huddle banner

Prepping For A 4-Person Cup

by Lindsey Hack

A zone defense is usually designed to only give the offense options that do not play to their strengths (i.e. working it laterally, taking away speed, or breaking the mark into the wind). I have been on women's teams before that have had a very difficult time with the four person cup in a moderately windy (cross wind) situation. Typically, the defense would trap the downwind sideline making it difficult for the thrower to break the cup not only because there are four big defensive players near them, but also because there is a wind in their face. Therefore, it was advantageous for us to practice this particular situation whenever there was a strong cross wind. Each player would get the disc on the sideline, we would place a four person cup on that person, and they would get five chances to break the cup successfully. Also, since most four person cups double team (either intentionally or unintentionally), we would deliberately practice being double teamed when trapped on that sideline. If it is a four person, two main handlers with two wings would be ideal but it can be accomplished with a three person formation as well. 

The Piedmont of North Carolina is fairly mild as far as wind goes. I began playing ultimate in the midwest and I swear I was much less intimidated by the wind when I lived in Michigan playing club women's ultimate than I was after a couple of years of living in NC. It is not just that your team can not practice in the wind, but you do not throw in the wind, you do not play league in the wind, you do not play pickup in the wind. So much lost practice time in the wind. To make up for it, we have routinely had beach weekends hoping for strong winds to practice in and there has even been talk about going to Sarasota at another time of the year besides the end of Oct to get more experience in less than ideal weather conditions. Finally, it is important to emphasize throwing, throwing a lot, and throwing with a lot of spin no matter what the conditions are. Therefore, even though there may be a 5 mph wind in NC, one can not get lazy with their throws and begin throwing with no spin, and no legs. You must pretend there is a strong wind at all times. 

How should we attack the zone? Try and do exactly what the zone d does not want you to do. BREAK THE CUP. This can be done numerous ways.

  1. Poppers could place themselves in good positions for handlers to hit them through the cup.
  2. Handlers could move it quickly side to side and then hit wings/popper to gain yardage.
  3. Handlers could move it side to side gaining yards with each swing. The cut will have to pay less attention to those sideline handlers getting yardage if the poppers remain a threat.
  4. Handlers going over the cup using an arsenal of throws to wings and poppers.
  5. Once the disc is past the cup, do not let the cup catch up. It is the wings and poppers' responsibility to make sure they are making real cuts for each other and really attempt to keep the disc moving.

Deep players, or wings, generally have the hardest time finding a way to be effective out there in the zone O. In a four person cup situation, one way the deeps can be effective is to have one of them completely drag the other team's deep defender out of the play. Now, you have 6 on 6 with four of those six around one of your players. If that one player significantly breaks the cup it is a two on five situation. Another way the deeps can be effective is by working together as a pulley system. As one goes in, the other can pull out and make a legit deep cut. As the other goes in, the one that just went deep can come in for a huge gainer. 

How do you deal with a trap zone? What kind of players should you put in positions (like the downwind wing) that are likely to be trapped? As mentioned earlier, this needs to be practiced. If the disc gets to the trap sideline, you have a handful of options as that person with the disc.
  1. Break the mark backwards for the dump. The dump must immediately swing it to keep it off that sideline.
  2. Have your other handler set up to the right or left of the middle-middle in the cup. Use your fakes and pivots like you are going to hit the behind dump, but then hit your swing handler almost completely lateral.
  3. Use your fakes and pivots to hit a popper. A popper can also provide a decoy cut or crash to make it easier for you to hit either handler mentioned in #1 or #2.
  4. Have the handler that is lined up somewhat behind you come through and crash the cup. From there you would either use that cut as a decoy and either hit handler #2 through a hole created by handler #1 or hit a popper through the same hole. Or, you could give a quick shovel pass to that crashing handler. Now, that handler has the disc very close to the cup. The cup is not in formation anymore as they are no where close to 10 feet away from the person with the disc. It becomes much easier for the handler to go through the cup here.
  5. Go over the top. Easiest way, but maybe the most difficult way once some wind has been thrown into the equation.

If the disc gets trapped on the sideline with a non handler (i.e. wing), that wing must not sit and hold the disc waiting for the cup to form perfectly around them. It is the popper's responsibility to formulate a continue cut which, if hit, will put the disc more in the center of the field. It is the wing's responsibility to catch the disc and IMMEDIATELY look to the center of the field, NOT DOWN THE LINE, for this continuation cut. If this cut is not hit, and the wing gets trapped on the sideline, more times than not, it is best to go with option #4 above. If that does not work, hopefully the practice the wing got at breaking the cup at practice was enough to successfully get it out of there.


huddle Issue 18 Zone Offense

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

The Condor Zone O
by Lou Burruss

Adjustments & Positioning
by Jeff Eastham-Anderson

Prepping For A 4-Person Cup
by Lindsey Hack

Questions About Your Zone O
by Greg Husak

A Slow-Developing Chess Game
by Peri Kurshan

Wings & Poppers
by Ryan Morgan

Three Points
by Ted Munter

The Jailbreak
by Charlie Reznikoff

Effective Practice For Zone
by Miranda Roth

Personal Fundamentals Of Zone O
by Ben van Heuvelen





  • 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