Five Throwing Principles Every Handler Should Know

author - john mcnaughton skills throwing

I’m excited to work alongside my best mate Brett Matzuka for our UAP Skills/Technique module where we will expand your throwing skill-set. We will provide some drills so you can do that outside the team practice environment—either on your own or with just one or two teammates.  We want to expand your perspective and cover some different aspects of your throws to think about, rather looking at mechanics.

It’s not just thinking about throwing, don’t worry. The module shows us demonstrating our own drills going right and wrong, and that’s exactly what we want to aim for. If you’re never making mistakes and putting yourself into positions that make you uncomfortable as a thrower, you’re not pushing yourself to grow.

Each video will introduce an aspect of your throws to consider and how you can work on that aspect, in isolation or in combination with others. The aspects we’ll consider are covered by a simple acronym, developed by Brett: PARTS.

P – Pivoting

A – Arsenal (of throws)

R – Release

T – Trajectory

S – Speed

Each of these requires an understanding of how this aspect can contribute to our progression and improvement as a thrower, and some ideas on how you can train yourself to develop these elements in your throwing skill-set.

For example, the second aspect of PARTS is Arsenal: the number of different throws you can execute. Contrary to some thinking that some of these more expansive throws are just “trick” throws or for show, we delve into why having these throws available as options is worthwhile, including how to create defensive uncertainty and always have the best throw available for a given situation.

Here is an intro to the Arsenal concept and a demo of some of my own arsenal starting at 2:30.

In the same vein, we work through all five parts of PARTS, giving you specific drills to do and hoping to deliver something of value to you as a thrower each time.

To make the most of our Creative Throwing module it will help to have one or two mates who are willing to keep throwing with you despite mistakes. We also strongly encourage gameplay environments where you’ll be able to make mistakes, such as pickup games, league play, or fun tournaments; if you only ever throw in competitive environments, you will have much less opportunity to push your limits as a thrower, because turnovers will be a natural part of this learning.

Huge thanks also to Laura Moluf, who helped out this whole project with filming and with demonstrating a number of our drills!

John McNaughton has years of experience handling for some of the world’s top teams, including Ring of Fire, and a host of Australian teams, not least the recent WUCC 2018 silver medallists Colony. He recently joined the ranks of viral Ultimate videos on Reddit’s r/ultimate subreddit for an “amazing” Callahan-preceding pull.  

Brett Matzuka is a creative throwing force currently representing Ring of Fire, the Raleigh Flyers, recently won gold at the WMUCC, and was part of the US Mixed team in 2016. He also owns a host of beach gold medals.  See a few of Brett's incomparable throwing skills here and here.

For more tips from not only John and Brett, but all our other expert coaches, covering everything from catching and decision-making to defense, cutting, and mentality, check out the UAP's Skills/Technique program! Learn more and sign up today!