(Taken from the rec.sport.disc newsgroup. Full credits at end)
This article is intended for experienced players teaching beginners how to throw their first forehand (sidearm) throws. The most important thing is that the learning experience be fun. If progress is slow some bad habits can be tolerated if they lead to immediate results (eg. throwing from too close to the body).
People are different and learn differently. Tips one player sees as the golden ray of enlightenment will be completely worthless to to another. Sometimes there's a tendency to give constant instruction and adjustment. This works for some people, but it frustrates others. Take your cue from the person you are teaching.
Additionally, heap on tons of praise - especially every time they throw it flat or with lots of spin - regardless of where the disc goes. Once they get that, the accuracy will eventually come. But they don't know that, yet; they're looking at where the throw is going. So lots of positive reinforcement for "mere" spin and throws that don't turn over. An important milestone is when the beginner can throw skip curves (ie. curve to the right for a right handed thrower).
Show them what your grip looks like, with the disc and without. The middle finger is straight and flat against the inside rim. The outside rim of the disc makes contact with the web between thumb and index finger. The grip should be firm and probably uncomfortable for a beginner's unmolded hands. The top of the disc may bend slightly under pressure of the thumb.
Fig 1. The Forearm Grip (See ``SKILL AND DRILLS'', The Ultimate Handbook for New Players, by UPA)
For advanced throwers, the index finger may be together with the middle finger so that the middle finger can extend straight out in line with the palm of the hand, getting more wind-up and therefore, more spin. Beginners may need to keep the index and middle fingers separated to gain more control of the disc. The pad of the middle finger must still be against the rim of the disc.
Assume a stance with the balls of the feet a shoulder width apart. Initially it appears easier to learn to throw side on and/or with the elbow close to the hip. This may be a crutch later when you have to look up-field and extend around a marker.
The thrower must have the disc cocked, ready to impart spin before throwing. It can either start wound as far back as it can go or the thrower can cock the disc by a small whip of the fingers immediately before the throw.
The main trick is to keep the outer tip of the disc down. For the more advanced beginner the following points may help. The motion of the disc while in the hand should not be so much as an arc-like swing, but a whiplash. With increasing speed, motion towards the target starts from the shoulder, to the elbow then wrist and finally the fingers. Stepping forward with the non-pivot foot may help. The pivot should be on the opposite side as the throwing hand.
With arc-like swings, the time of release heavily influences the direction of the throw. By using the arm in a whiplash motion rather than a swing, it should be possible to move the centre of the disc to the target in more of a straight line, rather than an arc, so the direction in the horizontal plane is easier to master.
Until now, there has been little spin in the disc. The whiplash effect of the swing should culminate in a ``snap'' imparting maximum spin to the disc. The flight plate of the disc should be spinning within one plane. [Ie. if the spin axis is not perpendicular to the flight plate, the disc will wobble.] Unless an air-bounce is intended, the direction the disc is launched should lie within this plane.
The time of release is when it all must come to together. The last motions imparted to the disc are the ones it takes with it to combat the wind and gravity. Yet this instant happens so quickly and beginners have so many things to concentrate on, that it's hard to tell what went on.
Any action by the thrower after letting go of the disc cannot influence the flight of the disc. Nevertheless, some specific follow-through tips are suggested in the next section as an aid to correct specific problems in a throw.
The single most common fault is that the disc will turn over hitting the ground by your feet and roll off past you, where upon you must run after it cheerily shouting back ``No worries, I need the exercise''.
This fault is caused by one or more of the following:
Usually the edge furthest away from the thrower is too high. If a beginner thinks he's releasing it level it generally has the outer tip up. Try:
Note that more spin may lessen the visible wobble, but by itself does not fix the source of the fault. Wobbling makes a disc turn over. This is probably due to the increased air resistance pushing the centre of lift on the disc forward? Due to precession, a centre of lift forward of the centre of the gravity with turn a disc over to the roll curve side. However, those words have never helped anyone. Scientific principles are not easily transformed into the quick, precise and yet fluid motion required.
The most effective way of instructing often comes down to experienced players working exclusively on throwing one-on-one before or after practice with a new player. We are still a young sport and good coaching techniques are yet to be discovered. Just let them work it out and have you as a role model.
TRANSLATED TO HTML BY: