Pivoting is a very workman-like skill that is rarely noticed but is invaluable in allowing a thrower to create enough space to throw. Pivots should be smooth and well directed: generally a pivot is employed once a potential receiver has been identified, otherwise thrashing around making aimless and inefficient pivots may leave a thrower out of position at the crucial moment. Having identified a receiver, throwers should try to establish eye contact with them before pivoting, so that they continue the cut and anticipate a pass rather than aborting their cut because they think they have not been spotted.

These are the basic principles of pivoting:

  • Throwers should pivot on the foot that is on the opposite side to that of the hand with which they throw, i.e. left foot for right-handers
  • When pivoting, throwers should vary the size of the steps, this will make the defender move but also keep them guessing:
    • Reserve a large step (or perhaps the quick reversal of a large step) for right before the throw
  • When changing from one side to the other, throwers should step in front of the pivot point:
    • They should not turn their back
      • They should keep facing the way they want to throw
      • This helps prevent errors arising from the momentary ‘blindness’ caused by turning away
    • Stepping in front also prevents the forcer from getting too close
  • Throwers should pivot to face the direction they are going to throw in, even when it is to the open side, rather than just learning: compromising balance increases the difficulty of the throw
  • Throwers should be smooth and controlled in their movements
  • Throwers should keep their pivot foot anchored to the same spot to avoid traveling.

Pivoting is a relatively straight forwards skill to acquire and will definitely benefit less experienced players by helping them to create space to make their throw. The concept of stepping (pivoting) should be introduced when players are first learning to throw: you should get into the habit of linking a step with your throw.

Some people talk about turning out your toe when you step to pivot but ultimately, it’s whatever is comfortable for you. Some players are more flexible than others and will be able to step out further so try pivoting different ways and figure out what works for you.

Written by Ultimate Rob

Rob McLeod is a disc sports competitor, a 13 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.