This post was in response to a fan who had a few questions about handling and marking both on offense and defense.
Rob, 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.
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.
This tutorial video for the Calgary Ultimate Association talks about how to cut into space. The key points are: recognize what the dump mark is doing, fake the marker to create space, work with the dump.
Too many times in a game, the disc will be thrown, the player on offense will catch it, the defender will turn to their team and shout “Where was the up call?”.
However, it’s not up to your team to tell you where the disc is. Sure, an “Up” call will help, but you should also be aware and know where the disc is, where the offensive player is and be ready to make a bid on the disc.
Since the receiver already has the advantage, you must work on your field awareness in order to increase your chances of getting a D on the disc.
As I mentioned once before, my sporting love before ultimate was volleyball. Another tip I learned was when preparing to receive serve, you want to stand with your weight forward on the balls of your feet and slightly pigeon toed – that is with your toes slightly pointed in. The reasoning being that your ankle joint provides optimal force moving forward compared to laterally, and it’s even worse when your pushing backwards. So by angling your toes in, if you need to step left, the closer your right foot is to pointing to the left, the more force you can generate in that direction.
Faking is an art and, whilst it looks easy, making good fakes requires subtlety, disguise and deception. The movements a player makes whilst faking should mimic exactly the movements that a player makes when they throw but halt at the last moment. The aim is to throw the defender off balance or to move them out of position or to make them think that the thrower wants to do something other than that which they are going to do.
The basics of faking are these:
Making a fake look like it’s going to be a throw; otherwise it’s not going to fool your defender
I find that players will very easily over complicate the game of ultimate, especially the way they play defense. If you’ve played ultimate for long enough to have played with a few different teams, you’ll notice that the half time/timeout talks are very similar and usually discuss the same few points – whether it’s a league team or one of the top teams in the world. This article will give you 5 quick tips for improving your defensive play immediately – and your team will appreciate that.
One of the best drills I’ve done is called the 3 Man Drill. Basically, it involves one throw, one marker, one catcher and one disc. The flow of the drills works as follows: mark, throw, go. As you’ll see in the video below, it’s all about the thrower trying to fake out the marker, and the marker trying to prevent the thrower from getting a clean throw off.
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)
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.