Wrist Flicking Fun (from my archives)

The following article was something I wrote back in May 1987 – fresh out of High School. I thought it would be fun to type it up and share it here. When I originally wrote this, I had been inspired by the fun I experienced while playing Frisbee with my sister. I submitted this article to “The Sportsmen Magazine” but they had unfortunately just stopped publishing and returned the article to me.

Now, over 20 years later, I’ve recently started playing more regular Frisbee again with Tobey, teaching him the same unique throwing style that my sister and I perfected oh so long ago. We nicknamed the throwing style the “Thumber“. Here is that article, in its unaltered, original state from 1987:


Frisbee throwing may be the most exciting, economical, easy to learn, and overall fun sport you’ll ever play. Or maybe you haven’t caught on yet and that’s why you’re reading this article. Then again, maybe you do know about it but you would like to find out more about Frisbee and the art of throwing. Either way, this article will show you new ways to explore this pastime growing across the nation.

Getting started in this sport may be the most surprisingly easy you’ll ever find. In my entire life, I have invested about $21 in the sport. How many activities can you say that about? I’ve tried Tennis – about $450 there for two nice racquets and several cans of balls.  I’ve tried Golf, but never been able to find the right set of clubs for my height. About $250 there just for clubs and green fees, not including what my parents pay for membership to the local country club. Enough said. There are just not that many sports that you can say – “I’ll take that up” and be playing it in under an hour later for under $10. You might even think that you need to spend a lot to have a good time or become real good at it. I played most of my life with a small, beat-up, lightweight Wham-O disc. I just recently added a trashcan lid Wham-O and an Aerobie to my small collection, but all you really need is a few bucks and you’re set for years. Most sports involve a court, a track , a golf-course, a swimming pool, or something else that is not available at a moment’s notice or on a whim that you and a friend have. Not so with your friend the Frisbee! All you need is space, and not until the year 3000 A.D. will we run out of that. You can use a front yard, a driveway, a cul-de-sac, a park, just about anything that meets your throwing specifications. I guess about the only other thing you need is a friend or two but I’ve never yet had that be a problem that’s stopped me from playing. As a matter of fact, my sister of three years younger and I have become very close just because of Frisbee.

Okay, now you are set. If you have read this far, you must already have the equipment needed. If not, what are you doing sitting here reading this? Well, how is the weather out, it’s too windy you say? Nah, never let a little thing like wind stop you! Some of my favorite memories have been in the wind when the Frisbee will do things that will defy nature. It will swoop and climb, go up and come back down behind you, and sometimes even seem to just float on a wind current for seconds. Oh it’s sunny out you say? Great! Put on some shorts, search for grass, put on sun-tan oil, take off your shirt (only guys now), even search for someone to impress! Have a ball! Dive for a throw on the grass! Talk to the person you’re throwing to, it doesn’t take so much concentration that you can’t gossip and catch up on the latest things in that person’s life. Try tricks! Who cares if you’re not that good yet, anybody has a chance of pulling off some fancy catch. There the behind the back, one hand through the leg, two handed between the legs, and for high ones, just hit in the center sending it spinning higher and hopefully back into your hand. For some real fun, try kicking it with you foot, then tipping it with you hand and then catching it, tough stuff!

What, you say you’re not having any fun and you can’t throw a disc? Oh, it’s easy! The only trick is to flick your wrist strongly while throwing it perfectly horizontal. All right, I admit it’s harder than it sounds. Is it going straight and then curving off to the side? You probably have the same trouble I used to have – you are having trouble flicking your wrist strongly enough. No problem! One of the reasons many trick throws have been invented is for practical reasons. I myself can’t even throw the normal backhand way everyone learns. I was heavily discouraged until someone showed me an unusual way many years back.

Thumber frisbee throw
How to hold for the "Thumber" throw

Take your thumb, which is normally on top of the disc and balance the bottom edge on it so it hangs down and your hand looks like you’re giving someone a high five. Now simply grip the top of the frisbee with your four fingers and turn your hand like you’re hitch-hiking. Throw the Frisbee off your hand counter-clockwise if you’re right handed, the opposite if you are left-handed. This method is tough to perfect but helps if you can’t flick your wrist strong enough the other way.

Tobey demonstrates throwing form

Just make sure you throw it perfectly level; it sometimes helps to get on one knee and get into a sidearm throwing stance/action. This method helped my sister, who was quite young at the time and couldn’t snap her wrist enough.  Other methods of throwing are the sidearm and overhand methods. I haven’t quite perfected them yet but it’s fun to watch others who can.

Okay, some of you might be saying, I already know about all those things, I’m probably better than you so what else can I do with a Frisbee? Well, have you ever heard of Ultimate? Fast becoming a major sport, it has helped bring Frisbee throwing more credibility with the game oriented people. A game of two teams of around 7, you combine the elements of football, basketball, and soccer. In a brief summary, you pass the Frisbee to a teammate down the field who stops, attempts a catch and furthers the disc towards the goal. If a throw is missed or intercepted the other team takes possession. Many other games can be played, such as ‘500’ and simple accuracy tests. They’re all fun, but I get the biggest thrill out of one-on-one flicking.

Go grab a Frisbee!

I hope this article has furthered your enjoyment of Frisbee or brought this sport to your attention. Is the weather nice right now? Grab a pal and your Frisbee and go toss a few! What do you know, you may have some fun!

Edit: Added a few current day pictures to help demonstrate the Thumber throw in action.

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