Flipping out: Berg, Morin give BHS a boost through the art of the flip throw

Bemidji midfielders Lauren Berg (left) and Sophie Morin both use flip throws during games. Although rare, the unique play can catch opposing defenses off guard and create scoring opportunities for the Lumberjacks. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- A long run, a full revolution and a perfect release. The flip throw is no easy feat, but Lauren Berg and Sophie Morin have turned it into an art.

“Whether teams are expecting it or not, I don’t think teams are prepared for it,” Morin said. “Even if they can tell I’m going to go for a flip throw, nobody really knows how to defend it.”

“It can kind of catch the other team unexpectedly,” Berg added. “If it’s a good one, it can go almost as far as a corner kick, so it gets it closer to the box, which is definitely super helpful in games.”

The Bemidji High School girls soccer midfielders bring a rare element to the pitch. It’s not often you see flip throws at the high school level, but the Lumberjacks have a pair of players who can pull it off.

“It’s really rare, so the fact that we have two is extremely rare,” BHS head coach Logan Larsen said. “It just shows an extra level of investment, of commitment to the team. It’s not something you really work on in practice, so it’s something they’ve had to perfect on their own time.”


Berg, a junior, and Morin, a senior, are both members of the Bemidji gymnastics program, as well. That background has helped them learn and understand the technical aspects that go into the flip throw.

“It’s basically the same as a front handspring,” Berg said. “I just had to get used to holding the ball in my hands and flipping. That’s definitely the scariest part, to get over that. But once I did it, it was fine.”

“I definitely understand the mechanics better than someone who doesn’t do gymnastics,” Morin added. “It also gave me a lot more confidence in doing it, knowing that I could land on my feet.”

093020.S.BP.FLIPTHROWS Lauren Berg.jpg
Bemidji junior Lauren Berg readies to release the ball near the end of her flip throw during a Sept. 17 game against Alexandria at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

Berg’s focus begins on the flip itself. She wants to spin around as fast as possible, acting like a catapult, before shifting her attention to the release of the ball.


“It’s not letting go of the ball too soon or it goes super high, but then not too late where it just hits the ground in front of me,” she said. “It’s kind of like that happy medium where it can go as far as possible.”

Morin is thinking about the circumstances before the flip itself. She ensures the ball isn’t flat or wet, which could cause her to slip, and then she zeroes in on her footing.

“Making sure I get a good run in, a good plant on the ball and then releasing the ball at the correct time is really my main focus,” she said. “And hopefully our forwards can get a shot off of it.”

093020.S.BP.FLIPTHROWS Sophie Morin.jpg
Lumberjack senior Sophie Morin goes upside down in the middle of a flip throw during a Sept. 17 game against Alexandria at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

The situation also has to be correct. Ideally, a flip throw is most dangerous on the attacking end, where the ball can be sent into the 18-yard box. It can also be beneficial as a means to alleviate pressure when backed up, since a flip throw can send the ball farther than a normal throw-in. When used well, it’s a powerful weapon to have at your disposal.

“Last year, we really benefited from that when we got our goal against Alexandria,” Larsen said of a Lindsey Hildenbrand playoff goal that came off a Morin flip throw. “Without that goal, we wouldn’t have even gone to the section semifinal. It only has to work once, and it changes the game.”

As Larsen can attest, you need the right conditions, circumstances and athletes for a flip throw. Because how difficult is it to actually pull off?


“Couldn’t tell you. Never done it in my life,” he said, tongue in cheek. “I would hurt myself.”

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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