Bryn Martyna

Three Keys To Being A Good Middle
by Chelsea Putnam

Downfield 1-On-1 Defense
by Seth Wiggins




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