Receiving the Pull in Ultimate

Why is receiving the pull so important?

Since the point of the pull is for the other team to start with you as deep in your end zone as possible, the ability to collect the pull and get the disc moving is crucial to keep the defense on their toes.

To catch or not catch?

Ideally you want to catch the pull since this will get the disc moving much more quickly. However, dropping the pull is something you don’t want to do. So, it’s a risk assessment. A few things to consider when you go to catch the pull are:

  • The weather conditions – if it’s super windy and rainy, catching the pull (especially if it comes in blady at all) increases the risk of dropping the pull. However, on the flip side, the quicker you can get the disc moving in these conditions will increase the chances of beating the defense so this is something you must gauge before the pull even happens
  • The pull itself – if the pull is very high and floats and comes in nice and soft, then by all means catch it. If the pull is a huge high blade then try and gauge where the disc is going to land and get close to that spot so when the disc hits the ground, you’re in a position to stop the disc (much like a baseball player fielding a ground ball).
  • Position of the defending players – as the pull is in the air, look around and see your players and the opposing players. If they aren’t sprinting down on the pull then you can let the disc drop without worrying too much about the defense being all over you. However, if you see the D is sprinting down very fast then you will want to catch the pull so you can get the disc moving as quickly as possible. Also, when you’re looking around, look for your options so when you do have the disc in your hands, you know which player(s) you’re looking to throw the first pass to. This is crucial when you have a good pulling team as if you’re not aware of your options, they can quickly take them away before you even have the disc.
  • Realize that drops happen – so don’t dwell on it. But, realize that you have to play defense right away so pay attention. Make sure that at practice/league, you practice catching the pull.

Practicing catching/stopping the pull

A few things you can practice to help you get better at catching/stopping the pull:

  1. MTA’s – just like how a puller will practice MTA’s to get height and distance on their throws, so too can you to practice catching. Many times on an MTA, the disc will come in very fast and very blady. This is a great chance to learn to read the disc and learn to catch it.
  2. In practice or league – catch the pull if it’s catchable. If it’s a huge blade and not catchable, then practice getting your body behind the disc when it hits so you can easily collect the pull.

About Ultimate Rob

Rob McLeod is a frisbee ambassador and motivational speaker, a 12 time World Record holder (including 6 Guinness World Records), 12-time World Champion and currently holds the Canadian Distance Record. He created ultimaterob.com in 2009.

2 thoughts on “Receiving the Pull in Ultimate

  1. A couple of other things from my experience:
    1.  Talk about who’s fielding the pull beforehand.  
    2.  For the real big, bladey, hard to catch pulls you can get pretty good at snagging them on the first bounce with some practice.  The risk then lessens to missing it versus dropping it, with very little difference in the time it takes you to get off the first pass
    3.  The most frustrating thing I deal with (even on good teams) is my own teammates stopping rolling pulls with their feet, and the disc (which I’m in position to pick up immediately), bounces forward 10 feet, and the defense makes me take it back to where my teammate kicked it.  On behalf of all handlers, I would ask that people stop the pull with their hands!

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