disc

Learning to Throw From Others

Over the years, there have been numerous instructional videos produced – some good and some bad. On Facebook a few days ago, I shared a post that said “just because you are a good player does not mean you can teach“. I was referring to a few people because I think there is a real issue and a real concern with people who teach others to throw the wrong way. Learning to throw the wrong way is inefficient and can cause injuries if that player practices a lot throwing the wrong way.

Getting More Power in Your Throw

In this video, I introduce my trainer, Curtis Howden, and we talk about how I’m training for disc sports competitions with a specific focus on getting more power in my throw. We’re starting by mobilizing my thoracic spine and by getting more rotation, I will be able to generate more power and throw the disc further. I’m really starting to notice the benefits of working with Curtis and in the past few weeks, my throws have been getting longer every time I throw. I will work on getting some videos up that show how I practice throwing and just how far I can throw the different types of discs.

Getting to Know Thomas Kuhn

Thomas Kuhn, an ultimate frisbee player living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, won World’s in 2008 with the Team Canada Open team. He was recently selected to the roster again this year and will be traveling to Sakai, Japan in July to compete in the 2012 World Ultimate and Guts Championships.

I’ve been playing ultimate with Thomas for about 5 years so I recently had the chance to sit down and ask him some questions. Thomas has worked hard and earned his spot on the team. He’s a testament to how hard work and practice pay off and help you become a better player.

Where It All Began

Eleven years ago, I bought a frisbee at the University of Alberta’s club week from the University of Alberta Ultimate team. I started throwing that disc in a field close to my aunt + uncle’s house and would throw 3-4 nights per week for an hour each time.

Looking back, it’s easy to see how I started and how far I’ve come. I really appreciate all the support of my fans over the past 2 years and look forward to providing you more videos and articles to help you improve your game.

Long Throw Analysis – Ultimate Project #2

Michael Lawler (former Brute Squad coach) has created a series of videos analyzing footage from the past couple of years and utilizing them as teaching moments. In this video, he analyzes 13 or so long throws from the Brute / Riot game at 2010 Worlds. This video looks at the 10 seconds leading up to the throws and tries to determine of the throw choices were good or not without knowing the outcome of the play.

Ultimate Project #1

Michael Lawler (former Brute Squad coach) has created a series of videos analyzing footage from the past couple of years and utilizing them as teaching moments. This video takes a look at two examples of downfield play in zone O. The two plays are similar at the start, but Brute Squad scores on only one of them, and the video tries to explain why.

5 Tips for Handling in a Zone

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:

Ultimate Rob Bootcamp – Calgary, AB

Ultimate Rob and ATP Personal Training & Bootcamps are excited to announce that they are going to be joining forces for a series of Ultimate Frisbee Bootcamps beginning in May in Calgary, Alberta.

Beginning May 1, we will be running a bootcamp for 10 weeks from 6-8p. The bootcamps will be held at Riley Park in Kensington.

The bootcamps will have 2 goals over the course of 10 weeks:

1. Improve your fitness (cardio, endurance, speed, power, recovery, flexibility)

2. Improve your ultimate skills (throwing, catching, cutting, handling, defending, reading the disc, field awareness, rules)

The Basics of Throwing

The specifics and mechanics of throwing are the subject of much debate; everyone has their own technique. However, there are undoubtedly core elements, which are key to making good throws; the fact that these may be achieved by a wide variety of styles and approaches means that throwing is more of an art than a science.

The elements that are key to throwing are:

  • Stance/balance:
    • Feet should be apart (shoulder width) and knees slightly bent (soft)
    • Weight should be distributed evenly on both feet
    • The thrower should feel relaxed and comfortable

Drills: Bread and Butter (Stack and Cut)

This is a great drill for the beginning of practice since it gets everyone working on all of the basics – throwing, catching, cutting and marking. You can also set goals in this drill (i.e. 10 completed throws in a row before switching to a different throw).

Number of players – unlimited number of players; all the discs

Skills emphasized – pivoting, leading a receiver, throwing past a marker, cutting, catching conditioning, marking a thrower (varied marks)

The Basics of Pivoting

Pivoting is a very workman-like skill that is rarely noticed but is invaluable in allowing a thrower to create enough space to throw. Pivots should be smooth and well directed: generally a pivot is employed once a potential receiver has been identified, otherwise thrashing around making aimless and inefficient pivots may leave a thrower out of position at the crucial moment. Having identified a receiver, throwers should try to establish eye contact with them before pivoting, so that they continue the cut and anticipate a pass rather than aborting their cut because they think they have not been spotted.

The Basics of Catching

Catching is a skill that is often taken for granted and so not coached, when in fact it should be a cornerstone of every player’s development: catching is as much about good technique as any other skill. There is a feeling amongst players that if a receiver gets their hand to the disc, they should catch it. Or course this may not always be fair, but a team that can eliminate drops from its game will prosper. Drops are individual errors and more often than not are the result of poor concentration.

The two most important rules of catching are:

Spirit of the Game

Stressing mutual respect for the other team is at the heart of Spirit of the Game. Coaches should encourage players to respect the opposing team and encourage a respectful approach to conflict resolution. Showing respect to other players is often accomplished through small actions. Some examples include speaking about disagreements in a respectful manner, complimenting an opponent on a great play, and shaking hands after a game.

To Huck or Not To Huck


A general rule of thumb I like to follow is this:

Huck from Zone A; don’t huck from Zone B. In Zone A, use shallow/deep cuts (ie horizontal stack); in Zone B, use break side/open side cuts (ie vertical stack).

Several factors affect this general rule:

  1. What the Defense is running against your Offense – if they’re running a zone then maybe you want to try and work it up the field. Or maybe you want to huck right away for field position so you don’t turn the disc over close to your end zone.

In Perfect Shape

How often do we head to a competition in perfect shape? Cardio is up, no injuries whatsover, well rested in terms of sleep and muscles, mentally fit as we can be, and no leftover twinge in that sprained ankle, pulled hamstring, or that torn ACL.

I wish I could say that I was in perfect shape for the upcoming Canadian Ultimate Championships in Sherbrooke but the reality is that I am not. At fitness practice last week I felt like my quads wouldn’t kick in during sprints, likely because my hamstring was pulled and my SI joint was locked because I hadn’t seen my chiropractor recently.