This is part one of a two-part series on preparing for tryouts.
Regardless of whether you would like to cut or handle on your team, the most effective thing you can do to improve your chances at tryouts is to throw every day. If you plan to cut, at some point, you should plan to catch and throw the disc downfield or otherwise. If you plan to handle, you will of course be expected to do a lot of throwing in games.
However, it is not enough to just go to the park with your friends and throw back and forth with no focus. This will help your general form on your backhands and forehands, but without the pressure, or imagined pressure, of a game-type situation, these general adjustments will not translate much to perfecting your in-game throws. Instead, throw with a purpose and throw for improvement.
What do I mean by that?
Throw with a purpose: Throw as if you had a mark on you, step out, throw some imaginary fakes then pivot and throw. Every throw should be 100%. Even if you’re going to throw a silly high release chicken wing do it as best as you can, don’t just goof off on it. Who knows, one day you might see a perfect opportunity to use that high release chicken wing in a game, but if you haven’t practiced it at game speed, going 100%, you will certainly fail in your execution at game time.
Throw for improvement: While this sort of goes directly off of the above; identify something you’re having trouble with, break it down into small pieces, then work on each of them individually. Aspects of Ben Wiggins’ Zen Throwing Routine and the Kung Fu Throwing Routine developed by Lou Burruss and Mike Caldwell are great things to add to every throwing session you have. Both of these routines can help to improve not only the range of throws you are capable of, but also the consistency and balance with which you throw your traditional FH/BH throws.
If you can’t find a friend who is free to throw with, here are a few things you can try on your own:
- Target practice: Set up a target downrange (15-20 yd) – could be a spot on a tree, a cone on the ground, your dog – and throw flat backhand and forehand reps (10 or 20 at a time) at the target. Focus on a smooth, consistent release and flight path each time. Back up by 5-yd after each 10 or 20 rep set until your form starts to break down or you miss the majority of your throws.
- Note: With a cone on the ground, you can either aim to have your throw be flat and off the ground until it reaches the cone, or you can try to land it within 2-3ft of the cone.
- Bonus: focus on a specific curve for your flight path, alter release point (both distance from body and from ground).
- Maximum Time Aloft (MTA): MTAs require a relatively steady wind (10-15 mph) for the best results. Simply throw the disc as hard as you can up and into the wind and try to have it come back to you without moving. For working on a smooth, flat release on your pulls and also helps with reading a high, floaty disc.
- Bonus: try to catch the disc with one hand, on one foot or in a layout for added fun.
- Throw, Run, Catch (TRC): Similar to an MTA, but you are trying to get the disc about 50-70+ yd downfield and to catch it in stride. The basic theory behind this is this: if you can throw a 70-yd backhand and catch it before it hits the ground, you can run down your pull and be on the mark before the offense gets set or gets any free throws off.
If you have any questions, or other suggestions for throwing routines, please feel free to comment!