At the 2008 Canadian Ultimate Championships, my men’s team from Calgary, Invictus, was playing the men’s team from Montreal, Mephisto, in the semi finals. A good friend of mine, Elliot Negelev was watching our game and after one of my pulls, he came over to me and gave me some advice.
“When you’re pulling, you should throw from one of the endzone cones and pull to the far endzone cone diagonally across from you. That way, you have a longer throw to make it to the cone, which allows you more time to put the disc in the air. Also, if you do brick, it will brick further up the field, closer to the endzone.”
It was such simple advice and changed how I pulled. Up to that point, I had never really thought about it in those terms. Let’s take a look at this simple illustration:
If I’m pulling the disc from point A, I want to throw an inside out backhand (for a right hander) that aims diagonally to the far endzone. If I’m a leftie, I want to throw an outside in backhand.
If I’m pulling the disc from point B, I want to throw an outside in backhand (for a rightie) and an inside out backhand for a leftie.
I would adjust how far I aim the disc out of bounds based on how strong the wind is. For not a lot of wind, I don’t normally throw that disc that far out of bounds but if the wind is strong and the disc will carry, I aim a bit further out of bounds. What I’ve found by pulling this way is that my pulls land more consistently in the endzone, they are in the air longer which gives my defence a chance to set up more effectively and I’m throwing less bricks.
Remember that the whole point of pulling involves 2 types of throws: a distance throw and a TRC (throw Run Catch) throw. The best pull is one that lands just inside the back corner of the endzone and that is in the air long enough that the defense is able to run down and set up before the receiving team catches the disc.
Therefore, to become a better puller, you need to work on two things:
- Throwing the disc far
- Throwing the disc high and chasing it down
I won the 2013 World Championship in Self Caught Flight and in the final, I threw a disc 79 metres (86 yards) and caught it. Therefore, if you are able to throw the disc full field, sprint down and catch it, you will be giving your defensive line a huge advantage right from the start of the point.
To make this type of pulling work well, you need to be able to pull the disc from endzone to endzone. If you can’t throw that far then I would recommend starting from the middle of the field and trying to throw the disc as far as you can. Once you can start landing the disc in the middle of the endzone with your max pull, I would recommend trying the strategy I discuss above.
How do you approach your pull? What strategy do you use?