30 September 2010

Forehand grip angles

Rob shows how lots of forehand snap equals more spin on the disc.

The part I am interested in is the plane of the disc: like many experienced ultimate players, just before throwing, the disc is held vertical or past the vertical. At release, it is horizontal.

Beginner forehands usually have too much outside in, because the thrower rolls their wrist over: palm up to palm down. Expert forehands are thrown flat, generally because the wrist rolls the opposite way: palm down to palm up.

Try it now without a disc.

Yet who has ever taught players this, after they have mastered the GSWAP basics of throwing?

My big question is how early (first lesson, first month, first year) do we need to teach this wrist roll to those learning ultimate? I know some experienced players who need to try it, to see if their forehands will benefit.

It starts with holding the disc vertical, or even partly upside down. Like Dan does here.


  1. That's a good hint! I'll have to teach throwing forehands to absolute beginners again this winter and I've never thought about the grip angle in this way - but it's actually the way I throw forehands myself.

    Thanks for the tip and keep on posting :)

  2. Thanks for that Owen - I reckon that will be a really effective teaching cue.

  3. Anonymous7:40 am

    Thanks for the link. But the post on that site describes the opposite of what you say- that experts go palm down as they throw and beginners twist palm up. That's what I remember doing as a beginner, too, so that I've always told beginners to hinge at the wrist and minimize wrist roll at the snap.

  4. Owen,

    I have another video that talks about the Planes of the Forehand: http://www.ultimaterob.com/2010/04/14/planes-of-the-forehand-throwing-tips/

  5. Teach it immediately. The grip I show beginners has the disc "drooping" - the exact opposite of what's shown in the photo. As the palm rotates from palm up to palm down, it brings the disc to level, and, well, flat flick flies far.

  6. I just tell folks to finish palm up. That starting position, while common, isn't a universal--my wicked IO starts being held rather flatter.

  7. @SStowi You're right. I think GSWAP needs to be updated, so I've posted about how to improve it. I'm sure I'll have even more new perspectives down the road.

  8. @Rob I think you are right about keeping the disc on the same plane throughout the forward motion (backswing can be different). I am saying, and I think you also demonstrate, that the angle of the disc relative to the ground changes through the swing. Or are you saying plane is the same as angle?

    @Mike Not all elite throwers start with the disc vertical as they swing forward on their forehands - but a strong majority do. Finishing with palm up is a key point either way. Starting with palm down pulls your elbow back giving you more swing through (and likewise, pulling your elbow back tilts your palm down).