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Deep Cutting

by Dylan Tunnell

Three of the handiest attributes a deep receiver can have are speed, jumping ability, and height. Sadly, even by lifting, doing plyometrics, and running sprints, an athlete and only increase her or his speed and explosiveness to a certain extent. As far as I have seen, height cannot be taught or learned. Fortunately, there are several other factors that go into being an effective deep threat, all of which are much more learnable. I am going to discuss three skills in particular. 

The first two skills are about making yourself an attractive looking target to the thrower. No matter how tall, fast, and good-looking you are, unless your teammate with the disc looks up and sees you going to the place to which she or he wants to throw at the right moment, you're not going to get many bombs sent your way. From where you set up your deep cut and your timing are crucial to getting open and getting thrown to. At UGA, I played with a guy named Amble Johnson. Amble was about 5'10'' and was one of the two slowest guys on the team (If you are reading this Amble, I'm sorry. But it's true.) but he caught as many deep goals as anyone on the team. He'd set up his cuts by constantly repositioning himself in response to where the disc moved. This kept his defender engaged and unable to keep track of both the thrower and Amble. As soon as he saw the disc in the air on it's way to a thrower in a power position (i.e. coming up the line or off of a swing cut) Amble would take a couple of quick steps towards the thrower to create more space behind him into which a deep pass could be thrown. He'd time his cut so that right as his teammate caught the disc and looked up field he'd see Amble taking of towards the endzone with plenty of space out in front of him. 

Most throwers prefer to throw bombs within the first two or three seconds of catching the disc, before the defender gets a chance to set a good mark. If you time you cut so that the thrower sees you going right as he or she looks up you'll be a lot more likely to be thrown to. In terms of from where your cut should originate, don't be too far away from the thrower. It's nearly impossible to throw a leading pass to a receiver who starts her or his cut from far away. Even though floaty passes sometimes make for exciting plays, leading passes that hit receivers in stride are a good team's bread and butter. 

Aim your cut towards the back of the endzone rather than the sideline so the thrower won't have to worry as much about putting it out of bounds. Try to avoid cutting directly away from the thrower because it forces the thrower to either throw straight over your head which is difficult to read, or to send a pass with a lot of bend which is difficult to throw. If you are cutting for the thrower's forehand you should start your cut from the backhand side of the thrower's body and head towards the back of the endzone on the forehand side. The reverse is true if you are cutting for a backhand. 

The final and perhaps most important part of becoming a threatening deep receiver is to become a strong thrower. If you cannot throw well, you are a one dimensional player. A smart defender will just stay behind you at all times forcing you to come back towards the disc because she or he is not worried about you hurting his or her team with your throws. If you can throw, any cut you make towards the disc is much more of a threat to your defender because you are a weapon with the disc in your hands. Your defender will bite a lot harder when you fake in and it will be that much easier to get him or her off balance and get open going away. A good example of a deep player who became dominant once he learned to throw is Kurt Gibson. Kurt's first two years at Florida he was a great athlete and made a number of exciting plays but once defenders started picking up on the fact that he wasn't a great thrower, they just stayed behind him and took away his strength. Kurt's junior year he became a great thrower and he became nearly uncoverable because if his defenders backed him, he'd get the disc easily and throw goals. He forced the guy covering him to basically pick him poison. Either let Kurt catch goals or throw goals. Tough choice. Florida went from not making nationals Kurt's sophomore year to winning it all his junior year largely because he learned to throw well. 

Even if you aren't overwhelmingly endowed with the genetic advantages of being fast, explosive, and tall, if you start you deep cuts from the right place, time them well, and make yourself a great thrower, you will be well on your way to becoming a strong deep threat. 

huddle Issue 21 Team USA On Specialities

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Well-Rounded Deep Threats
by Gwen Ambler

What Else Makes A Good Handler?
by Cara Crouch

Handling: Vision
by Deb Cussen

Defensive Handlers I Admire
by Kathy Dobson

Schwa's D-Handler
by Chelsea Putnam

Handling: Doing The Little Things
by Jon Remucal

D-Line Handlers
by Adam Simon

Deep Cutting
by Dylan Tunnell

Cutting Thoughts & Techniques
by Bart Watson

Defense From The Handler Spot
by Seth Wiggins





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