Pitching a Quoit Correctly

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Pitching a quoit is a simple thing, once you are shown how to do it correctly.  Most people who have never pitched a quoit before usually attempt to throw them with either an improper hold or an awkward swing, unless they are given a demonstration beforehand.  This page will be especially useful for all new players who lack proper instruction in quoit pitching.  A novice can now look just like an expert when they line up at the pin for their very first throw!
THE HOLD

There are 4 quoits to a set, 1 pair marked with the letter "A" and 1 pair marked with the letter "B".  Each player will pitch two quoits - the lettered pair that was chosen for their team before the start of the game.
Each Quoit has a small notch along its edge, which helps in applying rotational spin to the quoit when thrown, and assists in pitching accuracy .  In the photo at right, the notch is easily visible on the upper left edge of the quoit.  

The pitcher grasps the quoit like a Frisbee, with the thumb on the top surface and the fingers curled underneath.  The index finger is laid along the edge of the quoit with the tip of the finger resting firmly in the notch. 
THE STANCE
The foul line is an imaginary line running through each pin and extending out from the sides of each pit, perpendicular to the opposing pin.  The throwing area is located behind each foul line.  A player may stand anywhere in this area, but the usual stance is to have the forward foot directly against the outside edge of the box and immediately behind the foul line, as the footprints show below.  Standing inside the box to pitch is acceptable, but not usually done when playing in Recessed pits because of loss of height and visibility into the opposing pit. Standing in the clay with with your toe against the back of the pin is more common when playing with Flush or Raised pits.  

The pitcher lines up behind the foul line when it is their turn to throw.  The player must stay behind the foul line through the duration of the pitch.  Stepping into the throw is allowed, as long as the forward stepping foot remains behind the foul line.  This would require the pitcher to stand a few feet behind the line to make room for their step.

Preferred Stance for Right-Handed Pitching from a Recessed Pit:

 

Stand on the left side of the pit;

Right leg (same side as pitching arm) forward with toe at the the foul line and shoe against side of box; 

Knees bent, Body leaning forward;

No step - Quoit is pitched standing in place with almost all weight on forward foot.  

Rear foot is used mainly for balance, and may raise or kick out after pitch.

  

Right side,

Right foot forward

 

Left side,

Right foot forward

Left side,

Left foot forward

The above stance is commonly used to pitch a quoit, but it is not necessarily the perfect or absolute way for you to pitch.  Personal preference and pitching style will actually determine whether your right foot or left foot is forward, from which side of the pit the quoits are thrown, or whether a step is taken or not. These photos at left illustrate 3 differing stances between players who are all right-handed.   
THE PITCH
The quoit pitch is thrown as you would an underhanded Frisbee toss.  With the knees bent and the wrist tucked inward, the arm is brought back along side of the body in a similar motion to rolling a bowling ball, then swung forward to complete the throw.  The wrist is flicked outward as the quoit is released, gently spinning the quoit horizontally and arcing it in the air into the opposing pit.

randy1.mpg    randy2.mpg

Click on the above buttons to view short mpeg movies 

of my neighbor Randy Flick as he demonstrates 

the typical form for throwing a quoit.

 

THE TECHNIQUE

Technique varies from player to player, but generally, a quoit will stick into the clay at the angle it was thrown.  If the quoit is thrown flat, the quoit should land flat in the clay and stick fast.  If the quoit is thrown with the leading edge angling downwards, it should spear the clay and stick at an angle.  This is useful to either block the pin from an opponent's throw or to wedge the quoit in between an opponent's quoit and the pin.   If the quoit is thrown with one of the side edges angling downward, the quoit may stick into the clay at that angle or it may land and roll in an arc in the direction the quoit is leaning.  This is sometimes done intentionally in an effort to roll the quoit around to the back side of a pin blocked by an opponents' quoit.  To make your quoit land in a certain manner will require slight adjustments with each pitch in the way you hold your quoit, angle your wrist, and put spin on the quoit.  Experience and experimentation is the only way to really master these skills. 

A Blocker.  This quoit was intentionally pitched vertically in the clay directly in front the pin.  An opponent would have a hard time getting their own quoits close to the pin unless they are able to knock the blocker over.

The quoits can land flat or at an angle, depending how it is pitched.  Here, a quoit speared the clay directly behind the pin then dropped back on top for a Leaner.  Two Points!

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