Vertical offense

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[edit] Basics

This type of offense is commonly referred to as a "stack", as players line up relatively close to each other in a line down the field, typically parallel to the sidelines. The purpose of using a vertical offense is to give the offensive team wide lanes on either side of the stack.

Vertical Offense (aka 'vertical stack', the 'stack') typically consists of two handlers at the back and five lane cutters in a vertical line usually located off the sideline of the field.

To start the flow of the offense, the last player in the stack (the player farthest away from a handler) will make an in-cut towards the force side of the handler with the disk. If the handler does not throw him/her the disc, that player cuts back to the front of the stack. Once he/she begins his cut to the front of the stack, the player who is now in the back of the stack repeats it, again typically making a cut to the force side of the disc, however he/she may cut break side or make a deep cut as well.

The vertical stack is a very dynamic offense with a lot of swing passes and a lot of movement. For example, the player with the disc is typically looking exclusively at his handler once the stall count gets to about 4 or 5. Typically, when the stall reaches this count, the player with the disc will stare at his other handler. This handler will now do one of two things. He/she will either make an up-line cut, or will fake an up-line cut and then cut back to receive the disc. If the handler makes the up-line cut, the player who is the first in the stack will fill in as the other handler. When the first handler makes the up-line cut, if he/she receives the disc, the player who was the first in the stack and filled in as the dump returns to the stack, and the thrower becomes the dump. If he/she does not receive the disc, typically the thrower will manage to break the mark and will throw the disc to the player who was cutting from the first position in the stack and filling in as the dump. When this happens, typically the offense will try to get the disc even farther across the field, since this can set up a deep cut. Once the thrower throws the disc to the player filling in as the dump, the new 1 position in the stack will make a cut across the field for a swing pass. This is usually one of a few players, depending on who is in best position to make the cut. It could be the original handler who cut up line and refilled to the stack, it could be a player who cut from the back of the stack, or it could be the original 2 position in the stack. Typically they will receive the swing pass, and the offense repeats itself.

[edit] Vertical set

  • Cutters/stack should be shaded open side; leave room on the break force side
  • Dump cutter should usually be located open side (prevents their defender from poaching on a break force throw to a lane cutter)
  • Dump cutters cannot crowd the thrower (this allows their defender to poach on upfield throws)
  • Send players in motion on both sides simultaneously (e.g. front player goes break force, last player comes in on the open side)
  • Ideal for end-zone offense, because a vertical set opens up the width of the field (horizontal offense becomes one-dimensional with no “out” look)

[edit] Reacting to Defensive strategies

  • Bracketing or in/out switching
    • One cutter engages the underneath defender; second cutter fills the open space
  • Deep help
    • Deep cutter (whose defender is poaching) immediately cuts to receive the disc
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