Written by Dave “Spike” Lewis
Question: What is tipping? Answer: Striking the bottom of the spinning disc with your fingers causing the disc to bounce upward. You can also do an elbow tip, a head tip, a toe tap, heel tip or a knee tip. Today I’ll only be covering tipping using fingers.
Tipping above the head
When you first start to learn to tip, start tipping above your head. Begin with the two handed self set. Rev the disc up with as much spin as you can generate so the disc lifts up above your head. Look up at the disc and find the center of the disc and as it comes down, give the disc a good pop with the end of your middle finger and ring finger. Hit the disc with the pad of the finger tips. Keep the two fingers nestled together and slightly bent for stability. First try one tip then catch the disc. Then try two tips. Now three. Now go pick the disc up off the ground….OK, now try tipping off of someone’s throw. If the disc comes in high and if lofting on a nice throw try one or two tips then catch the disc. Now go pick the disc up off the ground. If you want to learn a new trick you better get used to doing that.
The basic underhand tip
If you can do a nail delay and you have mastered “the above your head” tip you’re ready to learn the underhand tip at belly level with the palm up. This is more difficult. To find the right spot to tip, clap your hands together at belly level like you were applauding an amazing combo that Tom Leitner did. The spot where your hands meet is the spot where the majority of your tipping should take place regardless of which hand you use. Get the disc on a nail delay with your palm up at the same spot I just suggested that you should tip the disc. Loft the disc up to chest level and as the disc comes back down, with your middle finger and ring finger nestled together and with your palm up, strike the disc with the pad of your finger tips.(not the nail side). Bend or curl your fingers a little bit to create more stability when tipping around belly level. Don’t tip with your fingers straight. I would suggest tipping with alternating hands. One tip with the right, one with the left, one with the right, etc., see if you can keep it going until spin runs out. The more spin on the disc, the easier and more stable the tips will be. Fake nails don’t work well for tips. That’s why I only use a fake nail on my index finger and reserve the middle finger and ring fingers for tipping.
Restricted Tips: Before you try these. Did you stretch??? Always stretch lightly before and after you play… Restricted tips are done under or around the leg or behind the back, and even be behind the brain. The most advanced tipping and the coolest tipping combos use only restricted tips. It takes practice.
List of Restricted tips:
Right hand under left leg.
Right hand under right leg from the inside (called the Figure Four or Grapevine Tip)
Right hand under right leg from the outside.
Now reverse everything above using the left hand.
Right hand behind back,
Left hand behind the back.
Bad attitude tip (tip done in bad attitude position) both left & right hand.
Right hand in inverted position, tipping under right leg.
Left hand in inverted position, tipping under left leg.
Always strike the center of the disc. Try to tip at belly level, and try to stay under the disc (I mean have your hand under the disc). There will be a sweet spot that you will find for each of the different restricted tips. Learn the sweet spot. It should be about where you clap your hands at belly level. Try some nail delay combos and throw a tip in here or there to get better at it. Then maybe throw in two or three consecutive restricted tips in a combo, .
Advanced Tipping: The most important tip is the first tip of a combo. If the tip ends up with the disc coming back down at an angle then it’s difficult to follow it up with more consecutive restricted tips without having to get the disc back on a nail delay or to do a “the” tip. A “the” tip is the basic non-restricted tip done at stomach level without the tip being done from under a leg or behind the back. So…make sure you set the disc up flat and high to start the first tip in your tipping combo. And of course, always aim at tipping the center of the disc. Having some high tips mixed with lower or medium height tips make the combo have more variety and actually can make it easier to execute. I don’t know why, but I’ve noticed that it seems to help. Having a high tip every third tip or so helps buy you time to get under the disc for the next tip. Move with the disc. If you tipped the disc too far to the left or right, or too far in front of you, move with the disc. Make your feet, not your arms, do the work to get you to the right position for the next tip. You can’t be flat footed during a tipping combo.
Tipping injuries: If you do too many high tips you can hurt your fingers. The disc can compress the joints a bit. So to avoid this problem I try to limit myself to only a few tipping combos every time I play. You could also use a smaller and lighter disc to practice tipping to limit this problem. Overdoing any one type of move or motion in one practice session can lead to injury.
Dave “Spike” Lewis