Teach Your Child to Throw a Frisbee

Tossing a Frisbee can be confounding. Done well, it provides lifetime enjoyment in the backyard, at the beach, the park, or even on a team. Done poorly, it leads to endless chasing and apologies to nearby sunbathers. Dana Christensen, youth educator for the Boston Ultimate Disc Alliance, offers these basics:


Choose the right Frisbee. For a 10-year-old, go with a junior disc. The smaller rim makes for an easier grip. Regardless of the size, look for one made from solid, heavy plastic to cut through any wind, and with a lip that allows your child to get two fingers underneath.


Start with a backhand toss. For this across-the-body throw, have your child “shake hands” with the Frisbee, thumb on top, other fingers curled underneath. Have him bend his wrist inward, bring the disc to the opposite elbow and then uncoil, stepping forward and snapping his wrist upon release. The key is to keep his arm level – it’s not a high-low motion as with throwing a ball. (Have him imagine a glass of water on the Frisbee.) Finish the throw by pointing at the target to ensure a consistent release.


Move to the forehand. Have her thumb curled over the top and her index and middle fingers on the underside, with the disc hanging off at an angle. Keeping her elbow by her side and her chest toward the target, have her flick her wrist, as if she’s snapping a towel or trying to get something sticky off her fingers. You want her palm to stay up the whole time.


Use the pancake method to catch. With his throwing hand on the bottom and off-hand on top, have him guide his hands toward the disc and then sandwich it between his palms. If he’s reticent at first, he can use the method but bring the Frisbee against his stomach.


When it’s windy, stay down. Keep her elbow low and have her squat when throwing. Any height will make the Frisbee fly off course. Have her use the backhand to generate the necessary snap and spin and have the disc come out with a downward angle on the outside edge. The wind will flatten it out without flipping it over.


– Steve Calechmant 

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