Shutting down the cutter in the open lane by Alex Benedict


A pattern to get defenders accustomed to ‘pushing’/’dictating’ the open lane cutter in the open/under side. It is all about hip movement and fighting to get that first dictating step in the change of direction.

DefenceDefending Cutters
Steps & Diagrams
Tips & What next?

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Outline a triangle pattern about 10 yards away from the thrower, A, who is marked by a defender, D1. The point of the triangle will be the furthest away from the thrower. Distance between cones in the triangle = 10 yards. A cutter, B, starts at cone A with a defender, D2, set-up protecting the open-under side.


D1 > A > D2 > B

Step 1

Image of Shutting down the cutter in the open lane
  • A starts with the disc, facing the base of the triangle, with an honest mark, D1. The triangle patterns should be set-up on the open-side of the thrower.
  • A cutter starts at Cone A with a defender set-up protecting the open-under side. The thrower checks the disc in and the cutter and defender run the pattern: Cone A>B>C>A. This simulates a cut deep from the break side, an open under cut, and a slant/clear.


  • says:

    Moving as a defender can take time to get used to. Start at 50% - with the cutter setting the pace - then progress to 70%, then 100%.

    Lane defender D2 should be in an athletic stance, on their toes, taking away the open under with their body positioning, and thus “pushing” the cutter toward the breakside (away from the open/under).

    Mark should call up (loud!) when the disc is thrown, and teammates watching should echo the ‘up call’ and call ‘Left!’ or ‘Right’ to help the defender (as it’s a D focused drill).

    Remember good lane defence is not about getting the block or a layout D, it’s about dictating and narrowing the open space that cutters want to attack.

    When you make the cutter take unfavourable angles and change directions multiple times, you are playing great defence, and forcing the thrower to look for a reset rather than a throw that gains yards.

  • Brummie says:

    Imagine a triangle between your left hip, right hip, and the cutter you're guarding. Aim to always keep the cutter within this triangle. What you *don't* want to do is to allow your cutter to turn your hips so that they are behind you, as that makes playing defence incredibly difficult.

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