Frisbee Fun: Mastering The Ultimate Catch

Introduction to Frisbee

The Frisbee, originally known as the “Pluto Platter”, was invented in 1955 by Walter Frederick Morrison and Warren Franscioni after seeing Yale students throwing around pie tins. The name Frisbee came later in 1958 when Morrison sold the rights to the Wham-O toy company. Since the original Pluto Platter, Frisbees have expanded into various types and sizes for recreational and competitive use.

While recreational tossing and catching has always been popular, Frisbee as an organized sport began taking off in the 1960s and 1970s. The sport of Ultimate Frisbee was invented in 1968 at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey by a group of students led by Joel Silver. From these humble beginnings, Ultimate Frisbee has grown exponentially in popularity as a college sport. According to a 2013 article in USA Today, college Ultimate memberships increased from 9,951 in 2004 to over 16,000 by 2011, demonstrating the rising popularity of Frisbee as a serious sporting activity.

Today, there are a wide variety of Frisbee disc types and sizes tailored for recreation or competitive play. From the classic 165 gram Ultimate disc to the 119 gram Discraft Ultrastar used in Major League Ultimate, technology and innovation continue to revolutionize Frisbee design and performance.

Frisbee Throwing Basics

The proper stance for throwing a frisbee is standing sideways to your target with your throwing-side foot slightly in front of your other foot. Your knees should be bent and your weight balanced between both feet (Business Insider). Grip the rim of the frisbee with your fingers spread wide and wrapped securely underneath. Keep your pointer finger along the edge for control. The arm motion starts with the frisbee held at your chest. Bring your throwing arm back, keeping elbow raised. As you swing forward, shift your weight and straighten your arm, releasing the frisbee with a snap of the wrist. Allow your wrist to roll over as you follow through after the release (How to Throw a Frisbee Properly). The wrist snap and follow through are key to generating spin and distance.

Forehand vs Backhand

The forehand and backhand throws are two of the most fundamental techniques in ultimate frisbee. Mastering both throws allows players to throw accurately and powerfully in different situations on the field.


The forehand throw involves gripping the disc with your fingers underneath and releasing off your index finger. This produces a natural spin that stabilizes the disc in flight.


  • More natural throw for many players
  • Generates good spin and stability
  • Powerful throw for short and mid-range
  • Useful for throwing around defenders on force side

the forehand throw involves gripping the disc with your fingers underneath and releasing off your index finger.


  • Less range than backhand throw
  • More injury risk on shoulder and elbow
  • Harder to throw high release over defenders


The backhand grip places your fingers on top of the disc rim and thumb underneath. Throwing across your body generates spin.


  • Most accurate and controllable throw
  • Generates more distance and power
  • Easier high release over defenders
  • Lower injury risk on joints


  • Doesn’t feel as natural for some players
  • Harder to throw around force side
  • Less spin can make it more susceptible to wind

In general, forehands are used more often in short range situations close to defenders, while backhands generate more power and distance downfield. But skilled players can utilize both throws in any circumstance. Mastering each will make you a more versatile thrower.

Throwing for Distance

Generating spin is crucial for getting maximum distance on your throws. When you release the disc, you want it to spin fast so it stays stable in flight. Using proper throwing mechanics like the pinch, power grip, and snap are key for generating spin.

You also need to control the hyzer and anhyzer angles. Hyzer is when the disc angles to the left for right-handed throwers, anhyzer angles to the right. Using hyzer or anhyzer allows you to optimize the flight path for distance. A good way to practice is alternating between hyzer, flat, and anhyzer throws during field work.

Finally, make sure you are generating power from your legs and core and transferring it through your arm to the disc. Engaging your whole body is important for getting those long bombs. Some players can reach over 500 feet with the right technique!

With practice, you’ll learn how to shape shots for max distance. Check out pros like Simon Lizotte for inspiration. He has thrown over 600 feet before! (

Curve Shots

One technique that can drastically improve your frisbee game is learning how to throw curve shots. A curve shot is where you apply spin to the disc, causing it to bend left or right during flight. There are two main techniques for throwing curve shots:

Inside-Out Shots

For an inside-out curve, grip the disc with your thumb on the inside rim on the same side as your throwing arm. As you release, roll your wrist so that the disc spins clockwise. This will cause the disc to bend left during flight (for right handed throwers).

Outside-In Shots

For an outside-in curve, place your thumb on the outer rim opposite your throwing arm. Roll your wrist counter-clockwise as you release so that the disc spins counter-clockwise. This bend the disc right in flight (for righties).

Practice alternating between inside-out and outside-in throws until you can reliably curve the disc in both directions. Adjusting the angle of release and amount of spin will control the degree of curvature. With mastery of curves, you’ll gain precision in navigating obstacles and accessing tucked away baskets.

According to redditor throwindiscs in this thread, focusing on clean releases and full reachback allows beginners to better control curve shots.

Advanced Throws

Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to level up your frisbee game with advanced throws. Four throws that take practice but allow for creative shots are the hammer, scoober, thumber and tomahawk.

The hammer involves gripping the disc similar to a forehand throw, but releasing it upside down. This causes the disc to flip vertically as it moves forward, resulting in a high, arcing shot that can sail over defenders (Ultimate Frisbee – Advanced Throws).

The scoober is thrown by gripping the underside of the disc with your fingers, flipping your wrist towards the sky and releasing the disc vertically. It flies in an S-curve path, allowing you to curve shots around obstacles (Rec Sports Team).

For a thumber, you place your thumb inside the rim of the disc and curl your wrist down and inwards on release. This makes the disc spin horizontally and drop quickly out of the air (Ultimate Frisbee Playlist).

With a tomahawk you hold the disc by the rim with your thumb on top. Throw it overhead like a baseball by bringing your arm up and releasing at the peak. The disc will fly far and straight with minimal fade (Ultimate Frisbee Playlist).

Tips for Catching

Catching a frisbee may seem simple, but it takes practice and technique to become a skilled receiver. Here are some tips for mastering the disc catch:

Reading the angle and flight path of the incoming frisbee is crucial. Keep your eye on the disc as it travels through the air and predict where it will end up. Position yourself so you can catch the disc on your preferred side without having to reach or twist.

Use proper hand positioning based on the angle of the throw. For high throws, extend your arms fully above your head with thumbs together and palms up. For lower shots, keep your palms up and pointed slightly backward with elbows bent. The ideal catch is at chest level in the “alligator catch” with hands close together.

Absorb the impact as you receive the disc. Don’t fight the momentum by trying to grab or squeeze the disc. Allow your hands and arms to “give” slightly as you make contact to soften the impact. Shift your weight backward and cradle the disc into your chest.

With practice, you’ll learn to read discs and react quickly to make clean catches. Mastering catching technique is critical for handlers and cutters alike to keep possession and continue drives downfield.

For more tips, see this excellent guide:

Diving Catches

One of the most exciting plays in ultimate frisbee is the diving catch. Making a full-extension, layout grab demonstrates athleticism and can energize your team. Mastering the diving catch takes practice, but follow these tips to start laying out for discs:

Read the flight path. Keep your eye on the disc as soon as it is released. Track its trajectory and anticipate where it will begin falling. Move quickly to get your body under the disc.

Get low and extend. When you’re within range, lower your center of gravity by bending your knees. This helps generate power as you launch forward. Fully extend your arms, legs, and core as you dive, reaching as far as you can.

Slide, don’t stop. As you hit the ground, slide along the turf to help absorb impact. Keep your eyes on the disc and pull it in as your momentum carries you. Avoid coming to an abrupt stop, which can cause injury.

With determination and practice, you’ll soon be laying out for discs and making crowd-pleasing grabs. Work on reading the flight path quickly and diving smoothly. Remember to slide as you land, and always keep your eye on the disc for a clean catch.

Defensive Strategy

Defense is a critical component of ultimate frisbee. Effective defense requires strategic positioning and coordinated teamwork to generate turnovers. The most common defensive strategy is called the “force.” This involves defenders positioning themselves to force the thrower to make hard throws in one direction, usually toward the sidelines. Defenders try to “mark” the thrower closely to limit their options. Other defenders position downfield to cut off passing lanes.

To play solid defense, communicate constantly with teammates to switch marks and watch for deep throws. Play phyiscal without fouling to disrupt cuts and catches. Aim to force throwers across the field rather than easy resets. Be prepared to burst forward for blocks and rapidly transition into offense after a turnover.

With precise technique and positioning, defenders can contain offenses and “break the mark” to generate turns. Mastering these defensive fundamentals will improve your team’s chances of securing breaks and winning games. For more tips, see this excellent overview of defensive strategy:

Where to Play

Frisbee is a fun and easy sport that can be played anywhere there’s open space. Some popular places to play include:

Parks and beaches provide wide open areas perfect for throwing and catching. Many city parks like Central Park in New York City ( or Golden Gate Park in San Francisco have expansive lawns for frisbee games. Beaches also offer plenty of room to run and make plays in the sand.

Joining a recreational league is a great way to compete and improve your skills against players of similar abilities. Leagues like the Arlington Co-Ed Ultimate Frisbee League often divide teams up by age and skill level.

For more competitive tournaments, USA Ultimate sanctions over 1,000 tournaments across North America each year. Major tournaments occur at the college, club, and youth level. The highest level of competition is the biannual World Ultimate and Guts Championship, where national teams compete for the world title.

Similar Posts