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Strong Body Mechanics Early

by Paul Vandenberg

Hailing from Paideia I probably started throwing a frisbee earlier than most. In 4th grade I was learning push passes, thumbers, and scoobers from Coach Baccarini in addition to the more conventional flicks, backhands, and hammers. As soon as I picked up a disc I wanted to know how I could throw farther, faster, and better. But it wasn't until my senior year in high school that I was able to figure out how to throw deep with consistency from both the backhand and forehand side. Part of the delayed development was certainly attributable to regaining coordination after growth spurts, but a large part of figuring out how to throw deep was studying the mechanics of great long throwers and understanding what characteristics of their mechanics I could employ. 

My career at the high school, college, and club levels has been built on my ability to stretch the defense by throwing it really far. Over the last ten years I've learned while every person and body type throws deep differently there are mechanical fundamentals that can help everyone improve their hucking. 

1. Grip
To be a good thrower at any distance you must hold the disc in such a way that you are able to throw smoothly and comfortably without any wobbles upon release. This becomes especially important when throwing deep because a clean release can be be the difference between a nice pass out to space and a swill hospital pass that sails out of bounds. A key to the grip when throwing deep is holding the disc tighter so that your release is more snappy. Find your own comfortable and tight grip for your flick and your backhand and then practice it. Practice switching from one grip to the other, pivoting, and faking. If you always have a disc in your hands your new long-bomb tight grip will become second nature. 

2. Wrist
For Happy Gilmore it was all in the hips, but for throwing it's all in the wrist. The harder and faster you can snap your wrist while throwing, the faster and farther you will be able to throw. To work your flick wrist snap try throwing 5 yard blades with a partner without moving anything except your wrist. Attempt to get as many revolutions on the disc within those 5 yards as possible. To work on your backhand wrist snap you can use a similar drill and throw five yard backhands only using your wrist or you can take a deck of cards and whip them Gambit style one by one at a corner in your room. It sounds silly, but if you don't have a clean and tight wrist snapping motion the cards are going to flutter around the room instead of zoom into the corner like they should. 

3. Arm
Once you've mastered the grip and wrist the next level of throwing is working on your arm mechanics and follow through. If you can generate some serious arm speed you are going to be able to launch the frisbee a long way. Some of the greatest huckers in the game can throw 60 or more yards using no body movement because the speed they generate with their arm, the power of their wrist snap, and the smoothness of their grip work harmoniously and efficiently. Practice isolating your arm motion by throwing from your knees with a partner 20 yards away. It will feel strange at first, but once it gets more comfortable start throwing faster and faster while making sure that your release is always clean and throws are never wobbly. Push ups, pull ups, dips, and military presses are also exercises that will help your arms get stronger and more capable of creating the desired velocity on your throws. 

4. Body
This last mechanical fundamental in deep throwing is the most complicated. It is also the one for which there is the greatest diversity amongst even the best bombers. Some players rock from their heels to a forward step when they throw deep while others pivot extremely wide. Still there are others who step backwards to generatetheir throwing momentum while a few may not pivot at all. Each of these styles, from both the backhand and flick side, deserve exploration until you find the one that fits you and your body type the best. All things being equal pivoting wide to the side is the best because it gets you far away from the mark. The general truths for using your body when hucking are that you need to find a stance that will enable to have your balance at all times, but will also help you to create an absurd amount of torque. Try throwing disc golf discs as far as you can to work on your backhand body mechanics. The smaller, heavier discs cause you to exaggerate your windup and can help workout kinks. If nothing else they can boost the ego since they will fly much farther than normal frisbees. For the flick side I have no cool exercise suggestions but keep in mind that your forehand can go much farther if you get your core involved productively. To that end, any core strengthening exercises that you do will help your overall athleticism as well as your hucking. 

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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