Getting “The Break” – Part 3: How to Prevent Getting Broken

This is the third article in a series of posts looking at “The Break”. In Part 1 we covered the concept of “the break” point – scoring after your team has made the play to get a d-block or interception. In Part 2 we took a look at some tactics your team can use to get the break. Here in Part 3 we’re going to look at the flip side – what can you do to avoid getting broken?

This is going to be a short article because stopping the break when you’re on offense comes down to one thing:


Well, there’s a little more to it than that :), but when all is said and done, one of the most important factors in preventing the break is to have the mental attitude that the offense will always score. Here are a few more things you can focus on to help improve your chances of scoring.

Make Clean Dump Passes

No matter what kind offensive style you run, whether it’s a vertical, horizontal or other offense, every offense will have some method for resetting the disc to get a fresh stall count (i.e. a “dump”). What should be the easiest pass in Ultimate, though, is often the source of many turnovers – getting off a clean dump pass, and doing this consistently, is one way you can minimize turnovers and hence the break.

Now although we’re talking about a pass, the key really lies with the receiver and their positioning. As as receiver getting ready for the dump pass, you want to be in position when the thrower looks at you – and you need to be ready to make your cut once that look happens. Getting in proper position will not only put you in a position to help reset the stall count, but it will also give you an opportunity to take the pass into an open area that could be a new offensive threat (for example up-the-line or across the field on a swing).

Make Smart Decisions

This should go without saying, but all good offenses are about making smart decisions. This means taking the open pass, holding back if your receiver is covered, not forcing throws, throwing what you know etc.

All of that should go without saying. But another angle to this is that sometimes the smart decision is to make the risky play, to make the huck, or take the risky break-force throw.

Why? Quite simply if you match up pretty evenly with the other team, there is a good chance that their defense is going to be forcing you to make a lot of passes before you score. Every pass has a margin of error – even passes that should be 100% can lead to turnovers. The more passes you throw, the less likely you are to maintain that 100% completion rate.

Also, when you complete your riskier plays, you will be helping out yourselves by “opening up” the field. Suddenly after you’ve completed one big break-force throw or successfully completed a big huck down the field, the defense will be forced to adjust and through this adjustment, be opening up other possibilities for you on offense.

Be Ready to Play Defense

It would be great if your offense scored every single time it touched the disc. But realistically this isn’t going to happen so you would be best advised to be ready to play D.

Being ready to play defense means that when you are on the line waiting to receive the disc, you decide what kind of defense you’ll play in case you turn the disc over: “Force home on a turn”, or “Force away on a turn”, or “If we turn it over in their end, let’s throw on a 1-3-3 zone”. Whatever you decide to do, call it on the line so that you aren’t scrambling in the middle of the play.

Being ready to play defense also means that if / when you turn the disc over, everyone on offense must be ready to play defense right away – don’t worry about the turnover, don’t sulk, don’t mope or pout! Brush it off right away and switch your focus to getting the disc back! Sometimes all a team needs is that split second advantage to capitalize on a turnover.

Those are just a few tips, but don’t forget – if you only want one take-away, just remember: YOU MUST SCORE!

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