Learning to throw is important at every stage of ultimate, from rookies learning a flick and a reset pass, to club veterans expanding their arsenal and refining their control.
There are numerous throwing resources available: instructional articles and books; throwing sessions with more experienced players in your community; and just playing more.
Simply throwing with a good thrower and trying to mimic movements can be very helpful. However, it can be difficult to discern which aspects of the throwing motion are personal style and which are core components of the throw. If you have someone in your community who is good at translating instructions into action (talking you through slight shifts in grip and movement), ask them for help before asking the hucker on your team who can’t really explain what they’re doing.
Over the last seven years, I have been collecting photos and video footage of top throwers, with the goal of identifying the key to throwing with power. I’ve reviewed photo bursts and slow-motion video of a couple hundred powerful throwers, as well as some less powerful throwers. I have worked with throwers as a coach, at throwing clinics, and one-on-one with teammates.
Through this work, I’m hoping to reveal key components to powerful throws, with examples from different throwers, while also identifying areas with acceptable variation and minor tips and tweaks that may help solidify technique.
For example: I have observed that the backhand grip is one of the simplest aspects of throwing. Four fingers under the rim and thumb on top. I want to take that further: How exactly are the fingers positioned? Which parts of the fingers touch which parts of the disc? Where do we create pressure and how are the hand and wrist aligned? This is where the challenging balance between rigid minutia and unhelpful generality presents itself.
Do you grab like you are shaking hands? Place the distal phalanx of the ring finger at a 60-degree angle to the rim, resting lightly on the flight plate? And what about the old league player who can throw 90 yards and uses a loose fan grip?
I’ll be asking these questions and revealing what I’ve learned this month in the Ultimate Skills Project. Here’s a sneak peek at my throwing module for this August:
For a backhand huck, having a secure grip makes all the difference for being able to comfortably throw harder. I have one little exercise I like for thinking about gripping with the whole hand, plus some tips on setting up the grip and some examples of grips from powerful throwers with different hand sizes.
If you haven’t guessed already, you’ll need a solo cup for this exercise.
Now, try this next exercise with a disc. Lefties, reverse your grip.
This month, I’ll invite you to film yourself to understand what your body is doing as it relates to what you are trying to get your body to do. I’ll teach core components of the backhand huck and the pull, with examples and analysis of powerful throwers. I’ll also cover some core components to the forehand huck, with additional examples from powerful throwers.. You’ll also get drills and practice exercises for you to learn the mechanics, ways to track your progress, and feedback to help you improve your technique and skill.
Like what you see? Join Colin and the rest of our community in the Ultimate Skills Project. You can sign up now for his August throwing module, right here.