Roles and Strategies

Offensive Roles

In general, players will assume one of two roles when playing ultimate. Before each point starts, team leaders usually specify which players will be handlers and which players will be cutters.


Handlers are two or three people on the field who are designated to be responsible for throwing and moving the disc. They are often the more seasoned or confident throwers. Generally speaking, if you are a handler you:

  • pick up the disc at the beginning of a point, or after a turnover;
  • provide a dump option;
  • have strong throws to be able to consistently and accurately throw the frisbee up the field to cutters getting open;
  • take initiative by identifying the person you want to cut by calling their name or making eye contact (or a code or designated play if your team has them);
  • make safe throws to ensure that nobody on the field gets hurt;
  • be spirited. Always play with SOTG in mind!


Cutters are those who do most of the running up and down the field. Their job is to create options for the thrower by cutting to open space and then throwing to the next cutter or a handler once they receive the disc.  Creating space for other cutters is as important as getting the disc yourself. Cutters will generally line up in a vertical or horizontal stack.

If you are a cutter you:

  • are a strong runner with good cardio fitness;
  • create options for your thrower by cutting to open space;
  • clear out of the cutting lane in order to make space for the next cutter;
  • always sprint when you make a cut. You can rest when you are back in the stack or away from the play;
  • make safe cuts to ensure that nobody on the field gets hurt. You should NEVER make a cut that causes contact or risks injuring another player. 
  • be spirited. Always play with SOTG in mind!

Offensive Strategies

With 14 players on the field at all times, ultimate games can sometimes look like complete chaos – and often they are!  Playing a structured offense:

  • helps eliminate confusion;
  • gives players specific roles;
  • creates open space  for other cutters;
  • keeps the playing field as safe as possible;
  • helps prevent clogging.

 The two most commonly used offenses in ultimate are vertical offense and horizontal offense...

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