This section is still under heavy development but contains a few basics to get you started. Although many teams still use vertical offence, horizontal offence is slowly becoming the dominant strategy. There are many reasons to use horizontal offence, before it was “new” and so had an element of surprise. One of the main reasons horizontal offence is preferred more than vertical is because it’s easier to cut because there is usually more open space. A typical vertical stack up the middle will leave one side of the field open (a little more than 1/3 the width of the field). On the other hand, horizontal offence in the most ideal situations can create a lot more open space by isolating the entire middle (a little less than 2/3’s the width). In addition, in a vertical stack, it’s usually the last cutters in the stack who initiate the cut, in a horizontal formation… any of the four lane cutters are dangerous threats.
The illustrations below explain the details of horizontal offence. For those unfamiliar with horizontal offence, unlike vertical offence, the handlers should keep the disc in the middle in most situations. Horizontal offence relies on keeping the middle of the field clear at all times, as a result keeping defenders busy is an important aspect. It’s a very easy offence to poach on, so always be ready to exploit poaches.
Just by looking at the diagrams below, one obvious difference between horizontal offence is the amount of free (vertical) deep space. As a result, huck plays can be very easy to pull off. In reaction to this, many teams will force “straight-up” for a few stall counts, so your handlers should be solid enough to break the force at any time.
This is a diagram to show you the setup of a Horizontal offense. There are 3 handlers back with the disc, all inline with one another. 4 lane cutters are positioned 10–15 yards downfield, set up in pairs on each side of the field, creating space in the middle. Typically, the lane cutters will have some designated sequence such as calling numbers for a sequence of cuts (e.g. 4–5−6–7), or designating the two initiating cuts by calling one person a “primary” cutter and another a “secondary”, or by giving positions such as “mids” and “strikers”. Horizontal is a very free flowing offense, though, so these designations should really only be used as a guideline particularly for initiating movement downfield.
Horizontal Setup (Image)
This is a very basic demonstration of how lane cutters can set up and initiate their cuts in a horizontal offense. For this part, ignore the handlers and pay particular attention to the positioning and the movement of the lane cutters.
Lane Cutting (Flash Illustration)
After you have completed a pass up-field to a lane cutter, you now face the situation where you have to reposition your players. In the horizontal setup, you want to keep 3 handlers back, and 4 lane cutters spread downfield. When your first pass goes up, the lane cutter who makes the catch essentially becomes a handler. It is the job of the original handlers to reposition themselves by having one of them slide downfield to join the lane cutters. People often ask how do you know which handler moves downfield? It’s a complete judgment call that should be based on a few factors: who is in the best position to shift downfield, and how can we most easily restore our original starting setup (3 handlers, 4 lane cutters, everyone spread across the field)? This is part of the dynamic nature of horizontal O and it’s what not only makes it effective, but also fun.
Repositioning (Flash Illustration)
The horizontal drills section is still under heavy development… for now there is one flash play that has been developed.