The force (the person marking the thrower) has the most influential role on the defence. Because they are standing very close to the thrower, they can make throws into the space behind them more difficult.
Directional Forcing is a simple tactic.
The force positions themselves to make throws into a specific area of the field more difficult. This allows the other defenders to focus on protecting the other areas of the field.
In the example above the force is protecting the space shaded blue and the other defenders are protecting the space shaded green. We call the blue space the ‘break side’ and the green space ‘open side’.
Breaking the Force
It is very important to practice throws into the space behind the force (called break throws).
These throws are more difficult but with practice become easier. The keys to completing break throws are learning to pivot and throw quickly and learning to throw from different heights and from far away from your body.
A thrower that does not throw (or at least pivot and fake) into the break side can only move the disc through the open side. This means the defenders only have to worry about a small portion of the field, making it really easy to play defence.
In fact elite club teams see the break side as the weakest area of a defence because it is space that 6/7 of the defenders are not prioritising.
This clip shows Revolver moving the disc through the break side –
And this clip shows Japan moving the disc through the break side –
The reset is an almost universally used offensive tactic.
We only have 10 seconds to complete a pass. Ideally we want to complete a pass downfield so that we advance the disc towards the endzone, but often the defenders play good defence and so none of our cutters are able to give such an option.
In these cases, we want to be able to complete a low difficulty pass. This ‘resets’ the stall count and so gives us another 10 seconds to complete a pass.
We want to position a receiver such that they can easily create separation for a low difficulty pass.
As a result we want to position this receiver close (~10metres) to the thrower. This is because:
a) The closer the receiver, the shorter the pass, the easier the pass.
b) We like to create space near the disc, so the receiver will have lots of space to cut into. This is called ‘isolating’ a receiver and is very important for effective offence in general.
c) The shorter the throw, the less separation the receiver needs from their defender. This is because short throws do not give the defender enough time to react and dive to intercept the pass.
Timing The Reset:
Timing is a very underrated component of a successful offence. With the reset, if the receiver makes a reset cut before the thrower looks at them, it will take time for the throw to pivot and release the disc.
In this time, 3 mini-disasters could occur. The pass might have to be longer and more difficult. The receiver can run out of space to move into. The defender can catch up with the receiver and intercept the disc.
In other words, when the reset receiver starts cutting before the thrower looks at them, we undo the three positional advantages (a,b,c above) gained above.
It is also very important that when the thrower looks at the reset receiver, they pivot in the persons direction are ready to throw the disc immediately.
If the receiver is already open without moving, throw it to them! Otherwise you are now in a position to release the disc as soon as they gain separation from their defender.
The thrower looks at his reset who cuts upfield and at a 45 degree angle to the sideline (this is called an upline cut) for the pass.
The thrower pivots towards and looks at his reset who cuts back towards his own endzone for a short pass.
Note how quickly the thrower releases the disc once the reset receiver starts moving.
The thrower looks at his reset. The reset receiver is available for an easy pass without moving so the thrower completes a pass immediately.
Note how the reset is standing behind the thrower, so the thrower rotates around so that his hips are now facing the direction the direction he intends to throw.
The thrower looks at the reset receiver. The reset receiver makes some short ‘jinky’ movements to knock the defender off balance and then cuts downfield. The thrower is already in a backhand pivot and so can release the disc very quickly.
Fundamentally – a reset – someone who stands close to the thrower, thrower looks at them, they get open, thrower completes a pass.
However there is more to it. Particularly how and where should they cut to maximise their chance of getting open and what is the Plan B if they don’t get open?
I’ll talk about those key questions in next weeks recap.