Drills: Ho-Stack Handle Weave
The weave here demonstrates the benefits of swinging the disc to the break side and how you can gain yards by doing so. This drill can be run with either four people continuously running it or a group filtering in players in a couple different positions, whichever is more fitting.
Whether receiving the disc on the force or break side, the handler is always doing a push up field before coming back to get the disc. This is a great habit to get into because good timing on this motion will make it much easier for you to get open on your dump cut. Make sure you are planting to come back when they are just about to throw the disc, leaving yourself the maximum amount of space to move back into.
As soon as the center handler throws to the force side, they strike. In a game this can be a great cut to potentially gain a couple yards and power position if your defender doesn’t immediately re-position themselves to your force side after you throw. For the drill, throw a fake to that cut, which should hopefully move your mark up-field as they attempt to provide help pressure against the strike cut.
The fake to the strike is the cue to the middle cutter to drop back for the disc into the break side space made available by the center handler clearing out. The middle cutter wants to come far enough down that this is not a significant throw for yardage. The farther the handler has to put the disc up field, the more challenging the throw is. Ideally it will be out to space on a line parallel with the force side handler’s current position.
While this throw is taking place, the break side handler is pushing his defender up the field to allow himself space to drop back into, providing an easy continuation throw when the middle cutter makes his catch. The timing should be almost identical as the first cut made by the force side handler, with the break side handle planting when the middle cutter is preparing to throw the continuation to the break. Any earlier and you are wasting yards. Any later and the throw won’t be available or as easy.
Once the disc is caught on the break side, the break handler will go through the motion of making a big fake attacking up-field towards the break side. That throw typically won’t be a viable option, but if the mark is slow an opportunity can arise to put a deep throw along the break sideline to a middle or force wing streaking deep. The main purpose of that fake, however, is to force the mark to respect your break side threat and shift away from a flat mark.
While the break side handle is throwing their fake, the center handle (the person who just caught the disc after dropping from mid-cutter) pushes up past the parallel with the disc and drops back for the dump. This cut, when you attack past the parallel and drop while on the force side is called a general cut. The disc is dumped back to the center handle, then immediately continued to the force side, leading to the strike cut, thus starting the process over again.
4-person option: Run this drill basically exactly as shown in the gif and described. Once you have made the strike cut from the center handle, cycle up top and wait for your turn to drop back down. Make sure you get enough reps in that each person has an opportunity to be force handle, break handle, and one of the two in the middle. Also remember to switch your force on occasion.
Team option: To filter in new people for this drill, set up a line at the break sideline, force sideline, and up field of the drill. Cycle people clockwise, clearing out after you have thrown from the handle spots or finished your strike cut from the middle. The defender becomes the new thrower, and fill the defense spot from the line. Work on making sure the team position doesn’t drift too far up the field or down the field, you should be able to run this drill along a twenty yard forward-backward margin.
Handler Power: You only need three people, positioned in normal ho-stack handle spots. Start like normal, with the center swinging to the force side. Instead of having the drop come from an up top cutter, however, have the break side handler come for the dump by pushing their defender up field, then angling back to be able to get the disc after the fake for the strike is thrown. The center handler who just struck should be streaking across field towards the break side, becoming the break continuation. Break is thrown, general, push, etc. This is a perfectly viable option for this drill and for running it in an offense, particularly when you have a lot of speed in your handlers.
Offense – Always attempt to use an angle on the disc which will cause the disc to come towards your receiver. For example, when the middle cutter drops back and you break the mark towards the center of the field, that should be a right-handed backhand with an OI or a lefty flick with OI (assuming force righty-flicks). An IO angle would die away from your receiver, making the catch more challenging. In addition, throw all of these as around throws. If you just got the disc in the center, the continuation throw to the break side should be a right handed backhand. Sometimes in games you might get the chance to throw those on the inside with an IO, but practice taking the proper look.
Defense – When your mark is pushing up field, don’t cheat and shade farther under than you normally would. Your primary responsibility is to prevent your man from getting the disc up field. In a game if you bite too hard trying to put pressure on your man underneath, he can plant and run an inverse general cut on you, get the disc for a yard gain and power position. Practice being able to put pressure on the dump cut without giving away your ability to defend a move up field. When your man has the disc, don’t entirely block the around break from the force side. For the sake of the drill, you are letting that throw off. Put appropriate pressure, just don’t get the hand block. In a game, guard against that throw with your life. This drill illustrates how beneficial it can be if we get a big break there, so that should be your primary concern.