How To Pull off a Thumber Throw

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You’ve heard the term “Thumber” & “Tomahawk”. Maybe you’ve used them. Maybe you mix them up, call them the wrong names. Just remember this point before reading any further. Thumbers & Tomahawks fly in opposing directions. Most people can throw Thumbers longer than ‘hawks. It’s easier to push in on the thumb and whip that power out. – A thumber is so called because the disc is held in place with the thumb on the inside ring under the rim.

It’s a bit of a difficult shot for some players, and many will avoid it unless absolute necessary. But it’s better to have it in your locker and not need it…..

Thumbers or Tomahawks are basically overhand throws. Just think about it. They involve launching the disc like center fielder throwing a baseball from the outfield, except a baseball is round.  With a disc you hold it vertically and pull it back behind your shoulder, or what i call, the launch position. Throw it straight, don’t let the arm flare out like a sidearm.

Let’s get into the finer details of the Thumber in this post.


So why would you use a Thumber (& also a Tomahawk)

Throwing overhand is effective for getting the disc over tall obstacles without it tailing off too far to one side.

Tomahawks and thumbers, are also sometimes known as hammers, are unquestionably two of the more prevalent utility shot types you might need to pull out on a typical day at the course. They are frequently employed off the tee and, in the case of thumbers, can even be a defining element of some players’ strategies.

And What Happens When You Thumber Slash Hammer?

The ‘slash’ was intentional. When you throw the disc with a typical baseball style overhand, it will first fly straight up and then it will begin to turn upside down as it drops, moving to one side before flipping right-side up and moving to the other. The disc catches a lot of air at the beginning of its flight, so if see a large line of trees immediately in front of you that you need to get over, thumber baby.

Depending on whether you throw a thumber or a tomahawk—which we’ll discuss below—the direction it moves will vary. When compared to a standard shot at the same height, an overhand shot typically moves far less side to side.

In particular, these two overhand throws resemble the way a baseball outfielder might toss the ball back to the infield in an effort to stop a runner attempting an extra base. A thumber or tomahawk should finish about straight in front of the thrower, with a small fluctuation to the left or right depending on a variety of circumstances, such as the stability of the disc or wind, just like an accurately thrown baseball should.

The thumber throws out of the hand like a baseball after it is properly gripped (i.e., overhand). This shot excels at avoiding impediments early in flight since the disc releases at a vertical angle. With the top of the flight plate towards the ground, the disc pans left for a rightie before flattening out, fading back to the right, and ultimately hitting the ground. You will experience varied flight characteristics at different angles and stabilities (discussed later in this article).


Tomahawks/Thumbers Grip Positions

With a thumber the disc is held in place with your thumb on the thumb track on the bottom rim and your pointer on the top of the disc, which acts as the angle guide. With a Tomahawk you place the pointer and middle fingers on the rim, grasping it similarly to a forehand shot.

On the way to their target, thumbers and tomahawks will go through the famous corkscrew, or flip and pan out in the air, with the flight plate towards the ground. From the thrower’s vantage point, a normal thumber that completes a full flight will flip and pan from left to right. From the thrower’s vantage point, a conventional tomahawk that flies fully will flip and pan from right to left.

Tomahawks release their discs vertically, much like a baseball does when it is thrown out of the hand. In the case of a rightie, the disc pans out to the right initially, then flattens out (with the top of the flight plate towards the ground) and pans back to the left before touching down. The flight path is impacted by different angles and stabilities. You’ll normally use a Tomahawk when you need the disc to rise and fall cutting from right to left.

Here’s a Thumber Demo rom Prodigy Disc.

And here’s a H1 -3 discs Cody was talking about.

prodigy h1 disc for thumber throws
prodigy h3







To help avoid injury, make sure your shoulder is warmed up, especially if you have tight shoulders or have burnt out a rotator cuff in the past.  Don’t throw these overhand shots as hard as you can to avoid damage.


What distinguishes a thumber from a tomahawk?

Thumbers and Tomahawks travel in opposite directions, which is their fundamental distinction. The fact that most disc golfers can throw Thumbers farther than Tomahawks is another significant distinction. This is because most people can throw a Thumber with more snap than they can a Tomahawk since they can grip a disc with their thumbs more firmly.


What Disc Should You Use For A Thumber?

If you need to throw long, an overstable fairway driver is what you want. Low speed drivers can also be used, preferably overstable because it takes them longer to do the corkscrew flight rotation. Slower speed overstable drivers will also give you more predictability.

You can also use an understable disc, especially on tighter shots. They will have less left to right sway and a quicker touchdown. They won’t corkscrew out as wide, so they are ideal for hitting smaller gaps.




Good Disc To Use For Thumbers

  1. Discmania Simon Lizotte Tilt – the thumber world record was shot with a tilt by Seth Dey in 2021
  2. Innova Firebird – overstable also good for hyzers/spike hyzers, flex shots
  3. Dynamic Discs Felon – this overstable fairway driver will give you distance and accuracy – made for the relentless Kansas winds- will give you very accurate hyzers
  4. Latitude 64 XXX – seems to be everybodies favorite Thumber disc
  5. Nuke OS – advanced disc for big arm players


Watch Seth Dey Breaking the World Thumber Record here. What a beast.

Thumber Flight Recap

Throw it overhand like your pitching a baseball, point it up high and watch it turn and flip> it will then pan to the left and then makes its way back to the right.


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