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Ultimate Tip: Around Backhand Break

One thing that many high school Ultimate players struggle with is breaking the mark. Due to the slower release of a backhand throw relative to a forehand, many players aren’t as comfortable trying to throw the around backhand break, as they will often be blocked/stopped by the mark.

One tool that will immediately help a player with this problem is through feet positioning. If a given player (right-handed) is currently in a position to throw a forehand, and is being forced forehand, they need to pivot across the mark in order to throw their backhand. This means they must pick up their right foot and reposition it across their body. When pivoting over and attempting the break with an around backhand, many players will try to step out horizontally as far as possible with their right foot while maintaining their pivot. This is in effort to get a release point that is as far away from the mark as possible. If done quickly enough, this will often work. If done too slowly, the mark is easily able to slide across and adjust their mark to cut off the throw.

For those struggling with this break throw, I recommend bringing your right foot across your body, and instead of stepping out as far horizontally as possible, position your right foot forward past the defender’s right foot. This will result in your throw being released past the mark, and if he or she attempts to stop you from throwing it, it will likely result in a foul (and possibly a free throw). When you step past your mark, your shoulder and upper arm cross the plane of your defender. This makes it difficult for your defender to slide across and stop the throw without fouling you. Their only option is to try and step back off the mark and cut off the throw from a wider angle, or in a worst-case scenario, give up brutal break throw!

Ben Feldman is one of the co-founders of Next Level Ultimate. He completed his fifth and final season as a member of the Wisconsin Hodags in May of 2011, ending with a Central Regional title and a 2nd place finish at College Nationals. Feldman bring a wealth of experience and knowledge, having coached and ran ultimate camps for the past several years.

This summer, Ben and his co-director (an co-founder of Next Level Ultimate), Andrew Grone, will host three separate week-long junior ultimate camps at the University of Oregon, the University of Minnesota and Marquette University. Next Level Ultimate camps offer an overnight and extended day option and are intended for high school players from the ages of 14-18. For more information, visit .

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