Throwing forehand

Why is throwing forehand (flick) so important?

Since in a game you are going to be marked by someone, you will want to be able to throw both a backhand and a forehand. Generally, most teams force you to throw forehand so having a good forehand will benefit your team greatly.

Gripping the disc

  1. Power Grip
    I recommend starting off with this grip from the beginning because it is the best grip for the forehand. The split grip is meant to allow for more stability but by developing a good wrist flick, the need for this is eliminated. However, if you are having problems with the disc releasing flat, you can start off with the split grip and move to the power grip once you are better at throwing.

    The key thing about the forehand is that it all starts with the grip. As illustrated in Image 1, you form your throwing hand in the shape of a gun, slide the rim of the disc in between your thumb and pointer finger, and then grip the disc as in Image 2. The grip from the top should look as it does in Image 3. Squeeze the disc between your thumb and the fingers underneath the disc so you have a firm grasp of the disc.

  2. Split Grip
    Everything else is the same for the split grip except the finger position underneath the disc, as in Image 4.

Wrist Flick/Throwing Motion

  1. Wrist Flick
    Once you’re comfortable with your grip, the next step is to flick your wrist to generate spin on the disc. To get good at flicking your wrist, try to keep your arm stationary and just work on getting a good flick developed before adding in any arm or body motion. The spin generated by the wrist flick is crucial to having a good forehand, especially when it’s windy. The more spin on the disc will ensure a more stable flight. When the disc is released and it’s wobbly, that usually indicates a poor flick. The key to having a good flat flick is to keep the palm of your hand pointed up at the sky. Image 5 shows the right and wrong way to release the disc.
  2. Throwing Motion
    Once you’ve developed the ability to flick the disc flat and with little to no wobble, you can add the arm and body motion into the throw. This will be different for everyone and it all depends on your flexiblity, range of motion and strength. I’ve found the most effective throwing motion for myself is to step with my right foot (non pivot foot), and at the same time turn my body (using my hips and core) and snap my arm, ending with my wrist flicking the disc. With this motion I am able to throw many hucks without my arm tiring since I have so much energy being contributed from my core and my legs. It has taken me many hours of practice to develop this technique and was adapted from watching good throwers throw. I would suggest that you try different techniques as well until you find one that works for you, but ideally it should incorporate your entire body.

Mechanics vs Technique

There are 2 parts to a throw; the mechanics and the technique. The mechanics are the parts which make up the technique so in the case of the backhand, the mechanics are:

  1. Step
  2. Wrist snap
  3. Arm motion/follow through
  4. Hip turn

I want to stress the importance of good mechanics in your technique. If we rely only on our wrist and arm when throwing then we will end up putting too much strain on our elbows and shoulders and will have our technique negatively affect our body. A lot can be said for good mechanics, and a good technique will have the proper mechanics built into its core. I really want to stress how important it is to develop the proper mechanics before you move onto throwing hucks and pulls because if you’re trying to throw hard and far without the proper mechanics, you will almost definitely hurt yourself. I’ve practiced many hours to develop my mechanics and my technique and I incorporate so much power into my throws using my body that I don’t have any stress injuries from throwing too hard or too much.

The best technique is really the one which works best for your body. Everyone is built differently so watch others throw, try different techniques and adopt the one which works best for you. And be open to criticism – you can never stop learning!

About Ultimate Rob

Rob McLeod is a disc sports competitor, a 12 time World Record holder (including 6 Guinness World Records), 10-time World Champion, 2 time Quadruped title holder and currently holds the Canadian Distance Record. He created ultimaterob.com in 2009.

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