I'm by no means the best player on the field, but there are a few basic tips I can provide to those interested:
1) Throwing tips (much of this content from Parinella and Zaslow - "Ultimate Techniques and Tactics" - highly recommended reading):
- Lead the receiver. (It's easier to accelerate to catch the disc than to stop instantaneously.)
- Put the disc where the defender can't get to it. (It's not a "good put" if the defense can get there first, no matter what the result of the play actually is.)
- Make sure the receiver knows the disc is going to come. (Most often, this is done through eye contact.)
- Avoid risky throws. (Here, "risky" is relative. Any forehand might be risky for a beginner, whereas a push pass might not be risky for Beau.)
2) Catching tips:
- Attack the disc. The phrase "come to the disc!" is often yelled out, but "attacking" is a bit more powerful way of looking at this.
- With one-handed catches, make sure the disc is rotating INTO your hand, rather than away from it. Hard to explain it in words, but just think about a one-handed catch you dropped because the disc spun out of your hand. Remember that? Don't do that. Grab it on the other side, or grab it with the other hand.
3) Marking tips:
- Yell "UP!" when the disc is thrown.
- In general, force forehand.
- If close to the line, tend to force line.
- Call out your force so your team knows it.
- Yell "UP!" Seriously.
4) Guarding tips:
- Be between the disc and your (wo)man.
- Slightly more accurately, be in the path the disc would have to travel to get from the thrower to your man. (unless you're the last defender back, then it's your responsibility to take away the deep threat)
- If you need help, yell and ask for it.
- Try not to get beat so that you have to ask for help.
5) Running tips:
- After each point, whether you scored or not, run (at LEAST jog) back to your line. This will build endurance.
- Run after discs you KNOW you can't get to. Sometimes, you'll be wrong.
- When you're tired, run harder.
6) Cutting tips:
- Cut to open space.
- Initially, make a step in a different direction, then blast HARD the direction you do want to go. This will (ideally) gain separation from your defender, and make you open.
- If you're not open, clear out (run AWAY from the disc) so that someone else can get open.
- Don't take someone else's cut.
- If it's 2 offensive players vs. 1 defensive player in the end zone, the 2 offensive players should split to opposite sides.
7) General tips:
- Don't wear grey.
- Bring water and/or sports drink.
- Ibuprofen is a miracle drug.
- After every point, while you're running back to the line, think about what you could have done better that point. Initially, you'll have really obvious things ("caught that pass instead of dropping it", "dumped it to x at stall 7 instead of forcing a blade at stall 9"), but there are often less-obvious things you can improve on ("threw it to x when she was open, instead of holding on and throwing to y" or "sprinted down on defense after I saw the huck thrown"), ranging down to very subtle things that no one else is going to fault you on ("should have told you to move right when I saw x crashing in" or "should have cleared out after making that one cut because you were stranded on the line...even though we wound up scoring..."). This is why you'll often hear good players apologizing for a play they seemingly might not have had anything to do with. Step 1 is recognizing the areas for improvement. The harder part is making better decisions the next time.
- Have fun! It's just a game!