Zones by Brummie

This is one of our "Defence" lessons

Zones are a way to block space, rather than preventing any single player from getting the disc. There are many different types of zone.

Zones provide a way to restrict field space, reduce the chances of an athletic mismatch, and allow you to keep your best deep defenders in a spot where they can help. Typically, they use a formation of defenders to systematically narrow or deny throwing lanes, placing lots of defenders near the disc to make shorter throws – which are normally easier – more difficult, and also try to force teams into taking on more difficult throws than they would like to. Zones often deliberately put defenders in position to be able to prey on these kinds of deep throws, such as hammers over the top or long throws.

A cup zone in action

Basic concepts

  • Dedicated deep cover; your best deep defender (i.e. speed, height, hops) should be charged with defending the deep space. This helps to even up athletic mismatches as you only need one strong athlete to compete on any deep shots. Against a team that loves to huck, this can result in them playing entirely through “Plan B”, which should be viewed as a quick win.
  • Overload defence near the disc; putting lots of defenders near the disc severely restricts throwing lanes and helps to reduce the number (and size) of any big yardage-gaining throws
  • “Wing” defenders who are responsible for funnelling the disc back into the middle of the field (i.e. where it will be surrounded by defenders)
  • Seek to reduce effort required from the D line, and/or reduce athletic advantage of opponent
  • Force opponent to play at a pace of your choosing

Typical formations

Around the disc

Some commonly seen defensive formations around the disc include:

Fig. 1: Cup: defenders surround the disc to limit throwing options sideways

Fig. 2: Arrowhead: defenders prioritise blocking throwing lanes

Downfield Defenders

Some commonly seen defensive formations downfield include:

Box defence formation

Fig. 3: Two defenders cover the space towards the attacking endzone, while two others cover the centre of the field

Triangle defence formation

Fig. 4: One deep defender and two central defenders

Diamond defence formation

Fig. 5: One central defender, two wings, and one deep defender

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