When I was learning to play Ultimate, I didn’t have a coach, mentor, or Ultimate Rob videos. I had to teach myself the game and whenever my friends learned something new, we’d spread the knowledge with each other. I was one of the slower learners on the team and required as much assistance as possible, so putting me on the handler line wasn’t the best option. I was a cutter by default. When I came to college, my throws were naturally better than most because I had been playing for a while, and my team was brand new. So my journey began from moving from a cutter to a handler – yet again without a mentor. Teaching myself this aspect of the game was incredibly difficult. Here are 10 guidelines for rookie handlers that helped me learn to be a handler.
There is a principle I want to start with here that transcends the position on the field that you’re making your cut (downfield, handler, whatever). This is probably the most important cutting principle anyone can learn: take what the defense is giving you. If my defender playing off me 5 yards to contain the line cut, I’m not going to cut up line. If my defender is backing me by 10 yards because of my 40 inch vertical, I’m not going to go deep (initially). It’s a fairly simple concept, but I see so many young players learn one method of cutting (5 hard steps out and under) and make that cut no matter how the defense is set up. If they’re going to play off of you as a defender, then take the open cut, it’s simple.
The best way to describe throwing a forehand is comparing it to a vertical jump. As we know, vertical jumping ability is directly influenced by the speed of the force exerted against the ground during a fixed span of time; the faster the application of that force, the higher the jump. To translate this concept into throwing a forehand, we can infer that the less time it takes to apply a given amount of snap to the disc, the more rotations will be yielded per ‘x’ amount of time. With this, if you look at an exceptional thrower like Alex Thorne, you’ll notice that he has one of the quickest releases out of any thrower in the nation. Furthermore, those quick releases all generally look more or less the same, regardless of the distance of the throw. Such quick releases coupled with a strong snap provide for a throw that will fly through the air with very little observable disruption from wind.
This post was in response to a fan who had a few questions about handling and marking both on offense and defense.
I’m a combination handler/cutter for I just had a few questions about handling against tight marks and vice versa, marking tough handlers.
I’ve only been handling for a few months, and I’ve found that in the three tournaments I’ve played at I feel like I’m usually just cycling the disc back to an upline handler or dump rather than making throws to cutters. I’ve only turned the disc once across those three tournaments while handling, which I guess is good but most of the throws I have made haven’t been that long of a throw to get turned, if that makes any sense.
This post was inspired by a question on facebook from one of my fans. Let me know if you have any questions related to o-line handling.
Q: Hey bro,could you give me some pointers on how to be an O-Handler?
A: Sure thing! Here are some tips on being an O-line handler:
1. Your role as a handler is to move the disc up the field and score a point. What this means is that your biggest focus should be on valuing the disc. You cannot score if the other team has the disc. So, you should only be throwing high percentage throws (a 50% throw is not a high percentage). Think 75% or higher. Ideally you should be throwing to a cutter who is open, within the range of a throw you can consistently throw.
The Zen Throwing Routine, developed by Ben Wiggins, is a combination of a group of exercises that he found to help develop his own balance and versatility in throwing. He was inspired to put this into a cohesive form as a partner-slash-alternative to Lou Burruss’ Kung Fu Throwing, which is a very effective plan with very different goals.
To view all of the 21 steps in the Zen Throwing Routine, visit the playlist here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLezzWvSJAw_Y9WqN4bE1v6EzatYqh2d0M.
You can download the complete Zen Throwing workout here: http://bit.ly/zenthrowing.
What is balance?
This tutorial video for the Calgary Ultimate Association talks about how to cut into space. The key points are: recognize what the dump mark is doing, fake the marker to create space, work with the dump.
The Canada jersey I’m wearing is sponsored by VC Ultimate: http://www.vcultimate.com.
The shorts I’m wearing are from Lululemon: http://shop.lululemon.com/products/clothes-accessories/men-shorts/Core-Short-32404?cc=0001&skuId=3433213&catId=men-shorts.
For more info on playing ultimate in Calgary,
Video produced for the Calgary Ultimate Association.
Faking is an art and, whilst it looks easy, making good fakes requires subtlety, disguise and deception. The movements a player makes whilst faking should mimic exactly the movements that a player makes when they throw but halt at the last moment. The aim is to throw the defender off balance or to move them out of position or to make them think that the thrower wants to do something other than that which they are going to do.
The basics of faking are these:
- Making a fake look like it’s going to be a throw; otherwise it’s not going to fool your defender
Handling in a zone can be intimidating, especially if you’re an inexperienced handler. The best way to get more comfortable handling in a zone is to get experience playing against a zone – which comes with playing tournaments. There are some other things to keep in mind which can help a handler – both new & experienced – so I hope you find some use for them: