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Back to the Basics: Handler & Cutter

Today I decided to go back to basics of Ultimate and explain one of the two offensive positions. This week I will be going over the role of ‘handler’ and then next week I will go over the position called ‘cutter’. Pictured below you can see the offense in black and the defense in red. The person circled has the disc and is a handler. Handlers are basically the quarterbacks of the offense, they have the most accurate throws, call out what offense their team will be running and typically throw the furthest as well. Contrary to this picture, there is usually more than one handler near the person with the disc, ready for a short pass to reset the offense if the person with the disc cannot find an open cutter. 

Vertical Stack Offensive setup

Handlers are usually more quick in changes of direction, and able to work in small spaces. Handlers can also be compared well to a point guard on a basketball court, they usually are the best passers on the team but can also score and do all the other aspects of the game, making them a jack of all trades in some sense. In ultimate, the player with the disc only has 10 seconds to throw, so that means handlers must be both patient and smart with the disc. The person with the disc must have an internal clock that knows when they need to make the throw by, but also cannot just throw to the first person they see because more than likely it will not be open. 

Some of the important things for new handlers to focus on doing would be:

  • Work on your throws- The better your throws, the more of a threat you will be on the field
  • Be confident- Even with the best throwing ability in the world, you will need to trust yourself in big game situations to make the throw. Without confidence you will not perform at your best.
  • Value the disc- 10 seconds is a lot of time but it will go by quickly if you’re not careful. Take the open throw when you have it and don’t hesitate or it will become a turnover.
  • Throw Fakes- Fakes can really move around a defense and open up throws that wouldn’t normally be viable.
Best throws from the 2019 AUDL season

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