An easy guide to throw a backhand in Ultimate Frisbee. You will learn how to use the right grip, make it stable and throw far. These are tips that helped me to improve my backhand. I will update this post every time I find a new trick.
How to throw a backhand?
- Use the right grip
- Move your whole body to accelerate the disc
- Flick your wrist
- Keep the disc stable during the throw
- Start slow and increase speed step by step
The right grip
When I started Ultimate, I just played, but soon I developed my usual competitiveness and wanted to get better. I started watching YouTube videos (a lot of them). And in the beginning focused on how to grip the Disc.
This is my new improved grip. More stability and better control over the release.
Here you can see my old grip. Sometimes the Frisbee got stuck at my index finger when I wanted to release the disc.
My current grip is having the fingers completely inside sort of stretched and the thumb on top. Because in the beginning, I grabbed the Disc with the fingertips on the rim inside.
When I threw the Disc, sometimes it sticked to my index finger, and then it went off completely to the right. I couldn’t release it in time. Now I try to have my finger straight in there. So that my fingers touch the inside and not the rim.This helped me a lot to improve my backhand in Ultimate.
Get the movement down
For the backhand and any other technique it’s important to try it out a lot. Just play catch with a friend. When you throw the Disc 1000 times, you get the technique down and you can always try different things. Ultimate Frisbee is about trying yourself out!
The next important thing is, that you make the complete movement with your arm. Use every joint of your arm to throw the disc.
- Bend your wrist
- Bend your elbow
- Bend your shoulder
- Turn your spine
By bending every joint, you are able to store energy. Which is then used to accelerate the disc. Remember to to flick your wrist at the end! As you would use a whip. This will make the disc stable.
Try to overdo the movements in the beginning. Make sure you do it on an open field, with just a friend. Because in the beginning the Frisbee will end up somewhere far off. But if you continue, you will get better at it fast. Then you can tune the right amount of force for every distance.
But remember, in the Ultimate game long throws don’t matter that much.
Keep it flat, dude!
Now that you know how to use the right grip and the movement in ultimate frisbee, you can adjust other details.
My problem in the beginning and still to this date is, that on hard throws the disc tips over. Especially while doing the throw-off (start of every point where you throw the disc to the other team).
I didn’t find the ultimate formula yet! Eighter the disc tips over or it lacks power and won’t make it to the other side. But here are some tips that helped me so far to improve my throws.
To avoid the disc from tipping over during an Ultimate Frisbee game, I focus on my movement from the beginning on. I use three factors to adjust my throw:
- Energy storing phase (the way back)
- Acceleration of the disc
- The Release
Energy storing phase (the way back)
As mentioned above, this is the stage where we store energy in the body. Try in the ultimate game, when you catch the frisbee, to bend your wrist already on the way back or already after your catch. When you want to throw you already used the complete range in your wrist to accelerate the disc.
Acceleration of the disc
Now it’s time to open up all the retracted joints to create speed and power. But don’t forget to focus how you move the frisbee. It’s important to keep the disc flat. This avoids any unwanted movements in the disc at the time of the release.
Try to practice the movement very slowly. Step by step you can try to get it faster. Once your body saved the movement, it is able to recreate it under any condition. Even in a fast game of Ultimate Frisbee
This is what impacts the steadiness of our throw the most! This is all about the right wrist movement. And this is the so called flick at the and. Imagine you use a whip. Flick your wrist hard at the end of the throw. The disc will start to rotate and this makes it stable.
If the disc still tips over when you throw you can try to release it with an angle. In the pictures below you can see in which direction you can turn the disc.
By pointing the frisbee to the ground you counter the movement the disc gets from your body. It’s normal, that you release the disc with a slight rotation to the right.
A great backhand in Ultimate is a mixture out of grip, movement and disc angle. In short: grip the disc with stretched fingers to avoid wobble and missed targets, use your whole body to accelerate the frisbee and focus to keep the disc flat during the movement. And most importantly flick the wrist.
If you combine practicing with a friend to get the technique down with real Ultimate Frisbee game experience, you throw amazing backhands even under pressure.
Do you have any tips I didn’t mention?
If you liked this post check out my other ones about Ultimate on my blog.