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Eliminate The Unforced Turnover

by Mike Whitaker

Catching technique and practice are often overlooked components of player development. Catching instructions generally begin and end with a demonstration of the pancake catch and calls to "use two hands," with players left to their own devices to improve their catching through repetitions. As a coach of Kali (the University of Colorado Women's team), I have developed a more proactive approach to teaching catching. 

The reason for this is that drops are unforced turnovers that are preventable. Defenses are good enough at the highest levels of the game that they will consistently take the disc away from your offense. The difference between good and elite teams often comes down to who makes the fewest unforced turnovers. The corollary to that is saving turnovers, not through making the spectacular layout catch, but by increasing the margin of error for your throwers by consistently catching the discs that aren't quite thrown perfectly. The combination of eliminating easy drops and making the slightly difficult catch more often can have a huge impact on the success of your team against similarly talented competition. 

Here are some drills that I use to work specifically on catching. 

1. First, I talk to my team about when to catch with the thumb up versus thumb down when catching one handed, with the hand position switching at approximately shoulder height. 

2. Then, I have them do a set of tens, with ten throws each of inside out forehands, inside out backhands, outside in forehands, and outside in backhands. Each throw must be caught one-handed with the hand on the side of the body where the disc arrives so that receivers get used to catching one-handed lefty and righty with discs arriving at different angles. 

3. The next step is working on catching while moving. I begin by having the player run straight at me and I throw the disc at them with some zip to get them used to catching a disc that has some speed on it. They can catch with either one or two hands in this drill. Five catches each. 

4. Then they run from left to right at a 45 degree angle toward the disc and I put the disc out in front so they have to catch it left handed. Five catches then switch to a right to left cut with right handed catches. 

5. Finally, I have the players make a 45 degree cut from left to right going away from the disc. I throw the disc out in front and high so they have to make high left handed grabs. Five catches each then switch the cutting direction to use the right hand. 

Try these drills with your team and note the numbers of drops (any time the disc touches a hand and isn't caught) and then see if you can improve throughout the course of your season.

huddle Issue 8 Catching

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Anticipation & Focus
by Gwen Ambler

Making It Routine
by Tully Beatty

Teaching Catching: Two Drills
by Lou Burruss

Honing Your Weaknesses
by Matt Dufort

Regimented Catching Practice
by Adam Goff

Practice Ideas
by Greg Husak

Getting An Extra Foot Of Space
by Miranda Roth

Catching The Pull & Transitions
by Nancy Sun

Body Positioning On The Comeback Cut
by Chris Talarico

DiscTiny  Eliminate The Unforced Turnover
by Mike Whitaker




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