How to Huck Backhand

What is hucking?

Simply put, hucking is when you throw the disc far – to a receiver. When you huck, you almost always want to throw to a receiver. So it’s not just throwing the disc are far as possible (although when you’re at a high stall count this can sometimes come in handy). There are many situations when a huck is helpful so it’s not only important to know HOW to huck but also WHEN to huck. I will talk about the HOW and the WHEN with more of a focus on the HOW.

In order to huck well, one needs to:

  1. Throw the disc with spin
  2. Throw the disc with power
  3. Throw the disc far (relatively)

Tips for hucking

I’ve played ultimate with many varied skilled players and the one thing that remains consistent is that it’s very easy to fall into the trap of hucking for the sake of it. Meaning that a team can score on one good huck but the flip side is that a team can have many turnovers on bad hucks. A few tips I offer are:

  1. Use hucking as a tool…not as an offensive strategy. If a team relies too much on hucking than the defense just has to play for the huck and only hucking won’t work. Use hucking to establish that your team does indeed have the ability to go long if necessary but make sure to work the unders (short throws) as well. Having a mix of short and long throws will keep the D guessing and will keep the O having the advantage.
  2. If a team constantly hucks because they have one fast player than the other players on the team won’t get to touch the disc much. A good team will use it’s players so the entire team will become better. The top teams in the world (Sockeye, Jam, Revolver, Johnny Bravo, Furious, GOAT, etc) all succeed when they play well as a team and lose when they rely too much on individual players.
  3. Make sure to work on your mechanics to ensure you have good power and good spin. Once you have developed good mechanics then you can focus on your technique. And then really work on your technique. The more you work on your technique then the more consistent your throws will be. And that’s what we want – is to have a consistent release so we can have our hucks go where we want them to as much as possible.
  4. More to be added…

Gripping the disc

As I mention in the backhand section, there are 2 ways to grip the disc – the power grip and the split finger grip. For hucking, I would recommend only throwing with the power grip. The split finger grip takes a lot of power off the throw and doesn’t allow for as many edgy throws as the power grip does.

Getting spin on the disc (video)

A key element of hucking is having spin on the disc. The more spin you put on a disc will allow you to control the flight of the disc in wind instead of letting the wind control the flight of your disc.

Getting power on your throw (video)

The power in a huck comes from putting the mechanics of the throw together (stepping out, turning your hips, turning your core, snapping your arm and flicking your wrist). To get more power we first need to make sure that all of these elements are working together. If they aren’t completely in sync then we are automatically losing not only power but consistency on our throws. Once we have gotten these elements in sync we can now focus on making the elements more powerful. To do this we can look at each of the elements separately:

  • Stepping out – stepping out when hucking is important to have a good throw around the mark
  • Hip turn – we can use hip turn to not only get more power into our throw but also to have more movement in our fakes. Also by bending at our waist we can determine what edge we put on the disc (see below)
  • Core power – using our core will help us get more power on the throw, will help us fake out our mark and will help take strain off of our arm so it won’t hurt from hucking as much
  • Arm snap – snapping our arm is crucial in getting lots of power on the disc and directing where we want the throw to go. Also we use our arm to put edge on the disc by adjusting our body position and moving our arm
  • Wrist flick – this is integral in getting lots of spin on the disc

Hucking with Edges (video)

As much as we want to always throw nice flat hucks which fly perfectly straight, reality is that this won’t always happen. Depending on your mark, the upfield defenders, the wind and other factors, many times we have to throw our huck with edge (outside-in or inside-out).

Written by 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.

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.

9 thoughts on “How to Huck Backhand

  1. Nice description of good hucking. Another aspect that I find is important is to be able to throw a huck that is not necessarily fast. Usually you want to throw a huck when the cutter is just breaking loose from his defender, which means he has a long run ahead of him.

    Throwing the disc as fast as a rocket will mean that the receiver won't be able to catch up with the throw. This is something I see happening a lot when people start to learn to huck. The downside is that people will throw the huck too late, which in turn means they allow themselves only a very small margin of error. As you progress in hucking you can adapt the speed of your throw to the speed of the receiver.

    A final tip that is useful for most people is that in order to throw further you don't need to use power. For the first 40 meters it is only necessary to speed up the motion of your arm, which doesn't use power of your arm muscles. If you've mastered this, you can start putting power into your motion for the remaining 20 meters. But start out by just increasing the speed of your motion!

  2. That is true, maybe I shouldn't have added numbers. But those numbers are what I am seeing with my team at practise though, even the tiniest guys throwing 30-40 meters with ease.

    So our common point: if you want to learn to throw further, don't hit the gym, work on your technique first 🙂

  3. Jesse, great point about not necessarily throwing a huck fast but rather learning to huck in order to lead your receiver so they can run it down.

    However, I disagree with your final tip – the thing about throwing/hucking is that everyone is built differently and so not everyone will be able to throw 40 yards, not everyone can huck full field so to say that for the first 40 yards you only have to speed up the motion of your arm is fundamentally wrong. It's a good idea to always incorporate your body into your throws so if you fake, you can sell the fake easier, and you take strain off your arm. Power comes from your core and your body and your arm; not just your arm.

  4. That is true, maybe I shouldn't have added numbers. But those numbers are what I am seeing with my team at practise though, even the tiniest guys throwing 30-40 meters with ease.

    So our common point: if you want to learn to throw further, don't hit the gym, work on your technique first 🙂

  5. Jesse, great point about not necessarily throwing a huck fast but rather learning to huck in order to lead your receiver so they can run it down.

    However, I disagree with your final tip – the thing about throwing/hucking is that everyone is built differently and so not everyone will be able to throw 40 yards, not everyone can huck full field so to say that for the first 40 yards you only have to speed up the motion of your arm is fundamentally wrong. It's a good idea to always incorporate your body into your throws so if you fake, you can sell the fake easier, and you take strain off your arm. Power comes from your core and your body and your arm; not just your arm.

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