I get asked by a lot of people about laying out – namely how to do it, when to do it (which may seem obvious) and how to practice laying out. This post will be focused on the landing and how I think it’s best to learn.
The first thing I will recommend is that if you have a drill which requires the players to lay out, that you make it short so the impact is minimal. I’ve seen a few players dislocate their shoulder on a layout drill because they were coming into the layout with a lot of speed. You need to have the players start slowly and so for this, I would recommend doing a drill where you hold the disc and have someone dive from a standing position so they can practice landing. For the landing, I refer to 2 other sports – baseball and volleyball. It’s important to focus on landing on your chest and let your body extend. You will see players dive and have their knees bent. This can be extremely painful and will actually prevent them from getting a full extension and thus a full layout.
Another thing to keep in mind is that laying out is all about doing it naturally. If you over think it, you’ll probably hesitate and not dive. Especially in a game, when you’re on defense, it’s important to learn to be hungry and go after the disc. If that requires laying out, then do so but don’t second guess it. This comes with practice and from just doing it a few times. Not just in practice but in a game. Once you’re confident with your ability to lay out, then you’ll get better at it. You’ll eventually be able to lay out for high discs and the landing won’t even be a factor.
When you do catch the disc, catch it with the hamburger or rim catch. Trying to catch with a pancake greatly increases your risk for an injury. For this reason, I would recommend laying out with 1 arm extended instead of 2. I believe that this increases your chances of making the catch and by having 1 arm by your body, you can help cushion your landing. I’ve seen a player dislocate their shoulder from laying out with 2 arms extended.
How do you train/teach players to layout?
Here is a good reference video for how you can land:
Here is another video that briefly discusses laying out. Notice the point about catching with a rim catch (starts at 3:43):