ultimate

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.

John “Friz Whiz” Kirkland

John “Friz Whiz” Kirkland

A tremendous all-around competitor, Kirkland was voted the disc athlete of the seventies. He won the men’s World Overall Championships in 1977 and finished second on three other occasions, as well as winning several individual world titles.

He is still very active in the scene and continues to inspire future world champions.

Coaching & Playing with Malaki UFC

For 2 years I’ve run Ultimate Rob (www.ultimaterob.com). In that time, I’ve published roughly 50 articles and posted more than 60 videos. My goal when I started the website was for it to be the go to website for ultimate frisbee but very quickly I realized that it wasn’t feasible – both from a time perspective on my side and from a searching perspective from a user side. I decided to instead focus on writing articles and filming videos that would help people very simply “Play Ultimate Better”.

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.

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.

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.

Free Throw Analysis – Send Me Your Throwing Videos!

I’ve been working on an idea for the past little while since I’ve had a lot of requests from fans via email to help with their throws.

As much as they try to describe what their problem is, I truly believe that if someone knew exactly what was wrong, then they could fix it.

So what I’m offering is a free throwing analysis. Send me a video of you throwing including a description of what you’d like to work on to rob@ultimaterob.com and I’ll send you back my thoughts and suggestions on what you can improve.

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.

The Basics of Forcing in Ultimate

If you’re a regular visitor then you’ll know that my focus has been primarily on throwing. In my videos, in my articles and on my dvd, I consider throwing to be the most important part of ultimate. A team full of good throwers/catchers can beat any team since ultimate is a game of possession (in the most general sense).

However, I’m going to start including more videos and articles that delve into the other aspects of ultimate which are also very important and will go a long way in making you a better overall player. I will also provide resources which coaches/captains will find useful in trying to teach new players the game of ultimate.

Ultimate Quick Tips Reference Checklist

I’ve done a lot of reading of other blogs, books, and I’ve talked to a lot of people for many hours about ultimate. In all of that time, I’ve come up with a bit of a quick reference checklist that I think will help any level of player, captain and team before going into a practice, game, and especially a tournament.

Let me know what you think of my list of tips. What ones should I add?

  1. Shake the confidence of the other team by scoring on hucks

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.

Thoughts on the Pre Game Warmup

Ever since I started playing sports, one thing I’ve loved has been the pre game warmup. When I played hockey, we’d come onto the ice to ACDC, Metallia and Guns ‘n Roses and go through our warmup drills. I remember how pumped I’d get from doing the same drills before every game. It helped calm the nerves, helped me warm up and helped me get into the right mindset to focus on the game.

The same is true for any sport.

Basketball, volleyball, soccer can all have similar warmups to hockey with loud music and the usual warmup drills.