Friday, October 06, 2006

Hold Me Proper

Hey Folks,

The next few posts are going to be about throwing. A little bit of a theme.

Pictured Above: More New York with James Fong, Myself, and Steve Tam.

As much as I like to look cool, coolness should never be pursued over an athletic advantage. The area where I think coolness comes into Ultimate is how the thrower holds the disc.

I tend to see many people holding the disc in a non-throwing position. The two holds that I've seen are a single hand holding the disc in a relaxed position and two hands holding and flipping the disc near the body. I'm sure there are other ways.

What is the problem with this? It is not a really huge deal, but let us think of what advantage you are losing by holding the disc this way. It all comes down to:
  1. How you can fake efficiently
  2. Time to proper fake position
  3. How you limit your throwing options
The first point, "How you can fake efficiently", speaks to the fact that holding the disc in a nontraditional throwing position makes it difficult to show any sort of fake other than what I would call twitch fakes. A twitch fake is a slight movement which faints an actual action.

With only a twitch fake option, to progress into a strong throwing position you need to move into a standard throwing grip. This takes time. Maybe not a full stall, but it does take time which might have been that moment to throw.

My final concern I have is how all of this limits which throws you have since holding the disc improperly has added additional unnecessary steps. My recommendation is keep the disc in a proper throwing position to give you an additional advantage. These minor details are the key details to improving your team's success.



wartank said...

a corollory to this (and i apologize if i'm jumping the gun) is being in a position ready to throw as soon as possible after you release.

I think this is a subtle, but significant detail. Many people catch the disc and turn upfield in a neutral position (often standing upright) in order to survey the field. I think this is less about posing for the cameras and more about just being a natural body position as opposed to a learned position that is strategically optimized for the sport.

Catch the disc, turn in the direction of flow, and as you're turning, be in position (both in terms of grip and body position) to throw immediately. The throw is ready to come out, and your body is positioned (often in a lunge) to create more distance between you and your mark, or to actually 'box out' your mark.