Monday, February 13, 2012

USSA: Forehand vs. Backhand

Another Ultimate Science project studies whether "Force flick" is on target.

Throwing Techniques for Ultimate Frisbee [The Sport Journal / United States Sports Academy]

Abstract: The goal of this study was to determine if certain throwing techniques for the sport of Ultimate Frisbee were advantageous relative to other techniques. The defense can attempt to force a thrower to utilize a specific throw; knowing the advantages of different throws can influence a defender’s decision to force the thrower to use a certain throw.

Motion capture was used to monitor the flight of a disc (Discraft Ultrastar 175g) for 3 throwing techniques. The two main groups of throws were backhand (BH) and forehand (FH) throws, with the forehand throws divided into a closed forehand grip (CF) and a split forehand grip (SF). Sixteen participants were recruited with experience ranging from 3 years to 8 years based on survey. Throws were analyzed with regards to linear velocity, angular velocity, precession, and accuracy. Players threw a total of 45 throws: five throws for all combinations of the three throwing techniques combined with three objectives: accuracy, maximum spin, and maximum velocity.

There was a very strong linear correlation between linear velocity and angular velocity. There was no difference in linear velocity between backhand and forehand throws, although the closed grip forehand had a higher linear velocity than the split grip forehand. Backhand throws had higher angular velocities than forehand throws for a given speed; there was no difference in angular velocity between closed grip and split grip forehand throws. Backhand throws had less precession than forehand throws, and there was no difference in precession between closed grip and split grip forehand throws. There were no statistically significant differences in accuracy between any of the throws.

These results show that backhand throws tend to have more spin and wobble less making the backhand a superior throw. Throws with less spin have greater instability; as a defender, forcing the thrower to utilize a forehand throw would result in a throw with less stability than a backhand throw. Forehand throws did not perform better than backhand throws for any category tested. Additionally, new players are often taught that the split-grip forehand is a bad throw, and that the closed-grip forehand should be used instead. The results show that the split-grip forehand performs on par with the closed-grip forehand with the exception of maximum velocity. New players should not be discouraged from using a split-grip forehand while learning the mechanics of the forehand, as the only disadvantage is a slight decrease in maximum velocity.

Introduction: In the sport of Ultimate Frisbee, players use two primary throws: backhand and forehand. My hypothesis, from personal experience, is that backhand throws will wobble less, have less spin, be more accurate, and travel faster than forehand throws. The aim of this study was to determine if one throw had a comparative advantage with respect to linear velocity, angular velocity, precession, and accuracy. Also, the split-grip forehand is often thought of as an inferior throw relative to the closed-grip forehand. The closed-grip forehand is expected to outperform the split grip forehand. Players must be able to utilize both throws as the defenders can force players to throw one way or the other by positioning their bodies on a certain side of the thrower. As a defender, knowing advantages and disadvantages of each throw can factor into defensive strategies to increase the chances of a disc being thrown with sub-optimal flight characteristics as a result of differing throwing techniques. This may cause a higher incidence of turnovers due to incomplete passes...

Conclusion: Based on the results obtained, it would be advantageous to force the opposing team to throw forehand throws. Doing so results in throws with less stability as a result of less angular momentum, and more precession. It is possible that lower angular velocity and higher precession could lead to a decrease in distance traveled and stability. Additionally, higher precession values could expose the disc to more drag, causing the wind to affect the throw more. Based on the results for forehand throws, the only advantage to throwing with a closed grip is the maximum attainable velocity. By using a closed grip, participants did not show any improvement in angular velocity or precession. Thus, the only instance where a closed-grip forehand is advantageous relative to a split-grip forehand is when a player is trying to throw for distance.
[via Australia Ultimate]

No comments: