So I was reading various posts about getting open on a defender. It seems that with a good read on your defender and a good fake to get them going in one direction, you can always get open. It makes sense, but I've run into many situations where faking one way (i.e. deep or break) isn't bought cause the defender knows that isn't a viable option. Basically, they know that the only way to go is for an in-cut. My question is how do you get open on an in cut when they're positioned to defend that cut (and do it without ending right on top of the thrower)?
First, Crystal – Good to hear from you. Hope all is well and good luck with the upcoming move. As usual, I’ve pretty much stolen my theory from someone else, so I’ll point you in the direction of the source material. In 1999, Parinella wrote an article that addresses the basic rules of offense. His book contains an updated version of his theory.
Parinella’s first two basic principles of offense are:
1. Take what they give you
2. If you really want something they're not giving you, try to fake them into giving it to you.
According to the principle of taking what they give you, if you’re being fronted (as you describe in your question) you should look to attack the away cutting space. It sounds like what’s making your situation difficult is that you’re only threatening one space. In a previous post, I talk about finding a “sweet spot” where you can viably threaten two cutting spaces. If you’re not viably threatening the deep space, presumably it’s because you’re too far away from the thrower. My suggestion, in this situation, would be to take a few steps toward the disc while you're moving into the cutting lane and then cut hard back towards the disc. When your defender turns her hips to commit to the in-cut, turn and take her to the house. I like to think about the set-up for a cut as opening up a window for the thrower to put the disc in. By running back to the frisbee you’re effectively opening up the throwing window behind you. At the beginning of your scenario you may have been 30 yards away from the disc, meaning your thrower was going to have to throw the bejesus out of it if you were going to be open on the deep one. Now after your hard run back towards the disc you may only be 12-15 yards away from the thrower when you turn and head for the house. This makes the throw much easier.
Parinella’s second basic principle of offense is “if you really want something they’re not giving you, try to fake them into giving it to you." In the scenario you describe where the defender is just absolutely determined to stop the underneath cut you’re probably better off not trying to overpower them to get the disc. Generally, I’d rather set myself to catch a big swing and punish them for over committing to the open side in-cut. However, if you’re just absolutely set on getting the disc on the in-cut I like to use the z-cut in this situation. The idea behind the z-cut is to mimic the standard v cut and take advantage of the defender when they cover the cut like the standard v cut. In most cases, when a defender is camping out underneath you, she expects you to make a few steps towards her and then turn and run in the opposite direction. With the z cut you want to take 5 or 6 lazy jog steps toward your defender then turn and go as hard as you can for 2-5 steps in the opposite direction before stopping and sprinting back towards the disc. Hopefully, you can be stopping to come back to the disc while she is still accelerating to run with the deep cut.
The final thing here is sometimes you’re just not in the best position to make the next cut. If you feel like you’re in a position where getting the disc is going to be exceedingly difficult, actively get out of the way of teammates who are in better position to make the next cut.