A few weeks ago, I got a fan email from Kassandra and this was what she said:

 I’ve been cutting despite other’s desire to transition me to handler in the future because of my height. However, because I can usually catch up to the offense when they go deep, I find myself on the short end especially on the vertical battles.

I’ve heard the term boxing out a few times. Can you explain it to me, please?

I thought this was a great question and wanted to share with you what my response was.

Kassandra, great question! I know what you mean about height. I’m 5’9 so definitely not the tallest on my team but I’m mostly a handler (I do love throwing) but I have definitely had to learn about boxing out to be successful when playing against teams like Furious/Sockeye/Rhino/Revolver.

In the most basic terms, boxing out means that you prevent the the other person from getting to the disc. This can be done basically by getting between them and the disc. However, it’s tough when they are taller than you are because even if you’re in between them and the disc, they can still get the disc by out jumping you.

If you and I are playing catch, the best way for you to catch the disc when I throw it is to run to where you think the disc is going and catch it. However, when you add a defender/receiver into the mix, you will have to now get the disc at the earliest point you can. This means knowing how high you can jump and waiting until the disc at that point, then jumping to get it. To box out the other person, try to run to the spot where you know you can get the disc by jumping and not letting them get inside you. However, if they are smart (and taller) then they are also trying to run to the spot where they know they can get the disc by jumping. But, if you can beat them to the spot, you will get the disc.

What you need to work on when you are playing catch with someone and they are throwing hucks or high throws to you, is to practice running to the spot, jumping and catching it. Over and over until it’s second nature.

To recap, here are some tips to work on boxing out:

  1. Practice running to the spot where you can catch the disc at its highest peak.
  2. In a game, unless you don’t have to, always try to catch the disc as high as possible.
  3. Don’t try to play the player – play the disc. If you focus too much on playing the player, you will lose focus on the disc.
  4. Get between you and the other player. In order to box them out, you have to be in their path to the disc. There is a fine line here. You can try to shuffle around trying to not let them get past you, but someone else could come in and get the disc or they could end up jumping and getting the disc while you are trying to prevent them from getting the disc.

Above all else, practice this. Ultimately, the best way to box out will depend on what you find works best for you. Play 500 in practice – have someone throw high floaty hucks to you and another player and work on boxing them out to get the disc.

I’m curious how actively you think about boxing out or how often you work on it. Let me know if the comments below!

Written by Ultimate Rob

Rob McLeod is a disc sports competitor, a 11 time World Record holder (including 5 Guinness World Records), 5-time World Champion, 2 time Quadruped title holder and currently holds the Canadian Distance Record. He founded ultimaterob.com in 2009.