Anyone playing catch with a flying disc for no other purpose than to have fun is engaging in the purest form of Freestyle Frisbee. But, if one were to walk by a group of skilled Freestyle Frisbee players one would see that there is more to it than throw and catch. It’s one part dance, one part extreme sport, and one part juggling. If you know what Ultimate Frisbee is, then here’s one explanation: Ultimate is to Ice Hockey, as Freestyle is to Figure Skating.
What Separates Freestyle Frisbee from Other Disc Sports?
All disc sports focus on the accuracy or mastery of a throw. Ultimate and Double Disc Court includes skills of a receiver to catch. Freestyle includes both throws and catches, but with a significant twist: stylized throws, complex body movements by a receiver, and trick catches. A freestyler’s own body movements while attempting to control a moving disc is the essence of the game.
With a little observation, the first thing one might notice is that the players are balancing a spinning disc on their fingernails. This is called the nail delay and is at the core of mainstream Freestyle Frisbee. If you want to learn how to do a nail delay, click here.
What is interesting about the nail delay is that it allows players to keep the disc moving for much longer than if they were just throwing, tipping, and catching. The nail delay itself is a trick, but it also allows players to create combinations of tricks by setting the disc back into the air to control and extend the discs flight. Because the disc will eventually run out of spin, players will throw with as much spin as possible so they can do longer combinations of moves (combos).
The other skill that is at the core of mainstream Freestyle Frisbee is the airbrush. This is when players are hitting the rim of a disc while its in flight in order to control its direction and to add spin. If you want to learn how to airbrush, click here.
The airbrush also allows players to keep the disc going for longer periods of time. The airbrush itself is a trick, but it also allows players to use other types of moves and combinations. A player may airbrush under their leg, behind their back, or airbrush the disc to add more spin, and then go to a nail delay.
With these skills, the basic game of throw and catch has evolved into what freestyle players call jamming. While jamming, several players stand close together (in a circle or in a line), often in groups of 3-5, though any number can work. One person will throw the disc with lots of spin to another player in the group. The receiver may do a combination of tricks, or may do a trick pass to one of the other players. The new recipient may do a trick, and then (if the disc is still spinning) pass again to yet another receiver. This rhythm of throw, trick, pass, trick, pass (and so on), will continue among the jamming group until one of them goes for a trick catch. The whole time while jamming, players are shifting positions while following the Frisbee disc wherever it’s being passed. The jam becomes a form of spontaneous, collaborative dance where the players use the disc a guide on how to interact with each other. And, it is extremely engaging!
One throw may be touched by everyone in the jam and may continue its flight for up to a minute before a catch. Or, it may be caught after only a few passes, or one jammer will do a series of tricks and catch, or the disc drops to the ground mistakenly. Drops are considered part of the game. Then it’s picked up, thrown again, and the cycle continues. Players will jam with each other, often for hours – losing all track of time – and pushing the level of freestyle play for themselves as well as their companions.
Besides a Flying Disc, Freestyle Frisbee Players Use Other Specialized Equipment.
Click here to learn about the equipment
Freestyle Frisbee Has its Own Language
Click here to read up on some of the terms
Freestyle Frisbee Has a Rich History
Click here to discovery Freestyle’s past
Coming soon – Freestyle Frisbee Competition
Coming soon – Freestyle Frisbee Games and Exercises