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Recognition & Position

by Jeff Eastham-Anderson

Two key factors of getting a block are:

  • Being able to recognize mistakes by the offense
  • Being in a good position to capitalize upon them

Being faster than the person you're guarding helps, but paying attention to these two aspects will help your team defensively. 

When it comes to positioning, as a defender I rarely bait throws in anticipation of a layout block, especially when it comes to cuts that are close to the disc. There is so little time to react, that my defensive goal is to deny the throw. It just happens that the position to deny those kinds of throws (even with or trailing the offensive player slightly, on the side closest to the thrower), also allows for the occasional layout attempt. If you are directly behind, or on the wrong side of the receiver, layout bids become more difficult, and can be very dangerous to everyone involved. 

Recognizing when the offense makes a mistake is the other key factor that determines whether or not you should make a layout attempt. For the majority of layout blocks I get, I knew when and where the disc was going to be thrown at the same time as, or earlier than, the receiver. Being able to look directly at the thrower, and keep the receiver in my peripheral vision gives me equal footing when it comes to making a play on the disc. Alternatively, if the receiver is making a one dimensional cut (i.e. the disc will be thrown to them at point X, or not all), this also lets me get into a good defensive position, and ready to make a bid. 

Once the disc is in the air and I've decided I'm going attempt a block, if my positioning is good I can choose the best line to take to get to the disc without having to worry about what the receiver is doing. Whatever line the receiver chooses, the defender has a bit of an advantage here as they do not have to actually catch the disc. The slightest tip with a finger, or the mere presence of your body, is sometimes good enough. The only real insight I have on execution is that I try to drive off of the last step I take, just as I would if I was jumping in the air. Just because you're running as fast as you can doesn't mean you should stop running and fall forward in the hope of getting a block. 

I'm not really sure how you learn the body motions to successfully make a block. Certainly there is timing involved, and landing in a controlled manner is a plus. A high-jump mat, or sand pit would reduce the wear and tear, but at some point you're going to have to graduate to the hard stuff. As I mentioned above, drive off the last step you take. The primary impact should be taken by your abdomen hitting the ground as flatly as possible. After every practice attempt, get up as quickly as possible and set an imaginary mark. Not every bid is successful, and you will have set the mark if you miss.


huddle Issue 19 The Layout Block

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Bide Your Time
by Tully Beatty

Recognition & Position
by Jeff Eastham-Anderson

An In-Cut Adjustment Illustrated
by Adam Goff

The Value Of A Layout Block?
by Greg Husak

by Brett Matzuka

Team Glory
by Ted Munter

How To Get A Layout Block
by Al Nichols

by Miranda Roth

The Holy Grail Of This Sport
by Adam Sigelman





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