GUTS, like many great games, is simple to learn yet impossible to master. The game is best learned by players of the same experience and skill set. We recommend that you find friends near you and share the above video with them before you get started.
GUTS is played with a Wham-O Pro that is 110 grams and availble to purchase for only $4 at Discovering the World.
A good warm up drill is what we call "bobbling", where players stand in a circle and much like hackey sack attempt to pass the Frisbee around without letting it touch the ground. At any point that you feel you can catch the disc, do so in an upward manner so that if you do not secure the Frisbee it goes upwards and not into the ground. Your circle of players are all your team and, as a team, you should do whatever you can to keep that Frisbee off of the ground. This includes kicking it up when necessary and passing it to a teammate by pushing it or swatting it when you cannot make the catch yourself. Remember, you can only ever touch the disc with one body part at a time when attempting to catch the Frisbee while practicing or playing Guts. So no catching it "sandwhich-style" between your two hands and no trapping it with your hand onto your chest. Don't attempt to catch it when it's flipping, but instead use soft hands to slow it down and make the catch. Have fun with this drill and see how many times you can make a catch as a team without letting it hit the ground.
Your initial practice should be a fun game of catch. Line up 14 meters (appox. 15 yards) apart and begin to throw the Frisbee to each other in the fashion that feels best to you. If you area a baseball player, perhaps a two finger sidearm shot works best. If you are a disc golfer and your backhand is your go to shot, you will find that throw will translate easy to GUTS, but remember that our disc is extremely understable. If you play Ultimate, then throwing a GUTS Frisbee will come very natural to you. At first, your goal should just be to hit your opponents (your shot must be within their reach). Once you gain control and confidence in your shot, you should begin to engage your legs and hips more in order to improve your velocity.
Ryan Scott (pictured above) has been throwing one of the hardest backhands in the game for the last two decades and has an incredible scoring percentage.
When playing defense, movement of all team members is important. Once you see that the Frisbee is not coming to you, your best course of action is to move towards the disc to keep it alive if it is not caught on initial contact. Many times the Frisbee is deflected either forwards or backwards upon initial contact and a lot of the spin is taken off of the disc. These are the times you can be a helpful teammate by moving your feet to put yourself in position to either catch that deflection OR pop the disc into the air for another teammate to catch. The best defensive teams in GUTS are typically the ones that play the best team defense by circling around the Frisbee once it's made initial contact with a teammate.
In this picture the disc makes contact with Shottlebop's Al Nettell on the end and the middle man (Will Blau) is positioning himself to be in front of Al, while the teammates on the other end get head starts into the backfield to assist if the Frisbee gets deflected and goes through the line (which it does not, in this case).
Advanced teams will learn to take into consideration the spin of the disc when assigning movement to their players, putting them in the best position to succeed based on the shot coming at them. All good teams will have their defenders moving towards the disc at all times to help each other, always chasing their own teammates to be able to help when the disc is traveling away from the rest of the team.
In this video, pay close attention to plays #5, #4, and #1 as you can see good team movement leads to catches:
Strategy is one of the most underrated aspects of GUTS. Most people see a barbarian-like game of "I'm gonna throw this disc through your team!", when in fact the ability to throw it accurately and often at the same person for long stretches of the game is what makes winning GUTS. Most GUTS teams place their three best defenders in the middle and leave their lesser defenders on the ends of the line. The ability to hit those defenders on the ends will force the defensive team to adjust and then move those defenders inside so that they have help from their team. Attacking the end men makes for more difficult team defense because with the right throws, the Frisbee will spin away from the rest of the team upon initial contact.
The game linked below has commentary discussing the finer points of defensive strategy:
Shottlebop vs. O'Malley's at the US Nationals
In the end, GUTS is fun and we encourage you to give it a try. While it is not for everyone, if you have read this far then it is likely for you. You are one of us and we're happy that you are. Your job is to now find some like-minded friends to form a team and come compete. As a GUTS rookie, your first year of tournament registrations will be covered by the veterans. So you won't have to pay to enter your first tournaments. Just get here and we'll make sure to share some more of the finer points of this amazing game with you. A fun tidbit; the Appleton Assassins started coming to GUTS tournaments when they were 13 years old to compete with the men. They did not win a single game during their first two summers of tournament play, but they kept at it and practiced more than the men did. That same group of young teenagers went on to win seven consecutive US National Championships, two gold medals in international competition, and became the only team in modern GUTS history to complete a season sweep of every major tournament when they did so in 2016. Not bad for a bunch of kids that we beat up on for two years.
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Know GUTS, Know Glory