Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Keystone to Cutting Moves

Last week I did a broad stroke piece on your move repertoire and some ideas on how to incorporate the idea into drills. One coach in my history, Magnum, gave me a key piece of information that I believe all people should base their cutting-move repertoire on. This applies to both handler reset cuts (dump and sideline) and general cuts.

Initiate a first direction cut at full speed and continue in that direction unless your defender fully commits to defending your initial cut.

For example, when running a sideline reset as a handler, start with a cut roughly 45 degrees moving towards the sideline at full speed. After three or four steps if your defender is not committing to that cut then continue up the line, otherwise reverse the cut and retrace your steps backwards (a full speed reverse).

This is the first move you should have in your cutting-repertoire. It's a very simple idea and very effective, but it's incredibly challenging to become an expert at. The challenge is in reading the situation and developing team chemistry to understand how your move meshes with others.

Imagine this. You initiate your cut from the horizontal stack, at maximum speed, in the direction of a deep strike. Now, what is your response if ...
  • ... another cutter strikes deep.
  • ... your defender doesn't commit, but a poaching defender is in a good position.
  • ... you reverse your cut but find that your lane has been taken.
... and the list goes on. There's an infinite number of "what ifs" that can be made up. Even reading when your defender has committed to your first cut is hard to do, and this skill alone takes practice. In all, these decisions come down to experience and taking advice from more experienced players and coaches.

Still, with one basic cutting-move your repertoire can be very effective and once you add fakes, different movements, and teamwork the repertoire quickly grows.



J. Becker said...

I also think it's important to construct drills that include this decision-making process. Too many drills call for one cut and only one cut. Ultimate is far more dynamic than that. To improve at making good cuts, cutters need practice making good decisions. If your drills are mindless, your cutters will be, too.