Tuesday, May 10, 2005

CTG-Flick Question

I've started actually working on the guide and I'm realizing that this could really end up being a lot of work...so it might take longer than I was initially anticipating.

Anyway, my question is about flick grip/wrist snap. From talking to people, it sounds like most of us have given up on telling beginners to use the split finger approach. We're going to want them to switch to both fingers on the rim eventually, so why waste time? I'm wondering how you teach players to grip the frisbee beyond that. The AFDA site shows some different grips. If you look at the power grip, you'll notice that the pads of the fingers are pressed against the rim. I've only seen a few players actually hold their flick like this though - the one that jumps out at me is Martha. Using this grip, she can throw the disc a mile, but has always struggled with control. That seems to be the trend with players who throw like this (I guess this shouldn't be too surprising as it is called the power grip) On the other extreme, we have a couple of players on Chain who hold the disc with their palms facing up. Goodson and Trapp both do this, neither on of them can throw the big flick, but they both have very quick releases and are able to throw the invert very well. I find that my own grip is somewhere in between - my finger pads aren't quite squared up on the rim, they're slightly tilted upward towards the top of the disc. My grip is probably closer to the power grip than the other grip though. I have an easier time throwing the big flick than throwing the inside out flick. Has anyone else noticed this? Which grip is better?


Miriam said...

Over the years, I have taught a lot of women how to throw a forehand.

I have found that there is not one single good way to do it, mostly because each person seems to have their own unique set of difficulties.

I'll just list some things that I've found to be common and/or useful.

I try to teach the two-finger right away. This is sometimes hard for women with really small hands, so I sometimes suggest that they try the split finger.

I always tell people to put the pad of their finger on the flat edge of the disc. Not in the corner, not on the flat underside. This might not be the best approach. But, I'm pretty sure this is where I put the pad of my finger.

Even though I use a power grip, I have never been able to throw a forehand very far, but within say 40 yards, I can put it just about anywhere and with any angle. So maybe my grip is good for control but not distance.

Anyway, back to teaching.

The trouble often starts when they try to figure out where to put the rest of their fingers and hand. If the flight of the disc is very strange, it might be because extra fingers or hand parts are hitting the disc during the release- that is, it is not a smooth release.

I take a non-traditional approach and have them relax their hand and hold it as loosely as possible. That way, when they release, they can focus on having the disc fling off of the middle finger pad. I tell them to visualize the pad of the finger as being the very last contact point with the disc.

When they feel that, then I let them tighten their grip up again.

Another problem is softball players. Their arm muscles are just hard wired to throw a ball and so they always try to do the same thing with a disc. Their forehands always blade badly. It's really hard to get them to use their wrists. I have resorted to the elbow at side method, but only for a few throws to get the point across. I like the idea (was it Tarr?) of telling them to lead with the elbow? I'll have to try that.

Another reason forehands blade is because the hand orientation is wrong. They are trying to play tennis and have their palms facing forward as they throw. These folks have to be taught to have their palms facing up by the time they release. This usually helps flatten the throw out.

When I teach the IO, I teach them to throw the extreme blade IO first. Across their body and way up inthe air on the otherside. When they get this, then you can have them start to tone it down and make it more of a real throw. For the extreme cases that just can't get it, I have them hold on to the back of my hand and forearm while I throw so that they can feel how you have to twist from the elbow down.

Then you've got the people that can only throw inverts at first. While that throw will be useful to them later, you obviously want them to be able to throw a flat forehand and also a bender. I still haven't figured this out to the point that I know exactly how to fix it.

aj said...

When I'm trying to get people to isolate their wrist, I have them fully extend their arm instead of bringing their elbow in. I then stand just a few feet away and have them throw it to me using just their wrist. I then keep backing up, and continue to harass them if they're using anything other than their wrist. I feel this method gets the benefits of the elbow in method (wrist is isolated), but it leads to less bad habits.

It's definitely challenging when you have players who have done some activity their entire lives, that requires a motion that conflicts with a throw. We have a player who's been playing the cello forever - the cello motion completely messes with her backhand. I've tried everything I can think of, but she always defaults back into cello position when throwing in games. I tried to explain to her that ultimate is much more important than music...can't win them all i guess.

Tarr said...

AJ, I think I grip my flick pretty similarly to you. The pad of my middle finger is wedged up in the groove where the rim meets the underside of the disc, facing mostly toward the rim but slightly up. My index finger is on the underside of the disc with the pad facing the rim; my index finger supports and slightly overlaps my middle finger.

I saw something this weekend that makes me think just about anybody can use the power grip. There was a little kid (couldn't have been more than 8 or 9) throwing smooth 30+ yard flicks. I asked him to show me his grip, and it was a textbook power grip. Sick.

As far as the more upward facing grip, there's a thread on rsd right now about people who throw this way and are experiencing joint pain. It's probably not a good idea to teach people that.

Noah said...

Here's my bullet-point contribution:

-the AFDA grips are pretty weird. seriously, the hybrid grip? yeah.
-it seems like most people use a combination of 3.2 and 3.4 (power grip and the "other grip")
-personally, I take the same approach as AJ and Tarr, but slightly closer to the "other grip"
-the grip probably depends on a person's hand shape/size, especially for people who weren't initially taught the "correct" grip (as with most people who have been playing for more than a couple of years, I would assume)

a great way to isolate the wrist action in a drill: have two throwing partners sit 10 or 15 yards apart, facing each other, legs in front. then throw flicks. it's pretty effective for getting new players to improve their flicks, as this position eliminates leg power and body movement from the throwing motion. try it sometime. (as a disclaimer, i think this may be an old paideia trick, so credit baccarini for the tip...)