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Forehand grip
I am a very strong believer in the so-called "beginner grip" for the forehand - that is, with the index finger pointed towards the center of the disk. For a long time I felt it was unjustly denigrated and was as good as the "power grip", but the more I think on it the more I think it is not just as good, but actually better in most circumstances. It is true the "power grip" gives significantly more power. When you want to throw a long forehand it may be better to use this grip. Most throws are short, and the "beginner grip" provides plenty of power for these throws.

There are 2 major advantages that come with having the finger towards the middle. One, of course, is stability. Even on a windy day the disk will remain firmly in your grip as you prepare to throw, giving better control.

As important is the throwing position. With the index finger supporting the disc, the throw can come from farther away from the body, making it harder to block. It also makes it easier to throw around a force. The power grip is thrown with the elbow right at the waist. This makes it far more vulnerable to interference by a good marker.

There are 2 situations where I use the power grip on my forehands. One, of course, is to throw long, though as most who played me can relate, I very rarely exceed my control zone of about 40 meters.

The other is on a wet day, when the disc is slippery. The power grip allows you to pinch the disc, which helps keep it from slipping off your hand as you throw.

In summary, I consider the 2 grips to be different throws with different purposes - and the beginner grip is the one that is the better in most circumstances.


Throwing Off
It is fairly important that everyone get on his man as quickly as possible on the throw off. The reason is that there should be no gaps in the defense. If one person lags behind, his man is open, potentially allowing a pass behind those defenders already in position.

By the same token, you should be careful about overrunning the other defenders. Sprinting down to attack the first throw is great, especially if it works, but if you get down ahead of the other defenders a relatively easy throw to someone wide open behind you will suddenly leave you in the position of having to catch up from behind.


Receiving the Throwoff
On a throwoff the offense may have an opportunity for one or more free throws before the defense is down to harass them. It is best to use these throws to gain an advantage. The following points should be kept in mind for making the selection (it is not always possible to follow all of them).

  • try to throw across field as well as down field. The defense is setting up for the disc in the current location. If you throw it straight up the defensive angles do not really change, it just allows them to be in position faster. If the throw is across the field then the angles all change, which can prolong the interval of being unguarded.
  • if there is a crosswind, make the free passes to the upwind side of the field.
  • do not throw to the receiver farthest up the field. If you do, before advancing the disc he will need to wait for someone else to run past him, stopping the offensive flow. Several offensive players should head straight downfield so the offense is capable of using the whole length of the field as soon as possible.
  • do not hold the disc. This gives the defense a chance to come down and set up, at which point the offense needs to try to break it.
  • do not throw a dangerous pass. It is better to disobey the previous point than to make a risky throw that might be a turnover.
  • it is best if the last unguarded throw is to a handler, so when the real offense starts it is with the main playmaker. The last unguarded throw may be the first, or it may be a later one.


Set Plays
In general, formal set plays are not that useful. One of the strengths of the offense is its flexibility, and trying to force a set play overrides this strength. The major exception is when the disc is right near the end zone, when the danger of clogging is too great. At this point something akin to a stack, where everyone clears out and leaves an open field for a cutter to go one-on-one, is very effective.


Hammers
A good hammer can be a valuable weapon, but most hammers are not good. In the section on zone, I credit the rise of the hammer as being one reason my favorite zone is deceased for good.

The problem I see in Beijing is that too many people try to throw what they don't have, and the result is that hammers complete at about a 10% rate - and many of those are floating Hail-Marys to someone whose defender is loafing 30 meters downfield.

A second problem with hammers is that it is not easy to pivot between another throw and a hammer. The thrower usually decides he is going to throw a hammer, and sets up for it. Any open cuts for forehand or backhand that show up then are wasted. If this happens too often the teammates will get discouraged and cut less and less, causing the offense to stall.

Finally, hammers are often surprisingly easy to block, at least for a fairly tall marker. Many people do not even consider a hammer can be blocked, but for most releases a single hand up in the air is sufficient.


Two Hands!
Of course there is nothing wrong with catching two-handed. But there is nothing wrong with catching one-handed either. At least, if a player throws enough to have confidence in his hands there is nothing wrong with it. A vanishingly small of drops will occur in either case.

An advantage of catching one-handed is that if your instinct is to go with one hand, there may be an occasional catch where you will first reach with 2 hands and find you do not have the reach, and there is not time to switch to 1. However, I would never advice a two-handed catcher to switch to one hand, but don't think there is a strong reason to go the other way either.

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