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Field Quadrants

by Steve Sullivan

Really, long points are earned at practice and at the track, well before the specific moment arrives on a Sunday afternoon. 

It's hard for me to think about being a successful endzone cutter as a personal achievement. More than any other position on the field, having the disc near the goal line requires a full team effort to create a good scoring chance. Stack discipline and spacing are crucial to avoiding clogged lanes and disruptive picks. In such a condensed space, it is rare to find an open, easy throw. Still, when your team needs a score on the next one, there are a couple things the cutter can do to take some of the pressure off of the thrower. 

Just like in any other position on the field, the easiest place for a thrower to put the disc is into space. Forcing your teammate to gun a disc into a tight spot is the last thing you want when fatigue is affecting throwing mechanics and decision-making. Especially when fatigue may also be affecting your ability to snag an imperfect throw. Part of this means knowing which throws your teammate is comfortable with. Maybe this thrower really prefers their backhand to their flick, even if it means going around a mark. Or maybe they are much more confident throwing inside-out than outside-in. You should know this about this about your teammates; your defender might not. 

A much larger part of this skill is setting up your cuts with some kind of fake. Running directly toward your defender with a straight cut from the back of the stack toward the front cone rarely allows you to create any real separation. Instead, you need to find a way to put your defender on their heels and then cut away from them into space. 

When I'm preparing to cut, in my mind I like to split the endzone into quadrants: open side-front, open side-back, break side-front, break side-back. At any given time, only two of the four quadrants are going to be available to me as a cutter. My position in the stack and the position of the disc on the field dictate which two. When the disc is within a few yards of either sideline, I want to completely ignore the far side; any cut there requires a throw either over the stack or across the long face of the goal, both extraordinarily risky given the current circumstances. When the disc is in the middle of the field, most goals are going to be thrown to the front half of the endzone, rather than with tougher bendy, floaty passes to the back corners. Knowing where to cut and where it is easy for your teammate to throw is another huge step in creating a good scoring chance. 

Now, two specific cuts that can help you score in one throw. The key to both is being confident, aware that the offense has the advantage of knowing when he or she will cut while the defender has to react. 

Starting from the back of the stack with the disc is near the sideline, everyone on the field knows that ideally you want to get to the front cone. Your defender should have planted himself or herself directly in your way to that objective. If you have a mismatch and your quickness allows you to get to that spot before your defender, more power to you. If not, force them in toward the cone, then plant and cut toward the back cone. Maybe your thrower has the bendy around throw to the back. Or, you can clear out toward that back cone and allow the next person in the stack take a much shallower approach to the front of endzone for a "gut cut." 

Alternatively, when the disc is in the middle of the field and you are at the front of the stack, my favorite cut is basically equivalent to a buttonhook play in football. Take five or six hard steps straight to the open side, plant and take two steps back toward the stack. Your thrower now has a straight throw on the force side while your defender is caught backpedaling.

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




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