Thursday, May 11, 2006

hucking practice

So, I have a few frisbees of varying quality lying around my back yard, and sometimes I'll huck a few of them. Usually I'll only get to throw two of them before the boy insists on taking the next. On Friday, weather permitting, I'll try to do a mini-workout with about 10 of them.

I'm wondering how constructive this practice is. Experts get better by deliberate practice, implementing immediate feedback. But because these frisbees are all different, some of them drastically so, I might uncork identical throws back-to-back but get significantly different results. Probably I can limit this by getting rid of the worst discs, but there will still be some effect.

Anyway, what I'm going to do is similar to my wedge workout reported on previously. I have stakes set up at 10 yard intervals, and I'm going to try to huck to the stakes. While I won't have a calibrated swing for each distance, this should help me statistically assess my throws. What I'm expecting is that as distance increases, the error will increase linearly while I'm within my range, then explode when I try to force it (probably enough that I won't be able to measure it because the throws are going into the trees).

PS. Plyo workout last night, I hope I didn't hurt myself. Nothing is too sore today, so that's good.


Jay said...

I've tried something similar when trying to improve on my hucks, but I'm not sure what most constructive method is. If I am unhappy with the accuracy/length of my forehand huck, say, does throwing a few hundred discs with my (probably) non-optimal method help? Is there a way to deconstruct it and focus on a few aspects? Or should I try your method, and determine that I can accurately huck a forehand 40 yards at a success rate I'm happy with, and then just accept that any huck beyond that distance will be a low probability and saved for specific instances (wide open receiver/stall 9.5 etc)

parinella said...

Jay, have it both ways. Take the time now to measure your current performance, then go about deconstructing your swing and see how your performance changes. Note that you may have to go backwards before you go forwards. With the golf swing, there are usually multiple problems, some of them being compensations for the other (for instance, aligning yourself left to compensate for a slice) so if you fix just one of them, you may do worse at first, until you can eliminate the compensating problem.

Jeff said...

In the past, I've worked on pulls by grabbing 6-7 discs and going out to a field for a while. A few thoughts...

It depends how different the discs are. If they're all discrafts, the feel shouldn't be significantly different. If you've got a 160g freestyle disc and an aerobie back there, maybe you should work on something else.

You can get a feel for your range. My range seems to vary more over the course of a season (and between seasons) than other things do and it helps to occasionally recalibrate it. (I'm also younger and less experienced though.)

You can work on a repeatable motion. Even throwing at the maximum of your range, you can work on keeping your form consistent and improve accuracy. For pulling, there's more motion that goes into it, so it's more applicable.

You can recover the feel for the disc. It depends on how much you've done over the winter, but after a winter of not pulling, it'll take a little while for me to get a good feel for my steps/form again.

You may be able to give yourself feedback. Previously, you've mentioned staying low as something to focus on. You can also test a slightly modified form - more/less IO, step slightly differently, etc. and see if that improves things.

Alex de Frondeville said...

I think Jim is focusing more on hucking, which is much less forgiving than pulling. No travel, much more constrained throwing motion, much less margin of error. Interestingly enough, I finally figured out how to throw a long forehand last year. Unfortunately, it was during while warming up for the first game at nationals last year, which didn't give me enough time to practice, as you might imagine. The throwing motion was MUCH different than my normal forehand, and was much less controllable. If I had had a season under my belt practicing it, than maybe. Of course, it still spoiled me as one of my 3 turnovers on the tournament was trying to throw a long forehand to Forch (I believe) that turned up and over... We'll see if I can practice that bad boy this spring.

Miriam said...

You wrote: "Experts get better by deliberate practice, implementing immediate feedback."

Did you read this article in the NYTimes magazine this Sunday: "Freakonomics, A Star is Made" by Dubiner and Levitt? The article refers to Anders Ericsson's research on experts and "deliberate practice" which "involves setting specific goals, obtaining immediate feedback and concentrating as much on technique as on outcome."

Just wondering.

parinella said...

I did read the article, yes (although it appeared in the Boston Globe as well). I also blogged about decision-making here and here last year. The following appeared there:
Here is how experts learn.

They engage in deliberate practice, so that each opportunity for practice has a goal and evaluation criteria.

They compile an extensive experience bank.

They obtain feedback that is accurate, diagnostic, and reasonably timely.

They enrich their experiences by reviewing prior experiences to derive new insights and lessons from mistakes.

Justin R said...

Go to the beach (hopefully one facting SW in the New England summer), and practice maximum time aloft by throwing into the wind and trying to catch the disc as it flies back. It improves the strength and balance of throws tremendously. It requires significant control to throw a disc as hard as you can while still trying to get the right break for the disc to fly back and still be catchable.

Added bonus: you only need one disc (except when throws go horribly wrong and you lose them in the ocean); and you can get a decent workout chasing plastic in the sand.

Dave S said...

Hey Alex,

What was the change you made to your forehand that enabled you to throw farther?

parinella said...

He doesn't remember, and his forehand is back to its usual quaility.