What is it about Freestyle Frisbee that has captured the imagination of so many players around
the world? Is it the flight of the disc, how it hovers in the wind? Is it the seemingly endless
number of moves you can learn - whether it be trick throws, catches,
tips, spins, brushes or rolls? Is it the spirit of the players, old and young who freely share
their moves with new players - even if they don't speak the same language? Whatever the cause,
there seems to be no cure for freestyle fever, so newbies beware, it's highly contagious!
In Freestyle Frisbee there are no set rules about how to do a move, players
are encouraged to create new moves and to develop their own style. Freestyling or 'jamming'
can at times be like an art form - when a player is no longer thinking about the
moves and is just flowing with the disc.
Freestyle competitions usually consist of teams of 2 or 3 players performing
4 or 5 minute routines to music.
The teams are judged on the technical difficulty and style of the moves they complete.
In 2010 several large events are being planned:
The Paganello Freestyle Challenge in Rimini, Italy (April 2-4, 2010)
The FPA World Championships Seattle, WA (August 5-8, 2010)
the EFC (European Freestyle Championships) Linköping, Sweden (Jul 10-11, 2010)
The Italian Open. Great location on Corallo Beach in Ostia (near Rome), Italy (September 4-5, 2010)
For a complete list of events see the Freestyle Frisbee Schedule
at the official FPA (Freestyle Players Association) web site, FreestyleDisc.org
Learning to play
So, how do you spin a frisbee on your finger? You don't!...You spin it on your finger nail.
To learn to spin the frisbee you'll need a good frisbee, a strong finger nail and a lubricant
to keep the surface of the disc slick - silicon spray is most commonly used.
Next, you'll need to spin the disc up to your self (as in the animation on the right),
or have someone throw you the frisbee with a good amount of spin. The best way to learn is
having the frisbee come to you with a lot of spin and at a level or flat angle.
You can also experiment with tipping and airbrushing the disc as well as trying trick throws and catches.
(See the beginning and advanced tips pages
for more info)
Whether you are playing a game of trick throw and catch or trying
technical 'against the spin' moves, freestyle is about creating your own moves and your own style,
and most of all...having fun!
The first Freestyle Championships were held in 1974, which was also the year the nail delay
(spinning the frisbee on your finger) was invented. Being able
to control the spinning disc on the finger led to invention of many new moves
and soon new styles of play began to emerge. The California west coast style was based on flow
featuring air brushes, rolls and moves into the wind. The New York east coast style was based more
on technical moves and featured more center delay moves.
The convergence of both styles took place when Joey Hudoklin
and Richie Smits moved from New York City to Venice Beach, California in the late 1970's, they
eventually ended up in Santa Barbara.
Joey, widely recognized as the greatest freestyler of all time,
combined both styles in ways never before imagined and Santa Barbara's Palm Park
would become the freestyle mecca for years to come.
(See Skippy Jammer's retrospective on Frisbee Freestyle for more info)
Where people play
Currently, freestyle niches exist in almost every corner of the globe but it's most popular
in North America and Europe with a large number of players coming from cities like Seattle,
San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Milan, Rome, Forli', Rimini, Trieste, Prague, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Linköping, Stockholm, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
(See the Freestyle Frisbee Jam Zones page for more info)
Freestyle Frisbee: a sport on the move
In recent years Freestyle Frisbee has grown very fast, especially in Europe:
Since 2000 the number of events in Europe has risen each year along with the number of players including record turnouts
at Paganello (50+), EFC (60+) and the FPA Worlds (110).
The number of European freestylers is now thought to have grown from an estimated 45 players in
'99 to over 500 today.
See the FPA web page at freestyledisc.org for the current event schedule
and for tournament results.
Helping fuel the fire in Europe, Nike sponsored Freestyle Face-off Tour where the
Nike Freestyle Frisbee Team of Sune Wentzel
and Tommy Leitner performed and taught clinics across Europe. Nike also produced an award winning
TV Commercial and web site
featuring freestylers Dave Murphy, Dave Lewis and Zahlen Titcomb.