Thursday, December 8, 2011

Comprehensive Offense Fundamentals - Faking

This is the first part in a series I'm writing about general offensive fundamentals. I'm going to tackle this in several parts and my goal is to release a new section every couple days. Additionally, I'll try and add examples from different offensive stacks but the focus will mainly be from a center stack perspective as that's what I'm currently coaching.

Now before we get into that crazy advanced offensive stuff, (you know, throwing and cutting), let's take a step back and talk about faking. There are many different schools of thought regarding fakes. But I will offer up some principles and fundamentals I've found over the years to be most effective.

1) You have the disc, you have the advantage. Remember that as the thrower you always have the advantage over the marker. Even a mediocre thrower can beat a solid mark. This is similar to the principle that that offensive cutter will always have the advantage over their defender. It's simple, you know what you're going to do and the defense does not.

2) Faking should be a natural process. The best fakes are exactly the same as a throw of the same type. The motion of the hips, shoulders and wrist are all the same; the one difference being that you're not releasing your grip on the disc. If there is no change from your actual throwing motion to a fake, then there is no way for the marker to recognize when you're faking versus when you're actually going to throw, which forces them to respect each fake as a potential throw. To practice this stand in front of a mirror and work on your pivots and fakes. Did it look realistic to you? Did it look like a throw?

3) More is not better. Most of the best throwers you see will rarely fake, if at all. If you're spending the whole stall count frantically faking, then you might be messing up the timing when you actually need to make a throw. When you do fake, it should be to set up a throw you already are planning on making, don't fake for the sake of faking. Remember that the window you have to complete a throw to a cutter, be it deep, underneath or break-side is not large, you can't waste time throwing too many fakes.

4) Faking on the same side as you plan on throwing to is a waste of time. Don't fake a forehand if you want to throw a forehand. Don't fake a backhand if you want to throw a backhand. People have a tendency to fake at the same release point as their strongest throws, so if you fake a forehand to throw a forehand you're drawing the mark to the point where you're going to actually release the disc. Even if you're not faking from the same release point, you're still going to be drawing the marker more to the side (forehand or backhand) you want to release the disc from.

5) Set up a your throw with a fake to the opposite side. Example: I'm being forced forehand and recognize a break look developing downfield. My best option for getting that break throw off against a good marker will be to fake either the inside-forehand or around backhand, then quickly bring the disc around to the other side for the around backhand or inside-forehand respectively.

An added note here, you should spend extra time working on the switch from a backhand grip to a forehand grip. Many players find it natural to switch from the forehand to backhand grip (as it flows more easily into a throw), but the backhand to forehand grip switch is just as important.

Let me wrap this faking section up by saying a couple things. Not every thrower fakes. I believe it was Idris Nolan who claimed that the best throwers don't bother pivoting.. For some throwers varied release points, wingspan or a quick release are all they need to be effective. For me personally, I very rarely pivot, despite being a smaller guy, because I have an extremely quick release. However, for a new player, the best thing you can do to gain confidence with the disc is to set up your throws with a solid fake to the opposite side first to draw your mark away from where you want to release the disc. The key here is faking with PURPOSE!

As always I welcome any comments, questions or points of contention. The plan for tomorrow is to finish up a section on general throwing fundamentals.



  1. Great ideas for posting information on offensive principles. Good luck with the series!

    One thing I had to mention is that I disagree with point #4. Faking a forehand before throwing a forehand can be HIGHLY effective if you use a shimmy move in between the fake and the throw.

    If you can get your marker to think that after you've faked your forehand you are going to step around and throw a backhand, then you will have a wide open throwing lane for your forehand while the mark has jumped to take away the backhand. Using your shoulder to sell this fake rather than with your footwork is really effective. A bonus is that you don't need to pivot from your forehand to your backhand side with a pump-fake shimmy, so you remain balanced for your throw but have still managed to get the marker moving.

    I believe Idris' blog post on Frisbee Spew back in 2008 (the site has since been taken down) was actually titled, "Great Throwers Don't Pivot." That doesn't mean he didn't think you should ever fake. Separating out pivoting from faking can open up a lot of options for a thrower.

    My two cents...

  2. That's a great point about throwing a shoulder fake to open up that throwing lane.

    I've always tried to teach marking where you don't react to shoulder fakes, rather you follow the actual pivots and movement of their hips.

    However you're right in that it oftentimes you can't help but react to the "shimmy" or if they do pivot around for the backhand you'll be out of position.

    It's been quite awhile since I read that Idris blog, but what you're saying about it being more about pivoting does sound familiar.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  3. If you fake enough forehands in a row, the marker normally settles for the fact that you're probably going to throw a backhand sooner or later, so they might as well be super ready for it...oh wait you threw the forehand haha!

  4. I have found that faking a throw on the same side can be effective if you can get the defender to bite on it or react even a little bit. This is particularly true if you have the sort of quick release that doesn't require you to "re-cock" the throw. The "shimmy" also works well; as defenders we are conditioned to react to it, since preventing the broken mark is such an imperative.

  5. So I am late to this party. But I was rereading through your site for any extra tips on teaching rooks. First off, I agree with every one of these statements. However, I would add one more thing. The idea of weight placement on one's non-pivot foot.

    A lot of people have the tendency to throw hard fakes and then putting all the weight on the non-pivot foot. The issue is that while you have convinced your mark to follow the fake, you lose any sort of (major) advantage because it takes so long to get back to throw you want.

    A simple way to fix this is to keep your weight on your pivot foot while faking, thus allowing you to attack an opening before your mark can recover from the fake.