Friday, October 4, 2013

How Do You Throw a Boomerang?

Image of: Australian boomerang in someone's hand.
When time permits, we give adventurers on our Blue Mountain day tours the opportunity to learn how to throw a boomerang.  However, today we want to walk you through the process.  This way you can come prepared and enjoy the boomerang sport in your free time before the day of your tour.

The great thing about a boomerang is, unlike other sports objects, you don't need a second player.  Because boomerangs return to the thrower (when thrown right), you can enjoy the activity by yourself.  In addition to preparing to show off your skills on our Blue Mountain day tours, you can also give yourself a way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors after a day of office work.

Before we move on though, have you ever wondered who first asked the question: How do you throw a boomerang? 

In Farm Cove, Australia, in 1804, a group of western people came across a tribal gathering where the boomerang was being used as a weapon during a skirmish.  As curious onlookers, you can rest assured they were wondering the same thing you're wondering now – How do you throw a boomerang?!

Step 1: Imagine it Functioning Like a Helicopter

Unlike a frisbee, a boomerang has open space on the top and bottom, which causes it to operate like a helicopter.  Just think of a boomerang as a helicopter without a body of steel attached to it. 

Using this analogy, think of what happens when you hold a boomerang like a frisbee.  If you throw a boomerang horizontally, it will accelerate like a helicopter; it will push against gravity and rise to the sky. This is why you need to throw a boomerang vertically

Well, nearly vertically.  It's best to hold it at about a 20-degree angle so the boomerang has more of a chance of looping back to you.

Now that you're holding the boomerang nearly vertically, when you release forces will push against its side and cause it to accelerate in a straight line.  Because the surface area on the top and bottom of a frisbee are negligible, there's little interference.

Step 2: Hold it Like a Boomerang, Not Like a Frisbee

If you want it to work right, you have to hold it right.  Giving it a random throw will bring you right back to typing in How do you throw a boomerang?

To hold it right, follow these directions:

·         Make sure the V-point, or elbow, is pointed toward you
·         Hold at the end of the bottom wing with a loose grip
·         A boomerang has curved edges on its wings – make sure these face the left

Important: If you're left-handed you'll have to buy a left-handed boomerang.  Throwing a regular boomerang with your left hand will not work out in your favor!

Step 3: Account for Environmental Factors

To ensure the boomerang returns to you, make sure you account for the wind outside.  A good way to test how strong it is and what direction it's moving in is to grab some loose grass.  When you have a few strands of grass, throw them up in the air in front of you.  The wind will carry them in the direction it's moving in.  Also, by judging the speed at which the grass is carried, you'll get an idea of the wind's strength.

With this estimation in mind, adjust your stance accordingly.  For instance, if the wind is pushing slightly to the east, adjust your stance slightly to the west.

Useful Tip: For every 1 km/h unit of wind speed, move yourself 1 degree in the opposite direction.  For instance, if the wind is moving at 20 km/h, adjust yourself 20 degrees.

Step 4: Throw it Like a Baseball

When you have the right grip and stance, it's time to give throw it.  Like you would throwing a ball, lead with the foot opposite your throwing hand.  Bring the boomerang back – just behind your ear – and release with a snap.  The snapping action is very important.  Without the snap, your boomerang will have slow spin, and spin is what propels the boomerang and brings it back to you.

Step 5: Now You can Treat it Like a Frisbee

Beginners always make the mistake of trying to catch a boomerang with one hand.  They neglect the fact that the boomerang has hard blades and, despite the blades' roundness, receive a painful sting along with their one-handed catch.

To make a successful catch that won't hurt your hand, use both hands.  When the boomerang is just in front of you, make a clapping motion – one hand on top of the boomerang and the other on the bottom.

Now that you know how to throw a boomerang, we look forward to seeing you on our Blue Mountain Day tours!  To book a tour, contact us online or call 61.2.9636.6111.

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