Ultimate Frisbee Throws
All Ultimate Frisbee Throws
There are many different ways to throw a frisbee, all wielding their own unique characteristics. It is up to the thrower to choose from an arsenal of different throwing techniques to get the frisbee into the opposing end zone as efficiently as possible. Below is a glossary of various Ultimate Frisbee throws ranging from the most basic to advanced throwing. This is the best way to learn how to throw, so let’s get started.. (All throws will be explained as if you are right handed)
The three most used throws in Ultimate are the backhand, forehand, and hammer throw. Know them and practice them for they are the most useful throws in a competitive environment.
The easiest and probably most commonly used throw. It is the most generic and natural way to throw a disc. You will put four fingers in the cup of the disc with your thumb on top. If you are a righty you would stand straight up, twist to the left, bend your wrist and elbow in front of you so they are in front of the disc. Then un-do all of that in one steady motion releasing the disc. Try to keep the disc as level as possible and to give it spin. Remember that most of the spin comes from bending your wrist then snapping it. I exaggerated the throw by pulling back far and extending my arm after the throw to help show the motion. As you get better you will use less wind-up and less extension. Backhand can be used for short, medium, and long-range passing.
A flick is easy, but takes some practice and commitment. This is the most efficient throw in Ultimate because it uses the least amount of energy and can be thrown in milliseconds. Put 2 fingers (Pointer & middle) under the disc and your thumb on top. Throw as if you were trying to skip a flat rock on water. Keeping the disc parallel with the ground is really important. The key element to the flick throw is the spin you put on the disc. Do this by pulling your wrist as far back as it will go and snapping it forward while bringing your arm through the motion. The disc should wrap around and “fling” off your two fingers. I guarantee it will take a few hundred tries to perfect. It will be worth the time. We have an entire page dedicated to teaching beginners how to flick. Good for short, medium, and long range.
– Learn the fundamentals
– wrist snap technique
– easy to understand
– GIF images for clarification
Very useful when the time is right. The hammer throw can be lofted over the defense and landed directly onto the intended teammate. It is also good when someone is marking you hard and nearing the end of the stall count. You can easily throw is over the marker if need be. To throw a hammer (righty) simply pretend like you are throwing an axe. First, hold the disc with your pointer and middle finger on the inner side of the disc, your thumb on the other side. (It is typically held the same way as a Flick. The top of the disc should be facing your left side. Tilt the top of the disc slightly to the left side to give it an angle. Pull back and release the disc when it gets even with your forehead, keep your elbow bent at all times. If done right the disc should start out tilted and slowly turn upside-down. The disc should land completely upside down on its face because it makes it more predictable and easier to catch for you teammate. If the disc corkscrews then you are probably throwing at too much of an angle for for that particular distance. You should use less tilt for far ranges and more for short ranges. Good for all ranges but works best at medium-range.
Need a disc? The disc used in these videos is a USA Ultimate approved 175-gram Ultrastar, which is widely used in Ultimate Frisbee. You can find a variety of cheap Ultrastars by clicking this link to Amazon.com.
Advanced Ultimate Throws
Alright, so we have been over the basics. But sometimes a situation will call for a little more spice. All of these “advanced” throws are variations of the 3 most common throws listed above. So it is important to learn the basics before you try harder frisbee throws. These throws take much more skill but with practice anything can be done! (All throws will be explained as if you are right handed)
High Release Backhand
Much more complicated then a regular backhand. A high release is done with an almost straight arm above the shoulder. Most of the discs propulsion will come solely from the wrist in a snapping motion. Should be thrown with an almost straight arm at a 45 degree angle. Most of the discs forward motion will be from snapping your wrist for spin. Very effective if you are tall. The video shows the throw being released very high, this is the extreme. In reality you should be releasing it just over the marks shoulder. This throw is for short-range passing but it is possible for medium-range passing with practice.
Low Release Backhand
A little easier than the high release, but still difficult. A low release follows the same arm motion as a regular backhand. But it is meant to be released just a few inches from the ground, the closer the better. One would have to take a big lunge outward and reach low. Takes a lot of practice because the ol’ knee tends to get in the way. Be sure to give the disc a slight upward angle to keep it from hitting the ground. This throw is useful because it goes under the reach of a stalling defensive player. Can be used for short, medium-range, and long range if you get good with it.
High Release Flick
Difficult to maneuver but very useful if done right. With a straight arm at a 45 degree angle above the shoulder flick your wrist in the same motion as a normal flick. Keep the disc as level with the ground as possible. The disc will not want to cooperate so make sure to have the best grip you can and to throw it quickly. This is tough and can only be learned through trial and error. The video shows the throw being released very high, this is the extreme. In reality you should be releasing it just over the marks shoulder. Remember that most of the disc’s propulsion comes from the wrist snap and not much from the arm. Short range only.
Low Release Flick
This will probably be the hardest throw to learn, it always is. Take a big long lunge to the side your throwing on and sink as low as possible. The goal is to release a flick just inches from the ground in hopes of going under a defenders swinging arms. When throwing, your elbow should just barely make it past your knee. You want to release it at an upward angle so it doesn’t skid across the ground. When I do it, I point my right foot outward so I can bend my knee back to give my arm room to make the throw. In the image to the left it appears that the disc touches the grass but I assure you it does not (since that would result in a turnover). The wind created by the disc is what moves the grass. Make sure not to touch your left knee or right hand to the ground since the rules state that three contact points may not touch the ground and will result in a call. The low-release is used by a lot of pro’s for it’s many advantage. Very effective at all ranges.
With your thumb in the cup of the disc and all four fingers on top stretch your arm out. Your arm should be straight and parallel with the ground with the disc as far away from your shoulder as possible. Pull your straight arm back and bend your wrist back as far as it goes to charge up the throw and spring it forward (still parallel with the ground). When bringing your arm forward you should release everything you have done in one fluid motion. Note that the disc’s spin comes from “flinging” it off of your thumb located in the cup of the disc. The easiest way to learn is to just watch the video to the right about 20 times, you’ll pick it up. This throw is mostly good to get around a stalling defender. Most players don’t throw this because is tough to make it accurate and catchable. Good for short/medium range.
Awesome throw for indoors. This throw is thrown differently by everybody so I’ll teach my way. With a slightly bent arm hold the disc like a backhand at a downward 45 degree angle in front of you. Bend your knees a little bit. In one motion lift up your arm and straighten it, unbend your knees, and give the disc a tiny bit of spin as you release it upward. I give it spin by just snapping my thumb to the left, there is barely any wrist or arm involved in the spin (it shouldn’t look like a backhand throw). By you unbending your arm slightly you should have given the disc some forward thrust. If done right the disc will be level and go up about 15 feet then back down, still level, and land about 10-20 feet away. I like it because you can float in right over a defender in front of you. NOT good for outdoors because it is greatly affected by wind since there is very little spin. Only short range.
Commonly used in indoor Ultimate. You hold the frisbee like a backhand but more lined up with the shoulder you are throwing from. When throwing a backhand righty the disc rotates clockwise. You want a push pass to do the same. So push your hand a little to the left shoulder, spinning the disc clockwise as you push and giving it a little momentum. A push pass is only for short range but its a nice quick throw. I like to use it when looking to the left end push passing it to a handler on the right. Not recommended for outdoors because the wind affect it greatly due to the lack of spin/power.
The roller throw can be both fun and effective. But don’t try rolling the frisbee to a teammate in the middle of a game, that will be an obvious turnover. The only real use for the Roller throw is when pulling the disc, which is why the lines are blurred between a real throw and a Trick throw. The Roller is when a player purposely throws a hard blade that stays relatively near the ground then lands and continues to roll straight until it loses momentum. If the disc rolls on the pull the opposing team must start the play from where the disc stops (within the field). The goal of the throw is to hope someone tries to stop the rolling disc, touches it, fails, and the disc rolls out the back of the end zone. In this case the opposing team will have to take it from the back of the end zone (which is bad for them, really bad). Not to mention it is also fun watching everyone on the team scramble to try to stop the disc.
To throw the roller with a backhand you must angle the disc at a 70 degree angle (a little less than vertical). That means you have to get your body under the disc a little by starting the backhand near your opposite shoulder. If this is a flat disc.. — you want the disc to be more like.. \ . A forehand throw (as shown to the right) would be the same idea but flipped, like…. / . Essentially, it is just an extremely angled flick. The disc should land 20-50 feet away from you and be almost vertical, if it is too vertical it will immediately start doing a circle which is bad. If done right the disc will roll as far, if not further, than you can regularly throw it. This throw is also good for windy days since it can go further than a regular backhand or flick.
A close ancestor to the hammer. It is not thrown with the disc over the head. Stand upright facing the direction you want to throw the disc. Pivot on your left foot and turn almost 180 degrees so your back is now facing where you want to throw. You should still be able to see your target. Hold the disc upside down, like a hammer, and throw it with your arm slightly bent and at a slight upward angle from the ground. This is a lot easier then I am making it sound. If you can do a hammer you can do a scoober. It’s great for quick short range passes. Very commonly used in indoor Ultimate or scoring a quick point when close to the end zone.
The advantage of this throw is that it is thrown much quicker than a hammer with all the advantages of a hammer, minus the range.
The flight path of this throw resembles a hammer. Grasp the disc with your thumb on the inside and four fingers on the outside. Put your arm out to the side and have your forearm at a 45 degree angle. You should be holding the disc upside-down with your thumb on top. The disc should also be at a slightly greater angle than your arm. Pull your wrist all the way back along with your forearm. Flick your wrist foreword while rolling the frisbee off your thumb. If done right the disc will fly through the air at a slight angle and slowly work its way horizontal causing it to land landing upside down, like a hammer. Mostly used for medium range.
Throwing with Thumb
This throw is fairly useless in my opinion. Not like the Thumber. To throw this put your arm parallel with the ground, bend your elbow 90 degrees upward, and put your thumb inside the disc. The disc should be between your head and hand. Give it some momentum with your arm and spin it off your thumb like your turning a doorknob that is above you. This throw is easily blocked and everybody can see you adjusting the frisbee on your thumb so they know it’s coming. Good for medium/long range.
This throw is extremely rare, most don’t have the balls to do it in a real game. It is a combination of throwing with the thumb and the hammer. To throw this you would hold the disc upside down and above your head like a hammer. But to give it spin you twirl it off your thumb like the “Throwing with thumb” listed above. I guess this would be good for medium range. The advantage is that it stays low to the ground unlike it predecessor (the hammer) that is more lofty. In my opinion, any other throw will be more efficient than this one.
All GIF images are created with Imgflip.com.
15 more awesome Ultimate Frisbee Throws on the next page!