Clinic #2 – Breaking the Mark with Matt Snow

For our second clinic of the winter, Matt Snow (former captain of Liquid and Maverick) came in to teach us his methods for breaking the mark. Matt’s been breaking the mark for many years and taught us a few of his tricks on Saturday.

The clinic began with a discussion of wrist snap and how important it is to snap your wrist and put spin on the disc for every throw. Spin provides stability to the disc as it flies through the air and is important for every throw. To work on our wrist snap we did a drill called pepper where one player receives and throws discs as quickly as possible, focusing on spinning the disc on each release. This forces you to switch grips quickly and release the disc with good spin every time.

The second part of the clinic was learning to adjust the position of your stepping foot when throwing the disc depending on the position of the mark and the desired angle of the throw: stepping slightly forwards for an IO break, mostly sideways for a flat break, and a little bit backwards for an around OI break. We then spent some time working on these skills in isolation for both flick and backhand throws. Two key mechanics points were to keep your knee centred over your stepping foot and to maintain a straight line between your upper body and your pivot leg. This allows for maximum reach and stability.

In the third part of the clinic we worked on extending the maximum range of our pivots to each side by doing a modified Run-Mark-Throw drill where the mark simply forces the thrower to reach far to the side on each throw. Throwing both flat throws and backwards stepping OIs, we challenged ourselves to extend farther than we were comfortable while maintaining balance.

Finally, we closed out the session by talking about the moves that Matt actually uses to break the mark. I think the most interesting part of this was the simplicity of the motions. It doesn’t take anything extraordinary to succeed at breaking the mark, just excellence at a few motions. It’s difficult to describe but this part of the clinic built very nicely on Thomas’ teachings from clinic number 1, where we learned to lean and explode when making our throws.

Next clinic will be held on Saturday Feb. 13. All the details are here.

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