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Throwing for Connections

This is the last post in a mini-series on why connections count within Ultimate. The first post highlighted that all passes, including scoring passes, rely on an interaction between two players. Those players need to work together to ensure that the connection occurs. Last week’s post focused on receivers and detailed some tips that can assist when cutting for connections. In this post we’ll take a look at the thrower and the role they play in a successful connection.

The thrower has the responsibility of introducing reliability to any given pass. The thrower decides which opportunity to take, the point to take it, the type of throw to use and how hard to throw it. There are many little factors that make up a throw and these are all controlled by the thrower. An important part of a successful connection is for the thrower to identify the receiver and adjust their actions based upon what they see.

Primarily the aim of the thrower is to throw catchable throws. This seems simplistic but the definition of “catchable” is dependant upon the receiver, and the situation on the field. In a very short space of time the thrower will be required to identify their receiver and make an assessment on their situation. In an instant the thrower will make an assessment of:

  • The speed of the receiver
  • The height of the receiver
  • The distance of the receiver from their defender, and other defenders.

You will also be taking into account other knowledge about the receiver such as:

  • How well they receiver can read the disc.
  • The receiver’s familiarity with your throwing capabilities (will they expect a break-force throw, or an overhead).

All of these aspects feed into the actions of the throw. By catering for the receiver in the throwing action the likelihood of a successful connection increases.

An obvious example is to avoid throwing long hucks for slower receivers. Another example is to avoid throwing hammers to relatively new receivers. Realistically the act of catching a disc that is upside-down and falling from a height is much different to your regular crocodile-catch that most beginners will be familiar with. As a thrower, you may have a pinpoint hammer that you know can land directly on a free receiver. However this isn’t likely to be a reliable connection if the receiver is inexperienced. It is a catchable throw, but is it very catchable?

Another important aspect for throwers is to be realistic about their capabilities. A thrower should consistently be aware of their throwing comfort zone. In order to achieve connections the thrower will need to produce reliable, consistent and predictable throws. A thrower may identify a receiver who has done an excellent cut into space upfield, but if the thrower isn’t comfortable with the necessary throw to hit that receiver then the connection won’t be a reliable one.

As a summary, throwers have a responsibility of catering for their receivers in order to introduce reliable connections. A throw that works for one receiver may not be appropriate for another. The thrower is also responsible for throwing within their capabilities to increase the quality of the throws that their receivers are expected to catch. My next post will discuss throwing, and how to increase a player’s throwing comfort zone. Look out for that soon!

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