Home Positions: Cutting Options

Remember from part one (Home Positions: Introduction) that we place our handlers in specific, balanced, positions so we have more than one cutting option at any given time. If you haven’t part one yet, please stop now and do so before you move on. These positions also attempt to keep our throwing lanes open and reduce the amount of poaches that we may encounter, or if we do see a poach, they give us clear choices on how to exploit that poach (in most cases). This post will not be an exhaustive list of the options that will be available to us in any given case. Instead, our goal is to give you a simple framework within which to work moving forward.

First, a few of the symbols we will use for describing cuts, throws, and players on the field. You have seen many of these in part one so far, but it is important we are on the same page moving forward.


There may be a number of cut options for a given scenario, and for each cut option there will most likely be at least one throw option. Therefore, until a cut is actually to be made, these options will be the dashed lines.

Vertical Stack

Remember that a vertical stack we are organized in such a way to leave wide throwing lanes for our handlers and to also leave cutting lanes on the open side and the break side for our cutter to work. When we are in our home positions, with one handler at a 45° angle behind the disc on the open side and the other handler as our anchor at the front of the vertical stack, we have four total throwing options for our reset, but three different cuts (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Cuts and throwing options from the home positions in the vertical stack. The diagram on the right shows the basic set-up of a vertical stack. Box (a) and (b) are zoomed in from the dotted box on the left. (a) cuts for the open side reset. (b) cuts for the anchor reset.

In a vertical stack the open side handler has two cutting options: either cutting for a ‘hardest throw‘ or making the ‘green cut‘. The anchor handler (front of the stack), however, is cut off from the open side by their defender, so they basically have one cutting option: toward the break side. In this case, the handler has two different throwing windows in which to hit that cut: inside or around. Since we place the stack slightly on the force side, the inside-out throwing window is our first option, and as the cut progresses more towards the break side, the around throw is the next option.

Horizontal Stack

Remember in a horizontal stack we are organized to leave space in front of and behind the stack with which to develop our cuts. This leaves us a lot of space in front of the disc for our handlers to get effectively get a reset

Figure 2. Cutting options from the home positions in a horizontal stack. The diagram at the top shows the basic set-up of the horizontal stack. Box (a) and (b) are zoomed in from the dotted box above. (a) cuts from the open side reset. (b) cuts from the break side reset.

In a horizontal stack each handler reset option has two choices on cuts they can make when they are ready to move. The open side handler has the same options as in the vertical stack: either straight up field for a ‘hardest’ throw or straight across the field for a dump (green cut). The break-side handler makes their cuts at a 45° angle relative to the sideline for either a strike (upfield) or a dump (backfield). In this diagram, the spacing is slightly collapsed, as in the cuts are drawn too close, but the relative angles are the most important part. For a dump cut from the break side handler, they want to be sure to cut back toward the direction from which they came to both make the throw into space a bit easier and to maintain momentum on the catch for the next throw.

Thanks for reading – If you have any questions please put them in the comments below!

New terms used in this post:

backfield – the space behind the disc relative to the endzone we are attacking
cutting lane – the space on either side of the vertical stack left clear for cuts to develop
hardest throw – an inside out throw to the force side (most often used when being forced forehand)
green cut – an easy dump that comes straight across behind the mark
poach – when one defender is guarding a space or a lane rather than playing strict person-to-person defense
upfield – the space between the disc and the endzone we are attacking

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