By Jamie Nuwer, MD.
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Layouts are a common way to get injured. You can minimize this risk by teaching proper layout technique and decision-making early in the season.

Upper body
Start by teaching proper upper body and arm technique. The key is to land with most body weight on the chest and abdomen rather than the arms. The arm catching or D-ing the disc should be extended to prevent landing with a lot of body weight on the wrist, arm, or elbow. The other arm can be extended or bent in such a way that the athlete will not land with a lot of weight on it. To allow the disc to slide easily on the ground make sure players flip their wrist so that the disc is upside down. This prevents jamming injuries.

A simple drill is to get in pairs. One player throws from standing. The other player kneels. The thrower tosses the disc to one side. The receiver leans from the knees to catch the disc with arm extended and disc upside down and lands on their chest/abdomen.

Lower body
There is a tendency to drop one knee as if jumping. To minimize knee injuries players should fully extend their legs and land on their hips and abdomen. If a player cannot master this technique, knee pads can help prevent knee injuries from repetitive banging on the ground.

Find a soft patch of grass, mud, snow, or sand. Have the player hold a disc and sprint to full speed and dive forward. The player should focus on fully extending arms and legs. They should
land on their chest and hips. 

Players should be taught to avoid any layout that may cause injury to another player. Injuries are far more frequent on defensive bids.  When making a defensive bid, players should avoid laying out into an opponent’s back or leg (laying out “through” the receiver). This is often a foul or “dangerous play.” If a come-from-behind layout is attempted, the defender should focus on diving to the side of the receiver to hit the disc and not the player. Lateral “poach” layouts are dangerous because you cannot see the intended receiver/defender. In this situation players risk getting trampled or may seriously injure the knee, leg, or ankle of another player.

To teach this, create two lines running directly at a thrower 30-40 yards away. The offensive player sprints forward and the defensive player tries to make a play on the disc from behind. If the throw is directly in front of the receiver or to the defensive player’s side then a layout bid is appropriate.  If the throw is to the side opposite the defensive player a layout across the offensive player is dangerous and should not be attempted.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this website is not meant to be a substitute for evaluation by a qualified health care professional. The information provided here is meant for educational and informational purposes only. It should in no way be considered as formal medical advice for your health problems. You should consult a qualified health professional if you are seeking medical advice for an injury or illness. Go to the emergency room or call 911 for any severe injury or illness.