Introduction for Beginners Throwing & Catching by Dominick Smyth

General Throwing

Throwing ability will improve in time, don’t panic. Initially the focus should be on flat, accurate and easily catchable throws.

The 5 technical points (GSWAP) to be aware of when throwing are:

  • G – Grip: Correct and strong grip gives thrower control over how the disc flies and is a simple way to stop the disc wobbling in flight.
  • S – Stance: By positioning body correctly, thrower is able to comfortably use arm as part of throw without own body getting in the way.
  • W – Wrist: Possibly the most important point as a snap of the wrist is vital for a successful throw. Throwers are encouraged to bend their wrist to begin and then snap their wrist in order to make the disc spin while it’s in the air.
  • A – Angle: The angle of the disc while in the throwers hand has a big effect on how it flies. It it points up, down, left or right, it will travel in that direction. More specifically, it will always curve in the direction of its lowest part. Initially throwers should look to have the disc flat to help keep it straight. As they progress, they may wish to experiment with different angles and see the effects.
  • P – Point: Successful throws usually finish with the thrower pointing at their target in order to control their aim.

Initially the temptation may be to throw the disc higher in an attempt to get it to go further. Instead, look to throw straight at target – you may be surprised how far the disc will go. A good starting concept is to keep the disc between waist and chest height.


This is the basic throw that should be easiest for people to learn.

Backhand grip 1 Backhand grip 2 Backhand grip 3


  • G – Grip:  From a starting point of making a fist around the edge of the disc, there are a variety of grip types (shown above).  Try all in order to decide which works best.  Important considerations are gripping tightly and having fleshy base of thumb slightly on top of disc (use the grooves/flight rings as a guide).
  • S – Stance:  Turned sideways with throwing arm closer to target.  This allows a line from shoulder to shoulder and on out through throwing arm towards target.  Beginning with arm relaxed in front of body, try keep disc close to body and stretch out towards target.
  • W – Wrist:  Initially bend wrist towards body.  As arm reaches towards target, snap wrist away from body to make disc spin.  Remember, spin is vital for a successful throw.
  • A – Angle:  Disc should be held and thrown flat for a flat throw.  Angling the disc towards the ground or sky (by flexing elbow and wrist) will cause the disc to curve.
  • P – Point:  Stretch arm towards target during through and finish pointing at target.

See our instructional video here: Backhand 10m


This is an advanced throw that will initially cause difficulties to almost all participants.
Forehand grip 1Forehand grip 2


  • G – Grip:  With logo on disc facing up, throwers hand (except thumb) should be underneath disc.  Place middle (and index finger depending on grip) flat against the inside edge with disc behind hand and away from body.  Pinch down on disc with thumb.  Again, experiment with grips to chose most comfortable one.
  • S – Stance:  Stand facing target (option to put dominant foot marginally in front) with disc held out to side.  Throwing arm starts loosely away from body, forearm horizontal with wrist either level or below elbow.
  • W – Wrist:  Bend wrist backwards, attempting to bring back of hand towards forearm.  Snap wrist forward to make disc spin.  Effort should be made to resist temptation to swing arm.  As comfort and control of spin of disc improves then they can start using their arm to increase distance of throw.
  • A – Angle:  While it is preferable to hold the disc flat, it may be necessary to angle the disc slightly towards the ground in order to achieve a flat throw.  This is easiest achieved by looking to have hand below elbow.
  • P – Point:  After snapping wrist, look to finish pointing directly towards target.  Common errors include pointing up due to wrist snapping up instead of forward and pointing side ways due to swinging arm sideways instead of reaching towards target.

See our instructional video here: Forehand 10m


Many different catching styles exist.  3 technical points (RUT) to be aware of to increase consistency are:

  • R – Ready:  While sounding simple, a large number of catches are dropped because the receiver wasn’t expecting/ready for the pass.  Being ready for the pass greatly increases the success rate of catches.
  • U – Up:  Hands up, ready to catch.  By having hands up, receivers are ready to react if the disc is off target and will have less work to do to get their hands in the correct position to catch.
  • T – Two hands:  Although not required, two hands make for a higher success rate.  They also give a greater margin of error.

Crocodile / Pancake / Clap Catch

Pancake catch


  • Simplest and safest catching style.
  • Suitable in all circumstances and especially when disc is between shoulder and waist height.
  • Start with hands apart, palms facing.
  • Catch by bringing hands together to trap the disc, similar to a crocodile closing it’s mouth.

See our instructional video here: Clap Catch

High Catch / Thumbs Down Catch

High catch


  • Suitable for a pass above shoulder height.
  • Start with hands level and fingers above thumbs.  Attempt to see the disc in the gap between hands.
  • Catch by pinching the disc with both hands at the same time with fingers on top of teh disc and thumbs underneath.

See our instructional video here: Thumbs down catching

Low Catch / Thumbs Up Catch

Low catch


  • Suitable for a pass below waist height.  May also be used for passes below shoulder height.
  • Start with hands level and fingers below thumbs.
  • Catch by pinching the disc with both hands at the same time with fingers underneath the disc and thumbs on top.

See our instructional video here: Thumbs up catching

Linked Drills:


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