As you read in the previous post (From the Sideline: Vertical Stack), the sideline is not an ideal place to be when we’re in a vertical stack. The same goes for the horizontal stack. By moving the disc toward the sideline, we are forcing ourselves to make all of our cuts and throws just much smaller windows than we would have if the disc were more toward the middle. For this reason, we want to maintain a balanced field position as much as possible by keeping the disc close to the middle of the field.
Of course, we will often find ourselves on the sideline. When we are there, remember we can either be on the wide side or the trap side. In either scenario, we want to have an efficient, structured way to work it back toward the middle of the field and onward (as in a swing). For this post, we will focus on how we want our handlers to be positioned on the wide side and the trap side when we are running a horizontal stack. Future posts will touch on the cutting movements we can make from these positions, and variations of these cuts.
When the disc is on the wide side, and we don’t necessarily need our handlers to be our first look, though they can be. Since we have a wide-open look at the field, we can use our cutters to initiate movement, but we don’t need to and this post will only focus on the situations when we finally do look at handlers for initiating movement.
The first thing we want to consider when we are on the wide side is our throwing lane. The farther you are up field as our first off handler, the more you have to engage your defender to keep them from narrowing our cutting lane. To this end, you should be certain that you are either a.) even with the disc and engaging your defender so they are paying attention to you and not the disc, or b.) far enough behind the disc where it would be foolish for them to poach off into the lane to challenge the throw (Figure 1). Losing 5-yd back to get it 7-10yd off the sideline is a win in our minds if it means you keep your throwing lane open.
The second off handler (X’s in Figure 1) should be positioned closer to the first off than the first is to the disc. Additionally, the second off ready to move as soon as the first off starts moving so we have multiple options for resets in quick succession. They should be even with the disc, regardless of whether or not the first off is behind or even.
Positioning the handlers on the trap side is pretty straightforward. The spacing is similar: the first off wants to be closer to the second off than they are to the disc. In this case, the second off is still moving with the first off and responding to their moves; ready to be the backup in case the first off is covered. When the disc is on the trap side, the further you are away from it as an off handler, the further upfield you can be (Figure 2).
In the next post, we will go over how to make cuts for the handler on the sideline followed by another post where we will discuss how we cut from a slant. Once we have laid out these principles, we will have a few posts discussing variations of each of these philosophies and then we will move on to more cutter oriented posts.
Once again, let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!
New terms used in this post:
first off – the handler closest to the handler with the disc when it is on the sideline
engage – remaining active with the goal of keeping your defender’s focus on you and not the disc
second off – the handler farthest from the disc when it is on the sideline