Keys to Marking by Matthew Knowles

Matthew Knowles excels at marking. Countless times last season he impacted Hustle games with his mark by forcing tough throws, denying passing lanes, and getting blocks. Here he shares his philosophy and techniques which are an amalgam of lessons and rules he learned from Ben Wiggins, Miranda Knowles, and Mike Whitaker (via Chelsea Putnam).


The goal of marking is to make the thrower put up worse throws and have your teammates get a chance at getting a block on a worse throw.


With your mark you want to

1. Take away a thrower's best throws, and

2. Make them uncomfortable.


Where to be on the mark


Start with simple positioning:

1. Line up like you are forcing straight up

2. Move 6 inches to the break side.


3. After 1 &2 the next level is to: Aim your butt at the back end zone cone on the break side.


Marking like this takes away the inside break lane where throwers will get 15-25 yards forward at the expense of the sideways break where they will get zero forward yards.


Where to Move - Marking Triangle

When a thrower is pivoting to the break side, upfield. 

1. Jump back from A to C  making sure to take away the dangerous around throw and thus allowing the zero yard swing throw.


2. After denying that throw, step forward towards B to close the gap

Note: Make sure you keep your butt pointed toward the back endzone cone on the break side. It’s easy to rotate too around at this point


3. Shuffle back to the starting position A


5 Rules on How to Mark


The rules are in order of importance. Focus on the first and only move on to the next after you have mastered it.


1. Always be moving.  

The optimal mark is constantly bouncing on their toes making small adjustments easy.  The constant movement makes your thrower less comfortable and helps you to get where you need to be to stop their best throws.


2.  Butt down.  

This puts your eyes right at their chest which is a better indicator of when they are going to pivot

 Photo by Judy Stapleton

Photo by Judy Stapleton

3. Hands always out:

Always have your hands out taking away potential throws.  It makes a thrower less comfortable to see your hand where they want to release it and helps to take away their best throws.

4.  Hands 6 inches below the disc

Almost all throwers throw lower than where they hold the disc (it sounds weird but watch your teammates throw and we all do it).  Everyone's best throws are the ones low to the ground especially when it is windy out.  Take those away and force the higher releases to get thrown, these are worse throws and will create block opportunities down field.  Lastly it is much faster to snap your arm up than to swing your whole arm down. 

5.  Be unpredictable.  

Least important - As a thrower if I know how the person marking me reacts to every fake or pivot I use, it becomes very easy to abuse the mark.  Try not lunging for some fakes.  Try lunging for a fake before it happens.  Try changing the distance between you and the thrower.  If the thrower is thinking more about you than where their teammates are downfield some bad throws are eventually going to come up.