Zig Zag Pattern
the Zig Zag is a foundational disc dog pattern. the dog catches a series of 4 discs and reverses field between each catch in a zig zag pattern. this pattern can be developed and leveraged for training and performance.
4 keys to the Zig Zag:
- throw with intent
- count your dog’s strides
- throw into the wind
- moving is cool
Throw with Intent and Make Leaping a Habit
throwing a Zig Zag with the intent to make your dog leap is entirely different than throwing a Zig Zag for the pattern. focus on delivering that leaping catch. be present at the moment of release and intend to put it there.
Shifting focus from all the crazy releases or the Zig Zag pattern to perfectly placed Backhand tosses intended create a leaping catch changes the Zig Zag from some silly pattern to a powerful tool.
The Zig Zag pattern showcases teamwork and intent. Dog and handler hook up at a spot, on the run – it’s a team skill. Your job is to make your dog look good. Get your dog in the air first, make leaping a habit, then get fancy.
Counting, Limiting and Adjusting the Number of Strides
for leap training keep your Zig Zag tight. 4-6 strides max. you don’t want your dog running too fast to be able to leap safely. dog’s can’t leap when they are sprinting. limiting the number of strides can slow your dog down and reinforce successful and safe leaping.
Most people want to chuck a zig zag 20 yards in each direction. Pythagoras says that’s a 28 yard stretch from catch to catch. That’s far too much distance to be of any use for slowing your dog down and setting up a likely to leap situation.
You want to be throwing floaters in that 7-12 yard range about 10-20 yards apart. This depth and distance creates a real tight 4-6 stride run from drop to catch. And there’s nothing to say that you can’t deliver the disc early and have the dog catch right out in front of you instead of on right or left.
You can also throw a bit behind the dog to encourage them to slow down if you need to.
Throw Into the Wind
throw your Zig Zag into the wind. you want the discs to float and to provide leaping targets for your dog, so turn and face that wind and hang them right where your dog needs them.
Always throw your Zig Zag into the wind. You want the discs to hover out there so your dog can leap for them. Floating and hovering discs create drama and are the defining aspect of a Frisbee. Discs only float and hover when thrown into the wind. When you throw downwind your discs get pushed or slammed to the ground.
In terms of leap training and performance the longer the disc hovers in one place the more likely the dog is to leap up there and take it.
Stand and face the wind and float those discs.
Moving Zig Zags are Cool
moving forward during your Zig Zag will push the dog backwards and allow you to move up and down the field. team movement is a big part of proper freestyle performance and nothing screams team movement like a moving Zig Zag.
While most Zig Zags for training and performance purposes feature an anchored handler feeding alternating left then right throws to a leaping dog, that’s not the only way, or even the coolest way to do it.
The handler can move during a Zig Zag. If the handler moves forward, the whole pattern can travel. If the handler runs forward during a Zig Zag, the pattern can travel a lot. A moving and active handler can have dramatic effects on a Zig Zag pattern.