Defence Stopping the up line cut by Mish Phillips

Many offences like to reset by throwing the disc up the line to generate power position; here, we discuss principles to protect against this threat

We are looking at two key defensive principles by way of a specific area of handler defence – how to stop the ‘up the line’ cut. This is beneficial to anyone, as most people don’t actually stop the ‘up the line’ cut even if they position to do so.

Principle 1: If your player is moving, you must be moving

How most defenders position upfield to stop this cut, but then still allow their offender to run straight past them. This is a breach of the first defensive principle – if your player is moving, you must be moving. You have lost this defensive matchup at the moment the offender draws level with you, because they have momentum and you do not, and the throw can be completed anyway; see Fig 1.

Fig. 1: Don’t allow a handler to run past you

Principle 2: Know your priorities

Many defenders position slightly upfield to stop the up the line cut, but so close to their player that the offender can use speed or footwork to burn past them. This is a breach of the second defensive principle – know your priorities. If as a team you have decided that the up the line handler cut is the most dangerous cut, then as an individual you must commit absolutely to shutting it down. If you are slower or less experienced than your offender, this may mean buffering a long way up into the up the line space. So be it. We are trusting the mark to do their job, and our team is trusting us to do ours.

Some defenders position upfield to stop this cut, but then try to stop all options for the offender, with the end result being that the up the line cut gets let out. This is another breach of the second defensive principle – know your priorities. If as a team you have decided that the up the line handler cut is the most dangerous cut, then as an individual you must commit absolutely to shutting it down. If you are trying to stop two options, you will stop neither. Be immune to their fakes. Know your job, do it properly, and let go of the rest.

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