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looping in shoosh and nick who are goin to be coming tonight to lead practice.  thanks for everyone's help volunteering to make things run smoothly this week (and beyond!).  I think tonight would be a good night to introduce ho stack offense (and defense) to the rookies.  I will let shoosh and nick do what they want to do, but here are some general concepts and drills that can be incorporated:

start with intern steves, which we did for the first time on practice on thursnight.  most guys should be familiar, but go very slowly explaining the purpose of each cut, what game situation we are simulating, what angle and distance we want on the ideal throw, the correct trajectory for the cut to be made etc.  should have enough for two lines and alternate back and forth to work on throws on both side.  strike cuts. around throws (switch the waiting lines "upfield" to leave space for backfield throws). 20 yard in cuts. deep cuts.

bring it in and talk about ho stack.  explain key principles.  pistons.  cutters working together in pairs.  one in, one out.  clear to the sides when you are tired.  want to attack the middle of the field.  keep the disc off the sidelines.  leave middle open for cutting and don't clog.  when handler goes strike, opposite side cutter busts deep because he has the entire field to float it out into space in front of him.  timing of cuts is imperative to successful ho stack.  when you see your teammate bust under, you go full speed deep, time it so that as he catches it, you have planted to come under for a big gain and easy throw.  teaching rookies to understand the force is important here - you need to know which side is the open side and know your thrower and primarily cut open side for easy continues. the more flow we get without having to constantly reset it to the handlers, the better.

talk briefly about defense on downfield defenders.

explain handler sets and weaving the disc to keep it moving and keep the defense from getting into good position.  every time the disc moves they have to take away a new angle downfield, which makes it easier for our cutters to get open.  makes it easy to transition into end zone (ISO) offense with three handlers already back. get used to call the three handlers and the ISO on every line before the pull goes up (O and D points).  try to run only ho stack at practice and see how it goes, so we get lots of reps in scrimmages.

talk to rookies between points to explain the finer things and give them tips.

a drill: handler in the middle with the disc, 1 on 1 matchup in the middle of the field.  cone setup 10 yards behind cutter/defender.  two boxes setup on "open side" and "break side" even with where the cutter/defender start.  cutter runs full speed to the deep cone and then cuts to one of the two boxes and has to catch the disc in the box. cutters work on setting up their cuts well, and using their body to get position on the defender and beat him to the box. handler throws out to space to full speed cut (should be vets only throwing).  defender works on dictating, body position, and denying the man where he wants to go.  also wants to get on the inside of the cutter, so he has the potential to get a layout D.  notes from Ryan on these two basic skills -


In ultimate, the offense always has the advantage. A lot of people like to say that cutting is like a race where the offense gets to choose the starting line, when the race starts, and the finish line. There are three dangerous areas of the field in ultimate - the open side, the break side, and the deep space. In combination, a downfield defender and the player marking the thrower can take away at most two of those areas. As a cutter, we always want to make sure that we are in a position where we can legitimately attack two of these areas.

If we are only threatening one area, the downfield defender can recognize this and easily shut it down. But if we are set up in a position to attack both the open side and the deep space, the defender needs to make a choice, because anyone who tries to take away everything usually ends up taking away nothing. If we cut hard to the deep space and our defender turns his hips and runs with us, we can "start the race" to the open side by quickly planting and changing direction as our defender runs by. If our defender doesn't go with us deep, then because we started in a good position, we should be open deep and our thrower can huck it to us.

Keys to cutting:

1. Spacing - at first we will just use this to mean setting up in a position where you threaten two areas of the field. But soon we'll use it to describe the positioning of every cutter on the field, not just the active cutter(s), and spacing is especially important when you are NOT an active cutter.

2. Timing - most open cuts are not thrown to because they are timed wrong. Ideally, you want to be open in one direction when the thrower turns upfield after catching the disc. If you cut too early, you will be too close or too far from the thrower when he turns around, and if you cut too late he will have to wait for you to make your whole cut and probably just throw to the dump.

3. Getting your defender to turn his hips - sprint hard in one direction. If your defender turns his hips to sprint with you, plant and change direction. Now you're open! Don't jog around and try to juke out your defender. Good defenders will not bite.

Downfield Defense

Effective downfield defense is 50% athleticism, and 50% positioning. We will work on both athleticism and positioning over the course of the season, but let's start with positioning because it's easier to see rapid improvement from small changes. But rest assured, we will definitely work on improving athleticism as well. Effective positioning is all about A) recognizing the dangerous spaces on the field, B) dictating to the cutter where he should go, not letting him cut where HE wants to cut, and C) beating him to that space once the throw goes up.

Keys to effective body positioning:

1. Buffer (or Body) - where you stand in relation to your cutter. This will obviously change based on two things: where on the field the disc is, and where your cutter has positioned himself. This is how you dictate.

2. Low - physically stay low to the ground. This makes quick changes of direction much easier and allows you to continue to dictate after the initial cut, instead of chasing your cutter. We are not in the business of chasing cutters, we are forcing them to cut in a certain direction.

3. Vision - it is very important to keep vision of your cutter at all times. If you turn your back to your cutters, you will get burned in some direction. Usually you won't know which until it's way too late. But Vision also means being aware of the disc. If you can, triangulate so you can see the cutter and the disc. But if your cutter is in motion, you need to be aware of when the disc moves to another thrower, because that means that your buffer and position will almost certainly need to be adjusted.

do work tonight,
coach mallow