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Timing Is Everything

by Max Cook

Goal line cutting (especially in the elite division) is a difficult technique to master. The fact is, the closer you get to the endzone, the more effective a defensive player can be because you are shortening the field and removing the threat of a deep cut. In general, the offense always has the advantage, but close to the endzone, your advantage as a cutter is lessened. 

All organized teams usually have a specific endzone offense that they default to when they get within ten yards or less of the goal line. The cutting that I will discuss involves one main cutter engaging the handlers and working with and cutting for them to score the goal. As the main cutter, I have to trust that my teammates (other cutters in the endzone) will occupy their defender, keeping them honest and not allowing them to poach. 

As the main cutter, I need to know one crucial thing: who are the handlers that I will be cutting for? Playing with teammates throughout the season, you start to learn things about them that help you in these situations. After I survey the field and identify who I will be cutting for, I then want to identify how my defender is playing me. Some defenders like to know where the disc is at all times and position themselves accordingly, while others focus entirely on the cutter and shutting him down. Either way the defender is playing me, I rely on the timing of my cuts to get open and score goals. 

If my defender is trying to monitor disc location and me at the same time, I will watch his eyes and take advantage of that split second where he loses sight of me. This can lead to goals on the open side as a split second of my defender losing sight of me can turn into a two-yard separation. If the handlers are in a position to get me the disc it is an easy goal. If the handlers are not in a position to get me the disc, even though I was open, I find more often than not, the defender has recognized that I took advantage of his mistake, and then his focus shifts to me entirely and less on disc location. 

If my defender's focus is entirely on me and not disc location, most of the goals that I score are on the break side. This is where knowing your thrower and their tendencies and abilities comes into play. Initially, I want to position myself closer to the open sideline, which allows for more space to the break side. Then, I usually set up my cut with a jab step to the open side. This gets my defender both on his heels and moving in the opposite direction I intend to cut. After the jab step, I then cut to the break side but only after I have identified who has the disc and what throw to the break side they excel at. If I have timed my cut right, an adequate break mark throw is all that is necessary to score the goal. Because my defender is already on the open side, and I have set up my cut with a jab step, I should have a couple steps to allow the thrower some error and still catch the goal. 

In my opinion, constant cutting in the endzone usually will lead to bad things: fatigue, high stall counts if you are not open, cutting off throwing lanes to other teammates, and eventually, turnovers. For the most part, I find that timing my cuts properly in the endzone has been the most effective way for me to score goals. 

huddle Issue 12 Endzone Offense

Tuesday, December 1st, 2008
Timing Is Everything
by Max Cook

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Field Quadrants
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