The backhand throw is one of the most common throws in all of disc golf. It’s tough to perfect, but once you master it, you open yourself up to learn the game and become a great disc golfer.
But at first, we all suck at the backhand. I mean, it’s really challenging when you’re brand new. So don’t be discouraged if this is where you’re at. Or even if you just need a little bit of help to improve your throw. Whatever it is…I gotchu.
In this post we’re going to be looking at a few things to help you improve your backhand throw including different grips, how to practice, your technique, other ways to learn the backhand, and what discs are best for backhand throwers.
There’s a lot to unpack in this post, so really quick, let’s check out the 17 best disc golf backhand tips and talk about the backhand throw!
The 17 Best Disc Golf Backhand Tips
2. Field work, net practice, and repetition
3. Putters only
4. Plant foot
5. Reach back
7. Straight pull
8. Follow through
10. Nose down
12. Take video of yourself
13. Online learning/YouTube
14. Watching pros on YouTube
15. The mentor
17. Play with the right discs
What is disc golf backhand?
The backhand throw is the most common throw in disc golf and is achieved when the back of the player faces the basket and the player’s arm reaches across to the opposite side of the body and then back across and outward from the body to throw the disc.
This throw is similar to a traditional frisbee throw.
Here’s a simple video below showing you the backhand throw of 4 different pro players. These pros all throw their backhand perfectly with phenominal technique ⬇️.
Most of you all already know what a backhand throw looks like so I won’t bore you with too long of an explanation. You’re just looking to improve your backhand throw so here are the 17 best disc golf backhand tips. Let’s get into it!
The 17 Best Disc Golf Backhand Tips
First off, grip is extremely important. If you don’t get your grip right, your entire backhand throw will suffer. So having a good grip can make or break your ability to throw your backhand correctly. Let’s talk about the different grips you can have and then build up from there.
There are two types of backhand grips:
- Power grip: the power grip is for distance on your longer drives and longer approach shots. You can achieve the power grip by having your thumb on top and your other four fingers wrapped around the disc holding onto the bottom inside rim of the disc.
- Modified non-power grip: this grip is a little bit different and meant for less powerful drives and approach shots. Just like it’s shown in the picture, you’ll have your thumb on top of the disc, your index finger (first finger) on the outside edge of disc, and the other three fingers wrapped around the inside edge of disc holding onto the inside rim. This is similar to the first grip, but isn’t as good for extremely long and powerful distance throws.
But you can choose whatever grip you like. Do what feels right and is the most comfortable for you. If the second grip works best for you, use that one. If the power grip is better, go for it. Just find a grip and stick with it. You have to get your grip right, because if you don’t, your backhand throw won’t be as good as it could be.
2. Field work, net practice, and repetition
In order to significantly improve your backhand, you’re going to need to practice A LOT. Yes, shocking, I know. But you have to put in the work if you truly want to have a nice backhand.
Field work is one of the most important things you can do to improve your disc golf backhand. Your grip is only part of the battle. The other part is getting into an open field and working on the many different parts of your driving and approaching game with a backhand throw.
Field work offers you the chance to work on different throws, throwing angles, eliminating poor throwing behaviors, improving technique, increasing distance and power, shot shaping, learning new discs, and just practicing your throws over and over again. Field work also gives you the chance to work on your backhand goals. Needless to say, field work is awesome. So here are a couple of field work tips to help you make the most of your practice sessions in the field ⬇️.
- Practice field work often: this is no secret – the more you practice, the better you will get.
- Stretch before you do field work: stretching is extremely important before you throw. You want to avoid injury and be ready to throw at max power.
- Have a goal in mind: no matter where you are, you need to have a goal in mind. During rounds, field work, or putting practice, set a goal and try to achieve it. Have some backhand goals next time you go do field work.
- Practice how you play/compete and take it seriously: you shouldn’t ever screw around when you practice. Yes, it’s okay to have fun. But if you keep messing around and not taking your practice seriously, your full rounds will be a complete screw up, too. Focus on improving your backhand in the field and take it as serious as a throw in a competitive tournament. Because when you’re actually playing in that tournament, you’ll be happy you took that practice seriously.
- Focus on technique: always, always, always continue to use good technique for your practice…especially if you’re developing your backhand. We’ll talk more about technique in the later tips.
- Work on power, distance, and accuracy, too: work on every facet of your backhand game if you really want to improve your backhand throw – technique, power, distance, accuracy, etc.
- Learn your discs: you also need to learn how to throw all of your discs well on the backhand. Enough said.
If you want to learn more about field work, check out my field work guide here.
Net work is simply doing repetitive practice with a practice net. This is similar to field work but you’re using a practice net at home instead of heading to an open field for field work. I try to do field work as much as possible, but if I just can’t get out to practice, I’ll set up my at home practice net and work on my backhand as much as possible in my garage. If this sounds good to you, grab a net like the one I got here on Amazon.
Repetition simply means repeating something or doing something over and over again. With disc golf, and especially the backhand throw, repetition is key to developing a smooth, well-balanced backhand throw. That means you need field work and net work. So go do both of those. Then rinse and repeat. And again. Then 100 more times and your backhand throw will develop very nicely.
3. Putters only
This tip will undoubtedly start helping put your backhand as soon as you implement it into your game. For this tip, you’re going to play your rounds and practice your throwing with only putters.
Now I understand that this may seem pretty boring. And it might even get a little monotonous. But there are several advantages to playing with only putters. Let’s check them out:
- Focus on technique/mechanics: working with putters forces you to work on your technique and your mechanics of throwing in order to gain more distance during your rounds. Technique is everything and if you don’t use proper throwing mechanics, your throws will be short. Focus on backhand technique during your putter rounds.
- Makes your rounds tougher: during your putter rounds, you’ll notice that because you aren’t throwing as far, you will have to diversify your play because you have more course to have to cover in order to get to the basket. This will make you think harder and will force you to approach all of your throws, backhand included, a little differently.
- Slows down your game: playing with a putter just seems to slow me down some, making me work on different parts of my game that I haven’t thought about, instead of just distance driving.
- Simplifies your disc selection: while playing with putters, you won’t have all of the selections of your normal bag. Instead, it’s just you and a few putters. This makes disc selection easy so you can just focus on your play and your improvement.
When you’re working on your backhand technique, there are several different parts of the overall technique that you have to perfect. The first of those is the X-step.
The X-step is a series of 4 steps that helps you develop good footwork on the teepad in order to throw your disc with good distance and accuracy.
The X-step will be used simultaneously with other parts of technique including the “Plant foot” and “Reach back” technique tips. But before you complete the X-step, you’re going to start all of this from a standstill first.
From the standstill, you want to learn how to develop the plant foot and the reach back first. After you practice and perfect those, you’ll move on to tip number 6 and learn the X-step, Putting all of this together.
4. Plant foot
Technically, as you walk up to throw, the X-step is the first part of your technique. You do the 4 step walk up, or X-step, and at the end, you plant your foot and reach back at the same time. Again, the plant foot and the reach back will happen at the same time, after the X-step. But it’s critical that you learn them first. Because you want to have an In sync plant foot and reach back once you learn the X-step.
Let’s start from the standstill position. Both feet should be turned 90° degrees from the way you want to throw. The sides of your feet should face the basket.
From here, you want to focus on completing a step with your plant foot. If you’re a rhbh thrower, your plant foot will be your right foot. Step out with your plant foot toward the basket. When you step out, you’ll step out onto the ball of your foot, but brace all of your weight onto the heel of your foot as you turn into the follow through.
After the next tip, the reach back, check out Loopghost’s YouTube video on the “one step drill” to watch how the plant foot and the reach back work together at the same time.
5. Reach back
As you step out with that plant foot, you want to reach back at the exact same time. Your reach back needs to be a full extension as you step out with that plant foot.
As you start bringing the reach back forward into the throw, your plant foot will start turning and transition from the ball of your foot to the heel of your foot.
I want you to practice this sequence over and over again:
- Plant foot steps out and you bring your throwing arm into a full reachback.
- Do it again – step with plant foot and full reach back.
- Again – plant foot/reach back.
- And again – plant foot/reach back.
Practice this again and again. Practice this sequence in sync until you perfect this motion completely. This motion – stepping out with your plant foot and reaching back in sync, will be the end of your X-step. But make sure to learn this first and perfect it. Then move on to the X-step.
For a really awesome drill on this, check out Loopghost’s “one step drill” video below ⬇️. It is perfect for nailing the motion of syncing the the plant foot and the reach back.
6. X step
Now that you’ve learned the plant foot/reach back motion, let’s put it all together. As I’ve said, the X-step is a series of 4 steps to get to your throw.
Let’s try out the X-step. Start with your feet at about a 45° degree angle from the basket.
Step 1: step with you left foot forward.
Step 2: step with your right foot past your left foot but turned almost 90° degrees toward the basket.
Step 3: step with your left foot behind your right foot creating an “X” with your legs.
Step 4: step your right foot out as far as possible. That motion completes the X-step.
Once you take the fourth step, you’ll also use your “plant foot” motion and Reach back” motion that you learned at the same time. This combines steps 4, 5, and 6 to get you to your throw. Those 3 tips make up the complete X-step motion.
For more on the X-step, check out Foundation Disc Golf’s video “Breaking Down the X-step” below ⬇️.
7. Straight pull
After you complete the X-step, plant your foot, and commit to a full reach back, the next thing on the agenda is your throw. For this, after your reach back, you want to make sure you have a straight pull on your disc all the way through into the release.
As you start bringing your arm through to the throw, keep your elbow closed and your disc tight to the chest. You want to bring your disc straight through, on a straight line, and release.
This can be tough, so check out the “Hershyzer wall drill” by Seabas22 on YouTube below ⬇️.
You can also check out the famous Dan Beto video on YouTube to check out how to properly throw a backhand from start to finish. He gives some excellent tips throughout the video that you can watch in the video below ⬇️.
8. Follow through
Even though it might not seem like follow through could be important to your throw, it’s one of the most important parts of your overall technique. Here’s why:
- Power and distance: first and foremost, a proper follow through helps you get the most power and distance from your throw. Why? Because the follow through is a part of your technique. If you don’t follow through, and you cut your throw off at the release, you won’t have the ability to get the most distance and power from your throw. The follow through allows you to finish the complete throwing motion and it will give you just a bit more on your throw. And I know you want that extra power and distance.
- Smooth and precise: if you cut off your follow through, your throw might end up choppy or going in a direction that you didn’t want it to go. If you want phenominal precision, you have to make sure you don’t cut your throw short. Use your follow through to get yourself those insanely precise throws that we all want.
- Angle control: the follow through has the unique ability to helps you understand angle control and what kind of angle you’re putting on the disc. If you don’t complete the follow through, your disc might not keep the angle you want to put on the disc.
- Avoid injury: a good follow through helps you avoid injury and keeps you from getting hurt. A lot of players don’t utilize a proper follow through after their throw and are walking a dangerous line. Because if you cut your throw short and stop the follow through, you can seriously damage muscles in your shoulder. When you stop your throw after the release, you’re putting a lot of strain on your shoulder muscles and your rotator cuff. You may get away with this a few times, but I would rather not have to deal with a strained or torn muscle. I also want all of the other benefits of the follow through.
For more in the follow through, check out the two videos below ⬇️
The first video is disc golf pro Will Shusterick’s follow through clinic presented by Infinite Discs.
The second video is an awesome clinic put on by disc golf pro Paul Ulibarri on grip, angle, and the follow through. It’s a bit long but a good video nonetheless.
If you don’t have proper balance through your entire throw, your backhand throw won’t be as effective as it could be. A lack of balance can mess up timing, velocity, accuracy, and distance. Essentially, it can throw your entire shot off. So just fixing your balance can significantly improve your backhand throw.
Here are 5 tips to follow so that you can fix your balance and throw backhand like the pros:
1. Perfect the entire X-step motion: you have to have the X-step down perfectly, including the first 2 steps, the actual “X” step with your left foot, plant foot, reach back, and straight pull through.
2. Utilize the “one step drill”: work on the motion from the video we saw earlier including squeezing the knees together, sticking your butt out, and turning your plant foot, transitioning from the ball of your foot to the heel of your foot. See the “one step drill” video again below ⬇️.
Loopghost’s “one step drill”
3. Utilize the “crush the can drill”: the crush the can drill in the video at the end of this tip is fantastic for helping you learn about controlling your movement, turning your heel, and keeping good balance throughout your entire throwing motion. Check that video out below ⬇️. It’s a good one.
Seabas22’s “crush the can drill”
4. Slow and smooth: chaotic throws with too much power can easily throw you off balance. Take it down a notch. Control your throw and be smooth through your motion. Use good technique as well and you will easily maintain your balance.
5. Improve your core strength: this last tip can help just a bit. You use your core A LOT in disc golf. So one way to help your balance is to continue strengthening your core. This will help you stabilize your body and keep you well-balanced during your throws.
For a really awesome core workout, check out my post, “The Only Disc Golf Core Workout You’ll Ever Need.”
10. Nose down
Making sure to throw your backhands nose down is another important concept of disc golf technique and crucial for a good backhand.
Nose down refers to when the front of the disc golf disc is angled down slightly in relation to the direction the disc is traveling. If the back edge of the disc is above the front edge of the disc, and you can’t see the top of the flight plate (top of the disc), your disc is nose down. But if you can see the top of the disc, your disc is nose up and that’s bad. Here’s why:
Disc golf discs are meant to be thrown flat. They’re similar to other things like airplane wings. Airplane wings are designed to glide and to minimize drag. Just like airplanes, discs are designed to minimize drag and to glide over a certain distance.
If a disc is thrown nose up, it will start to catch wind underneath and drag increases. That means the disc is going to start slowing down. Also, when that disc catches wind underneath, it will often start to slow down and climb in altitude. It will then start to stall out dive hard to the left, which is truly indicative of a typical beginner’s throw. And this is exactly what happens to brand new players.
So clearly you can see that we want the disc to be nose down, not nose up. But what causes this?
Here are 3 things that cause a disc to fly nose up (and the solutions to each of those problems)
- Gripping the disc nose up to the forearm – solution: keep your disc flat/nose down in your hand and push your disc down until your disc is parallel with your forearm. That will help you make sure that the disc is aligned with the plane of play (aka the ground).
- Reaching back too high – solution: work on your reach back to make sure it is level and always making sure that you pull your throw through on a straight line.
- Not transferring weight to your front leg – solution: work on your X-step, perfect your reach back/plant foot motion, perfect your transition of ball of foot to heel of foot in your throwing motion, and continue working on your balance while throwing. All of that will make sure your weight transfers to your front leg.
For more on how to fix your nose up release, check out the video below, “Three Secrets to Stop Throwing Nose Up,” by Dynamic Discs featuring Danny Lindahl.
If you truly want to become a great backhand thrower, you have to eliminate the bad habit of rounding from your actual throw. Because it can really ruin your overall technique and cause serious problems with your technique and with all of your throws on the course.
But what actually is rounding?
Rounding is when a disc golfer’s body comes between the disc and the line the disc is supposed to travel on, otherwise known as the line of play. A player will reach around their body during the reachback, instead of straight back. When this happens, it will result in a rounded throw.
But why is it bad?
- Power and distance: by rounding, you’re not able to get as much power and distance on your throws. Rounding robs you of both of those. If you’re looking for more power and distance, make sure your technique is on point and you’re not rounding.
- Aim: rounding also makes your throws incredibly inaccurate. When you round, your arm comes through in a half circle around the body instead of on a straight line. Your discs needs to be thrown on a straight line to be thrown well. Every time you round, you never know where your throw will end up.
Both of those issues make rounding a really frustrating issue. It’s also a really tough habit to break once a person starts throwing this way. But it’s not an impossible habit to break.
For more on how to fix rounding, check out the following two resources:
The first is a great blog post on Discgolfmentor.com on how to fix rounding. You can read about that here on their site.
The second resource is a video on YouTube called “How to Correct Rounding in Disc Golf Using Your Legs” by disc golfer Scott Stokely. Check that out below ⬇️.
A final word on technique
So altogether, your entire backhand technique should be well-balanced, smooth, and controlled. If you put it all together correctly, it should look something like the pros in the video below ⬇️.
Here’s another video shows 4 different pros in slow motion throwing their backhand shots.
After you’ve gotten your entire technique down and are throwing like a pro, try this next drill:
Check out the “Laces out” drill by Shoot Lowe on YouTube in the video below ⬇️.
Finally, check out the Towel drill on YouTube. It’s another phenominal drill that can help you improve your technique
After you nail down technique and you understand that a good backhand takes a lot of practice, there are a couple other things you can do to improve your backhand throw. Check those out in the tips below ⬇️.
12. Take video of yourself
The next thing on the list is to allow other people to critique you on your backhand form. Now I understand that you might be pretty bad, and at first I didn’t want anyone to critique me on my backhand form, but you’ve got to get over any fears of this. The goal is to improve your backhand. So you need to do whatever it takes to improve. One of those things is to record yourself and allow others to critique and give you tips. But be ready for the honest truth…because us disc golfers give it.
The best way to do this is to use your smartphone camera, paired with a simple tripod stand that you can get here on Amazon, to record yourself throwing.
Next, upload your video to reddit, Facebook, or any other groups you’re in to allow others to give their opinion. This should help you out immensely. After their input, make the appropriate adjustments so that your backhand will improve.
Recording yourself also gives you the ability to see yourself throw. Mistakes that you’re making, such as poor technique, rounding, etc will be way more noticeable from a viewer’s perspective. Then you can make the appropriate adjustments on your own to improve your backhand. This tip was super helpful when I was new to disc golf.
13. Online learning
Learning everything you can about something is how you improve at it. And there is a ton of stuff online about improving your backhand. I’m sure you found this article by typing “best disc golf backhand tips” or “how to improve your backhand in disc golf” in the search bar. So after you read this post, please keep learning about how to improve your backhand throw. Read other posts. Watch other videos on YouTube. Dig deep into the r/discgolf subreddit. And find other ways to learn about improving your backhand. There is SO MUCH information on the internet about improving your backhand throw, it’s almost impossible not to get better.
14. Watching the pros play
Another great way to improve your backhand throwing is by watching professional players play disc golf on YouTube and in person.
YouTube offers you the chance to watch and rewatch all of the pros in almost every tournament they play in. And you can do this from right at home. I love watching disc golf online. It’s awesome and fun. It can help you play better and throw better. It also motivates you to become the best disc golfer that you can be. Check out the following YouTube channels below ⬇️. They offer some of the best content in disc golf.
For more places to watch disc golf, check out Discgolfreport.com’s post here on the top disc golf YouTube channels.
Another great way to watch the pros play is to go to a live disc golf tournament and watch them play in person. I can’t recommend this enough. The atmosphere at these tournaments is absolutely electric and there’s all kinds of awesome things to do: clinics held by pro players, autograph signings, cheap disc golf gear to buy, and the ability to watch the best players in the world show off their backhand. While you’re there, you might just learn something.
15. The mentor
A great way to start learning how to throw a better backhand is to find a good mentor, or someone who is better than you at disc golf, to help you learn how to throw better. Having a good mentor in all aspects of life is great, but having a disc golf mentor is one way to fast track your progress with your backhands.
But how do I find a good mentor? Here are 2 quick ways:
- Just go play: hit your local course and see who’s out there playing. If you see some guys or girls who are really good, go talk to them. Just ask for some tips or ask if you can join them for the round. This is simple and easy to do. It can also help you find a new mentor and new friends on the course.
- Join a local league: these leagues are awesome and can help you meet up with a lot of good disc golfers. And these guys love to teach other players how to throw better. Why? Because we love to #growthesport!
For more on mentors, check out my post, “7 Reasons You Need a Mentor in Disc Golf.”
One of the last tips I have for you on improving your backhand is to have patience with the whole process of developing your backhand throw.
Now you may be thinking, “wow, have patience, that’s a horrible tip.” But I want you to understand that developing your backhand takes time. It doesn’t just come easily or naturally. Even the great pro disc golfer Ricky Wysocki practiced 6-8 hours a day to develop his game (Link to The Ricky Wysocki Story on Innova.com).
But it’s going to get frustrating and it’s going to take a long time, probably months or longer to really develop a solid backhand throw. So be patient and keep at it.
The last part of this post simply features the best discs for backhand players. Here we go!
17. Play with the right discs
Finally, after getting through the first 16 tips on this list, you’re gonna want to make sure that you are playing with the right discs for backhand throwers. After all those other tips, I’m gonna keep this last one short and sweet. I’ve compiled a complete list of the best disc golf discs for backhand throwers and I’ve linked to it at the end of this section. But let me give you four of the best discs for your backhand so that you can dominate the course.
• Axiom Envy (Putter)
The Envy is a phenominal putter and approach disc great for many different types of throws, but beautiful on the backhand. Once you throw it, you’ll understand. And it putts very nicely, too. Whether on a simple approach or a short drive, the Envy won’t disappoint. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
• Discraft Buzzz (Mid-Range)
Oh, the Buzzz. It kind of speaks for itself. It’s been one of the most popular mid-range discs for a long time because It’s so extremely consistent and reliable. Backhand Throwers will absolutely love this disc because it will hold almost any line you put it on and it normally flies exactly how you want it to. That’s what I want in a backhand disc. If you do, too, check it out here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
• Latitude 64 Saint (Control Driver)
The Saint is an insanely good control driver for your backhand. It is fairly stable and flies really well in a lot of different situations, including being a great hyzer flip disc. There’s a lot to say about the Saint, but I’m gonna let this disc speak for itself when you try it. It’s awesome. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
• Innova Destroyer (Distance Driver)
The Destroyer is one helluva disc. Hands Down one of the most popular distance drivers ever made and so extremely fun to throw. This overstable distance-grabbing beast of a disc will not let you down. I would definitely wait, though, until you’re able to throw with a lot of power. Because this disc is NOT for newer players. If you think you can handle it, grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
If you’re looking for more of the best disc golf discs for your backhand, check out my post, “11 Best Disc Golf Discs for Backhand Throwers.”
A couple more videos to check out
Dynamic Discs’ Top 5 Tips for a Better Backhand featuring Danny Lindahl
Eric Oakley’s 5 Tips for More Power on the Backhand
Check out the book!
Before you go, don’t forget to check out the best beginner disc golf book on the planet, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual.” This ebook is packed with over 200+ pages of the best tips, tricks, and advice for new players