Archive for the ‘Offense’ Category

4-1-2 German Offense

We’ve covered the fabled “German Offense” before in a previous post, but here’s another excellent look at the setup and flow courtesy a play submitted to Playspedia by nathan.

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Zone Offense: Two Handler Set

The majority of offense strategy in Ultimate places 3 handlers back with the disc, and then typically 4 cutters down field, sometimes split into pairs of two. Traditional zone offense often keeps the 3 handlers back, but then spreads the down field players into 3 mids or “poppers”, and 1 deep. An alternative to this approach, is to play with a 2 handler offensive set. Here’s an overview of how this works.

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Sideline Swing – Stuck on the sideline?

One of the most common pitfalls for teams is getting stuck on the sideline. It doesn’t take much for a good defensive team to pin an offensive player on the sideline and start the panic mode. We’ve all been there, you’re a handler who’s received a swing pass, or a lane cutter getting a pass near the side line. The wind is blowing hard against you, it’s freezing cold, and the defensive mark is almost forcing straight up.

In these times, you need to remember you have 10 stall counts, probably 9 by the time you think about it. The important thing is not to panic… if you’re not an experienced handler or don’t have an immediate up the line pass, square up with your handlers and stay committed to them instead of facing up field.

The illustration below shows how two handlers can cut off each other to provide an easy dump swing pass to create break side flow. Watch the play below and keep reading after for some notes.

This play works well because the handler dump cuts are reversed and less expected. Typically, the defensive player 2 will try to stop the up line pass and so has to follow player 2 up the line. This creates a quick opportunity for offensive player 3 to make a dump cut when the defensive player 3 is not in the best position. The key part is this cut, if the offensive player waits too long their defense will adjust and make this cut much harder. The handler (1) might have a hard time making what looks like a simple dump pass. So to help, the handler (1) should fake the throw to (2) so the mark bites on the pass. Once (3) receives the disc, (2) can reverse across the field for a break side pass. This should open up a decent gainer up field.

Zone O against a 1-3-3

One of the biggest struggles for beginner to intermediate teams is playing zone offense. For some reason a combination of change of pace, more throws, and open space can pose a lot of problems. On the other hand, for experienced teams, Zone O can be a easier than standard 1-1 when conditions are not too windy. In reality, it can be really simple to play effective Zone O for any skill level. The passes are usually shorter and easier to catch, but they require all the teammates to be involved. Whether that’s making space, swinging the disc, or crashing the cup, every player plays a role. Too often teams rely solely on handlers to dump and swing then huck. When in reality, it should be dump swing, pass to crashing wing, wing passes to another wing and so on. In particular with 1-3-3, the wings play a very important role as there is a lot of open space to work with.

The play below from illustrates how one crash of the cup can lead to some good flow up field.

Vertical Offense – first featured play from

I thought it would be suiting that the first features play be the most basic offensive play in Ultimate Frisbee, the vertical stack. Check this out and see what you think, I want to hear what you guys need in these animations. Now that this is not using Flash, you’ll be glad to hear you can view this on your iPad or iPhone. It’s not optimized for the iPhone yet, but expect this in future releases.

German Offense – In the endzone

While vertical and horizontal offense are the primary styles of strategies teams have adopted, there is still the “mythical” German offense that you hear about.  It was a lot more common to hear people talk about German offense a few years ago but we thought it would be interesting to post an article about how your team could use this strategy to confuse opponents. That being said, this article is just our interpretation of what German offense can look like.

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Horizontal – Break Force Funnel

The Break Force Funnel is a simple horizontal play that is initiated by a handler on the open side making a break force cut.   This play can be effective for teams that have strong throwing abilities as it requires each player throwing a potential break force throw.  The main focuses of this play are the initial break force cut by the handler, the flooding out of the lane cutters, and quick passes.

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Tips for Improving Your Huck

We’ve had a few questions lingering in the UltimateHandbook Discussion Forum that have turned into a great topic to write about here in the main blog. You can check out the original thread here: a Hucking Question. The two main questions that emerged were:

  1. What are the most common mistakes when people huck?
  2. Any technical tips to help improve my hucks?

jake60 offered up a checklist of how he approaches backhand hucks, thinking of the ankle, knee, waist/hips, shoulder, elbow and wrist. This is a similar approach I’ve taken when trying to teach new players how to throw any throw, and it’s also helpful to break down your own throwing as you get more advanced. So to help everyone out, here are a few tips for hucking the disc.

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Offence – Horizontal Flood Out

This play, the  Horizontal Flood Out, demonstrates how easy it is to create space on the field if players work together.  This play is very accessible to all skill levels but it should be used in rotation as the defence can catch on to this one quite easily.

The general idea behind the horizontal flood out is to have one pair of lane cutters cut deep (6 and 7).  In this play, the lane cutters on the open side are cutting deep.  When the two lane cutters are half way down their cut the inside cutter (5) from the other pair should cut to the open side.  With the amount of open space available, the inside cutter (5)  should be able to get open even with a defender marking this side.   Once this lane cutter receives the disc, the other inside cutter (6) that struck deep should reverse cut back in.  This reverse cut should be easy if the defender is covering the deep throw.   Following the 2nd inner lane cutter receiving the disc, the opposite lane cutter (4) cuts up field right away to receive a break force throw.  Although this is a break force throw, lane cutter (6) should could have a second or two when the defending mark is not there.   The last step involves lane cutter (7) striking to the endzone on the breakside.
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Offence – L Stack Isolation Part 2

Following the first article on the L Stack this article looks at the flow of this offence in more detail.  As stated before, the L stack is a flowing offence that is best suited for advanced teams where any player can be a lane cutter or handler.  That being said, it doesn’t mean that every player needs to be equally good at lane cutting or handling, but the gist of it is that if you watch any top level team you’ll notice every player can huck, break the force, cut, dump and get open.

The L Stack can form the long “l” on any side of the force, the demonstration below shows the stack forming on the open side.   By forming on the open side, the handler must make a break force throw to the first lane cutter who should have a lot of room to cut.   From the first break it will be very hard for the defence to adjust, unless they are already practicing a high degree of poaching.  The animation below shows the perfect scenario where the first break, leads to an easy second break pass up the field.  Following this, the stack adjusts back into the L formation still leaving the defence in no position to cover an end zone goal.  These passes must be run at a very fast pace such that the defenders are scrambling to reorganize and keep the force away.
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