If you’re looking for something a little bit different the next time you head to the park, give the boomerang a try! Learning how to throw a boomerang is surprisingly easy, but catching one is a little more tricky. Regardless, you’ll have a great time learning to whirl a piece of wood through the air and making it return from whence it came. Let’s get started!
The history of the boomerang is quite interesting. I won’t bore you with the majority of it, but enough to help you become familiar with the high points. First and foremost, the boomerang did not originate in Australia. It turns out its much much older than that. It dates back thousands of years to the time of King Tut – maybe even before. Anyways, King Tut actually had quite a collection of boomerangs. What the Australian’s, actually the Aborigines in Australia, are known for is hunting with boomerangs.
There are 2 types of boomerangs: returning and hunting. Hunting boomerangs are straighter and very well balanced. Imagine these Aborigines sneaking around the outback, looking for a kangaroo. Once they find one the trick is to throw the boomerang and catch them on the back of the neck, stunning or incapacitating them so they could have dinner. With the returning type of boomerangs you’ll be learning to throw, just make sure you don’t take one to the back of the head ;) It tends to hurt!
World Champion Boomerangers
Enough history…lets take a minute to learn about the different types and sizes of boomerangs.
There are literally an infinite number of shapes and sizes of boomerangs. It turns out you can make a boomerang in any shape and one of the manufactures has a boomerang for every letter of the alphabet. Others have boomerangs that look like people or animals. Whats most important is that you find a boomerang that fits your skill level.
These boomerangs are the traditional V shaped or 3-bladed boomerangs. These boomerangs are light weight and don’t require a strong throw. This also means that the boomerang is not going to travel very far. The range is likely to be 10-20 meters. Also these boomerangs will be heavily affected by the wind.
These boomerangs are great for learning to throw and practicing your form. The one advantage to these is they won’t hurt nearly as bad if you don’t see it coming back around or you mis-catch one.
These intermediate boomerangs come in every shape and are generally heavier than the beginner boomerangs. Accordingly they will work much better on a slightly windy day and have an effective range of 30-50 meters. Since these are intermediate throwing techniques will need to be tweaked depending on the model, flight path, and distance thrown.
Since you’re probably just getting into this hobby an advanced boomerang probably isn’t right for you. These boomerangs can literally do or go anywhere you want them to. They are capable of going 100s of meters, flying for minutes at a time, or doing tricks. When you’ve mastered the boomerang hobby this is the style of boomerang for you.
How to Throw a Boomerang
Here’s the meat of the NotSoBoringLife.com How to Throw a Boomerang article. Basically if you can throw a ball – you can throw a boomerang. Like anything you’ll need a little practice, but before long you’ll be throwing and catching your boomerang with the best of them.
When to Throw
Ideally a warm sunny day is the optimal time to throw your boomerang. Little to no wind is a necessity for a beginner however it should be mentioned that some boomerangs need wind in order to make it back. Generally these are the heavier more advanced boomerangs.
Throwing in the rain, wind, or even snow is not unheard of, but I’d hold off until your comfortable throwing and catching before moving to less than ideal weather conditions. Its just not worth losing a boomerang.
Where to Throw
A wide open space with no trees, power lines, shrubs, mailboxes, lamp posts, or houses. You need about 60 yards in every direction. That means finding an open soccer field or baseball field. You should avoid fields where the grass is long or that border bodies of water as your boomerang will mysteriously disappear.
Where ever you choose to throw you need to make absolutely certain its clear of people and pets. Once the boomerang leaves your hand you have zero control. The boomerang, moving at 30-40mph, effectively becomes a flying blade. If it hits anything its going to hurt, so pay attention before and after you throw. Yelling “FORE” isn’t an acceptable warning to spectators who think you know what you’re doing.
Gripping Your Boomerang
You’ve got two choices when gripping your boomerang. The pinch grip and the cradle grip.
The pinch grip is the most popular and consists of pinching the end of the boomerang between your thumb and forefinger. The boomerang is held by friction between your fingers during the throw. At the end of the throw you’ll snap your wrist to create the spin necessary for the boomerang to return.
The cradle grip is similar to the pinch grip, but the difference is that you wrap your forefinger around the end of the boomerang. At the end of the throw you’ll “pull the trigger” which creates the spin.
Experiment with both until you find the most comfortable grip that creates the most spin.
Adjusting for the Wind
If there is any wind you’ll probably need to adjust your throw accordingly. Start facing with the wind directly in your face. Now turn about 60° to your right. The wind should be blowing from left to right across your body. Throw!
Throwing a Boomerang
Examine your boomerang and notice the shapes and curves. In general you’ll want to throw with the most curved side facing towards your face. That’s easy to remember, right?
Now grip the boomerang and throw the boomerang like a baseball directly over you head. No crazy sidearm throws unless you want to accelerate the boomerang into the back of your head. Make a conscious effort to create as much spin as possible. How’d you do?
More Wind Adjustments
If the boomerang landed short, you need to adjust your throwing angle a bit to the left or more into the wind.
If it landed behind you, adjust to the right a few degrees.
If the boomerang is coming right at you but over your head, don’t throw it so hard!
If it’s coming at you but hits the ground, throw it harder!
If it flies straight and hits the ground you need more spin or you’ve thrown it upside down.
The perfect throw will go straight out do a perfect circle and return to you for the amazing and daring catch!
Catching a Boomerang
Yup, you’ve got to catch that crazy flying object. The best way to catch a boomerang is to sandwich it between the palms of your hands. Basically you’ll clap your hands and hopefully the boomerang will stop between them and not smack you in the shin or forehead for that matter.
Doing a one handed catch is not advised for a beginner but if you must try just stick your hand into the hold produced by the spinning boomerang and grab. Be advised the boomerang could take off in any direction.