Level Up: Being an Active Mark and Getting Broken

If you’re on the mark in a game of Ultimate, you should already know that resting is not an option (check out the level 1 article, Level Up: Marking and the Force). So you’re on the mark, and not resting – what should you be doing?

The answer, is being an active mark – and here is what that means.

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An Active Mark

Once you are marking the disc (don’t forget to be in an athletic stance), your job is to stop the thrower from throwing to the “break” side of the field. To do this, you will need to react to the thrower’s pivots.

Imagine you have a forehand force for the thrower – meaning, you want the thrower to throw towards the forehand side of the field. Now, if the thrower pivots back to try and throw a backhand around you, what do you do?

You react, of course!

While staying balanced, shuffle your feet once or twice to the break side, blocking the backhand throw from being made. Now the thrower doesn’t have an open throw, and you’ve advanced the stall count by a few counts.

This is one of the most important parts of marking – and one of the hardest. Anytime the thrower pivots, you should be reacting. A helpful hint is to ask these two questions:

  • Is there an open throw to the break side of the field?
  • Am I blocking that throw?

If the answer to the second question is “No”, you need to move your body by staying balanced and shuffling your feet, so that the thrower isn’t able to break your mark.

Getting Broken

Getting broken happens. Even the best marks get broken from time to time. If you ever get broken, there are 3 things you must do, so your team has a chance to recover.

  1. Yell “BREAK”! Yelling this immediately after you (or a teammate) get broken alerts the rest of your defense that the disc is now on the wrong side of the field, and that they may need to adjust their defensive positioning. This must happen as soon as a break throw occurs, to give your teammates a chance to adjust their defense.
  2. Keep playing defense! It’s easy to hang your head, or watch the throw, when you get broken on the mark. Guess what – the point’s not over! Don’t let one mistake become two. Be sure to keep playing defense.
  3. Learn from it. Like I said above, even the best marks get broken. But, the best marks get broken much less often. The reason for this, is because when they do get broken, they learn why, and they prevent that from happening in the future.

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 also check out this short video to watch a lightning fast reaction from a mark to a thrower’s subtle pivot.

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