Kan Jam Summer Mania: Tips to Improve Your Game
If you're a college student, you've probably heard someone talking about Kan Jam, the feel-good frisbee golf-like game that's sweeping college campuses, backyard BBQs, and family beach vacations alike. If you don't know about Kan Jam, I'm glad your reading my lens, because you've been missing out! Kan Jam is easy to assemble, relatively inexpensive (Each Kan Jam set comes with two canisters and an official frisbee; traditional set: $40, glow-in-the-dark add-on: $30) and, quite frankly, anyone with arms can play! I am by no means a Kan Jam expert, but it is one of my favorite outdoor games and I have played it quite a few times here and there. Kan Jam is anyone's game, but I've come up with a few tips that I hope will give you an advantage the next time you play!
For official rules, visit: http://kanjam.com/Game/HowToPlay.aspx.
Photo from http://www.kanjam.com.
How to Play!
Know Your Partner
Does your partner have trouble aiming? Does your partner tend to throw hard or soft? Is your partner your five-year-old cousin? Knowing your partner's strengths and weaknesses is integral for success. Along with observing your partner in a game environment, it may also be useful to sit down with your partner and have them explain to you what THEY believe their strengths and weaknesses are.
What is equally important is to always be ready for any type of throw. Of course, the more familiar you are with your partner's style, the better off your team will be. However, part of what makes Kan Jam a great game is that a skilled player can have an off throw, and someone who just started playing that day could make a string of great throws. Your cousin could throw a perfect game-winning three-pointer.
If it's a sunny day, sunglasses are a must. They really help! You could also throw on some croakies if you don't want them to fall off when you go for that epic dive!
Get Sunglasses Here! - Here are some cheap (but good quality!) sunglasses you may like.
I found it useful to talk to your partner before the game about if you want to consider a set strategy. Here are some examples of strategies I have used or witnessed others use:
*UPDATE: KJ from KanJam.com notified me that it's a good idea to consider a strategy after your team reaches 18 points first. This makes a lot of sense! So, instead of considering a set strategy from right out of the gate, try considering one after 18 points. Until then, it's best to go with the flow and enjoy the game.
a. Aim for the front slot:
You may decide to go for the game-winning slot each time if you have impeccable aim.
Pros: potential to win game; if miss, potential two points
Cons: lower shots mean it's harder to score with a three-point shot
b. Aim for your partner:
If you're not the best at aiming for the goal, you may do best focusing on your throwing technique so you can make a quality throw so your partner can score one point with a "dink". For best results, your partner should stand behind the canister for a potential three-pointer.
Pros: better guarantees points for weaker throwers, potential to bank a three-pointer
Cons: Less chance of a game-winning throw
c. Aim for the two-point shot: Go for the deuce throw (two points are awarded when you hit the side of the canister without your partner's help "dinking").
Pros: increases chances of a game-winning throw through the front slot
Cons: decreases chances of a three-point shot because aim is not directed above the canister
d. Talk it out: In my opinion, this is the best strategy of all. If you don't mind your opponents catching on to the benefits of good communication between teammates, try talking to your partner before each throw about where you're thinking of aiming your throw. For example, it's your throw, so you tell cousin Rick that you're going to loft the frisbee above the top of the canister for a three-point effort. Now he'll be ready!
Pros: freeness and fun of variation between throws
Cons: opponents will catch on to the benefits of good communication between teammates
Know Your Throw
You are probably familiar with the traditional way to throw a frisbee (for an excellent guide to master the "fronthand" throw, check out http://www.squidoo.com/frisbee-, but there are several variations that you may find helpful. A backhand throw is perfect to sink a three-pointer-- I did so practicing in the back yard by myself, of course with no one there to witness! Maybe you will even find a throw that you like better than the traditional throw. Here are some examples of a few different frisbee throws: http://www.squidoo.com/ultimate-frisbee-throws-.
Aim your elbow at your target. This is an easy way to maintain accurate throws. Using your elbow as an aiming tool will give you the opportunity to strategize with your partner, because you will be able to aim at a point.
The Easier, the Better.
The easier you throw the frisbee, the better. This will give your partner more time to react, and make the frisbee easier to re-direct towards the kan. A slow yet accurate, wafting throw over the top of the kan is ideal. It will also be less likely to wound your partner, because a frisbee thrown hard, well, that can do some damage!
The Prize is in the Eyes
Along with your elbow, your eyes should be pointed at your target by the end of your throw. This also helps with accuracy.
Cliché, but frequently over-looked! The more comfortable you are throwing a frisbee, the better off you will be.
Relax and Have Fun!
Relaxing is key! It's summer, so have fun! That's what life is for anyway, right?
What are your thoughts on Kan Jam?
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Glow version available here: http://kanjam.com/Products/Product.aspx?ItemID=14