Sunday, November 25

Imperfect Grip

I think one of my greatest strengths as a thrower is to be able to throw with an imperfect grip.

Not that I have a bad grip on my flick or backhand or anything, but when are situations during play for whatever reason (weather, quick grip switch, greatest attempt, whatever) and I am left with an imperfect grip, I can still complete my passes.

A great example of this was at Chesapeake this year when I picked up the disc from the ground after a stoppage and prepared to throw to someone (dono?) cutting deep, as was the play call. It was an incredibly humid, sweaty day and everyone had expressed the difficulties they were having. As I went to throw this flick, between cocking the disc back and changing the momentum to go forward, the disc began to slip out of my hand. By the time I hit the release point, it was just on the tip of my index finger. I knew it was in the wrong place, but I managed to snap my finder around a little further than I wanted to and get it to the right place. Completion.

This sort of thing happens when I get fouled on the mark and when I sometimes trip over myself while playing. Or on greatest attempts. for which I seem to have a disproportionate share of. In any case, I find this ability very useful, and I have no idea where it came from or if it is the same for everyone else.


gapoole said...

I find my grip slip sometimes when I'm throwing, without the throw erring as I would expect. Do you keep a tight or loose grip, normally? Jackson keeps it loose, I feel it helps to tighten up. Mr. Holt uses a pincer grip for his forehand, which I didn't understand at all, but worked for me when I tried it.

Ian said...


dusty.rhodes said...

tight grip. of course. I don't know what a pincer is (aside from a dog, but I think that's spelled differently), but it sounds like something Ian would use.

I can always count on you to be you. That's comforting.
You seriously *never* lose your grip? That is impressive. I'd say it happens like 0-7 times per calendar year, practice and pickup included. Only 0-2 times does it actually impact the throw.

J said...

Where does it come from? The ridiculous number of reps you put in throwing throughout your career.

If fact, I seem to remember talking to you about this very thing over a couple of beers the other night. Eventually, you're so in tune with your body, your hands & fingers can make minute adjustments based solely on the feel of it. Same goes for catching.

So much of my time at work or in front of the TV is spent tossing things in the air and catching them. Doesn't even have to be a disc. Constant reps gets you working on the 'feel' of catching and knowing from the way it feels as it hits your hand what you need to do to secure the catch.

At least a couple of times every tournament I make a catch that was pure reflex - a tipped disc, a finger time grab, a hospital pass - and it's usually attributed to luck.

Well, sure, it is lucky, but the fact that some people consistantly make those 'lucky' grabs or those 'difficult' throws is because, unlike Iverson and Plaxico, those people practice.

What's that cheesy quote?
Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong."

dusty.rhodes said...

More throwing reps commencing already!

I've told you about badmouthing AI 'round these parts... you're on shaky ground! As for Plax, his issue is that he doesn't want to be around Eli more than absolutely necessary. Can you blame him??

As for catching... I just like to drop things in my house and see if I can catch them before they hit the ground. Accidentally. Of course. Because I'm not at all clumsy...

Brandon Silverman said...

There once was this sweet push pass that I tried at nationals against Sockeye that totally would have worked...but I lost my grip. - President and member of the amateurs.

Ian said...

I suppose I can make a serious post here...

J basically has the answer. It comes down to practicing until it's as natural as, well, walking. Only amateur walkers are impressed when they slip a little but still catch their balance.

Slipping, tripping, and occassionally falling happen even to the best of walkers. So I was absolutely not trying to say that I never lose my grip...

But it doesn't happen often (because I am a practiced thrower). And when it does happen, it affects my throws less (because I'm a practiced thrower).

For an experienced walker, this is a strange conversation to be having. Ditto for experienced throwers… Not to make anyone feel bad for only now becoming good throwers…

But it all comes down to reps. Practice more.

Scratch that. It all comes down to QUALITY reps. Practice THOSE more.

Nothing drives me bananas than someone who throws 7,000 throws and still doesn't know what they're doing wrong. Just like what is preached in "The Inner Game of Tennis" (a MUST READ for any elite athlete), learn to observe, analyze, critique, and fix yourself! Slow your brain down, break what you're doing into small managable pieces, and focus on perfecting what is absolutely possible to perfect. Man, that was a great book. I want to read it again… Now who did I loan it to????

dusty.rhodes said...

Always good for another perspective. That was much more useful.

I think that I never really noticed it before and it struck me as something that I had never heard anyone give mention to.

"Inner Game of Tennis" is phenomenal. But we've discussed that, and I don't have your copy. I have my own which I read bits of before I work on throwing.

Andy said...

Well Ian, I don't know who you "loaned" it to. But I am the one who sent it to you in the mail.

Actually I do know who you loaned it to, Gavin.

P.S. Cleared to play Ultimate as of last Wednesday

(sorry to use your blog as a means of conversing with Ian, Dusty)