- Sports & Training
Captain America X Ultimate Frisbee
By Circle Editorial Team
Ever found it cool how Captain America could fling his trademark shield as a boomerang-like weapon? Turns out, you could replicate that with just a regular Frisbee! But before we share how one could go about with that feat, let us first learn the actual team sport that is played with the regular Frisbee.
Getting a game of Ultimate Frisbee going is pretty straightforward. All you need is a decent sized field approximately 64 metres by 37 metres with end zones 23 metres deep, a Frisbee, some cones to mark out the playing area as well as a minimum of seven players per team.
If you’re new to Ultimate Frisbee, it might surprise you to know that it is one of the rare sports that does not require a referee and is self-officiated. Many of the game’s rules are determined by "The Spirit of The Game" and heavily rely on sportsmanship.
In terms of gameplay, the disc may be thrown in any direction, however, players may not run with the disc and when in possession of it, have 10 seconds to throw it. As there are no referees, the defender guarding the thrower calls out the countdown.
All you need to do to score a point in Ultimate Frisbee is to catch the disc in the opponent’s end zone. For a full explanation of scoring and faults in Ultimate Frisbee, click here.
It is very hard to train Frisbee catching on your own, unless you've learnt to harness the disc as a boomerang. A key component of having the Frisbee find its way back to you lies in doing the backhand throw under specific conditions. But what exactly is a backhand throw and how do you go about using it?
Inspired by the backhand in tennis, this movement is led by the same side of the body. Backhand throws can be used for short, medium, and long-range passing. It might seem complicated at first, but practice these simple steps a few times and you should get the hang of it.
1. Get a Grip
Depending on which suits you better, either pinch grip the disc with the thumb of your dominant hand on top and the rest of your fingers on the bottom or put your index finger along the rim of the Frisbee with three fingers on the bottom. Make sure your fingers are extended, not curled.
2. Stand Upright
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your knees slightly bent.
3. Face the Target
Turn your body where your dominant hand is located towards your target by making sure your shoulder and elbow face that direction.
4. Curl Up
Curl your dominant hand and wrist till the disc lightly touches your forearm and bend your elbow until it touches your belly button. Keep your non-dominant arm back by your side.
5. Step Up
Take a step forward while turning your dominant foot towards the intended target.
Start straightening your elbow. Next, snap your wrist. Point your index finger at the target. And THROW!
Once you have sufficient practice with the basic backhand throw, you can now move on to attempting the boomerang with these following steps (courtesy of TrixshotSam from YouTube):
Wait for a bit of wind, somewhere between 8 to 16 km/h will do.
Throw the Frisbee INTO/AGAINST the wind, at a 45 degrees angle.
The Frisbee will tend to move towards the direction of your throwing hand, i.e. throwing with your right-hand means that the disc will veer towards the right. Therefore, tilt the Frisbee slightly in the opposite direction when you throw it so as to counter that movement.
When done right, all that is left for you to do is to catch it with one hand. Extra points if you do it without looking!
But wait, there is more! Avid fans of the superhero will definitely point to the fact that the shield can ricochet against walls without losing too much momentum. But when attempting to replicate it with a Frisbee, the disc just flops to the ground.
As soon as the Frisbee hits the wall, the impact slows the rotation and generates oscillations through the disc that throws off its orientation and messes up the flight path. Hence, it drops disappointingly to the ground instead of bouncing stylishly back into your hands.
The key is to marry the elastic deformity of a bouncy ball with the aerodynamic flight capabilities of a Frisbee while minimizing the warp that is generated by an impact. The solution? Comes with a bit of DIY.
As JLaservideo demonstrates in one of his YouTube videos, stretching a trash bag over a fibreglass ring/hoop works well enough as a proof of concept to achieve that satisfying bounce. Fibreglass has a high elastic limit, while the thin stretched plastic layer reduces the warping. It ain’t no shield, but the prototype itself is a really fun toy that can allow one to practice Frisbee alone and/or in smaller spaces.
Ultimate Frisbee in Singapore
Prior to the pandemic, Ultimate Frisbee boasted a playing population of about 3,000 people, with 10 clubs locally registered clubs in 2016. At its peak, a club could have up to 40 active members participating in the training sessions. The sport consistently attracted hundreds of participants at weekly games in various stadiums.
Ultimate Frisbee is a great sport that promotes bonding and cohesion between friends, family, and coworkers alike. As of late January, Ultimate Frisbee has been included in the revised list of eligible sports under the pilot scheme for team sports resumption. So what are you waiting for? Let rip your inner Captain and watch those discs fly!