huddle banner

Two Simple Steps

by Matt Dufort

Marking consists of two simple steps: knowing the threats, and denying the threats. While the specifics will depend on how your team decides to play defense, the ideas below will apply in nearly all situations. 

Step 1: Know the threats.
The best way to adjust your mark is to anticipate what the offense wants to do. If you can read the offense, you can take away the throws that would help them the most. Here are the key things to know: 
1 Position on the field. Where you are on the field changes the threats, and should change how you mark. Every time you set up a mark, you should take a moment to get your bearings on the field. 

2. Thrower's abilities. If you're covering a team's top thrower, you're likely to be focused on stopping hucks and dangerous break throws. But if you're marking a good athlete with weak disc skills, the biggest threat may just be that they get the dump off. Pay attention to their comfort with the disc, the throws they've made before, and what their teammates look for when they have the disc. If it's someone you match up against frequently, watch video to learn their moves, and visualize how you'll stop those moves. 

3. Position of other players on the field. Knowing where the cutters are can make marking much simpler. You don't have eyes in the back of your head. But take a quick glance around as you set up the mark, keep an eye out for cutters in your peripheral vision, and get your teammates on the sideline to tell you where the potential receivers are. 

4.Reading the thrower. For all but the best throwers, it's possible to tell when and where they're going to put a throw up. Focus on their eyes and hips—few people have effective no-look throws, and if their hips move, the rest of their body will too. DO NOT focus on the movement of their head, shoulders or hands—these are the easiest parts of the body to fake with. 

Step 2: Deny the threats.
If you followed the advice above, you should have a pretty good idea of how the thrower can hurt you. The next step is to use that knowledge to deny the threats. 

1. Establish and maintain proper positioning. Stay low and active as you approach, and set up so you can prevent the thrower's most dangerous options. With a great thrower, this may be tight and flat to prevent the huck, or low and a yard away to deny quick breaks. With a weaker thrower, you can more safely attack the open side and dump throws. 

2. Hedge your bets. You want to prevent the thrower's best options, without exposing your defense to even bigger problems. Don't jump so hard on one fake that you let off an easy break throw. You can't stop everything, so focus on preventing the throws that would hurt your defense the most, while making other options a bit more difficult. 

3. Be unpredictable. A good thrower will see a mark's weaknesses and exploit them. By constantly changing things up, you can keep the thrower guessing and force them to look off throws they'd otherwise take. Vary your distance from the thrower, your side-to-side positioning, and how you move your hands. Don't just follow the thrower's moves—it may take them a couple fakes, but they'll burn you. I tend to split a 10-second stall count into 3 or 4 chunks, and change up my mark every 2-3 seconds. I'll often start tight and active for 1-3, back off to deny the breaks at 4-5, approach again at 6-7 to make them uncomfortable, then step back a bit to avoid the dreaded stall-9 foul call. 

4. Go for the kill. In elite ultimate, turnovers can be hard to come by. When you're marking a weaker thrower, when the stall count gets high, or if the disc is in a bad position (deep in the end zone or trapped downwind), you need to take advantage of it. Get active, attack every throw, and don't make anything easy. Even if you don't get a point block, chances are good you'll force a turnover. 

huddle Issue 25 Tips On Marking

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

by Gwen Ambler

Twice, No More
by Lou Burruss

Two Simple Steps
by Matt Dufort

by Adam Goff

Tips & Insights
by Peri Kurshan

Preventative vs. Deceptive
by Brett Matzuka

Tricks Of The Trade
by Patrick Mooney

Team Marking
by Charlie Reznikoff

Defending The Area Around The Thrower
by Kirk Savage

Beyond The Fundamentals
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