Handling and Marking Q&A From a Fan

This post was in response to a fan who had a few questions about handling and marking both on offense and defense.

I’m a combination handler/cutter for I just had a few questions about handling against tight marks and vice versa, marking tough handlers.

I’ve only been handling for a few months, and I’ve found that in the three tournaments I’ve played at I feel like I’m usually just cycling the disc back to an upline handler or dump rather than making throws to cutters. I’ve only turned the disc once across those three tournaments while handling, which I guess is good but most of the throws I have made haven’t been that long of a throw to get turned, if that makes any sense.

Throwing Techniques for Ultimate: A Study


The goal of this study was to determine if certain throwing techniques for the sport of Ultimate Frisbee were advantageous relative to other techniques. The defense can attempt to force a thrower to utilize a specific throw; knowing the advantages of different throws can influence a defender’s decision to force the thrower to use a certain throw. Motion capture was used to monitor the flight of a disc (Discraft Ultrastar 175g) for three throwing techniques. The two main groups of throws were backhand (BH) and forehand (FH) throws, with the forehand throws divided into a closed forehand grip (CF) and a split forehand grip (SF). Sixteen participants were recruited with experience ranging from 3 years to 8 years based on survey. Throws were analyzed with regards to linear velocity, angular velocity, precession, and accuracy. Players threw a total of 45 throws: five throws for all combinations of the three throwing techniques combined with three objectives: accuracy, maximum spin, and maximum velocity. The order of the nine throwing groups was randomized. Throws were analyzed for linear velocity, angular velocity, precession, and accuracy. Linear velocity was calculated by measuring the distance traveled in the first 0.02 seconds of flight, and angular velocity was measured by calculating the time required for four unique points on the disc to complete one rotation. precession was measured by calculating the average angular deviation from the average normal plane of the disc, and accuracy was measured by the distance between the center of the disc and the target at closest approach using a quadratic fit to the known flight path. There was a very strong linear correlation between linear velocity and angular velocity. There was no difference in linear velocity between backhand and forehand throws, although the closed grip forehand had a higher linear velocity than the split grip forehand. Backhand throws had higher angular velocities than forehand throws for a given speed; there was no difference in angular velocity between closed grip and split grip forehand throws.

What Is The Force?

Forcing is a strategic attempt, by the defense, to force the thrower to throw the disc into an area of the defense’s choosing or to pressure the thrower into making an error. As such the defender forcing the disc has a large responsibility. Forcing is also the basis of team defense, which will be covered later. Many players appear to see forcing as an opportunity to rest before continuing to play defense. This is definitely not the case: forcing well requires a lot of focus, application and physical effort.  Trusting your teammates is an important element of forcing as well – if ever defender did their best to not get broken, then it would help the team – forcing is difficult when one defender poaches and tries to do too much on their own instead of trusting their teammates.

Drills: Bread and Butter (Stack and Cut)

This is a great drill for the beginning of practice since it gets everyone working on all of the basics – throwing, catching, cutting and marking. You can also set goals in this drill (i.e. 10 completed throws in a row before switching to a different throw).

Number of players – unlimited number of players; all the discs

Skills emphasized – pivoting, leading a receiver, throwing past a marker, cutting, catching conditioning, marking a thrower (varied marks)

The Basics of Forcing in Ultimate

If you’re a regular visitor then you’ll know that my focus has been primarily on throwing. In my videos, in my articles and on my dvd, I consider throwing to be the most important part of ultimate. A team full of good throwers/catchers can beat any team since ultimate is a game of possession (in the most general sense).

However, I’m going to start including more videos and articles that delve into the other aspects of ultimate which are also very important and will go a long way in making you a better overall player. I will also provide resources which coaches/captains will find useful in trying to teach new players the game of ultimate.