Level Up: Marking and The Force

The person who is defending the player with the disc is called the “mark.” The mark’s job is to “force” the thrower to throw the disc to a certain part of the field. The “force” is the part of the field that the mark, and the rest of the defense, are forcing the Frisbee to be thrown to. Marking, and the force, are two of the most important parts of defense in Ultimate Frisbee.

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An image showing how marking and the force work in Ultimate Frisbee.

A “break” is when the Frisbee is thrown past the mark, onto part of the field that is not being forced.

The force is a defensive position that is paramount to most Ultimate Frisbee defensive strategies. A strong force allows downfield defenders to defend half, or less than half the field, instead of the whole field.

Usually, marks are forcing throwers to throw only forehands, or only backhands. This is communicated by saying “force flick” or “force backhand”, but can be communicated in other ways as well.

“Force home” usually means force towards your team’s gear. “Force away” usually means force towards your opponent’s gear.

“Force sun” might mean to force the thrower to throw the disc towards the side of the field the sun is on, making it hard to see the Frisbee.

“Force trees” can be useful if trees encroach on one of the sidelines.

There are other, more complex ways to mark the thrower, such as “force middle”, “no strike”, or “no dump.”

If you find yourself as a mark, here are the three most important things you need to remember.

  1. Keep yourself in an athletic position. If your knees are bent, your arms are out, and you are ready to move, you are in an athletic position. This allows you to react to stopping a throw, if the thrower is trying to throw around your force.
  2. When marking, you should be moving (dynamic), and not still (static). A dynamic mark is extremely important. It allows you to react to the pivot of the thrower, and prevent “break” throws more easily. A good pair of cleats will help you react quickly to a thrower’s pivot.
  3. When you are marking a thrower, you should be working hard. You should not be resting while on the mark. As a mark, you are the most important person on the defense! A break throw through your mark will confuse eliminate your team defense. Getting broken should be avoided as much as possible.

Level Up at Marking and the Force

If you want to learn more about marking and the force, level up with related articles below.

You can check out some great Ultimate Frisbee handblocks in the video below.

You can level up your Ultimate game with other Level Up articles below.

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