Not the throws I deserve, but the ones I need.
September 25, 2015 by Patrick Stegemoeller in Opinion with 27 comments
With the club season over for most players and the college pre-season just beginning to blossom, the time comes to start thinking about the future. Working hard during the pre/offseason is essential to growing as a player (and maybe as a person?) from year to year. Throwing every day, hitting the weights, and studying film now will all pay dividends when next season comes.
But before you get into all of that, don’t forget one of the most important steps to self-improvement: lots of completely unrealistic and unproductive daydreaming. There is no sense in working hard to climb that mountaintop if you can’t dream up a kick-ass acropolis to build up there.
So here, to aid and abet your fantasy, is a list of throws that I would kill for if I could add them to my game. These are all throws that would be a practical improvement to my skill set, but also (and perhaps more importantly) they would let me swag in a way that presently is just not a feasible option.
“Work hard and dream big” is a common expression found on the walls of gyms, the lips of high school PE teachers, the Twitter accounts of obnoxious D-I college teams. All of the players referenced here certainly worked hard to master these throws, and you will need to as well if you want to follow in their footsteps. But just as importantly, they also remembered to dream.
Time to dream big and hard enough for the both of us.
Derek Alexander’s Scoober
Casting around for elite scoobers revealed several enticing options, and made for a very difficult choice. Jon Nethercutt and Matt Bennett both showed everyone this past college season how effective they were with the throw, and I don’t think my life has ever been the same after seeing Nick Lance laser 40 yard scoobers past gobsmacked defenders back in 2012.
But the more I thought about it, and the more I considered exactly how I would integrate a scoober into my game, the answer became clear. It has to be Derek Alexander, the ageless, fearless leader of GOAT’s O-line. A bit under the radar until GOAT’s pre-Nationals breakout in 2013, Alexander now gets commensurate respect to the range and creativity of his throws.
For a skill that gets treated as a frivolity by many players, Alexander’s scoober has a crushing practicality to it that dismisses the notion that the scoober is merely a trick throw. GOAT essentially runs their whole offense off of his ability to use it for free dumps and resets at any time. Not only does marking Alexander become a nightmare, guarding anyone within 15 yards of him becomes virtually impossible because his scoober can find whatever part of the field you can’t defend.
And oh yeah, there was this:
Danny Karlinsky’s Flick Huck
Smooth. Powerful. Arousing in a way you feel sort of uncomfortable with. While this could be the description of a European luxury car, in this context I’m referring to its equivalent on the ultimate field: a Danny Karlinsky flick huck.
Danny Karlinsky Flick Huck Release
I mean, look at that release mechanic. The disc just unfurls out of his hand like a natural extension of his body. It often seems like the disc is still attached to Karlinsky’s body when it travels down field, such is the control he has on his throws.
Check out this gorgeous put to Matt Rehder from 2014 Northwest Regionals:
Danny Karlinsky Flick To Matt Rehder
Perfect curve, right into the path of his receiver. Just enough float to make it an easy play for his target, but not nearly enough for the defender to have a chance at the disc.
It really is how smoothly his hucks travel that sets Karlinsky apart from his peers. Some other big gun-slinging center handlers throw angry — like a brutish force of nature — but Karlinsky dispatches his flick hucks with the cool, calm demeanor of an assassin.
And really, that’s why for me when it comes to flick hucks I have to go with Sockeye’s #23. The disc just seems so cool leaving his hand, conveying a sense of confidence that doesn’t come from aggression or “being real hype” but purely from a mastery of the art. And when you have been dropping picture perfect dimes for as long as Karlinsky has, that confidence is in no short supply.
Jimmy Mickle’s Pull
Did someone say brutish force of nature? Because goddamn that’s a huge pull. Johnny Bravo’s Jimmy Mickle is primarily an offensive player these days, but when he shifts over to the D-line, his pull game is almost unmatched. Look at how long that thing hangs in the air! Even in the fast-forwarded clip it is still airborne for eight seconds!
Big bladey pulls and rollers are in vogue these days, but give me a skyscraper any day. Forcing a team to have to play out of their own endzone under pressure is such a huge advantage, but you need someone with the cannon to get the disc in the air far enough and long enough to do it.
Apart from the in-game practicality, having a huge pull is just a great way to make an indelible impression on people. Playing with a new team in summer league? Show off one of these babies and you will have the respect and admiration of your peers.
Also, a gigantic heave like this gives you the slight chance of being able to get a first throw Callahan off of your own pull. I wouldn’t know what that feels because I can’t pull like Jimmy Mickle, but I have to imagine it is the ultimate form of domination a player is capable of exerting on the ultimate field. [Editor’s Note: This is unofficially known as the Weisbrod.]
Dylan Freechild’s High-Release Backhand
There are several aspects of Dylan Freechild’s game that could have made this list, or really any list in my book. Top 10 best beach tournaments? Dylan Freechild flick hucks. Five best ways to use your Thanksgiving leftovers? Freechild air-bounce backhand. Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie? Freechild upline cuts. You get the point.
But the one throw in particular that I really covet is that audacious, devastating high release backhand:
Dylan Freechild High Release Backhand
In general, I find the high release backhand to be fascinating, because it’s a throw that only irrationally confident rookies and elite veterans attempt on a regular basis. You either need supreme control over short range touch throws, or no regard for things like help defense and fundamental dump skills. Perhaps one of the things that makes Freechild’s game so appealing is that he brings the skill, intelligence, and instinct of an elite player to the brazen confidence of a rookie trying to do something sweet.
High-release backhands almost always seems like a bad idea until they work out perfectly. When a rookie tries to float one over his mark instead of throwing an around and it works, you cringe internally because the success is reinforcing negative behavior and decision making. They won’t be able to do that again on a consistent basis. But game after game, Freechild keeps putting those perfect, maddening, little floaters into unguardable space over and over, frustrating his opponents and giving ballers-in-training everywhere a star to follow.
Devastating defenses AND making yourself an idol for aspiring players? That’s a throw I want.
Dylan Freechild High Release Backhand #2
Bobby LeRoy’s IBTWN Legs (Lefty)
Bobby LeRoy Between The Legs Lefty Backhand
Forget everything I have said up until this point. This, from Purdue’s Bobby LeRoy, is it. This is the monolith rounding Jupiter. This is the Alpha and the Omega. This is Ezekial 25:17. This is all there is and all there ever will be.
Nothing else needs to be said. And really, what more can be, when the mark’s incredulous double-take says it all?