Effective Marking by Ben Weddell and Brummie

Marking is the cornerstone of good defence; it is where the most pressure is applied and therefore has the biggest impact on your defensive effort. Knowing how to move effectively is vital if you want to generate a turnover.

What does a good mark look like?

  • Athletic stance
  • Upright upper body position
  • ‘Loading’ legs and glutes
  • Small steps
  • Active arm movement

what do we want our mark to achieve?

  • Limit the offence to the spaces we want them to throw into
  • Force the thrower to make multiple pivots
  • Be adaptable enough to allow us to employ various defensive strategies

Effective marking involves maintaining an athletic position as shown in Fig. 1: bent at knees and hips, straight upright back, with weight on the balls of feet.


Fig. 1: Athletic position, with the marker bent at knees and hips and with a straight back

It is also important to be able to get your hands down to the ground. Great throwers release the disc very low to the ground, so being able to get down to touch the ground is important. However, the marker should be able to do this without bending their back as this can make it slower for the marker to stand up again, and it will also tire the marker out. Therefore, the most efficient position is to adopt a sideways lunge as seen in Fig. 2. If attempting to block a throw to the right hand side, then turn the right foot outwards, bend the knee to 90 degrees and keep the back straight. During movement, push off the far foot rather than trying to shift the one that is the primary weight-bearing foot, which would be too slow. For instance, if you’re shifted to the right with your weight over your right leg, and you want to move further right, push off your left leg.


Fig. 2: Marker in a sideways lunge; note how knees are not forwards of toes, bent at 90 degrees, and back is still straight with the weight over the leg in a position where the marker can easily get back up

In order to move effectively on the mark, the marker must be able to cover sufficient ground while able to move quickly. The most effective way is to take small shuffle steps, aiming to keep your centre of gravity between your feet and keeping your feet fairly close together. Adopting a wide stance on the mark might help you to be bigger on the mark, but it also means you will be slower to react than if you had your feet closer together.

An excellent example of perfect movement on the mark from Catherine Hui; note how she takes a small shuffle step as the thrower pivots, then she takes an additional lunge to get the block.

Here’s a great slow mo that shows the footwork involved in the shuffle & lunge; notice how the mark pushes off from the left foot to move her legs into position, then lunges, putting her weight over her right leg, keeping her knee over her foot (which makes it quicker to stand again).

For details on how to implement effective marking into your defensive strategy, see Person Defence – Marking Strategies.


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