24 May 2011

Signs of not using the elbow

Here are some signs of a player not using their elbow when throwing a forehand
  • The disc turns over in flight (too much outside in)
  • The player thrusts their hips forward and shoulders back as they throw a forehand.
  • The elbow remains close to the waist before or after the throw.
  • The player cannot throw a wide forehand. 
  • The player is using a split finger grip (so they can hold the disc out horizontally, without it flopping down). Holding the disc vertically removes this need.
Any others?

To correct this, the player can hold the disc vertically, with their elbow out from their body and back.

Practise a forehand throwing motion several times and then throw, emphasising two things:
  1. Rolling your wrist under, not over, so it finishes palm up
  2. Moving your elbow through

14 May 2011

Practice your action

Tiger Woods, maybe the best golfer ever, practises his golf swing action just before every shot.

Steve Nash, maybe the best shooter in basketball ever, practises his free throw action just before every free throw.

Here's the idea behind it.

What do you do before each pull?

Video analysis

After 10 years of pondering why some people struggle to throw forehands, watching video gave me numerous new insights.

Every ultimate player who wants to play at an elite level needs to watch some basic footage of themselves. Start with throwing. Then you can move onto game footage, and footage of other skills like marking, guarding, positioning for high discs, cutting and laying out.

Even better: organise a videographer for your team for a training or tournament.

Replay and slow-motion give you a chance to see what you only glimpse in real time.

There's a reason dozens of people around the world get paid to edit footage of sports for coaches: video helps you learn how you and your opponents play. And feedback is critical to improvement.

1 May 2011

Fixing that forehand

There are 5 fundamental points to throwing a disc: grip, stance, snapping your wrist, angling the disc and pointing on the follow-through.

You can remember it as GSWAP.

Rob and Brodie have demonstrated these points or similar ones.

But have you seen players whose forehands curve over with too much outside in? Despite you mentioning these points? Do they look like this?

GSWAP needs an update.

Number 1: rolling your wrist under, not over

Number 2: moving your elbow through.

These two ideas are linked.

You can practice the first point now: hold a disc (or an imaginary one) in forehand grip, but hold it vertically so your palm faces down. Pretend to throw, and finish with your palm up. This counteracts the outside-in curve that is a regular problem.

To assist this correct rotation, you need to use your elbow. If your elbow is locked in next to your waist, rolling your wrist under is awkward - your wrist prefers to roll over from palm up to palm down.

So free your elbow!

Get into forehand stance again. Hold a disc in forehand grip with your palm down. But this time start with your elbow out, back and bent at 90°.

As you swing your elbow forward, you have more power. Your wrist will more naturally rotate under, from palm down to palm up. Follow through with your palm up.

It looks more like this.

Or you can watch Rob and Brodie

Here are the 5 updated fundamental points to throwing a forehand: grip, stance, rolling your wrist under with snap, swing the elbow, and pointing palm up on the follow-through. You can remember it as GSWEP.

Thanks to Mama for demonstrating the throws.