Today’s PDX jam featured guest jammer Mary Lowry, along with Lisa, Lori, and me (Jake). We had a sweet, indoor, mob-op session with the disc bouncing between us like a pinball on nearly every move. Thanks to Mary’s presence, we also had lots counter spin practice. Some highlights included Mary’s gracefull cove pulls with BOTH spins and Lori’s self set Gitis. Of course move of the day has to go to Lisa, Mary, and I for a sick counter co-op which involved everyone’s nails, a couple skids, and then a 4 roll series featuring both forward and inverted chest rolls. As the jam wound down, the scene was Lori practicing her kick brushes. While she didn’t hit the same right foot, left foot, right foot behind the left leg combo from the last jam, it was still a joy to watch.
Can you name the jammers in this video? The more you can name, the crustier you are.
Matt’s 2nd video.
Matt put together this wicked video of the hein in Portland.
Heinsville will be going through a revamp. Stay tuned.
The reverse pulls originated from the osis concepts. To understand the reverse
pulls you must also understand the osis. There is a true osis and a false osis.
The true osis must have a leg or body part clear the disc completely to execute
the move properly. Lets take a simple one. Reverse gitis pull! I set the disc
from my right hand spinning clock under my left leg flat set placing the disc to
my left shoulder. The left leg continues to rotate 180 degrees then planting
firmly then the right leg continues the rotation in the air while your right hand
slides cross body to the gitis position while the right leg MUST go over the
disc and then the pull is achieved.
Hint> keep your chin on your right collar bone while you look down your right
elbow and your right knee for the disc and set the disc where you want it! Stick
your finger in and pull. If you can keep your right leg up and swoop into a
grapevine set to a left handed scarecrow!!! That should wooo em!
In every sport there is a target level for the highest form of play. With art there are average pieces and then there is the work of the masters. With Freestyle Frisbee the most elevated level of play is called consecutivity. It is a way of playing that takes the skill of continuation to its most difficult form. In addition to difficulty this skill adds the elements of flow and creativity into the mix, creating the most expressive and incredible forms of freestyle. It could be described as the art of combining a wide variety of difficult constrictive moves into a long sequence, effectively, with flow and precision. The goal of every freestyler should be to improve their level of consecutivity. For those wishing to compete at the tournament level of play, this would be a very important skill to concentrate on.
It has been said sometimes in freestyle that a series of moves can be compared to a written expression of words, like a sentence. Each move could be equated with an expression or word with the most basic of these termed a ‘the’. A ‘the’ is the basic in front of you, unconstricted, one handed catch, the easiest catch or form of continuation there is. In the interest of consecutivity a ‘the’ move would be the greatest detraction from achieving this high level of play. Along with bobbles, mis-hits, long pauses and drops, they are the bain of consecutivity, but in reality ‘the’s’ are hard to avoid, and they are always better than a drop (a ground ‘the’).
Consecutivity always focuses on achieving a more descriptive and complex level of phrasing. Such as, a spinning under the leg take, flat set, spinning 1 1/2 BTB pull to an under leg angle set, front roll, set, back roll, set, spinning phlaud catch. Notice that there wasn’t a ‘the’ , pause or bobble mentioned in the entire sequence. Actually the first set in this sequence was technically a ‘the set’ as it came after the under leg move. It can be really hard to weed out those ‘the’s’.
Expression is the goal of consecutivity. To express our game and share it to others at it’s highest level requires that we perform our most difficult moves in a continuously flowing format. Freestyle is an expression driven activity. We want people to watch our play and be amazed at what were doing. ‘The’s’ allow the viewer too many chances to catch their breath. We want our play to be so consecutive that their minds will not be able to keep up with the expression of difficult moves shredded out before them
Imagine someone, as they contemplate that double spinning flamingitis against pull take off of a throw we just nailed. As their mind attempts to comprehend that, it will soon tingle as we go off into a series of consticted spinning against take moves, and when we finish with a spinning crow brush set to a triple spinning crash and burn roots, their overcharged neurons will most likely erupt into a bout of spontaneous giggling. My mind got a jazz just contemplating the possibility. Everyone wants to express their game to the highest level, because it’s more fun and it looks really cool.
So then, how do we begin the process of introducing more consecutivity into our games. Fortunately, no matter what your level of play is you can work on this skill by taking the moves you already know and begin to combine them into sequences. At the beginning level this might simply be a series of basic continuation moves. Work on avoiding ‘the’s’ and other simple moves or corrections that break up flow and detract from consecutivity.
Let’s say you know how to flat delay set under your legs, do simple pulls like a behind the back, chest roll and some basic freestyle catches like a flamingo. You could put these together in various combinations without ‘the’s’, with flow and you would be increasing your consecutivity. Your combination might go something like this… Off the throw, make one turn and take the disc under your leg. In one smooth motion set the disc up flat in front of you and turn halfway, pulling out the disc with a BTB rim pullout. Fight the urge here to use a ‘the’ to gain control, but instead cleanly set the disc out head high in front of you, with a little angle for your next move, the chest roll. At the end of a nice sticky roll, push the disc off your hand straight in front of you at mid height so that it soon stalls and slopes back towards your feet, then turn and set up for a nice gracefull flamingo catch.
Note how this combination used each continuation move in a consequetive sequence. Breaks were avoided by the use of accurate sets off of each move. Each set ended exactly where the next move was to begin. Some have described this as putting the disc into the ‘move window’. This refers to the course where the disc travels on it’s route to your next planned move. Often, because of it’s flight characteristics, the disc is set out in front, usually into the wind, where it will take a predictable course back to you, giving you enough time to set up for your next move. Or allowing you to move in an easy direction, forward, to take the disc into the next continuation move. With each move requiring a set, there is a corresponding ‘move window’. Try to figure these out and form a mental picture of these ‘windows’ in the places where you’re having the most difficulty completing the move. Some moves have large windows while other more difficult constrictive moves have extremely small windows with added disc angle requirements.
Work with what you know and find ways to combine these into flowing sequences of moves. Once you have mastered a series, try to combine it in a slightly more difficult way or add other moves into the sequence. Working on consecutivity will force your game to improve on many levels. Moves will have to be performed more correctly, sets will take on greater importance, you will soon be able to instinctively improvise in moves depending on were each set ends up. Your game will grow on many fronts instead of one move at a time.
If you’re jamming with other players and doing cooperative moves, try adding some consecutivity into the playing mix. Don’t just take the pass or throw in a simple ‘the’ position, but spin into it and/or take it from a more constricted position. The same goes for passes and throws, try doing something extra with each and add some flow. If you make a difficult catch with a certain hand position, try sending off a throw using that same grip. Adding consecutivity will elevate your game and those around you to higher levels.
Difficult cooperative takes require a certain level of anticipation and the ability to rapidly commit to a particular move early as the pass is being made. Try to anticipate what is coming, but be ready for anything. On the other hand, your passes and throws to other players should be set accurately, preferably into their ‘move windows’, so that they will be able to keep the flow unbroken and consequetive. As your playing, keep yourself moving, positioning yourself in areas where you can better receive passes or do something with the disc like hoops or angle changing deflections. Moving around the disc as other players are doing moves will open up more possibilities for interaction and help cool moves to develop.
Consecutivity is a difficult challenge, but it is at the heart of expressing our game to others at the highest level. Work on it each time you play. Build move combinations that are both consequetive and difficult for you. Stretch yourself a little bit at a time, while attempting to remove the clutter of ‘the’s’, pauses and easy sets. Try combining difficult moves that you never thought of placing together. Along the way you will find other consequetive moves that can be woven into sequences that will enhance both your game and your enjoyment of the sport of Freestyle Frisbee.
Putting together a freestyle routine is rarely the same as jamming. There are few players who can translate the excitement and unexpected thrills of jams into competitive formats. What that means is you’ll need to put in some time to create your routine.
Every time you create a routine is different. Every routine is a different journey. You’ll have more fun by not focusing on the 5 minutes you will have to perform the routine at a competition but on enjoying the hours of creativity and camaraderie that will get you to that competition.
If you decide to enter a competition and want to put together a routine, it’s useful to think about a few questions:
What are your goals? Your goal may be to have fun. It may be to pull off a certain move in competition or to demonstrate a style of play you love. It may be to place at a certain level, to make the finals, to win. Your goals, and the goals of your teammates will shape the way you create your routine. Without articulating your goals for yourself, you may encounter more frustration than you need to when building your routine.
For instance, if you are playing a theatrical routine at a beach shred competition, you should know whether your goal is to place well or play your style. If your goal is to place well, you should be aware that your style may be a handicap to your goal. If your goal is to demonstrate your style of play, your final placing won’t be a big factor for you.
Take a moment to identify your goals. You may have a few. What’s most important? What’s less important?
What style do you want to play? The sport is freestyle. The moves are the same, but each player combines them in their own individual way, creating an infinite variety of play. Knowing your style of play and your style of competing can make your routine planning more successful and enjoyable.
Are you interested in more spontaneous play in competition? I am not an expert on spontaneous routines, but if you play this style you probably won’t want to bother mapping out elaborate co-ops to distinct music cues. Your time is better spent jamming with your team, learning each others’ games and getting hot.
Are you interested in a highly choreographed routine? If so, you’re probably going to have to limit your jamtime with your team because you’ll need to spend more time working out co-ops and practicing the routine.
How much time can you commit to putting the routine together? Whatever style of routine you choose, it’s important to work out with your teammate. If your routine is choreographed, you’ll want enough time to put the routine together and practice it. If your routine is unplanned, you should play with your teammate as much as possible. The more you know each other’s games, the better your interactions and improvised co-ops will be.
I’ve had the luxury of living in the same city as my teammate and the further luxury that the city had awesome weather. Dave Lewis and I could play year-round. We did not work on routines year-round, but we worked on our games and improved our team play in jams. Our situation is extremely rare. It’s more likely that you will have only a few practice sessions with your team.
Whatever your situation, budgeting your time is important. If you get together at a tournament and have an hour to prepare for the first round, use that hour wisely. It’s probably more important to work out some co-ops than pick out uniforms. It’s probably more important to pick music that every team member can jam to than to work out intricate choreography. Do what you can for the first round. If you make the cut, you have more time to flesh out your routine and pick those perfect matching outfits.
Even if you practice year-round, it’s essential to use your time effectively. There have been many years that Dave and I spent more time worrying about our song choice than putting good co-ops together. If you have 10 weekends a year to prepare for a tournament, and the weather is so good on 9 of them that you just jam, that leaves you 1 weekend to prepare. You’ve just lost all the advantage of living near each other.
YOUR TEAM AND THEIR GOALS
Who are you playing with, and what are their goals? If your teammate has different goals, it can lead to tension. If you want a shred routine and the rest of your team wants something more theatrical, you may have a problem.
Because freestyle allows so many styles, you can probably work things out in a way that each member of the team gets what they want. For instance, the theatrically-minded player could get a choreographed section and the shred player could get unstructured time for individual combos and improvised co-ops.
Find out about one another’s goals early. If the conflict isn’t resolved, it may be a bumpy ride.
ENOUGH WITH THE PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTIONS
Once you answer those philosophical questions, it’s time to put together your routine. The following suggestions use the assumption that you are interested in putting together a routine that places you as high as possible, a routine that is a great showcase for your freestyle wizardry, a routine that has the greatest chance to wow the audience.
What song will you use? In most competitions, you can choose your own routine music. Sometimes in early rounds, music will be randomly selected, but at the world championships you are allowed to play to whatever you want in all rounds.
Choose a song that everyone on your team likes. It may not be either player’s first choice, but it’s important that the song inspires you to play your best.
Choose a song that reflects your style of play. If your routine has lots of choreography, think about whether the music has enough changes or breaks to highlight what you do. It’s more effective to catch choreographed co-ops on music breaks than at random points in a song. If your style is flowing, an aggressive song might not convey your game. Same if you are an aggressive, on-the-edge player. A Celine Dion ballad may water down the presentation of what you’re doing.
Don’t feel censored, but take the judges and audience into consideration when choosing your tunes. Choose a song that the judges and audience can handle. It’s great to find a song that both people on your team like. If you want to make your team more competitive, also consider about what the judges and audience will think.
Judges aren’t allowed to judge your music, just how your choreography meshes with your music, but music choice can factor in at the judging table. If the judging panel cannot get into your music, it may prevent them from getting into your routine. That may affect your General Impression score. If they cannot get past your music, they may not see all the great moves you are doing to the music. That can affect several scores, including Music Choreography.
If the audience isn’t moved by your music, they may not be as excited by your performance. You can never predict what a judging panel or audience will like, but if your tastes run to extremes, take a moment to think about whether the music you love is a good complement to your routine.
Even a dropless routine is filled with errors. They may not be the kind of errors an execution judge will notice, but the routine will stray from its plan. The wind will play with the disc. A set will be off. Someone will forget the next co-op. One teammate’s confidence won’t be there for an important move. What do you do when things go wrong?
In a word: communicate. Talk. Bark orders. Claim responsibility. Give each other the evil eye. Every team communicates differently, but success depends on having a language to communicate what comes next. Teams who have been together for a while may not even say a word. They can communicate with motions or facial expressions. At some point in a routine, teams have to talk. The best time to figure out how to talk to each other is in practice.
Shred. Choreographed. Aggressive. Fluff. Theatrical. Technical. We label teams and routines all the time based on what we perceive they are doing. Forget those labels. Whatever you plan for a routine should be makeable. If you plan moves that are beyond your comfort level, you risk distracting yourself. You may be so worried about that big move in the next co-op that you drop the previous co-op. Always push your limits and show the biggest disc skills you can, but be honest with yourself about what you can pull off when it counts. If you are building in a big theatrical section, make sure you can keep your concentration and get back to doing the moves. If you are creating a diff routine, be sure you can pull everything off.
Co-ops are sequences that involve more than one player. They can be planned or unplanned, sketched out or planned to the second. You’ll want some co-ops in your routine.
What makes a good co-op? Risk. Visual style. Pacing. Inventiveness. Flair. Most importantly for you, a good co-op is one that fits your game and you can learn well enough to pull off almost every time.
How do you put a co-op together? Start with your money moves. Money moves are tricks you are known for. They are the moves that are hard for others but easy for you. They are the moves that get you a big response from the crowd or the judges. They are your favorite moves. Make sure your money moves are in your routine. If possible, try to combine your money moves with your teammates’ money moves for big, massive co-ops. Take advantage of what you’re good at.
Once you’ve figured out some of the money moves you want to perform, think about how to link them up. How can you go from your money move to set your partner up for his big move? Think of consistent yet interesting ways to pass to your teammate. Think of consistent yet exciting ways to receive passes. Figure out how many interesting passes you can do before the spin runs out. Now think of a way to end the co-op with a big catch. Remember, it’s generally more exciting for one teammate to set up the other teammate’s catch rather than one guy to set to his own catch.
Do that, then repeat 10-15 times. You will need between 10-15 co-ops for a competitive routine.
CREATING THE ROUTINE
Once you’ve got 10-15 co-ops, you’ve got the raw materials for a routine. It’s time to put them into order. If you’re doing a choreographed routine, you should have an opening sequence of around 3 co-ops, an ending sequence of around 3 co-ops, and some sequences in the middle. For some teams, the order of co-ops is the order the team thought them up. You can get good flow from co-op to co-op that way, but if you are open to rearranging them you may find some more interesting co-op sequences.
Think about these things:
Throws and catches: The player who catches a co-op will probably throw the next throw (this may not be true in a multiple-disc routine), so if Player A catches a co-op, the next co-op needs to have Player A throwing. Sometimes you’ll have to tweak co-ops to make the throws and catches mesh. It’s nice if each player catches about the same number of times. If each person is carrying an equal catching load, the pressure is not on any one player and you can work better as a team.
Music: Some co-ops will work better with certain sections of the music. You may have created some of the co-ops to the music already. If not, try to visualize which co-ops will work well with which parts of your routine music.
Balance: Routines can get unbalanced if you do too many co-ops of the same style. Are you always working close together (or far apart)? Is everything flat (or angle/windgame/turnover)? Is everything high spin? Is everything one spin? Your routine’s impact is reduced without variety. Things will blend together into a brain-deadening mush. Mix it up a little and your most important sequences will stand out.
Flow: It’s not enough to have killer co-ops or a cool theme. Your routine needs flow. Even if each player flows well in their individual combos, even if the co-ops themselves are crisp, even then the routine can be rough if the transitions between co-ops are sloppy. For good transitions, try to minimize re-positioning or awkward pauses between co-ops. The catcher should end up in a place where he can throw the disc. His teammate should have already re-positioned to the ideal catch-receiving spot. Some believe that the catcher should not even re-grip the disc. If he catches it with a wrist flip grip, he should throw with that grip. That’s a very high standard of transitioning, so don’t get too hung up on it before you dot all your other i’s and cross all your other t’s.
No matter what your routine, you have a theme. It might be Swan Lake or Spare Change. It might be “we’re going to go out there and shred like no one’s ever shred before.” It might be “we’re a new team and we’re not really serious about this.” It might be “this routine is falling apart and we don’t know how to save it.” You send a message with every performance. The key is to send the message you intend. If you want a theatrical routine, it’s going to take some extra thought to make it a special routine. If you want a choreographed diff routine, you better practice hard so you can pull everything off in sequence. If you want an improvised shred routine, it’s going to take some extra hot play to stand out against the commercial appeal of the theatrical routine and the precision of a choreographed diff routine. Whatever you do, do it well.
Freestyle is a geographically diverse sport. It’s not always possible to work year-round on routines. Teams sometimes have only one or two sessions to create something special. Whatever time you have left over should be spent practicing. You can practice the co-ops to figure out how to pull them off. You can practice the sequence of co-ops to memorize the routine. You can practice the whole routine to build your physical and mental endurance. You can practice jamming with your team to learn their game, improve communication and build a team bond. To succeed in competition will require practice. The good news is that you can find a kind of practice that fits your style and goals as long as you bring intensity and commitment to each session.
Article by Arthur Coddington
Flow is a term that came into usage during the 1970’s, as the sport of Freestyle began to grow more advanced. For the first time, players achieved the ability to string a great number of moves together. Through the process of combining individual moves, efficient transitional movement had to be performed and the term coined for this was flow. Players began to recognize the value of flow, not just functionally, but also it made their game look so much more polished. Soon it was something to be practiced and worked upon as much as the moves themselves. Speed flow was invented which combined trick throws and catches in a flowing unbroken style of movement.
Flow can be achieved in many ways and through many divergent styles, but it always seeks to create the appearance of smooth, unbroken movement while executing moves. A drop or throw away is usually the greatest detractor from achieving flow, while unintentional bobbles, misses, miss-hits, poor footwork and other mistakes also subtract from a freestyler’s flow. Flow is enhanced by the way in which a player moves. The use of good form and positioning as a player carries out a succession of moves contributes much to the appearance of flow. Flow is more than just executing move after move without breaks. It is executing those moves with extension, grace, form and timing in succession without break or error.
Obviously, flow is a good attribute to add to your game. So how do you increase your level of flow? Like any of the other components of freestyle, flow is increased and perfected through practice and becoming familiar with a wide variety of moves. Some players have a certain grace of movement that will help them develop a flowing form more rapidly than other. But in actuality, it boils down to becoming adept at doing each particular move correctly, free from error and with proper body positioning. Then, and most importantly, a player must add to their moves precise timing, free from misguided breaks in either form or motion, so that they smoothly transition from one move to another and so on, until a clean catch is made.
Think of a series of freestyle moves like a sentence consisting of descriptive words. Flow would be, in part, the way in which the writer chose and placed the words, but even more importantly, it would be the skill in which they read those words to the listener.
Flow is what makes consecutivity successful. Even novice players can put together a group of moves in succession, but to make it look good, flow must be present. The real experts have perfected their play to a point where they can flow from one difficult move to the next, making adjustments along the way as needed, plugging in a move here and improvising a series there, making it all blend into a smooth expression of their game.
A high level of flow is always difficult to achieve. There are so many variables to contend with, both in the environment and with the ongoing decision making processes going on between the player’s ears. Winds are often variable, footing can be uneven, the sun can suddenly be right in your eyes, obstacles can confront you, and distractions may appear and take you off of your game. It takes focus, confidence and the ability to make those timely adjustments in play to keep those awkward breaks and uneven movement to a minimum.
Decisions… quick decisions, these can affect flow, also. A progression of moves must be strung together seamlessly to exude flow. To do this a player must have confidence and familiarity with a number of different types of moves and be able to rapidly decide upon the next move as the series or co-op develops. A split second of indecision will usually end up as a break in flow. Many players practice a series of moves over and over until the whole series becomes as one continuous flowing move. This method does not allow for much latitude when the wind become extreme, but often sections of the entire series can be joined to sections of other series as conditions warrant.
Flow is an important part of every style of freestyle play. From fast peel out shredding, to the slower control types of freestyle, flow is the glue that holds the presentation of moves together. It is easy to see when a player executes a series of graceful spinning rim pull outs. But, it is also just as important with percussive moves, or in the blending of widely different speeds and movement, though you might not consider these as flowing styles while watching them. Even a move with the lack of movement, like a benign or catch can be an important part of flow, if it is joined with proper timing to the moves before and after it.
In many sports when a player is said to be in ‘a zone’ they have achieved a playing state that is of total concentration and performance. When a freestyler reaches ‘the zone’ then flow is also maximized. During many longer jams a high level of flow can be reached for a short time. Occasionally, during a long session, this level can be maintained for a long period, perhaps an hour or more, both individually and cooperatively with the people you are playing with. To experience this level of flow is one of the greatest things about our sport. At the end of the day after one of those jams you might remember a few highlight series of moves or co-ops and it just seems like you’ve pulled off something quite incredible. To reach a high state of flow during a jam may be the single most addicting and enjoyable aspect of the sport.
Flow is an open-ended deal. It is impossible to continually be performing it at a maximum level and yet it is something all of us should be striving for. So keep on practicing, learn as many moves as possible and start stringing them together in different combinations. Pay attention to how those combinations affect flow. Soon your body will instinctively and rapidly be able to react to more and more variations of moves with proper footwork and body positioning. When you practice, try to spend some time focusing more on flow instead of just moves, and see what happens. Often the moves will begin to just happen and the flow will take over with surprising results. Don’t ever downplay the importance of flow.
Article by Carl Dobson