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.
The number of people around the world who have done a trick throw or catch with a frisbee is probably in the hundreds of millions.
Whereas, the number of people who have learned advanced moves like spinning the disc or airbrushes is in the tens of thousands.
Freestyle competitions usually consist of teams of 2 or 3 players performing 3, 4 or 5 minute routines to music.
The teams are judged on the technical difficulty and style of the moves they complete.
The World Urban Games. In 2019, Freestyle Frisbee was one of 6 metal sports to be included at the 1st World Urban Games in
Budapest, Hungary organized by GIASF. It was a landmark event which could lead to freestyle being considered an Olympic sport.
Every year the sport's premier event, the FPA World Championships, takes place in a different city around the world each year.
The largest winter event is held indoors in Prague, the Frisbeer Cup.
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....
Sheeps Meadow - NYC,
Torino and many, many more!
Freestyle Frisbee World Map now includes links to real-time
wind and weather conditions for over 50 Jam Sites! See the wind forecast or check current real-time temperature, wind conditions and web-cams for Jam Sites like:
Freestyle Frisbee: a sport on the move
Becoming a medal sport in the 2019 World Urban Games helped freestyle gain credibility as a legitimate urban sport like Breakdancing, Surfing or
Skate (which will now be included in the next Olympic Games in Japan)
In recent years Freestyle Frisbee has grown very fast, especially in Europe:
Starting around 2000 the number of events in Europe rose dramatically, along with the number of players. There were record turnouts
at Paganello in Rimini (50+), the EFC in Rome (60+), the Frisbee Cup in Prague (80+) 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 1000 today. Another recent hot spot is in Colombia where there are now hundreds of new players.
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 featuring freestylers Dave Murphy, Dave Lewis and Zahlen Titcomb.
What is Freestyle Frisbee?
by Dave Marini, co-founder of the FPA
Freestyle Frisbee is a sport where teams of
two or three players perform a routine, which consists of a series
of throws, catches and moves, done to music using one or more discs.
The routine judged on the basis of difficulty, execution and
presentation. The player or team with the best total score is declared the winner.
Allowing for all styles of play
Freestyle! Such grandiose terms to describe sport.
The words "free" and "style" both transcend their task of labeling physical action.
They encompass a lifestyle, a philosophy.
In its purest form freestyle is creative
movement with a moving disc. The players define the game for themselves as they play.
Self-expression is the only common
thread stringing together many divergent jewels of creativity.
(If one were to search for a definition of our sport, the failure of that search would prove to
be its answer. An attempt to shackle freestyle to any one definition or mode of play would be to
deny its very essence.)
Yet, within a galaxy of possible applications for freestyle, a sizeable number of players
have reached an agreement concerning
one particular application. Acknowledging the freedom of thought and expression
all players are entitled to when they freestyle,
players of this lofty pursuit have in effect agreed that they
should bring their talents and ideas together at a fixed time and place
and share them.
But, as is the nature of our species, the sharing is for a price.
Players agreed to share their self-expression in
return for the chance to be recognized when the sharing was over,
as the one who shared the most by presenting their individuality best.
These agreements to meet at fixed times and places have become known as freesytle tournaments.
Sharing is now called competition, and displaying one's individuality best, so as to leave
with the honor of having shared the most, has been labeled
winning. And more and more players want to get in on this agreement.
Because of this development, and only because of it, an artificial means of conceptualizing
and comparing individual creativity had to be developed. What resulted are the known and
accepted procedures for evaluating the individual creativity of many
different, but equally important human beings.
The result we seek by this evaluation is not solely to recognize and label superior talent.
We are not our own creators and cannot begin to understand the necessary elements for choosing
those superior among us. Our attempts to evaluate will be imperfect at
best because we are trying to select the most perfect fruit out of a
basket containing nothing but delicious choices.
And we are not so self-defeating as to limit our freedom by proclaiming these
evaluation procedures the definition of freestyle.
No, the only purpose we can realistically ascribe to our meager attempts
at evaluating freedom is that of paying homage to a given
moment in time - - simply who, at that moment, was sharing the most.
- Catch: A controlled termination of the movement momentum of the disc without the disc touching the ground.
- Combination: One complete sequence by a player or one co-op sequence by players of the same team. Elements may include
throw, take-in, move, and catch.
- Competitors: Includes a player or group of players teaming together.
- Co-op: One interactive combination by two or more players on a team. A second combination or throw within the team
constitutes a separate co-op for judging purposes.
- Delay: The spinning of the disc without corresponding flight movement, usually by contact with the finger nails of the player,
although toes, elbows or other objects are also used.
- Move: The coordinated or complementary movement of the disc and the player's body, after the take-in is made and prior to a
throw or catch. The most varied element of a combination.
- Movement Momentum: The continued flight, spin, roll or other independent movement of the disc.
- Take-In: The address by the receiving player to a thrown disc, other than a catch or throw. The take- in may include tips,
delays, fakes or any other technique performed by the player which establishes that player's control of the disc, without stopping
the disc's continued movement momentum.
- Throw: Transfer of the disc from one player to another through a tossing motion.