19 August 2008


Sure, you can improve as a player by getting faster, throwing further and jumping higher. But if you have a capacity to learn, working on simple unnoticed skills can make a difference too. Like footwork.

I can think of 6 instances where good footwork can give you an advantage.

When catching a pass on an in-cut, twist in the air so as to land ready to throw upfield. Basically you are performing a 180 degree turn as you catch. Only use this when you know the defender cannot bid on the catch, and when you are catching at less than 50% of top speed.

When popping, step in past a cup or wall from the blind spot of a defender, to receive a short pass from the thrower.

When catching a simple dump or swing pass against an approaching zone cup, jump a little to catch the disc, and stick your pivot foot out as you land. The defence will come up to mark where your torso is, but you can step back wider than they predicted, because your pivot foot is already stuck out.

When you want to keep a catch in-bounds, toe-drag. Practice. And watch Rueben.

When guarding a cutter, slide step, rather than turning to move forward or back. Avoid turning your hips and shoulders until you really have to.

When cutting, decelerate in a straight line, turn, and accelerate out in exactly the opposite direction, retracing your last 4 steps. There are still Worlds reps out there who don't use this simple vertical cutting skill in a game.


  1. You're advocating the spin catch? Really?
    A)that's not footwork, so much as body control as you spin after you leave the ground and your footwork shouldn't be any different on take-off and B)why not just plant and pivot, using your momentum to get off a bigger throw? If you're running less than 50% and the defender isn't close, do you really need to do the spin catch to get off an open throw?

    And the 3rd suggestion is a travel unless your first point of ground contact is your pivot. Otherwise you're changing directions by putting your pivot out to the side.

    I agree, when cutting, the first person to break their hips gets beat.

    The most glaring omission: when you cut for a dump, if you can position your feet so that your pivot lands first, you can immediately pivot to throw the swing rather than adding in a shuffle step to get set up. This will help you get the swing pass off much faster. The best dumps even start to picot as they're catching the disc to reduce the time even more.

    When cutting and changing direction near a defender: step at the D's inside shoulder with your outside (plant) foot, rather than straight at them or with your inside foot. On your next step, you will have already sealed the defender with your body. So if you were going to make an in cut on the flick side, run at the defender, plant your left foot near their left shoulder and push off hard back towards the disc. Step towards the disc with your right foot and when you step with your left foot again, the defender is sealed off.

  2. _dusty_, you've definitely thought about this stuff.

    With the spin catch, there is footwork in the takeoff and landing. Maybe it doesn't fully fit in the footwork category, but near enough for me.

    You may not need it, but the spin catch will give you an extra second of vision of the field, and let you throw earlier, so I think that's worth taking.

    For the 3rd suggestion, I am suggesting landing on both feet at the same time, which prevents it being a travel.

    I like your suggestion for dumps. I am always impressed with dumps who catch, land and release in very little time.

    I am having trouble visualising that last cut, so I might go draw a diagram...