Vert (vertical) Stack

Vertical Stack in Ultimate Frisbee

Vert Stack may seem a little confusing on the surface but it is effective and a must-know offensive Ultimate Frisbee play. Here is a video we created to help give a better visual.

Clogging the Lane Ultimate frisbee vertical vert stack

The goal of Vert Stack is to help teammates get open by organizing the otherwise chaotic cutting and running. Lets start with the basics. In the picture to the right the blue player is the one holding the disc and the red is marking them by forcing sideline. By the red marker sticking to one side he is closing off a huge portion of the field. This leaves the lane, which is the portion of the field that is easiest for the blue players to get open in. This is because the red guy is basically letting you throw down the lane at the expense of shutting down the rest of the field. The lane is a small portion of the field so without organization there would be a lot of collisions and clogging.

Basic Vertical Stack

Lining up in vert stack


Vertical Stack is how it sounds, a stack of players vertically aligned, crazy right? I bet you could assume what Horizontal Stack is also. Anyway, the goal is to line up vertically near the center of the field. We do this because we want to make sure everybody is outside of the lane for maximum efficiency. Teammates of the stack will cut one-by-one into the lane using in-cuts and out-cuts to eventually get open. This is just the basics vert stack, continue reading below to understand vert stack fully.


 Vert Stack in-depth

Vertical Stack with lanesSo let’s add a few more players.  As stated in How to guard against Vert Stackthe opposing team will line up on the lane side and use Man on Man DefenseThis is typically the best technique to shut down your Vert Stack. But no worries! You and your team are skilled and good looking.

At practice, a “first-cut” will be established which basically says whom within the stack will cut first after lining up. More often than not teams will have the last man cut first. This man (or woman) will usually fake an out-cut then run towards the handler in a full sprint, if they cannot get open they will get out of the lane and go to the first spot in the stack. While the first-cut is clearing the lane the next player in line will usually do the opposite; fake an in-cut then go long. While the second guy is running long the third guy may run break side incase the handler can break their mark. If a break occurs everybody will be open for a split second because the enemy will be guarding the lane side. Capitalize on this to gain some serious yardage.  It is important to recycle by getting back into the stack if you fail to get open.  All of these cuts are pre-established and can vary tremendously per team. If the handler can’t find an open mark in time (around stall 7-8) then the first guy in the stack will sprint to the dump area for a dump. This resets the stall count and the vertical stack will try again.

If a pass is completed the catcher will dump the disc back to the handler and the stack will start again. This process will repeat until you get into the end zone. Make sure you are aware of those break side cutters because a single break is detrimental to the opposing team.

Another great tip is to use the all powerful “dump, swing, put” technique. Have the first guy in the stack wrap around and receive a dump pass. At that instant the second guy in the stack bolts to the left red portion of the field (no longer guarded) and receives a swing. While that is happening, the third guy in the stack also bolts to the left and runs up field to receive a pass from the 2nd cut. This flips the defense on it’s head for a few seconds as they scramble to fix their mistake and will allow you to work it up field.



If you really want to pimp out the Vert stack take a look at the infamous Mailman Play or The Zipper.

Confused on a couple Ultimate frisbee terms? Check out the full Ultimate Dictionary.


Next>> How to Guard Against Vert