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There are a variety of Ultimate Frisbee throws that a player can use during a game.
Knowing and being able to perform multiple throws is useful because different throws will help you in different situations.
For instance, you would not use the same throw for a long distance pull as you would to get around a close defender because you need a different technique to accomplish a different goal.
We are going to touch on some common throws in Ultimate Frisbee, starting with the basics and moving into some more fun, advanced techniques.
For ease of explanation, all throws will be explained as if the player is right-handed.
Ultimate Frisbee Throws: The Basics
The three most common throws in Ultimate Frisbee are the backhand, forehand and hammer throw.
These are the throws that you will want to master first.
The backhand is the first and easiest throw that a player learns, and it is the most commonly used because it is the most natural way to throw a disc.
To perform this throw, position your grip with your thumb on the topside of the disc and all four fingers on the underside.
Stand at a 45-degree angle from your target. For a right-handed player, twist your arm to the left until your elbow is in front of the disc.
Then swing your arm back to the front, releasing the disc parallel to the ground and straight out in front of you.
Make sure that your arm follows all the way through so that the disc flies where you intended.
The power behind this throw comes from the momentum that builds up through your core and shoulder and releases through your arm.
The position of your wrist upon release controls the spin on the disc and the direction it will fly.
This throw can be used for a pass of any distance since you control how much power you put into the throw, and therefore how far the disc will go.
A forehand throw is also called a flick. This throw takes a lot more practice than the backhand, but it is the most efficient throw because it takes the least amount of energy and can be released very quickly.
For this throw, put your index and middle fingers under the disc and your thumb on top.
To throw, extend the arm away from the body, pull your wrist back as far as you can, and then while moving your arm in a forward motion snap your wrist inwards; make sure your arm follows all the way through with the motion and that you keep your palm up to keep the disc on a horizontal plane.
This throw mimics the same type of movement you would do to skip rocks on water.
If thrown correctly, the disc should have a good spin and it should glide through the air without wobbling.
The hammer throw is a little more advanced that the other two and is harder to control the flight path of the disc.
This throw mimics the way you would throw an axe.
The grip for the hammer throw is similar to the forehand, but instead of holding the disc parallel to the ground, you will hold it above your head and slightly angled to your left with the top of the disc facing your left side.
Pull back and release when the disc is in line with your forehead, keeping your elbows bent the whole time; snap your wrist downwards with your arm following all the way through the motion.
The disc will start out tilted at an angle, but it will naturally straighten out in flight, eventually being upside down when it reaches its target.
The hammer throw is advantageous because it is harder to block, and you can get more height on this throw, sending it right over the defenders’ heads.
This particular throw is best for medium-range, but can be used for short- and long-range.
You should use less tilt for short-range throws and more tilt for long-range throws.
Simply reading an explanation of a throw can be confusing, so if you would like a visual example of how these three throws are performed, you can check out this video.
Once you have been playing for a while and have the basic throws down, you may want some more variety in your throwing options.
That is where the advanced throws come in.
The following advanced throws are all variations of the three basic throws already discussed.
As a result, you will want to master the basics before moving on to learning the more advanced throws.
Once again, all throws will be explained for a right-handed player for simplicity and consistency.
This throw resembles the hammer, but as the name suggests, it is thrown primarily using the thumb.
Grip the disc with your thumb on the inside and your four fingers on the outside.
Hold your arm out to the side at a 45-degree angle with the disc upside down and your thumb on top.
When you release, flick your wrist forward and roll the disc off of your thumb.
Like the hammer throw, the disc will initially fly at an angle and then straighten out to where it lands upside down.
The thumber is most ideal for medium-range distances.
You can view this video for an example.
Grip the disc exactly as you would for the Thumber, with your thumb on the inside of the disc and your four fingers on top.
Stretch your arm out as far as you can, keeping it parallel to the ground.
From here, pull your arm straight back and bend your wrist all the way back while still keeping your arm and the disc parallel to the ground.
Bring your arm forward and release all in one fluid motion; the disc should roll off of your thumb which will cause the disc to spin.
This throw is harder when it comes to control and accuracy, but it is good for throwing around a defender.
This throw would not be ideal for a long-range throw.
The scoober is very similar to the hammer, but it is not thrown over your head.
With your index and middle finger under the disc and your thumb on top, start by facing your target.
From here, pivot on your left foot 180 degrees so that you are facing away from your target but can still turn back and see it.
Hold the disc upside down and throw it with a bent arm at a slightly upward angle from the ground.
The advantage of the scoober is that it is much quicker to throw than the hammer.
It is great for short-range throws and often used to score when close to the endzone.
It is also thrown at an upward angle which is good for throwing over a defender’s head.
The grip of the push pass is similar to that of the backhand, but you bring your index fingers to the rim of the disc.
Another difference is that the push pass is going to line up more with the shoulder you are throwing from.
To throw, push your hand toward your left shoulder and then push the disc out as you release, spinning the disc clockwise.
A push pass is ideal for short-range passes, but does not hold up well against the wind.
Because of this, a push pass is more often used in indoor ultimate frisbee.
For examples of the chicken wing, scoober, and push pass throws, you can view this video.
For the elevator pass, hold the disc like you would for a backhand, but hold it downward at a 45 degree angle in front of you.
Bend your knees and then in one motion, lift and straighten your arm, straighten your legs, and release the disc upward with some spin.
This motion will cause the disc to go up in the air and slightly forward, causing the flight path to look like an arc.
This throw only goes a short distance but is great for getting over a defender’s head to a teammate right behind the defender.
The elevator pass is highly affected by the wind, so this throw is not ideal for outdoor Ultimate Frisbee.
View the following video to see this pass in action.
A roller throw is basically an extremely angled flick.
To throw a roller with a backhand, you should angle the disc a little less than vertical—about 70 degrees.
From here, you will throw the disc just like a flick, but instead of throwing it parallel to the ground, you will throw it at an angle.
The disc should hit the ground at an almost vertical angle and then start rolling.
You can also throw a roller with a forehand throw, which would look pretty similar except the disc would be angled the opposite direction.
A roller is primarily used on a pull; the opposing team must play from where the disc stops, so if the disc starts rolling, it will go further than if it was just flying in the air and it will potentially cause the other team to start play from a worse field position.
This throw is also good for windy days since the wind will not affect the disc while rolling on the ground as much as it would while flying through the air.
For a more detailed look at throwing rollers, check out this video.
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