Ricocheting requires a good mastery of the speed, the rotation and the angle of launch of the projectile. It is an activity that can occupy a beautiful day at the edge of a lake or a calm body of water. It can even strengthen the bond between you and your friends or family. Even if you don't get into the record books (the record is 51 rebounds in 1 throw), you will no doubt wow kids by ricocheting like a pro. It's important to keep in mind that mastering ricochets takes time, but it's worth it.
Step 1. Find a body of calm water and a good supply of stones
Lakes and calm areas of rivers are the most suitable places. Unless there is an oil sea, beaches are not a very good choice. However, bays and other calm sea areas may be well suited to ricochets. If you choose to practice in rough water, you will need to adapt your technique by using stones that are slightly heavier, better able to cut through waves and maintain a stable trajectory. Keep in mind, however, that heavy stones are more difficult to ricochet.
If you can't find a body of calm water around which there are pebbles, don't hesitate to bring a stock. The technique will be more difficult to acquire if you spend five minutes looking for a stone between each throw
Step 2. Choose your stone
Look for a little thick, flat and round, about the size of the palm of your hand with enough weight that it is not sensitive to the wind, but light enough to be thrown precisely. Choose the finest stone possible. The flatter and thinner your stone, the more it will bounce on the water without disturbing the surface.
- However, the reigning ricochet world record holder says a perfectly round stone is not ideal to handle. He prefers to use a stone with a roughness to better grip it and obtain more rotations.
- It is also possible that a stone with small cavities reduces the friction of the water just as the many roughness of a golf ball reduces the friction of the air. Try out different kinds of stones and see which one works best for you.
- If your hands are callused enough, you may find it easy to grip a smooth stone. But if you have the hands of a pianist, you will need practice to hold your stone properly.
Step 3. Place your index finger along the edge of the stone
Then hold it by placing your thumb in contact with one of the flat faces and your middle finger in contact with the other. This is just an example take. The important thing in the end is to throw the stone in a straight line so that the flat face is almost parallel to the surface of the water. By placing the stone in the curvature of your index finger and placing your thumb on the top flat face, you will ensure good control of the stone.
The size of your hands is an important parameter. You will need to choose a stone whose size allows you a sure and firm grip
Step 4. Face the water with your feet about a shoulder width apart
If you are right handed, place your left foot as close as possible to the water and then turn your shoulders to face the water. Then bend your knees so that you can throw your stone parallel to the surface of the water. Scientists have estimated the ideal casting angle between the stone and the water surface to be around 20 degrees. A lower angle increases the friction of the water, a higher angle can cause the stone to hit the water too directly and then sink.
If you are tall, the throwing angle may be too great. In this case, you can compensate by sending the stones more powerfully. Practice throwing with a 20 degree angel, even if at first you may not be able to get any bounces
Step 5. Bend the wrist back for more power then throw it forward to bounce your stone
The gesture is more like throwing a ball “from below” than throwing a Frisbee. It is important to bend your wrist as far back as possible and then quickly throw it forward, causing your stone to rotate counterclockwise (if using your right hand). Throw as hard as possible while maintaining control of the angle of fire. This angle and the rotation of the stone are more important parameters than the speed of the jet.
The world record holder uses the same techniques as baseball pitchers (one foot on the ground, the other knee raised for momentum), a hip throw and a good finish of the movement
Step 6. Use your legs
First, focus on arm work. Once you have mastered the speed, spin, and angle of your throw, you can introduce footwork to generate even more power. The leg placement technique is essential to optimize your ricochets. Try to do the following.
- Bend your knees so that you lower yourself at least fifteen centimeters. This will allow you to put more power into your throw.
- To increase rotation, as the world record holder does, you can lift the foot closest to the water about six inches above the ground while leaning on your back foot. When you throw your stone, complete the movement by putting your front foot on the ground and shifting your weight over it to increase the power of the throw. This technique is comparable to that of baseball pitchers.
- If you are at the beach or by a lake, you may be barefoot or in flip flops. However, if you're really keen on ricochets, a pair of sneakers will come in handy. It will give you better support on the ground and prevent you from slipping.
Step 7. Finish your movement
Don't just throw the rock and stop your arm after the rock leaves your hand. Your throw will be penalized. Instead, practice an arm whip from back to front, from your back to your torso. Finishing well optimizes the power of the throw and ensures better results.
The ricochet gesture is comparable to the forehand in tennis or the baseball throw. You have to finish your gesture to get good results
Step 8. Practice
If the stone is bouncing very high, you have probably thrown it too close to you (thus making too much of an angle between the water and the path of the stone). Try to throw so that the first bounce is farther away from you. Too great an angle will send the stone upwards during the first bounce and it may then sink, hitting the surface again at an even greater angle. If the angle is too low, the stone will "ride" on the surface of the water instead of bouncing. Heavy friction will quickly slow down the stone and it will sink.
- Also practice with stones of different sizes and weights to find your preferred format.
- If you have time, practice in sets of about 20 stones until you have mastered the movement. Keep in mind that you are not looking to break a world record, but just to have fun.
- Small and light stones bounce more and go further. However, the average heights and weights are more suitable for beginners.
- Some people prefer to throw stones backhand. To do this, position yourself in profile so that your throwing hand is closest to the water. Then throw your stone with the back side of your hand facing the water, as if you were throwing birdseed.
- A stone with curved edges can sometimes change direction when it touches the surface of the water.
- Very large stones can sometimes be used for ricochets using the backhand technique with both hands, but they won't go very far.