This post contains a simple bit of advice that I have often found very useful for players who are working on their throws. Generally speaking, control and distance in a throw comes from making sure that the disc is spinning. Spin is added to the disc via a good wrist-snap, but how can you improve your wrist snap?
One way is to make sure that you’re cocking your wrist when setting up for your throw. If you pick up a disc in either a backhand or forehand grip it is unlikely that you will naturally cock your wrist. The “natural” way to hold the disc (in either grip) is to keep your wrist straight, in line with your arm.
Moving your hand from the natural position to a cocked position is essential to get the most out of your snap. By cocking your wrist you give your hand more time to impart the force from the snap onto the disc, causing it to spin – a lot!
Cocking the wrist is important for any throw, but I’ve taken a look at backhand and forehand positioning:
Here are some pictures of my backhand grip. The picture on the left shows my hand and wrist as they sit when I simply pick up a disc and hold it out in front of myself in a backhand grip.
The picture on the right shows the disc in the cocked position. You can see that the edge of the disc is much closer to the inside of my forearm and my wrist is curved in a pretty serious bend. My thumb ends up pointing across my body instead of away from it.
Here’s my forehand grip. The left picture shows the position if I just pick up and hold the disc out in a forehand grip. The picture on the right shows me cocking my wrist back. You might notice that I had to move my arm over to the left of this photo to fit the disc in shot. This should give you an indication of how far “behind” my arm the disc ends up in the cocked position.
The fingers under the rim of the disc (inside) are pointing across my body in the “natural” grip. In the cocked position they are pointing away and to my right, at about 1 or 2 o’clock. The fingers outside (below) the rim of the disc change from roughly 9 to 12 o’clock.
Hopefully that helps to demonstrate how you can cock your wrist before a throw. Give it a try and focus on it for a few throws. If you keep at it you’ll start doing it automatically and your throws will be smoother and more controlled out of your hand. This is particularly useful when throwing into the wind, or when doing high-release throws.
For some more tips on throwing check out Rob’s post on The Basics of Throwing.