The Art of Ultimate Frisbee


Frisbee throwers are a regular at local parks or beaches, often accompanied by a dog.  There is a lot to this throwing back and forth.  I’ll explain:

Having thrown frisbees multiple times with friends in the schoolyard, and being able to throw accurately, I thought I had mastered all there was to it.  How wrong I was.

I joined the La Trobe University Ultimate Frisbee Club (nicknamed LATUUF) this year, in search of trying a new sport.  After having a few throws with some of the members, I decided to take it up.  And I’ve learned a lot since my first session earlier this year.  Forehands, backhands, hammers, strips, zones, cuts, stacks: I’ve learned them all.

In terms of throwing a frisbee, a key factor in its flight is spin.  The more revolutions you get, the more accurate the throw (or pass) will be.  Some throws will require more power or flick in the wrist, while others require arm movement.

The backhand is the most basic (and therefore easiest) throw.  When throwing, the frisbee will be thrown across your body, with your throwing hand (standing side on) your front hand.  Similar to a golf swing, you pull the frisbee back and follow through, ensuring to put plenty of spin on the frisbee, while holding it straight when throwing to keep the throw flat.

The forehand takes a little longer to master.  It involves more wrist movement and less arm motion.  When throwing, your throwing leg (same side as your throwing hand) will step outwards to the side, and you release the frisbee with a flick.  You throwing arm will stay relatively close to your body.

The scuba and hammer are quite similar.  A scuba is released from over your opposite shoulder, while the hammer is released from over your throwing shoulder.  the top of the frisbee will face towards you.  Holding a gun like grip on the rim (similar to a forehand), the frisbee will fly upside-down.  Hammers are mainly used as last-ditch throws, or to get distance.

The actual game of ultimate, in terms of the playing field, is similar to soccer (football).  However, the field is narrower, and scoring zones are marked out by lines.  There are two teams with seven people on the field from each team at any one time.  Each point starts with a “pull” (one person will throw the disc down the field), and the team that scores the point becomes the “defense” team for the next point, and wins the pull.  The offense team receives the pull and tries to push the frisbee into their attacking zone.  A turnover can see the frisbee change to the other team.

These are the basic rules of both throwing a frisbee, and the game of ultimate.

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