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I have a friend who does agility, he explained to me that they used a paper plate, with a treat on it to teach "go" in the direction pointed...
what they did was put a few goodies on it, and increased the distance over time, then tore the paper plate in half, used that for awhile, then a quarter, fewer treats each step and eventually the pointing in the direction, and praise upon reaching target was all that was needed.

Now that's using food drive to teach "go" in pointed direction.

Now I've seen a "target- stick", used much like you were doing with your touching the hand used to "steer" the dog into all manner of behaviors. So that might cause some confusion discussing it.

I'm new to the sport of Schutzhund, but from what I've seen it would seem that using prey drive/prey item, eventually the send out is going to be essentially taught using the item (ball/tug) as the bonus at the
pointed to destination. Over time, the pointing is all that's necessary,
and as they read our body language better than they understand words...consistent motions AND words will hasten learning and avoid confusion.
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