Adjusting defensive positioning as the disc swings by Jimmy Mickle


Playing good defence isn't just a matter of staying on the open side. It means constant repositioning as the disc moves to create new angles of attack for the offence

Defending Cutters
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A thrower, A, is on the sideline marked by D1 who applies a force middle mark. Another handler, B, is positioned on the far sideline marked by D2 who also applies a force middle mark. A cutter, C, is positioned slightly upfield from B and guarded by D3. The area used in the drill can be marked as a box, no deeper than 18m, i.e. the same size as an endzone.


D1 > A > D2 > B > D3 > C

Step 1

Image of Adjusting defensive positioning as the disc swings
  • The focus of the drill is how D3 repositions as C moves around the field.
  • C will make cuts around the box, and D3 has to maintain position to prevent throws into the “danger area” which would leave C in power position or able to make simple continuation throws to the break side (i.e. to the same sideline where the disc came from).
  • The thrower looks downfield, throws some pump fakes, then returns the disc. The throwers don’t actually throw the disc downfield. After 5-7 seconds, A will throw the disc to B; note that D1 and D2 are not to play defence and must allow this swing to happen. Every 5-7 seconds whichever thrower has the disc, turns and throws to the other one; both D1 and D2 should make “up” calls whenever this happens.
  • Be sure to read Orbiting Defence for detail

Pre-Requisite Drills:



  • Jimmy Mickle says:

    The defender should focus on rotating hips to have butt facing dangerous area; i.e. positioned between C and the danger area while facing C

    C should be sure to keep swivelling their head to see both cutter and thrower, follow where the disc is.

    Listen for up calls and readjust position as disc moves.

    Think about what thrower wants, think about what throws are tough to make. Defense isn’t all about getting blocks

    The biggest takeaway is that defensive positioning should change relative to where the disc is!

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