In previous posts I have made reference to The Throwing Comfort Zone. This post will explore the concept of The Throwing Comfort Zone whilst also providing some advice on how your Throwing Comfort Zone can be increased and maintained. The concept of the Throwing Comfort Zone is a useful mechanism to identifying where you sit as a thrower and what you can work on in order to continue improving. In addition to reading this post I would suggest reading Rob’s post on The Elements of Becoming a Better Thrower.
The Throwing Comfort Zone is made up of two elements:
- The throws you can reliably make any time, all the time.
- Your ability to make those throws reliably when under pressure from a defensive mark.
Every player has their own individual Throwing Comfort Zone based on their skills and experience. Any good player will be aware of their Throwing Comfort Zone (and therefore their limitations) and be aiming on maintaining and increasing their comfort zone at all times.
Another way of looking at it is to think about the throws you regularly use in games. In the final of a league or tournament you want to be throwing comfortably and reliably to win the day. Which throws can you use in this situation? Which throws have the highest success rate as opposed to risky options? When considering your own repertoire of reliable throws keep in mind that you’ll need to be comfortable throwing them around your mark.
As an example, most players can include a waist-heigh release backhand as a throw within their comfort zone. This is normally one of the first throws people learn and you quickly become comfortable stepping the right way and completing the throwing action. However not all players are comfortable with backhands at other release points. Low-release backhands require adjustments to balance, grip, stepping and throwing actions. All of these elements need to come together at will for this to be a reliable throw.
With a bit of thought you should be able to define your own Throwing Comfort Zone. Be honest and realistic with yourself about your abilities and you can then start working on improving.
Once you’ve identified the throwing options in your Throwing Comfort Zone you can aim to get comfortable with a broader variety of throws.
The first step is to pick something to work on. You may have a throw that you’re struggling with on the field, a role on your team that needs fleshing out or maybe you just want to get good at every conceivable throw. Everyone’s aims will be different however there tends to be a bit of a natural progression of throws that I might write about in future. Importantly, everyone is likely to be at their own stage of development and there’s not necessarily a right order in which to add to your Throwing Comfort Zone.
Once you have identified an aim there is a progressive way to add that throw to your Throwing Comfort Zone. This involves lots of practise and also utilisation of different environments as follows:
The first step is to get out and throw, and throw, and throw. From personal experience, nothing improves your throws quicker than dedicated individual throwing sessions. The specifics of these throwing sessions would be dependent upon the throw but repetition and analysis will be a common theme. I mentioned Rob’s post on The Elements of Becoming a Better Thrower in the introduction but it bears repeating here. This post does a great job of explains the mindset and method of learning new throws as an individual.
Once you are fairly comfortable with the mechanics and technique of the throw you will want to start adding some receivers and defensive pressure into the mix. Team Training sessions are a great environment for this as you can dictate the situations you subject yourself to in order to test your throws and analyse the results.
As an example, if you’re training your low-release backhand you ask your marker to force your backhand whilst directing a receiver to cut into space at a variety of distances to see how well you can retain your accuracy. You can also modify how aggressive your mark is as you become more familiar with the throwing action when combined with a fake and a pivot.
This is also a great opportunity to start working your new throw into your throwing plans in order to Remain Calm Under Pressure when throwing.
Pickup Games and Social Leagues
This is where the fun starts as you can start using your increased Throwing Comfort Zone in games to see how it works. Your aim is to develop a sense of when those throws are appropriate and also to become familiar with the execution of those throws in game-situations. You should also be focusing on Throwing for Connections to ensure that your new throws are easy for your receivers to catch.
Your throw should be firmly embedded in your Throwing Comfort Zone by the time you come to start using it in games that matter . Throws should be reflexive and adaptable to a variety of situations without a sense of fear (or hope!) once the disc leaves your hand. The mechanics of a throw aren’t simple, especially when combined with the necessity to throw around a marker. It takes time for throws to become “game ready” but it is also very satisfying one you get to the end of the process. It is a great feeling to confidently succeed at a throw on the field when you know it is something you’ve been working on for a while.
Whilst working on new throws don’t forget your comfortable ones. The overhead to maintain the throws within your Throwing Comfort Zone is far less than skilling up new ones but your comfortable throws shouldn’t be neglected. It is worthwhile developing a throwing regime that utilises all of your comfortable throws. This regime can be used during warm-ups to jog the muscle-memory and affirm the confidence when heading into games.
All Wrapped Up
Hopefully the concept of the Throwing Comfort Zone is something that you will find useful as you develop yourself as a player. Maintaining a view of your abilities and goals is essential for improvement and this concept is a good way to continue expansion of your throwing repertoire. Have a think about your own personal Throwing Comfort Zone and let us know about it in the comments. What can you throw? What are you working on? We might even be able to offer some advice!