Play DDC. Please.

I'll be honest: I want you to play DDC, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes - bribery, whining, deceit, even hypnotism - to get you to play. Picture a watch (Timex, digital) on a chain slowly swinging back and forth, to the left and then to the right, left, right.... Now, where was I? Oh, right, DDC. You might ask why I'm so concerned that you play. It's because I care about you. Like the rest of the world, you could use a little more fun in your life, some new frontiers to explore, and DDC is sublime fun. It's also slimmed my waist and made my breath minty. Please please please play DDC. Play and I'll stop whining. Okay, I'll make you a deal: read the rest of this article and I'll stop whining.

DDC is an absolutely wonderful sport. It combines a wide array of skills: quickness, strategy, throwing, catching, and communication. Each player has a unique combination of these. One aspect I've found to be particularly pleasing is that you never stop learning - it always stays fresh. After ten years I feel I'm still discovering nuances: new attacks to try, new defensive considerations. If you're looking for a little more action than golf (heck, it barely even can keep you warm on a chilly day), DDC might be just the ticket.

Due to the equipment and the need for four players, it can take some initial effort to get it going. Hang in there. Once you get a group of people out playing and hooked - and DDC hooked me even worse than golf did - you'll find it gets a lot easier.

Remember the knives they handed out in Boy Scouts? The first one was basically a butter knife. Then they gave you one that actually cut things, then ones with accessories, and after years of apprenticeship you got the one with the pullout sofa. We're going to use that metaphor in three successively detailed explanations of DDC. The first one is designed to just get you up and going, just as you might say to someone embarking on their first round of golf "Start at the tee and throw until you get it in the basket, unless it gets dark first."

"The Explorer"


Get eight discs or other highly visible objects and make two squares with them on a nice grassy field. Make the squares 13 paces on a side and 17 paces apart. If there's wind, set the courts perpendicular to it. For play you'll want two straight-rimmed, lightweight discs. (Golf discs of any weight will not work - you'll lose fingers, maybe even your head.) Ultimate discs will work.


Two players in each court. Here's how scoring works:

A. You throw one into their court, you get a point.
B. You throw one so that it touches outside their court, they get a point.
C. You make them touch both discs at the same time, you get two points.

If you throw one in and one out, the score doesn't change. Each team starts with one disc and serves (throws into the other court) at the same time, then the two teams throw back and forth until a point is scored. You have to throw a disc from where you caught it - no walking it up to the front of the court.


Throw it into their court, instead of out. You'd be amazed how effective this is even up through the highest levels of play. Try timing your throws so that both discs are heading into their court at the same time. When that happens to you, panic.

"The Scout"


Buy, beg, borrow, steal, or make courts. Some disc catalog stores (Discovering the World, for example) sell them. They're not hard to make if you want to save some money. For each court you'll need 350 feet of 3/8" yellow poly rope, four large nails, and four grommets. (What a cool word - grommet grommet grommet.) Also, four small cones - if you can find them - to mark the corners. The courts should be 13-meter squares. You'll also want to use official DDC discs, available through disc retailers for around $4.00 each.


After you play a few games you'll notice that when each team is holding a disc, it's a disadvantage to throw first. To balance things out, the team that won the previous point is the "initiation" team (also known as "designated") and must throw first. They also call the score and give the serving call of "Ready, two, one, throw." Also, you can't throw shots that land close to vertical. The official rule says more than 30 degrees from the horizontal is "angle", and the throw is disallowed. An easy rule of thumb is if it goes "bonk" - that is, bounces instead of sliding or rolling.


Try to make the other team play two discs by throwing the first one up high - it's called the "lead" or "set" shot - and the second one low and hard - it's called the "burn" - just as the first one comes down. One effective way to burn is with a with a sidearm upside-down shot (known to some as a "hammer"). With just that and a backhand you can go far. Another good shot to learn is the "dump" shot, a hammer that goes just over an opponent's head and lands in the back of the court.

"The Trooper Two"


Now that you have the courts, get the people. Set up a weekly time to play, maybe on Sunday afternoons after a round of golf, or, if you can find a lighted field, on a weeknight. Bug your friends. They'll thank you later.


At this point you have 95% of the rules that actually come up in play. The rest are in the WFDF rulebook. Games are typically played to 11, 15, or 21, win by two.


What do you do when two discs are coming into your court? Is all hope lost? Surprisingly, no. Teamwork and a sense of timing are the keys to "escaping" the doubling attack. The standard defense consists of a "back" who always plays the first disc (the lead shot) and a "front" who plays the second disc (the burn). The back decides what you are going to do to escape. There are four possibilities, depending on the timing of the two discs:

  1. If the burn comes in a lot later than the lead, the back will have time to catch and throw the lead before the front catches the burn.

  2. If the burn comes in way before the lead, the front can catch it and throw it back before the back catches the lead.

  3. If the burn comes in just slightly after the lead, the back will call "Tip!" and then tip the lead before the front touches the burn. While the tipped disc is in the air, the front catches the burn and throws it back. The back then catches his tip and can burn the other team.

  4. If the burn comes in slightly before the lead, the back will call "Go!", telling the front to get rid of the burn disc as quickly as possible. The front will often make a very quick catch and throw. He can also tip the burn if possible.

It's not as hard as it sounds. A good way to learn is to have someone throw discs (nice, easily-handled flat shots) at you and your partner, going through each of the scenarios above. Escaping doubles is an exhilarating feeling. At the championship level, there will often be six or seven consecutive escapes before a point is scored. Now that's fun.

You're still wondering about the bribery part, aren't you? Ah, you're a sharp one. Tell you what. Go out and play DDC, then send me some comments - what you liked and disliked about it, will you play again or even regularly (if not, why not), etc. - and I'll put them on the DDC web page for the world to ponder. Think about it - your thoughts will be ON THE NET, part of that rockin' SUPERINFO HIGHWAY THING, accessible to millions of today's hippest WEB SURFERS. You can send your comments to me by email at By the way, your thoughts won't just sit there and grow moldy - they'll be used to develop plans for promoting DDC.

Have fun!