How do you gauge how far you should space yourself from your man?
Here’s a few factors you should take into account.
- The relative threat of your player, as dictated by his/her spot on the field–is she way on the far sideline in a horizontal stack, when the disc is on the other line? Did he just finish cutting deep, and is so far that any throw made would leave you with time to catch up and make a play? Is he out in the lane, ready to be the primary cutter as soon as the disc is tapped in?
- The speed/skill of your mark. Is he faster than you? Can she beat you in an open sprint? Can you make up a cushion of two steps if he runs straight away from you?
- The role of your opponent. Does she mostly handle, hanging out around the disc? Is cutting deep the only thing he wants to do? Know what to expect when you position.
- Size disparity. Even if you have the ups to sky your opponent, if they LOOK like a good target deep, you’re not going to want to give the thrower any extra encouragement with a cushion there.
- The opponent’s strengths. Can she throw? If not, is the under really your first priority to defend? (hint: sometimes it still is. When?)
- How he/she reacts. Can he juke with the best of them, but struggles to find a rhythm when you take a couple steps out into the lane? Do they always run away from your cushion, or do they try to blow past you anyway?
- Your comfort/energy. Do you like to get physical? Are you too tired to respond to all of your opponent’s motions up close? Do you prefer to chase the frisbee down, and can you do so if you opponent has a lead of a step or more on you?
Play some thought games with yourself, really see yourself in a variety of situations–both static (off a dead disc) and dynamic (as the disc is dumped and swung, or as it flows up the open side, as it goes from a handler to a cutter who can’t huck). What about weather? What sorts of information are the most essential to know/deduce when determining your defensive positioning?