I’ve seen some pretty radical throwing styles in my time.
John Simmons former Cumnor Cricket and now the Spread Eagle. Standing to the extreme left and the stick staying completely horizontal until the last 10 inches where it moves up and cracks the doll off. Hugely successful and I can’t think of a better player in the last few years his average is one to be admired. However try and replicate it and anyone unfortunate enough to be sticking up is going to be in serious danger. For us mere mortals, we are going to use a more standard throw.
But I’m a beginner what throw should I use?
First of all you need to be comfortable and you need to have good line and length before anything else. Grouping is also important. Watch the really good players and you will see that when they miss, it’s by a fraction. There are no wild sticks they are all in the same place.
When you first begin playing if you are getting a good score week in week out then obviously you don’t need to change anything. If you’ve started and don’t seem to be getting any better then you need to change or adapt to become better.
Step forward with the same leg as your throwing arm (right or left). This type of step generates the most power and is the most favoured amongst players. But it also pulls the stick slightly to the side you lead with your leg. This means you need to compensate either by standing slightly off centre or changing where you let go of the stick. The throw you get here has more of an arc or curve to it.
Step forward with the opposite leg to one you throw with. This doesn’t develop as much power so you need to throw it slightly harder. What you get is a much straighter trajectory and you can stand more squarely on if you so wish.
Really you should approach the Oche and without thinking throw a stick. This above all else will decide which leg to step forward with. Changing it will only confuse matters.
The Cross Stick, that is with the stick horizontal when it reaches the doll I suppose is the holy grail for most. It provides the largest area with which to knock the doll off but is hands down the most difficult to produce consistently. It’s beautiful watching a good cross stick thrower, it looks effortless and they get so many dolls. However if you can’t do it naturally and by that I mean if you throw the stick and it turns without you forcing it fine. It is not normally something you can teach. Trust me, I’ve tried for 20 years. It doesn’t work for me I’ve stopped trying. I suppose if you tried hard enough you probably could but who’s got the time to invest.
The straight stick is easy and everyone can do it. It’s less forgiving than the cross stick so you need to be more accurate
A combination of the 2 is preferably the best option. A slightly diagonal stick covers most of the bases and is more forgiving than a straight stick.
My conclusion here is this. If you have been throwing for say more than 2 years and you’re not averaging 6 or 7 dolls then you need to change your throw. Not radically but it needs changing.
Common issues I see all the time.
1. Holding the stick right at the bottom so that when you let go its spins too many times. A stick should spin in the air a maximum of 2.5 times no more. Holding a stick at the bottom reduces control. Move your hand to the middle or just above / just below the middle. If you find now that you can’t get the stick all the way, get lighter sticks.
2. Bent arm while throwing, your arm should be straight. The more movement you have in your throw, the more parts there are to it. The more can go wrong.
There are exceptions to every rule. Jason Bowler Spread Eagle ‘A’ holds the stick right at the end. It spins loads but is very accurate. It’s a good throw for him, it won’t be for you.
Look at those players who consistently get good scores every week their throws will follow the basic rules above. And the key thing here is that they will adjust they way they are throwing to suit where they are. If it’s not working on that first practice they’ll move a bit adjust the power etc its imperceptible but they do.
It’s common practice if my throw’s not working for me to ask one of the other players on my team to stand behind me and tell me what I’m doing wrong.
In golf they spend literally hours perfecting the swing. Video is used, diagrams, the works. Now I’m not saying that you set up a video camera but everything about being a good player is in the throw just as a good golfer is in the swing.
Get our throw right for you and the dolls will come.