Monday, July 25, 2011

Foot Angle - Cutting

Buttonhook cut… the first cut you ever learn.  Run deep, plant, come back underneath.  Couldn’t be any simpler, right?  Well, I suppose like all skills, there are finer points that are not necessarily intuitive.  One technical flaw I’ve not only noticed players making but have even heard people teaching (so much bad teaching in ultimate!) is planting with the improper foot angle.

I’m not gonna get into all the finer points of cutting, just the deceleration/break.  Imagine on a buttonhook cut, you are initially running deep.  As you decelerate into your break, those steps should be with your foot angled perpendicular to the direction you’re running… NOT facing forward.  If you look at the stud pattern of your cleats, you’ll notice the studs are concentrated along the side edges.  That’s because when you cut you should be cutting off the side of your foot.  Planting with your foot angled sideways will not only allow you to break faster but accelerate faster in the opposite direction as your first step will only involve opening your hips up 90 degrees rather than 180.


  1. You knee is "designed" to take load in one direction. As such most of your chopping steps to slow down should have your foot pointed forward, turning it 90 degrees is a recipe for trouble. Granted as you make the actual turn you want to take a step with it at an angle but for the main acceleration and deceleration... don't put your foot sideways.

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  3. Haha. Well, i would never argue that ultimate is gonna be kind to your body over the years. I agree that putting a lot of lateral stress on your knee (and other joints) is tough.

    I'm not a sports medicine professional, but in my unprofessional opinion, I'll say this: dropping your hips low in your breaks will decrease the amount of lateral pressure your knee takes (there was a good post somewhere recently about shin angle). Chopping your feet will also decrease the amount of lateral pressure your knee takes.

    The alternative is running straight, coming to a stop and then doing a 180 degree turn. Often when i see people do that, they are pivoting in the grass/turf with cleats and putting a tremendous amount of torque on their knees, which i'd guess is even worse.

    Another alternative is to run straight, come to a stop and then take several extra steps to turn around, which is inefficient.

    A quick search for videos on youtube show people cutting with their foot planted sideways: