I was taught the technique that Marco is talking about, basically pinching off a ball from a strip of dough.
I wish I could figure out how to upload from my DVR to you tube because I have an episode or Epicurious where they go to Napoli and to Da Michele. They show Da Michele forming the dough balls and they actually cut pieces off and just roll them on the marble. They never even pick them up and form balls?
I use both methods depending of the dough type and timescale I need to use it. About Da Michele, they indeed form a "Paniello" with the cut dough piece, both they never lift it in the air, it always stay on the table. It suits their methodology and timescale, but could be useless/damaging to another type of dough/methodology.
I will cover this sometime in the future, but to give you heads up, I should tell you that up to some times ago the dough balls were not formed at all and each pizza was formed from the whole mass that was resting in 1 dough tray.....(no pre-portioned, just one mass). My friend Ciro Salvo's dad and uncle were using this technique. You MUST be a "King of the dough" to handle and use this technique with great results... There was also another technique used, a kind of middle version about what Brad was taught and the ancient method, but the only Master Pizzaiolo known to be still using it has recently passed away, and not even the son is able to replicate it...