huddle banner

Scoring Without Breaking A Mark

by Ben Wiggins

The following is a couple of thoughts from a handler/team perspective, which isn't exactly what we asked our authors to write about (but we thought it appropriate to add in here). I first wrote this article in 2004, in response to this comment on 

>>scoring in the endzone is easy. just break the mark. 

Yes, this will probably work most of the time. I think that the intrinsic difficulty in End Zone O is the pressure on the offense to score; the idea that "most of the time" isn't good enough. If you throw a huck out the back, you don't sit there and mope, but for some reason there is a dissapointment in coming away from the goalline without a point. We notice end zone turnovers more: this is why End Zone O seems difficult. 

We also demand more of our EZO; a 60% scoring rate is not acceptable in high-level play. We need to continue to find ways to score 9/10 goals, not just find ways to score. 

About the "Just Break the Mark" strategy: 

If I am on D, I WANT you to have to break a mark to score. If I didn't think my team's mark could stop you, I wouldn't be playing a forcing strategy. I would be zoning, or playing a straight-up mark, or something where I didn't have to trust my teammate. But I am forcing for a reason- I think my team's mark will get a block, or create a bad throw, enough of the time that my team will score more. 

Let's go ahead and make a break-mark score a neutral play- anytime the offense scores without having to break a mark it is shifting the percentages in the O's favor, and anytime the D forces a particularly difficult break mark, or a difficult throw, or (of course) a turnover, they have won the percentages. 

You have to think about the endzone in terms of percentage, because in such a short distance, good plays can go unrewarded, and bad plays often work. If your opponent comes out of a goalline timeout, and all they can get is a stall-9 backline layout- you don't want to change how you defended to stop that play. Will that work the other 5 times per game you are in a goalline situation? No, and it probably won't work more than twice. The defense 'won' that play. If you play a team that makes that play 6 out of 6 in a game, you can either adjust your defense to defending a new style of offense that is doing the hardest thing possible, or you can shake their hands and get ready to beat them next time, when those plays inevitably don't work. 

Offensively, you want to score. That means making most of your plays easy, and making up for your mistakes with talent or practice. A method of doing this is to find ways to move the disc a short distance WITHOUT having to break a full mark. Here are 4 ideas. 

1. Establish Doubt in the Downfield Defender
If you could get a downfield defender to bite on a break mark throw, the result would be a very easy score on the countering live-side cut. One way to do this is to scare a defender by making the break throw look easier than normal. Many offenses have "spread" endzone formations, where most of the players are around the outside of the endzone, drawing their defenders away to create a large open space behind one featured offensive player, who is less than 10 yards away from the thrower and centrally located in the field. 

With so much space behind the reciever, the defender gets anxious about a short hammer or high release. Thrower fakes some such throw, and the defender bites. Results? easy, live side goal. Without breaking a mark. 

2. Make Break Mark Cuts to the Open Side
Sounds weird, I know. Here's how it works. Disc on the goalline, cutter goes hard to the cone. Defender is there, but can't stay right on the cutter as they turn to the dead side. If the thrower waits to break with a throw into space, they have to beat both the cutter and the mark. But, if they can throw it to the cutter before they are on the live side, there is a window that is a live side throw, but a break mark cut, with the defender out of position. This inside lane allows a score without having to break a mark. If the defender can shut it down, they have likely over-pursued the cut, and the cutter can simply go back to the cone, where they will likely be open. Offense wins, without needing to go right at the strength of the D. 

Incidentally, this is usually why "Moses" plays (splitting the stack and running a cutter up the middle) usually work- the inside lane is tough to mark without giving up a break, and tough to cover if you are more worried about the live-side cone cut. 

3. Get Away From a Mark
a) Throw into space on the dump.
Moving the disc quickly can get you away from the mark, opening up break side throws without a defender. A simple one: throw a leading throw for your dump into the dead side. The dump runs onto it, and catches it with about 3/4 of a second before the mark gets there. Throw into space on the dead side. Goal. No mark. 

If the mark did get there, they likely have had to overrun the play, and the inside out lane should be open as they fly by. Goal (although this has the added requirement that cutters have the patience to wait for the throw to space to cut. 

b) Throw the dump to a cutter moving into space.
Picture it like this: Thrower outside the endzone, forced forehand, with a straight stack. Dump is 2 yards behind, 5 yards wide in the live side. Once the disc gets checked in, simply run the dump to the dead side, flat behind the thrower. Any easy throw to the dump will result in an open second to the deadside. This is exactly like the thrower had taken two steps back away from the mark, and thrown the easy backhand. 


Now your team has scored it's first 4 goals of the game, without breaking a mark, and without anyone having to really work hard to get open. At some point, you are going to need a reciever to get open, or a thrower to make a throw- or you likely will not score the other 11 goals you need. But making 3 or 4 plays easy on you might up your percentages, both on those plays, and on plays where the D has to adjust to stop something tricky you have already done, and weakens their own ability to stop 'normal' offensive plays. 

Endzone Offense SHOULD be easy, and that is exactly why it seems so difficult.

huddle Issue 12 Endzone Offense

Tuesday, December 1st, 2008

Timing Is Everything
by Max Cook

Exploiting Defensive Adjustments
by Nick Handler

Know Your Thrower, Make It Easy
by Kris Kelly

What To Do When The Field Shrinks
by Peri Kurshan

Pretty Versus Efficient
by Brett Matzuka

My Favorite Move
by Miranda Roth

Field Quadrants
by Steve Sullivan

Scoring Without Breaking A Mark
by Ben Wiggins

Decisiveness Leads To Glory
by Ryan Winkelmann




  • 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