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Complete Every Huck

by Gwen Ambler

I think a lot of people focus too much on how to throw the disc far rather than on how to complete their hucks. A lot of time, players will spend hours practicing throwing the disc really far, but then they don't make disciplined decisions during a game about when to use those hucks. There are three questions to ask yourself before unleashing any bomb if you want to increase the chances of completing that huck: 

1. Does the cutter have separation? I am a proponent of throwing to separation rather than throwing to match-ups. Sure, how much separation a player needs to be considered "open" will vary from person to person based on their speed, height, and hops relative to their defender. But the bottom line is that any cutter needs some steps deep on their defender for it to be a good decision to put up a bomb to them. That separation is a cushion that will allow them to get position for any less-than-perfect throw, increasing the chances of completing your huck even if you don't execute your pass quite the way you envisioned it. 

2. Are you adhering to the "rule of thirds" with this huck? As a cutter, it is easiest to read and catch a huck when you can approach the disc from a different angle than the flight path of the disc. As such, the teams I've been a part of have emphasized the "rule of thirds" for setting up hucks. Basically, if you divide the field lengthwise into thirds, for any deep shot either the cutting path of the receiver or the flightpath of the disc needs to cross from one third into another third of the field. If you stick to this rule, you will avoid the temptation of throwing a huck down the sideline to an "open" cutter who is also cutting down that sideline with a narrow window of opportunity to complete the pass. You will also throw to space more often and give the receiver the maximum time to read the disc, out-maneuver her defender, and attack the frisbee—especially important if the pass wasn't perfectly thrown. 

3. Is the point where the receiver can catch a pass in-stride within your throwing range? Notice, I said, "Where the receiver can catch a pass in-stride" not, "Where the receiver is." Hucks often get underthrown when the thrower misgauges how far away the receiver will be when they'll be making the catch. Just like you want to lead cutters on shorter cuts, you want to be able to lead deep receivers as well. Obviously, increasing the distance you can consistently throw the disc will increase the number of hucking opportunities for which you can answer "yes" to this question. Ideally, you want to work on your long throws such that you can put more distance on the disc without needing to think "I have to throw this pass really far." Often players' throwing form falls apart when they think they have to do something different to throw the disc farther. When you only throw within your range, you are more likely to be able to execute the pass the way you wanted. 

Drills to practice long throws should be set up in a way to allow the throwers to also practice answering these three questions quickly and accurately, which includes having a defender present on the deep cut. 

When working on your throws by yourself in a big open field, practice your throwing mechanics: gripping the disc tightly, staying balanced on your throw, generating torque through twisting your torso and hips, and snapping your wrist as hard as possible. You should imagine a cutter running for each huck as you put it up and then evaluate whether the disc took the flight path and landed where you envisioned. 

huddle Issue 10 Throwing For Distance

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008
Complete Every Huck
by Gwen Ambler

Find Your Chris Page
by Lou Burruss

Face A Mark
by Jeremy Cram

My Secrets For Throwing Farther
by Parker Krug

Long Backhands
by Miranda Roth

Advice For Improvement
by Kirk Savage

My 2¢ On Hucking
by Nancy Sun

Starting Body Mechanics Early
by Paul Vandenberg




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