cutting in ultimate

Cutting Into Space

This tutorial video for the Calgary Ultimate Association talks about how to cut into space. The key points are: Know where the open and break side are, cutting to the break side is easy space for the cutter; requires a break from the thrower, cutting to the open side requires the cutter beats their defender; is an easy open throw for the thrower, cut with speed – don’t jog, don’t get too close to the thrower.

The Canada jersey I’m wearing is sponsored by VC Ultimate: http://www.vcultimate.com.

The shorts I’m wearing are from Lululemon: http://shop.lululemon.com/products/clothes-accessories/men-shorts/Core-Short-32404?cc=0001&skuId=3433213&catId=men-shorts.

Cutting for Connections

In my previous post I highlighted the importance of connections within ultimate. I’d recommend having a read of the full post. As a recap, the interactions between throwers and receivers is an example of where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. By recognising that there are two people involved in any pass, appropriate steps can be taken to ensure that the connection is successful.

In this post I want to focus on the receiver’s aspect of the connection. As a receiver, what actions can be taken to help with the success rate of the connections on the field?

Check Your Shoulder – Give-Go

Last example for now.  Give Go.

Handler’s at the brick with the disc.  Ho-stack setup with 2 dumps and 4 across.  A few cuts get looked off, open side dump’s defender sags into the lane.  Handler swings to the poached dump and immediately runs up line for the give go.

Give go handlers in this scenario tend to watch the thrower expecting the disc back.  Good handlers will still take off immediately after throwing the swing, but will take a quick look over their shoulder at the lane while they’re in motion.  Check your shoulder!  Why?

Check Your Shoulder – Buttonhook

Ok, another example.  Check your shoulder on buttonhook cuts.

When cutting away, look back at the thrower (aka “check your shoulder) before you plant to come back or even start to slow down.  You see it all the time when you set up a drill that involves a buttonhook cut that cutters run toward a cone facing away, then plant and whip their head around all at once.  Perhaps the thinking is that by running deep and facing deep that looking back will tip off the defender that you plan to cut back… or maybe this comes from timing routes in football.

Getting Open Because You Think You Can

During a post-game debrief at Montreal Jazzfest, the other captains used me as an example of being able to “always get open” on my cuts. They qualified this by saying that it wasn’t because I was the fastest but that regardless, I still got open.

I do get open often and it is not because I’m faster, it’s because I BELIEVE I can get open. And for what my mind believes, my brain processes information accordingly and creates appropriate opportunities, and then the rest of my body follows.  One of my favorite quotes is by Henry Ford. He says “Whether you think we can or think you can’t, you are right”. I love it because it nicely sums up the power of the mind-brain-body relationship I have come to understand through personal experience and formal education.

Experience Matters

Let’s compare two similar players with the same quantifiable skills and dimensions.  One of the intangible differentiators is experience.  We’ve all seen those tall, fast kids who are always open at the wrong place or wrong time… or the squad of youngsters who can’t keep from throwing into the lazy old guys’ poaches.  We often chalk this up to a lack of experience.  Well, I’ve been working on a definition for this type of experience.  You can let me know what you think.

  1. Experience is knowing where to look
  2. Knowing what you’re looking for.
  3. Recognizing what you see.

Mastering the Art of Cutting in Ultimate

Cutting is the art of getting free from a defender at a time and in a position that enables the cutter to be thrown to.

There are a few fundamental points that a cutter should remember:

  • Firstly, a cutter should ‘know the thrower’.  This means knowing what the thrower likes to throw and what they are capable of throwing: it is no use being 10 metres free on the break force side if the thrower cannot complete an inside-out or hammer!
  • Secondly, a cutter should know what the thrower is expecting to throw (as determined by the team’s offensive structure)