Rules for cutting was originally posted on July 7, 2005. This was a more concrete set of rules than the famous rules of "take what they give you, fake them into giving you what you want, fake until they give you something".
Anyway, the post:
1. Cut sharp.
2. Cut hard.
3. Cut decisively
4. Think, but only before or after the cut.
5. Know when to just run.
Cut sharp. Don’t round your cuts. Plant on one foot, push off hard, and go. The longer it takes you to change direction, the less separation you will get from your defender.
Cut hard. Don’t jog out there when you are actively cutting. One place where this is especially important is at the start of a deep cut. For your first 3-6 steps, go all out without looking up or back, until you’re near top speed and have some separation and can check back to see whether the throw is up and where it’s going. Further, cut hard when you’re the decoy in a called play, or else an astute defender will know that it’s a fake.
Cut decisively. As Idris said, “Oh, you had ‘em.” You really only have time for one or two efforts before you become a clog. Commit to something, if that doesn’t work, quickly try something else, and if you don’t think you’re open in the first three steps, get the hell out of the way.
Think, but only before or after the cut. During the setup phase of the cut, you might have a chance to think about what you’re going to do, and can try to manipulate the defender into giving you a straight path to the disc. But once you are in motion, you can only react. You need to internalize all the small details (defender body position, field space, playing conditions)
that let you know whether you’re open or not without having to think about it. After the cut, you can think about what it was that made it work or not so that you build up your experience, until eventually it will become more of an instinct.
Know when to just run. You need to learn when you can just sprint in a straight line and be open. Fortunat calls these “opportunity cuts.” These arise when you know that the disc has changed positions but the defender does not, because you have kept him busy enough that he can’t check in. But this also arises in the middle of a faking sequence, when you can recognize the exact moment that the defender has committed himself to another direction and you can cut behind him.
I was thinking that I should have added a rule about clearing, and I noted that the book (page 52) has a fourth rule of "actively get out of the way when someone else has a better cut". These anti-cuts are basically just moving in the opposite direction from where you would cut. When the flow goes right, the anti-cut goes left. Simple English communication can help to achieve this, as players talk to each other to establish priority.