What do we want to teach as appropriate throws for college/club players?
Lately, I’ve pretty much allowed everything, as long as it can be thrown repeatedly and predictably. I recall Mario O’Brien commenting that there’s a point where you need to teach brand new throwers hammers and scoobers. When does that occur?
Of course you start out with the basics. There’s nothing more important than a player being able to complete simple dumps or downfield passes. Striving to get these to be accurate in game situations is an absolute necessity and usually requires throwing outside of practice.
But how do you get players to actively want to get better? I think part of that is when they fall in love with the game.
Before a player becomes completely committed to understanding the fundamentals, there’s something that sparks his or her interest. For a lot of people it’s the way the disc flies.
It should be unsurprising, that, while we went over a lot of basics, the first A-team practice of this year at UConn ended with S-Cuts, hammers, and scoobers. Three reasons:
- I wanted our rookies to get immediately used to reading the flight of the disc. You need not look far for new players who miss easy receptions.
- Learning a scoober is actually very easy, and it’s creative. You can hit different spaces than with normal throws.
- It’s fun. Players come away learning a new skill right away that makes them enjoy things quicker.
Consider giving your throwers freedom. Allow for the mistakes that will come from improper use, bad decisions, and focus on explaining the right areas. If they make a mistake on a hammer that was open, teach them consistency without lecturing them on the use of “dangerous” throws.
Some throwers have great fundamentals and damaging throws, Ashlin Joye being one of them. Brett Matzuka, I would say, is the exact opposite, using every creative tool in his arsenal to throw people open. My guess is that the creative throwers were self-taught and developed “fundamentals” that weren’t exactly textbook. The thing budding creative throwers often lack is discipline/consistency in the ability to replicate the breathtaking throw that worked “once”.
My thought is that the common thread linking good throwers is their ability to develop through focused reps with purpose. If you a thrower go out and do this on a daily basis, it’s hard for him or her not to see miles of improvement.