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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Boston's Liên Hoffmann: Picture Perfect Deep Cut

So I'm going to try to get back to posting a bit more often. Partially because I (theoretically) have more time, since I am in offseason for the first time in 5 years.  Partially because Walden Nelson told me he reads my writing and enjoys it, which is pretty cool.

This quick post comes from the highlights recently posted by USAU from the Brute Squad v Molly Brown semifinal.  It's a slight elaboration on one of my earlier posts (

Check out Liên Hoffmann's deep cut for the score here: (EDIT: I figured out how to embed gifs!! game-changer right here...)

There's a lot to see here that doesn't just include Hoffmann, but I'm just going to focus on her cut here to keep this (relatively) brief.  First, lets see when she starts her cut.  As the thrower is looking at her reset, Hoffmann is mostly still, while remaining on her toes and ready to cut.  Since the thrower isn't looking at the cutters, there isn't a reason for her to start moving and potentially get in the way.

As soon as the upline throws goes up, Hoffmann recognizes that Leila Tunnell, one of the top throwers in the women's division, is about to catch the disc in power position (momentum moving forward, her mark behind her). Hoffmann starts making her deep cut, running at ~70% speed.  When she sees Tunnell catch the disc, she buries her head and starts all-out sprinting towards the end zone, cutting parallel to the line of the field.  Her full-speed cut ensures that she and Tunnell are on the same page - as a thrower, there's nothing worse than having an open huck but being unsure if the cutter is actually making that cut.  Second, her cutting angle leaves a larger throwing lane for Tunnell to exploit - many less experienced cutters make their cut diagonally out to the space they expect the throw to go, but by doing so, they make the throw itself much more difficult.

Next, let's take a look at where Hoffmann starts her cut.  At both the time of the upline throw and the time when Tunnell catches the disc, Hoffmann is about 15 yards away from her thrower.  This leaves a ton of deep space still in front of her, even allowing enough time for Tunnell to fake a forehand, pivot and throw a backhand for the score.

Next, check out how Hoffmann checks back over her shoulder when she is ~15 yards into the cut.  By doing a quick check, she can get a better view of the throw going up (or not going up - in which case she would turn this awesome deep cut into a yardage-gaining under), but doesn't sacrifice a ton of her running speed. This eye contact with the thrower can also prevent the occasional miscommunications.

Finally, check out how she attacks the disc.  Even though the defender isn't super close to the play, she is sprinting full speed until the disc is in her hands, and attacks it far out in front of her body.

Thanks for providing an awesome example of deep cutting, and congrats to Brute Squad for their championship run!

Update: I finished watching the USAU natties highlight reels, and found another great example, this time from Revolver's Simon Higgins:

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