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The Huddle

Horizontal Stack In Windy Conditions

by Ron Kubalanza

I am not sure what equivalent talent is but you simply have more options in a HORIZONTAL stack and the cutters are generally all closer to the ball. This is important because all four cutters are options, in and out, almost simultaneously. Additionally, using the field as 4 cutting lanes as opposed to two, for seasoned cutters is easier. The problem is most cutters don't know what they are doing. I think you need to play a lot of Vertical stack to learn how to cut. You must have an understanding of two lanes before you can have four. You must learn to cut for your self (Vertical is a very selfish system) before you can cut for your team. Sure you make space for your teammates by cutting and clearing in a Vertical, but every time you cut you are trying to get open and get a pass. Some cuts in a HORIZONTAL are not designed to get a pass on that throw, but maybe a few throws later.

Generally, in high wind you want receivers closer to you. If you have dominant handlers and one or two good cutters you can manage a Vertical, but a HORIZONTAL gives you more options and I think as many options as possible to initiate offense is key. A thrower should always have a minimum of 4 options. In Vertical, unless you are using two dumps, it is hard to design. The HORIZONTAL is designed with the two dumps (though they don't necessarily line up that way) and then I would like to think all 4 cutters could be an option. Even if 2 are, you meet the minimum four.

Whether up or downwind, I would still stick with the Horizontal...given a team has the players that have put in the Vertical work. In heavy downwind, the automatic ISO situations initially set up by the HORIZONTAL formation and the 4 lanes produce more turns to cut deep. If the d adjusts, then you can hammer under cuts.

I would only make general adjustments without specifics about what the other team is doing. Stick to the fundamentals in high wind. Forehands, backhands (maybe some fancy stuff downwind), short passes, throw and go, and keep the ball moving.