How to Play Against a Zone Defense in Ultimate Frisbee

Often in professional levels of Ultimate Frisbee, zones are set up to push the disk back. Although this strategy is highly effective, there are numerous ways to break a zone.


  1. 1
    Have good communication between the handlers. The easiest way to break a zone is to spread the handlers and swing to each side to tire out the zone. Usually three handlers will set up horizontally with four cutters cutting vertically. The middle handler should never hold on to the disk for long so that the disk is always moving across the field. If the zone cannot stay together between the handlers, the handlers on the left and right will have a chance to move the disk up.
  2. 2
    Have the handler use the pop ups and hammers. These throws are a bit of a risk but they can be rewarding if the person receiving the pop up can advance the disk quickly, rendering the zone useless if they do not sprint to catch up. Most of the time, if the cutters can make a good follow up from the handlers, the zone will not be able to set up again. By the time you advance pass mid field, they would have to melt into man defense.
  3. 3
    Be always moving, always giving your handlers an option. Middle cutters should crash the zone at four stall count. What this means is that one cutter should cut into the zone to reset the disk. This will force the zone to back off a little or risk double team and give handlers more time to set up. The only downside is that it does not really advance the disk, but it gives relief to the handlers.
  4. 4
    Have patience dealing with zones. One of the advantages of a zone is to pressure the other team into making hasty throws which often leads to a mistake. Take your time and make the other team work.

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Categories: Flying Discs and Frisbees | Team Sports