This week, we’re talking about person defence. In our drills and scrimmages, we’re focusing on one thing when it comes to person defence: shutting down the unders.
You may be familiar with the term ‘unders’ but if not, an under refers to a cut towards the thrower rather than a deep strike which is a cut away from the thrower. Unders don’t typically gain big yards but these high percentage passes can have your opponents moving up the field quickly, and the next thing you know they’ll be on the endzone line looking for the score. Instead of letting our opponents get these easy passes, we want to force them to throw it deep or break the mark. By taking away the unders, we’re forcing the opposing team to make more difficult throws, which increases our odds of taking the disc.
But how do we shut down unders? By staying square to your receiver, staying in an athletic stance, and staying in the most dangerous lane at all times. By keeping your hips square to your receiver, you can react quickly to their changes in direction and if you’re in an athletic stance (hips low, knees bent, weight forward), you can accelerate after they cut and stay close to them to put pressure on any pass that may go up to them. To stay in the most dangerous lane, we need to constantly re-evaluate where the disc is in respect to our receiver and put our body in that space. As the disc moves across the field, the most dangerous cut will change. It’s the defender’s job to identify where the most dangerous cut is and put their body in the way to stop that cut. This takes a lot of field awareness and will result in continuous adjustments to maintain a good defensive position.
Think about these things as you play Ultimate this week. Do you keep your hips square to your receiver when you play defence? Are you constantly thinking about where the disc is in relation to your receiver and what the most dangerous cut is? What about your footwork on defence: when your receiver quickly changes directions, can you keep up?
Here are some links you can check out for some more information.
This video features some great insight from Alex Davis on how to play aggressive person defence.
And this article from UltiWorld does a fantastic job of talking about some key person defence principles by using 42 seconds of a game as an example. We also like this article because it talks about some more advanced ideas when it comes to person defence like orbiting, shouldering checking, and buffering.
Both of these links will hopefully give you some new things to think about when it comes to playing great Person Defence.