The way I learned to roll was by first learning a power roll. I’ll explain for clock spin. First face the wind. This roll can be done in all kinds of wind, but I found it easiest to learn it in no wind. So indoors is good. Just make sure you have a high ceiling and no breakables around. It can get a little out of control. Next you need to toss the disc on a very steep angle to your left side. Then curl your left hand towards your forearm and wait with your hand down low, by your hip. As the disc comes down hit it at seven o’clock or so (this is important) with the palm of your hand. Stick your right arm straight up in the air and it will almost track itself. You might have to move your right arm forward a little bit to get it to track, but you will get the idea quick. You will need to hit it a little hard so that the direction of the disc will change from falling to travelling up your chest. As you get good at the power roll you will find that an open chest roll with no uphill travel will become easier. And if you give the open chest roll a little push with a curled wrist it will help greatly in making the disc track across your chest, because you’re giving it a direction instead of letting it roll as it will.
Kick brushing is an integral part of freestyle Frisbee. So invaluable is this tool, that it can push your game into a whole new difficulty level as well as add some fun and inventive saves.
Kick brushing is rather simple to learn in its most basic form. Kick brushing is similar to the air brush. One can learn by tossing a disc on an angle into the wind and kicking it in the same direction as the spin. Ideally if the spin is clockwise you would kick the disc at five o’clock with the outside of your right foot, or the inside of your left. If the disc is spinning counterclockwise then kicking the disc at seven o’clock would be more prudent. Of course there are always exceptions to every rule. Depending on spin and angle you may have to kick it in a different place. Practice some and you will see it’s not that hard to get it to come back up to your hands. Adding spin, changing the angle, the direction, or bumping the disc with control…well that’s another story.
It is sometimes necessary to add spin to the disc when kick brushing to gain stability of flight, or return to a delay. Adding spin can be tricky. It depends on many factors, such as; angle, wind, current spin, where the disc is relative to you, and much more. First you want to determine what your dominant leg is. (most right handers are right legged). In the beginning your dominant leg will be easiest to add spin with. For clock, however, the right leg will have better ability to add spin, and vice-versa for counter. Next, you want to toss the disc on and angle and kick it with the spin. It is like basic kick brushing, except that you will want medium to light contact with the disc. (If you hit it heavy you will send the disc into the upper stratosphere) When you kick the disc you will want to transfer almost all of the energy into the spin of the disc rather than flight path. Hitting the disc at four or five o’clock and continuing through with power clockwise will give the desired effect when the proper contact is made. Or eight to seven o’clock counter.
Note: When I learned I would throw the disc on a steep angle and try to add only a little spin. Beginning with too much power will not only be frustrating but can injure you and your friends.
Changing the angle:
Changing the angle with a kick brush is in some ways difficult and others not so much. It depends on what it is that you are trying to do. For instance, you can change the angle of a disc that is clock trailing off to your left with relative ease. The easiest way to do this is to use your skills adding spin. The biggest difference is where you kick the disc. Using your right foot, you will want to kick the disc in between five and six o’clock just a little low on the rim. ( Of course in the direction of the spin) Adding a ton of spin at the same time. This will tip the nose up in front of you instead of to the right where it was before. If you were using your left foot it requires a little more finesse. You need to use the inside of your foot with less power. Kicking in the direction if the spin, hit the disc at five o’clock (again just low on the rim) so as to bring the disc up to your hands to regain control. For counter transpose the feet and placement on the disc.
There are other ways to change the angle on the disc to save or for fun. Try throwing the disc with a severe angle, clock, and gently ease the top of your right foot onto the bottom of the rim at roughly four o’clock. You will need a lot of spin for this. The disc should flatten out. Practice some and you will figure out how to get it back up so you can deal with it. You can change the angle like this with any part of either foot. The more places on your foot you can change the angle with, the more adept you will be at saving a bad throw or pass.
Changing the direction:
Changing the direction of a discs flight path takes practice but is maybe more simple than changing the angle or adding spin. There are only a couple of things to consider. Mostly all you have to do is recognize the amount of spin and the direction in which the disc is traveling. The amount of spin will determine how hard you have to kick it, and how much of the angle you can change. The only thing I can say about this is practice some while jamming. It is solely experience that will help in determining how hard to kick or how much angle play you have. The direction is simple….where is it going? If you can determine where it is going you can decide where to hit the disc to make it go where you want it to. The best way I can think to practice this is: Get a friend to stand a bit away from you on your left. Have him/her throw the disc with the nose pointed up over to you. (your friend should be parallel to you and in the same line) Make sure that the throw is going to go a little past you, to your right, and that it is near your feet. When the disc gets near your foot stick it out and hit the edge around four o’clock. The disc should abruptly change direction and now be flying in front of you. As to the rest of it, practice. Try it and see what happens…having the aforementioned skills will greatly help you in your endeavor to change direction.
Bumping the disc is mostly reserved for a disc with high spin. It is easy really. Take a disc with high spin that is angling down toward your foot and lightly bump the disc at six o’clock with a not so gripping part of your shoe and it should come right up with almost the same amount of spin it had. You can change the direction with this method as well by hitting the disc at four or seven. Four will send it left and seven right. (this is clock of course…..can you tell which spin I use most?)
Kick brushing, much like all of freestyle, is an art form. After getting the basics you are ready move on to harder and more exciting kicks. It is my recommendation that even if you have not mastered the basics you should try trick kicks. In my experience I have found that trying things beyond your ability often solidifies the ability you have and accelerates your growth as a freestyler.
Outside Heel kick:
The outside heel kick is rather simple IF you hit the disc correctly. To perform this kick set the disc on an angle to your right or left side. (clock) Most commonly, this kick is done with the right foot. You will want to set the disc about shoulder height. Rotate your knee so that it points down toward the ground. This will bring your foot up towards your head. The outside of your foot is now facing forward. With the outside of your right foot touch the disc on the outside rim at four o’clock. With your left do the same thing only hit the disc at seven o’clock. Now, if you are brave you can change the angle. Hit the disc on the bottom of the rim at four and it will change. Experiment with it and you will be able to change the angle a little or a lot. Some people change the angle off the throw. It is best to attempt this with high angle.
Leg Over Kick:
The leg over kick is all about timing. It, in essence is just a regular kick. If you set a disc on a high angle in front of you, let it come down toward your foot like a regular kick brush. Moments before you are about to kick the disc jump up and kick your opposite leg over the disc then kick the disc with the intended foot. That’s it, nothing special here excepting the timing. That itself is rather hard.
The sole brush is done with the sole of your foot. Hence, Sole brush. This one can be hard. It requires a bit of flexibility. Set the disc into the wind about head height directly in front of you. With your toe pointed, swing your foot up in the air, in the direction of the spin. Hit the disc just below the ball of your foot on the rim at about five o’clock ( for clock). The disc should end up in front of you.
Behind The Leg Kick:
The behind the leg kick can be done two different ways that I know of. One is with the sole of your foot, and the other is the top of your foot. With clock spin it is easiest to do this kick with your right foot. Set the disc to your left on an angle. Let it drift down towards the ground and kick with the top of your foot, behind your left leg at six o’ clock or so. The disc will either go up and to the right or straight forward. It depends on where you hit it. I find that depending upon the wind it is sometimes easier to jump then kick. Be careful not to kick your leg out from under you.
If you want to kick it with the sole of your foot, set the disc the same as aforementioned. Instead of just kicking behind your leg you can twist to the right swinging you right foot down with your toe pointed toward the ground. Hit it at five or six and there you have it. You don’t have to spin, yet I find it easier.
Inside kick brush:
The inside kick brush is dependant mostly on angle. First you will want your back to the wind. Next set the disc, from a rim delay, on a steep angle with the nose pointed towards the wind. . (Maybe sixty degrees, it depends on the wind) The set should be near the side of your body that you wish to kick with. Then give it a kick at six or so in the direction of the spin. Watch your face, a bad hit can result in a fat lip. You don’t usually have to hit it very hard a light tap will do the trick. I find that pointing your toe will help in gaining control. If you would like to practice on your own without a rim set you can try a two handed throw set. It works well.
There are many more trick kick brushes that can be learned. Practice and experiment. Much like all freestyle there are more ways to do it than have been invented.
Also, watch film there is tons to be learned in the playback.
Crushed…My first big prelims in Vancouver 78, and I lost a half-point on the variety check-off sheet because I didn’t do a brush and another half-point for not doing a roll. I figured I better work on this, and by Fall 1979 I had basic brushes and rolls down, thanks to Corey Basso and Skippy Jammer. But it wasn’t until I became a bench-warmer for Stanford Ultimate that I jumped to the next level with these skills by brushing and rolling on the sidelines.
1. Play by yourself often, practicing rolls and brushes where you have room to run and hopefully some, but not necessarily nice, wind. Visit San Diego, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and other good wind-spots on nice wind-days as often as possible.
2. Face the wind. Know where you are in relation to the wind at all times. Learn to feel it like a sailor.
3. As Skippy says. remember that the object of a roll is not to get it from one hand to the other (bounce, bounce), but to roll it along the body as if it’s on Velcro, pulling it along your arms by moving your body in the opposite direction of the roll with “touch-Zs,” turbo rolls excepted.
4. Step into and follow-through on all brushes and kicks, as you would in tennis, volleyball or baseball.
5. Decrease the margin of error by wearing size twelve shoes for better surface-area for kicking. I’m a size 11.
6. Seriously, try brushing the disc steeper at times, a skill I learned watching Dave Marini and JJ (John Jewel) in 1978.
7. Step into the disc when brushing so if it goes too far you can get to it, always being ready for the missed hit….be on your toes and ready to sprint.
8. Don’t plan too much. The best part of this game is to take advantage of the hand dealt to you. If you plan to do a roll off of a set but it’s there for a kick or a scarecrow catch instead, go for what’s there. Don’t force it…go with the flow.
9. When you’re indoors, compensate for no wind by running faster to make your own wind, and by setting rolls and brushes steeper.
10. The force of the brush should be inversely proportional to the Zs on the disc. For example, you’re middle-jammer in a 3-person MAC-line (Midair Attitude Correction). The disc comes to you with a slight angle and high Z’s – just meet it with your hand or body part…it’s riskier to swing at it or brush it hard when it’s not needed. On the other hand, hit it harder if it has low Zs. Learn how to adjust the disk with a cuff as needed for better options in MAC-lines..
11. Cuff often when you’re sweaty and you have a steep, high Z disk.
12. The meek will not inherit the kick. Be aggressive. Pretend you’re the batter in 6th-grade kickball.
13. Play the spontaneous wind game with your friends, but also learn when to give space to your partner for individual moves. Go on “brush runs” with your partners. . Be like Magic Johnson and make the players around you better…Set up your partners with good, easy brush/roll/kick sets and watch great, difficult things happen that you won’t remember after you do them… this is a good sign. Communicate frequently before and after you jam to enhance these opportunities. Also talk during spontaneous times (e.g. all-mine, all-yours, coming, etc…).
For the newcomer to freestyle “bashing” and rolling the disc are essential skills to have. Of course the simple nail delay which allows you to control the disc and think, or set your next move is more essential at first…. The bash and roll will allow your game to rise to the next level.
“Bashing” or air brushing to increase the spin will allow you to regenerate spin to yourself, which is good to practice alone, or to just pass to your partner without catching and throwing. In fact if your partner throws to you as you bash to him/her you can start doing double disc routines where a disc is always in motion! For a right handed person, bashing counter spin is done at the ear level, while clock spin is done lower-more waist high. Left handed clock bashing is done high, while counter is done lower conversely. Keep in mind that a foot brush can also be done very close to the ground, with the right foot kicking towards the left foot for clock and straight ahead or to your right for counter spin. The most important things to keep in mind are 1) Keep the nose of the disc higher than the back, and the more wind in your face the flatter it can be. 2) The angle of the disc should be similar to the angle of a throw we would throw to a partner with a slight curve. A right handed backhand is usually released with the side being held higher than the opposite edge. This is due to the fact that the spin actually will “process” the disc and make it move towards flat. If you start with the disc flat in a throw or airbrush scenario, the increase in spin usually make it “turn over” and roll. That is why we keep the bashing angle in what can be known as the skip angle-that is the angle at which a throw would skip towards your partner. 3) So with the nose up and in the skip angle, hit the disc at like 5-6 oclock in a circular motion with the fleshy part of the palm where it meets the fingers. This means counter is angled away from you to right and high, while clock is angled away to left and low-for your right hand….and the opposite for your left side. 4) Practice by letting your delay go to the rim, until the disc is in the desired angle…and hit gently at first and more firmly in a circle to increase spin-do not hit through the disc but get into contact and accelerate with the force.
So now that we can delay the disc, and tip it in the middle, and then as it slows down we can bash it and speed it back up…we have another option open for more ways of controlling and playing with the flying disc. This is called the body roll, arm roll, or just the roll. If you get good enough people will yell, “Sweet rolls”. But it is not until you can roll all types front and back, plus the inverted rolls, that you may hear, “That was more rolls than in a continental breakfast!”
The body roll is a way of gluing the disc to your body and as it travels across, you are actually in control of it when it is spinning rather slowly. Therefore this move comes towards the end of a combo, after center work, and rim pulls which reduce the spin, and instead of the airbrush which would re-rev the disc. High spin or “turbo” rolls can be spectacular for passing to a partner, or through a hoop or under a leg in a 3-way jam, but at first stick with rolling the slowest of spins or your head may spin, or it may strike you on the chin.
Body rolls can be practiced by tossing the disc up in a 45-60 degree angle above your head and to the right or left-Remember to toss the left handed counter light set to your right side as it will roll to your left, and the ever popular right spin to your left as it will start on the left side but the right hand will be the last contact before it is set up for another roll or for a pass or to your own catch. Leaning back and having your chest extended up with your knees bent will help immensely. As the disc rolls you should extend the chest into it for good contact so leave some leeway in your chest to “push up”, but this same gluing to your body feeling can be created by pressing up with the legs slightly, so keep them bent. Also for a clock roll, have the disc rolling up your right hand towards the sky (away from the ground). Very often new players will roll flat in front of them, which can be frustrating because of gravity pulling at the disc. This fact coupled with the disc is not angled up causes the disc to fall to the ground. So try to roll from angled in front of you high onto your chest and back up the other arm towards the sky, and move your shoulder into it as if you were slapping someone. So for a clock roll the disc will start on the left above you falling/rolling down on your slightly back bent body, from your left arm towards the chest, and as the chest is touched by the disc begin to press up with the legs and “slap” with the right hand at the end causing the disc to glue to the chest past the shoulder up the right arm. For multiple rolls use the right hand as a flipper to send the disc back over to the left side to start it all over, or just have your partner next to you to receive the roll and continue it. As you get better, you can “weave” behind your partner and get back your own roll or even send it back to the far side to have it return to you again! For back rolls, as the disc comes past your neck and is about to go out of sight try lifting the opposite elbow and you will feel it go up in the air!
Most jammers will tell you that you need to learn to delay before you can jam. Unfortunatly the learning curve for the delay is very steep and often turns people off before they start to feel the rewards of jamming. Fortunaly there are two tricks that anyone can do with a small amount of practice but a huge amount of fun.
This is how I learned to jam. Mike Esterbrook would thrown me zzzs and I would let it drift onto my nail. If I felt brave I’d try to keep it in the center but mostly I’d let it fall to the rim. While it spun there it I would pass it under my leg, behind my back or anywhere else I could think of. Eventually it ran out of spin or I hit myself with it and it would plop to the ground. When I got a little better I’d use my left hand to hold it at my left side and grab it behind my back with my right resulting in my first completed series!
To learn the rim delay is simple. Find someone who can throw the disc with a good amount of spin. When they throw it to you let it float onto your index finger’s nail. The trick here is to make sure only the nail contacts the disc. This is where fake nails help the most. Now that the disc is on your nail hold your hand up with your finger pointing to the sky. Let the disc circle slowly around being sure that only your nail contacts the disc. Holding your finger bent to a 45 degree angle will help but however you do it be sure to keep your nail in contact. The disc will spin round and round and eventually run out of juice and flop over. You have just completed a rim delay.
It won’t take but 5 or 10 of these and you’ll get the feel for how the disc moves and how to keep your nail instead of your finger in contact. Be sure to try both hands. Once you are ready try passing it from hand to hand. Once that is easy do it under your leg. You are now freestyling…it’s as simple as that. Add a catch in there and you’ve completed a series. Pass it on the rim to your friend and you can co-op. Really there’s nothing to it.
This is my favorite of all moves. It is one of the easiest moves to execute yet honing this skill can take a lifetime. To practice brushing toss the disc in front of you almost perpendicular to the ground. If there’s alot of wind make the set a little flatter. It should go up a little ways, 2 or 3 feet and then come back down to you. When it’s in range hit (brush) it with the palm of your hand so as to add spin and send it back up 2 or 3 feet. Repeat until you lose control, pass it to a partner or catch it. That’s all there is to it. The real tricks here are 1: try to add spin when you hit it. Hitting it with the wrong spin or no spin will kill its flight (at least if you don’t know what your doing). 2: run after it. Even the best players can’t keep the disc in front of them the whole time. And who would want to, the fun is in the challenge. Chase it around and bash at it for as long as you can. You’ll find that shortly you can keep it in the air for quite a while.
Once you get the hang of brushing to yourself try and brush it to a friend. There are two ways to accomplish this. One is to toss the disc up with much less of an angle so that the nose is pointing towards the target. Then when you brush it the disc will float over as if you threw it there. This move really impresses non-freestylers. The second way is to brush it so that it arches over you your friend. This is akin to throwing a major angle up into the air and over to you friend. If your friend is cool she’ll try and brush it back and suddenly you are co-oping again. Funny how it always come back to co-oping.
Putting them together:
Now that you can brush and rim delay try putting the two together. Take a throw on a rim delay. If it’s clockwise spin take it on your left hand. Let it spin around until the nose is pointing to your partner. Then drop your left hand out and brush it with your right. (Reverse g the hands for counter spin). It should float over nicely to your partner who will catch a triple spinning gitosis…sorry I’m day dreaming again. As long as it gets to her you did your job.
Now try the same trick but to yourself. Take it on the rim delay and do a few moves. Once it slows down wait until it is pointing away from you on a steep angle. Then drop out your delay hand and brush with your other hand. Keep on brushing until you’re expression is complete, then go for a catch.
Last trick, go from a brush to a rim delay. This one is a bit tougher so I saved it for last. Remember how I said to always add spin? Well if you can do this well enough you should be able to take it on the rim again and do some more rim tricks. There aren’t many tips I can give on this one but I will say that once you get it you will feel unstoppable. It means that no matter what throw you get you can do something with it because you’ll be able to add spin when every you need it. They call this maneuver a rerev.