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I’m calling this a Jazz throw because it comes from the Jazz catch position in human freestyle disc. There are some other expressions of it currently being done in the disc dog world.
This is an extreme variation of the Push throw (see: Human Freestyle as Basis for Learning lesson). It’s really pretty hard to wrap your head around, so I think it’s best if we just get on to the practical learning. Don’t want to think ourselves out of it…
Let’s Backchain It
We are going to backchain this skill. Start with a very simple, rough approximation of the finish product – a blind backwards release – and then increase the challenge to get to that criteria. Each little turn further around the circle towards bumps up the criteria. It doesn’t take long to hit the finished version of the throw.
As long as you are successful, continue to increase the criteria by moving further around the circle. If performance gets shaky back up a step or two (or go back to the very foundation and start again — a really good idea!). Only bump up the criteria if you are successful.
Backchaining is an incredible training technique, not just for dogs. It sets up a situation where the behavior falls together instead of being built up. When confronted with behavioral challenges that are not well understood or difficult to do, backchaining works quite well. It’s kind of like reverse engineering. It works wonders here.
Checking the release point is an important concept for learning and fixing any throw. When the body is put into challenging positions — upside down, backwards, spinning, etc, computing angles can be a difficult task. When up becomes down and left becomes right, you can never be absolutely positive the disc is in the right position, that you’ve turned your hand in the right direction for the throw, but if the throw is checked it is not hard to get comfortable with the weird angles of strange positions.
To check your release do your best to make the throw, replicated it as close as possible, but stop where you think it should be released. That moment frozen in time will show you where and how the disc w fly. Of course it must be a close representation of proper mechanics: speed, power, angle, and general location all must be an accurate simulation of the throw. It’s a valuable skill that I use it all the time when working difficult throws.
Take your time with this throw. Spend a bit more time than Judy or I did on the video. We were aggressive and impatient because we were filming. If I had my way we’d work a minute or two at a time and then work on something with Judy was going to be really successful. It was too fast and too aggressive for her to gain the confidence of repetitive success. Judy didn’t get the full expression of the throw in this session; it’s not an easy throw, and to get to where she did in such a short time is really quite impressive and demonstrates the power of backchaining.
Get three, five, seven or ten reps of each point on the circle before going further. Turn in very short steps around the circle. Get yourself a target and hit it at five, seven and ten yards at each spot on the circle. The more experience and success with tangible and increasing criteria, the better you are.
Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. Don’t cheat yourself of the feeling that success and competence give you. Take your time and gain the benefits of being successful.