Kick Brushing 101

Kick brushing is an integral part of freestyle Frisbee. So invaluable is this tool, that it can push your game into a whole new difficulty level as well as add some fun and inventive saves.

Kick brushing is rather simple to learn in its most basic form. Kick brushing is similar to the air brush. One can learn by tossing a disc on an angle into the wind and kicking it in the same direction as the spin. Ideally if the spin is clockwise you would kick the disc at five o’clock with the outside of your right foot, or the inside of your left. If the disc is spinning counterclockwise then kicking the disc at seven o’clock would be more prudent. Of course there are always exceptions to every rule. Depending on spin and angle you may have to kick it in a different place. Practice some and you will see it’s not that hard to get it to come back up to your hands. Adding spin, changing the angle, the direction, or bumping the disc with control…well that’s another story.

Adding spin:

It is sometimes necessary to add spin to the disc when kick brushing to gain stability of flight, or return to a delay. Adding spin can be tricky. It depends on many factors, such as; angle, wind, current spin, where the disc is relative to you, and much more. First you want to determine what your dominant leg is. (most right handers are right legged). In the beginning your dominant leg will be easiest to add spin with. For clock, however, the right leg will have better ability to add spin, and vice-versa for counter. Next, you want to toss the disc on and angle and kick it with the spin. It is like basic kick brushing, except that you will want medium to light contact with the disc. (If you hit it heavy you will send the disc into the upper stratosphere) When you kick the disc you will want to transfer almost all of the energy into the spin of the disc rather than flight path. Hitting the disc at four or five o’clock and continuing through with power clockwise will give the desired effect when the proper contact is made. Or eight to seven o’clock counter.

Note: When I learned I would throw the disc on a steep angle and try to add only a little spin. Beginning with too much power will not only be frustrating but can injure you and your friends.

Changing the angle:

Changing the angle with a kick brush is in some ways difficult and others not so much. It depends on what it is that you are trying to do. For instance, you can change the angle of a disc that is clock trailing off to your left with relative ease. The easiest way to do this is to use your skills adding spin. The biggest difference is where you kick the disc. Using your right foot, you will want to kick the disc in between five and six o’clock just a little low on the rim. ( Of course in the direction of the spin) Adding a ton of spin at the same time. This will tip the nose up in front of you instead of to the right where it was before. If you were using your left foot it requires a little more finesse. You need to use the inside of your foot with less power. Kicking in the direction if the spin, hit the disc at five o’clock (again just low on the rim) so as to bring the disc up to your hands to regain control. For counter transpose the feet and placement on the disc.

There are other ways to change the angle on the disc to save or for fun. Try throwing the disc with a severe angle, clock, and gently ease the top of your right foot onto the bottom of the rim at roughly four o’clock. You will need a lot of spin for this. The disc should flatten out. Practice some and you will figure out how to get it back up so you can deal with it. You can change the angle like this with any part of either foot. The more places on your foot you can change the angle with, the more adept you will be at saving a bad throw or pass.

Changing the direction:

Changing the direction of a discs flight path takes practice but is maybe more simple than changing the angle or adding spin. There are only a couple of things to consider. Mostly all you have to do is recognize the amount of spin and the direction in which the disc is traveling. The amount of spin will determine how hard you have to kick it, and how much of the angle you can change. The only thing I can say about this is practice some while jamming. It is solely experience that will help in determining how hard to kick or how much angle play you have. The direction is simple….where is it going? If you can determine where it is going you can decide where to hit the disc to make it go where you want it to. The best way I can think to practice this is: Get a friend to stand a bit away from you on your left. Have him/her throw the disc with the nose pointed up over to you. (your friend should be parallel to you and in the same line) Make sure that the throw is going to go a little past you, to your right, and that it is near your feet. When the disc gets near your foot stick it out and hit the edge around four o’clock. The disc should abruptly change direction and now be flying in front of you. As to the rest of it, practice. Try it and see what happens…having the aforementioned skills will greatly help you in your endeavor to change direction.

Bumping:

Bumping the disc is mostly reserved for a disc with high spin. It is easy really. Take a disc with high spin that is angling down toward your foot and lightly bump the disc at six o’clock with a not so gripping part of your shoe and it should come right up with almost the same amount of spin it had. You can change the direction with this method as well by hitting the disc at four or seven. Four will send it left and seven right. (this is clock of course…..can you tell which spin I use most?)

Matt Gauthier

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