Pulls. Devastating at their best, frustrating at their worst, spectacular either way. A largely overlooked aspect of the game, a good pull can change the field and put the offence on the back foot from the get-go.
For those thinking they aren’t big enough or strong enough to be a top level puller, think again. Pulling is not about strength, not about height and arm length. It is all about technique and efficiency.
TLDR: to get good power all you need to do is twist your hips and flick your wrist.
If that doesn’t do it for you, lets go a bit deeper into the technical details and sequencing of pulling.
The disc is an extension of your arm, it has to be aligned with your forearm! Highlighted in the ‘6 Cardinal Sins of Throwing a Forehand’ article, you need to align the disc with your forearm for efficient transferal of power from your hips/shoulder/arm to the disc.
The beauty of the pull is that it is an unregulated throw, do whatever you like just don’t cross the goal line. That being said, you need to be balanced when you are releasing the disc. I recommend the cross-step approach: the last three steps consist of: Right foot across, left foot behind and finally right foot in the direction of the pull.
You might see the odd player utilise a spin-pull or more of a stock standard backhand but I would recommend the cross step for a simpler way to generate power while staying balanced.
Direction of Power
Pretty simple, all force you generate must be aimed in the same direction you want the disc to go.
There are a few simple physics principles that come into play that will help you generate more power with less effort.
Keep your shoulder angle at 90 degrees, with your arm pointed away from your body. This creates the longest lever from your body thus generating more power. “But how do I add shape to the disc?” I hear you ask. Simple, bend at the hips.
Keep your back straight - just like doing a deadlift, no hunching!. The throwing action will be almost identical for each type of pull you want to do, whether inside-out or outside-in, the only real difference being how bent at the hips you are.
Angle of the Disc
The angle of the front edge of the disc defines how much drag the disc experiences out of the hand. Reducing the surface area of the disc is as simple as making sure you release the disc flat and the easiest way to do this is slide your thumb towards the edge of the rim. A lot of players fall into the habit mid point of releasing the disc downwards with the disc tilted up to achieve the “air bounce” movement; either because it can look cool or to try and get under a marks arm. This is fine over 10m but not when you are going for a full field throw.
I cannot stress this enough, the power should be generated by your hip and core not your arm! With a run up allowed, you get to really twist your hips without someone calling travel for lifting your back foot.
The follow through is something that not many people consider when throwing a pull, or with throwing in general. If you are trying to throw an IO backhand, the typical action would look something like your arm starting low and ending high, but if your follow through doesn’t continue along this path you might find the shape of your pulls might not be as consistent as you would like.
Now it’s up to you to go out and practice! “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times” - Arjen Robben. Practice, tweak, refine, alter, tweak, modify and practice again.
I hope everyone from new players to the most experienced can find something that can help get that extra 5m or extra second in the air! Happy pulling!
Keep your eyes out for the next article on what pull is best to use for each point.
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