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Pull Diagonally and Have Better Pulls

At the 2008 Canadian Ultimate Championships, my men’s team from Calgary, Invictus, was playing the men’s team from Montreal, Mephisto, in the semi finals. A good friend of mine, Elliot Negelev was watching our game and after one of my pulls, he came over to me and gave me some advice.

“When you’re pulling, you should throw from one of the endzone cones and pull to the far endzone cone diagonally across from you. That way, you have a longer throw to make it to the cone, which allows you more time to put the disc in the air. Also, if you do brick, it will brick further up the field, closer to the endzone.”

It was such simple advice and changed how I pulled. Up to that point, I had never really thought about it in those terms. Let’s take a look at this simple illustration:

If I’m pulling the disc from point A, I want to throw an inside out backhand (for a right hander) that aims diagonally to the far endzone. If I’m a leftie, I want to throw an outside in backhand.

If I’m pulling the disc from point B, I want to throw an outside in backhand (for a rightie) and an inside out backhand for a leftie.

I would adjust how far I aim the disc out of bounds based on how strong the wind is. For not a lot of wind, I don’t normally throw that disc that far out of bounds but if the wind is strong and the disc will carry, I aim a bit further out of bounds. What I’ve found by pulling this way is that my pulls land more consistently in the endzone, they are in the air longer which gives my defence a chance to set up more effectively and I’m throwing less bricks.

Remember that the whole point of pulling involves 2 types of throws: a distance throw and a TRC (throw Run Catch) throw. The best pull is one that lands just inside the back corner of the endzone and that is in the air long enough that the defense is able to run down and set up before the receiving team catches the disc.

Therefore, to become a better puller, you need to work on two things:

  1. Throwing the disc far
  2. Throwing the disc high and chasing it down

I won the 2013 World Championship in Self Caught Flight and in the final, I threw a disc 79 metres (86 yards) and caught it. Therefore, if you are able to throw the disc full field, sprint down and catch it, you will be giving your defensive line a huge advantage right from the start of the point.

To make this type of pulling work well, you need to be able to pull the disc from endzone to endzone. If you can’t throw that far then I would recommend starting from the middle of the field and trying to throw the disc as far as you can. Once you can start landing the disc in the middle of the endzone with your max pull, I would recommend trying the strategy I discuss above.

How do you approach your pull? What strategy do you use?

17 thoughts on “Pull Diagonally and Have Better Pulls”

  1. I generally pull righty IO from B, but aiming roughly for the crossfield half of the field. As long as I don’t turn it over OI, my bricks are guaranteed to be far down the field.
    I do sometimes turn it over though, so I’ll try pulling from A and see how it feels.

    1.  @llimllib I sometimes will switch and do it that way as well, depending on the wind. I like this way the majority of the time since the disc will be landing in the middle of the endzone in most cases instead of near the sideline.

  2. I like to pull from the same spots but with the opposite throws ie, I would pull from ‘A’ with an OI and from ‘B’ with an IO. I pull the disc out of the field (so that it curves back in) with full power, which means I have the whole width or the field for room of error. I also find unless the pull turns into a big flat floater (which is also a good thing…) its harder for the O to read and catch. My pulls are still generally diagonal with this method too.

    1.  @Jack Lilwall  Yeah, that’s definitely an option but what I don’t like is that the landing zone is closer to the sideline than by doing it the other way so it increases the risk of the disc landing out…

  3. I have always started my pulls at the end of the end-zone line but never really thought about why…!
    My “go to” pull is from point A and, as per Rob’s example, I will use an IO backhand from this position. For me the intention is to minimise the impact of holding onto the disc for a fraction too long. I find that if I do this the disc will flatten out too soon and head towards the opposite side of the end zone. If I don’t start at the far left side there’s more chance the disc will go out.
    If I get it right and release the disc at the right point the disc will end up floating nicely above the middle of the end-zone.
    Obviously this is my way of compensating for something that I need to fix in my pulling (which I am working on), but the points in this post help to point out why the start-position is useful… very useful!

    1. @CatalinaHernandez If you’re not able to pull the disc full field with height on the disc, I would recommend just trying to get the disc as far down the field as possible. If you try to pull diagonally but you can’t pull full field then you’re just going to lose field position that you could otherwise gain from standing in the middle of the field and pulling straight down the field.

  4. Hi Rob, I read your pulling section, but I can’t find a way for my problem. I cleary lack the spin for my disc to go to the other side of the field. When I pull, the flight seem to be good, but in the end, the disc slow down, start to bend and finish sideway.

    How can I put more spin with the backhand ?

  5. PierreWatteyne when a disc starts losing spin, that will always happen – it will fall off to a side. So there are a few ways to make sure this doesn’t mean you lose distance and the disc starts coming back when it happens.
    1. Getting more spin will help but you really need to work on power. Watch discus or hammer throwers in track and field. Notice how much power they get from their legs and hips. In order to throw a bigger pull, you will have to work on incorporating more of your body into the throw.

    2. To get more spin, the first thing you want to do, before you start moving or anything, is to bring your hand back and have the disc touch your forearm. This puts your wrist in a cocked position and will help you get more snap on the disc (ie more spin). When you go to throw and release the disc, the last thing you will do it snap your wrist forward as hard as you can to get the maximum spin on the disc.

    3. Try to keep the nose of the disc forward and down. If you have the nose up on release, it will cause the disc unnecessary lift and will eventually lead to it stalling out. Think of it like a plane in that way. If you can see the top of the disc when you throw it, try to work on rotating your wrist a little bit to make the nose go more down and that should help fix the problem.

    If you’re able to film your pull, send it to Take a video of a few throws from a few different angles and I can help you further from there.


  6. Hi Rob,
    I really glad about this short, but very useful article! But I have just a few questions:
    Can u tell me some data about the average height of the good pulls? (for example about 30 feet) 
    Because I couldnt manage the 30-35 feet with quite good distance (endzone to middle endzone) – which is related to my 8-9 sec duration pulls (I think this height would be perfect – ok, I just estimate this:)).

    It is normal that I cant make big spin in my OI pulls? Therefore I always choose the IO pulls. Should I improve the making spin or dont care about it just keep on the making perfect my IO’s?

    If the situation isn’t windy which (IO or OI) pull do u prefer?


  7. gregibroki It’s hard to say how high a good pull is but I’d say closer to 80 or 90 feet. Keep in mind that the disc is going 80-90 yards in distance so it’s not that high when you are throwing it that far.
    The issue with throwing an OI pull is that the disc is always falling, since the disc is spinning downwards. An IO pull has the disc spinning upwards. I would recommend improving the amount of spin you put on the disc no matter if you throw OI or IO and you can do this by starting with your wrist cocked and the last thing you do is snap your wrist hard forward.
    If it’s not windy, I’ll either throw a high IO or a high OI that turns into a roller and try to roll it out the bak of the endzone. That gives the defense time to set up.

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