19 July 2009

The fourth quadrant

As a player on the field, you have two modes you can be in: playing defence or playing offence.

And you can be involved with the throwing of the disc or the catching of the disc.

So put simply, there are four quadrants for the on-field roles: thrower and cutter (on offence), and their defensive counterparts, marker and guarder.

It can be worthwhile to evaluate which of these are your strengths, and which you have to work on.

Obviously the thrower role is critical for every player - a team with mostly poor throwers is not a strong team.

I think that the skills of a guarder are under-evaluated. Many folks I know have a very simple approach to guarding: "stay open-side, chase my cutter, get a block if can". There isn't much adapting to circumstance, and while you won't go too wrong, that isn't enough at the elite level. The corresponding skills for throwing, cutting and marking are far longer lists in the conscious and subconscious minds of many players.

There are many small goals and skills for a guarder:
  • Unnerve the cutter with my positioning
  • Talk to teammates
  • Steer the cutter back to the other defenders in the stack
  • Choose when to look over at the thrower and their stance
  • Bait the huck
  • Take a charge
  • Look to switch with a mismatched teammate
Mackey covers some more of this.


  1. Can you elaborate on what you mean by 'take a charge' and why you'd want to do it

  2. Taking a charge... say you are guarding a player and they run towards you (stationary), expecting you to move sideways and then run along beside them. If you just stand still, they sometimes run into you. Now I'm all for avoiding contact when playing ultimate, but if they initiate the contact and it stuffs up their cut, I'm happy to do this. My mistake at Nationals was doing this twice on Denyer, a larger man than I..