By junk throw, I mean anything that if a rookie threw away, he’d be immediately benched or cut. Depending on your environment, it could be a push pass, lefty backhand, or a thumber, or possibly a scoober, backhand to the forehand side, or hammer. It’s “If you throw that again, you’ll never play in this town again” throws. It’s “What the hell are you thinking?” throws. You get the picture.
(For that matter, it can also be one-handed catches, claw catches, and gratuitous layouts or failure to lay out.)
We all grew up with conventional wisdom about what works and doesn’t work. Someone recently mentioned to me how a younger player was complaining about why they were playing force middle, and this guy said, “A few years ago, we used to call that ‘defense’.” Things change. Sometimes the old strategy was a sound one but new strategies were built to adapt, other times the old strategy was a bad one that just happened to be the best one available at the time, and occasionally the old strategy was the best one but players just wanted to try something different. The point is that the favored strategy becomes “the right way to play” and is never again critically examined to see whether it makes sense.
So it is with some throws, too. I’m seeing more push passes these days, and we had a discussion last fall about lefty backhands. I’m prepared to say that these are acceptable throws, with the followings caveats:
- Don’t fall in love with the throw.
- Don’t use it to show off. I’m still ticked at some CU punk on Bravo who went out of his way to throw a thumber huck against us in the finals of Colorado Cup last year when they were up by 4.
- Don’t throw it because you don’t want to make the effort to try another throw.
- Be able to justify why you threw it instead of another throw.
The justification will be different in ultimate than it is in goaltimate, where quick decisions and creative throws are more necessary, and the cost of an incompletion is much less.
So, think of the push pass as a sand wedge or as a rescue club. Most of us should consider these as specialty clubs tailor-built for specific situations where our normal clubs might not work well. Just don't use them off the tee.