Boomerang Throwing


Boomerangs originated as throwing sticks and have been found in locations such as - They reached their greatest degree of development in Australia. The early boomerangs, the killer sticks, or kylies were used for hunting. It was a bent stick and could cover up to 200 Metres across flat open ground. It cut a swathe one metre wide and swerved in it's own way.
The returning boomerang was developed by reducing weight and accentuating the wing surfaces. They were mainly used as a form of recreation and to teach children to throw. Learning to throw a returning boomerang correctly gave them training to throw a hunting boomerang, with less danger danger than that style.


  • To introduce the cubs/scouts to the sport of boomerang throwing.
  • To provide a brief history of the origins and development of boomerangs.
  • To give a simplified explaination of why a boomerang flies.
  • To provide the opportunity for each child to be able to throw a boomerang correctly.
  • To offer the opportunity to participate in an activity of "Australian Origin", with the added opportunity to lead into further study about Aboriginal culture.
  • To offer an activity that a child can continue later in their own time.
    This added boomerang making craft activity provides a way for this to occur. (If THIS COMMENT is still here, that link is not yet active)


  • A good deal of skill and concentration is required to throw a boomerang properly.
  • Boomerangs fly due to the shape of the two blades. Each half is shaped like an aeroplane wing, and the air passing over the "wing" creates lift, in the same way that an aeroplane wing does. (For more detail on this concept if required, refer to other websites).
  • Boomerangs return because the aerodymic forces try to "twist" the boomerang. This causes changes of the axis, which leads to a "returning" flight path.
  • Power comes from the "Spin: of the boomerang. Spin is more inportatnt than brute force.
  • Spin comes from the wrist action and the "tripping" of the boomerang over the index finger.
  • A good throw should usually result in changes of axis, and the boomerang should hover before landing.
  • Throwing horizontally causes "zoomers" - which are dangerous.


  • Each person must watch every boomerang thrown until it lands. Unwatched boomerangs can suddenly become very close and dangerous to you.
  • Only one person should throw at a time.
  • Watch where your boomerang lands, but DO NOT RETRIEVE IT until all are thrown and have landed.
  • The boomerang should be almost vertical when thrown - the tilt away from you should be about 10 degrees.
  • Avoid throwing into the sun (You can't see it coming back).
  • Great care is required to catch a thrown boomerang. If adults are trying to catch one, it should be with both hands, in a clapping motion at right angles to the normal clapping angle, with both hands aligned flat with the boomerang.
    Generally children should be discouraged from attempting to catch a boomerang in flight.
  • Ensure space is clear before throwing.
  • Ensure the "free" end of the boomerang points forward, not backward, so that there is no risk if being jabbed in the back as you prepare to throw it.


  • Count boomerangs before and after the session.
  • Avoid "zoomers"
  • Try to avoid the likelihood of hitting trees, poles etc, and also harder ground (eg roads) for landings.
  • Avoid throwing near buildings, vehicles, windows etc


  • Correct Grip
    - Clench your fist. With your other hand, place the boomerang between your index finger and your thumb, with the top of the wing towards your thumb. The blade you are holding should continue in the same direction your thumb is pointing. The other blade MUST be pointing forward from you. Adjust the tip of your index finger to the edge of the wing-tip.
  • Correct throwing action
    - Keeping the boomerang almost vertical, with the curved top facing you, bring your arm back to level with just behind your head, and angle your wrist back as well. Using a similar action to chucking a ball, throw the boomerang forward, and upwards at about 45 degrees (ie. slightly toward the sky). At the same time, flick your wrist, causing the boomerang to spin. Having the tip of your index finger in front of the edge as you flick it causes it to "trip" over your fingertip, thus increasing the amount of spin gained.
    If you let go too late, it will hit the ground near you. If you do not flick it enough, it will not spin much, and will not travel far or return.
  • Throwing direction
    - If there is no wind - any direction that is free of obstacles is fine. If there is a breze, aim about 45 degrees to the right of the wind - ie, with the wind hitting you in the face but slightly from your left. the trajectory will cause the boomerang to arc across the wind and to come back at approximately 45 degrees to the left of the wind.
  • Being able to adjust your throw so that boomerang returns
    - This will be a matter of trial and error if you have never thrown before, but once you have worked it out, it will be easy to show those you are teaching.
  • Being able to get the boomerang to follow the right trajectory
    - again - practice is the key here too.
  • Left handed? - the instructions above are for a right handed person, throwing a right handed boomerang (yes, they are different). However, throwing a left handed boomerang is the same. the curved side still is towards your body, and the other blade still points forward. The boomerang is still tilted slightly away from your body. The only real difference is that the throw should be about 45 degrees left of the wind direction, and it will return from the right of the wind.

Running a Boomerang Learning Session - a Lesson plan


  • Try to have some practice yourself BEFORE the session, especially if you are a novice at this skill.
  • Check the wind direction and sun position.
  • Make sure you have enough boomerangs, including left handers.
  • Consider numbering or colour coding your boomerangs.


  • Split your pack into groups (6-8 per group is good).
  • Cubs should practice grip and throwing without letting go of the boomerang. Check for problems - eg possible zoomers.
  • Cubs to throw from a marked point, with everyone else watching from behind a safety line. provide constructive comments after each throw.
  • When all have thrown, all to collect their boomerang. Add any comments, then have the next group up.
  • When all have had theor first throw, comment on problenms and suggest improvements. Those not throwing should be quiet and watching. Concentration is required.

Introduce Variations

  • Time trials
  • Closest landing to the throwing point.
  • Best flight style, longest hover etc.
  • Maybe have the best throwers throw as a demonstration.
  • If you have some special boomerang (eg 4-blade, larger, smaller, etc) the best throwers could maybe have a try at them.


    Collect and count boomerangs to ensure all are there.
  • Discuss session with the group, and review the basics.
  • NOTE - practice makes perfect. The better you can become, the easier it is to teach others.

Some Additional things to try

  • Throw a left handed boomerang with your right hand (hint - angles are as if you are using your left hand).
  • Throw holding the "elbow" of the boomerang.
  • Throw a left handed boomerang with your left hand (or vice-versa if you are left handed).
  • Throw two boomerangs together.
  • Experiment with flight paths.
  • Throw three boomerangs - one at a time, and see how close you can get them to land to each other.
  • Try catching a boomerang.
  • make a list of common errors, and ways to avoid them.
  • Work out what constitutes a good boomerang throw.
  Some sections above were extracted from 1980 notes by Gordon Harvey, Principal at Point Wolstoncroft Sport & Rec camp. His contribution is gratefully acknowledged.
© 2010 Ian Moggs, all rights reserved.

Last updated 28th March 2010.

Email me anytime - i2 @ robian .net (without the spaces).