The forehand shot is tough. When I first started playing disc golf, the backhand throw was what I was first taught. And I know many others who started out just like I did.
As the rounds go on and you inevitably improve, you start to realize that you need more than just a good backhand to play at a competitive level. That was me. I can make just about any type of shot happen with my backhand, but I didn’t have a forehand throw at all.
I’ve made every excuse over the years as to why I hadn’t developed my forehand: “I’m not gonna be a pro player so I don’t need one”, “I can write 299 other posts on disc golf tips and gear so I don’t need one”, and “I have a really great backhand, so I just don’t need one.” I eventually settled on the excuse of, “forehand is hard and I suck at it, so why even bother?” But I looked back on why I hadn’t ever learned forehand and thought to myself, “I love disc golf and I run an awesome disc golf blog. Not learning forehand is dumb.”
So I made it my mission to start learning the forehand. After a few months, my forehand game has improved somewhat. It took a little while, but I used every single tip that I’ve written in this post to try and improve. That’s what I’m bringing you today. This is everything I used to get better, all packed into one easy to read list.
But first, let’s go over a couple quick things.
What is disc golf forehand?
Disc golf forehand, or the disc golf “flick,” is when a player throws their disc with a sidearm throwing motion in a similar motion to how a sidearm baseball pitcher would throw a baseball. The disc does does not come across the body like a disc golf backhand throw and is basically the opposite of a traditional frisbee throw.
This is a tough shot to master because it’s nothing like the backhand. It requires more patience, dedication, and determination to perfect than just about any other shot in disc golf. But it’s an extremely important, heavily used shot in the #discgolfcommunity.
Below, you can see the general motion of the disc golf forehand ⬇️.
Two reasons why disc golf forehand is important
Knowing how to throw a great forehand is important for a lot of reasons but I’ll give you two biggies.
More variety in shots means more options while you play
You and I both know how crazy disc golf courses are. Some are dogleg left, dogleg right, through trees, over water, and anything and everything else in between. So the shots you may have to take to get to the basket can be pretty extreme.
With that being said, having the ability to throw a forehand allows you more options while you play. For example, if you came upon your disc and a backhand shot just isn’t possible, or maybe you like your chances better with a forehand throw, now you’ve just given yourself more options. This situation also presents itself with obstacles and mandatories. If you’re absolutely unable to perform any other shot, you may be forced to throw your forehand. Good thing you practiced, right?
Important to becoming a well-rounded disc golfer
Having a great forehand shot is just, in general, a requirement toward being a well-rounded disc golfer. If you look at all of the elite disc golfers, you’ll see a trend. They know the game AND they can perform all of the throws at a professional level. A pro might be weaker or stronger in a certain area, but they will always be able to proficiently demonstrate any part of disc golf.
17 best disc golf forehand tips
1. Disc Selection
Disc selection for throwing a forehand is EXTREMELY important. But what’s also important is what discs you use while learning to throw forehand in disc golf. So in this section, I’m going to go over three quick parts to disc selection and why it’s important: NO overstable discs (at first), low-speed, understable discs and a couple of recommendations for good discs to learn forehand throwing.
NO overstable discs
Besides the fact that overstable discs are hard to throw, they won’t help you at all when learning how to throw forehand. Now you might use overstable discs in your backhand game and that’s fine if you have enough skill to do so. But when you’re learning how to throw forehand, overstable discs need to be taken out completely.
You’ll see in the next section that you need to start slow and with understable discs. If you start with overstable discs, your discs will almost immediately fade on you. This will force you to overcompensate, throw harder, and throw with an anhyzer release. This causes bad habits to develop when you need to be learning slowly how to control the flight of your disc.
Go slow and take the next part of this tip to heart.
Low-speed, understable discs thrown on a hyzer
First things first, in order to learn forehand, you want discs that are going to be easy to throw. Even if you’re not a new player, I want you to go back to the basics on this one. Because you have to practice A LOT so that you can learn forehand just like the way you learned backhand – by starting slow and working your way up into stronger throws and faster discs. When you first start out, I want you only using putters and mid-range discs. I also want those discs to be low-speed, understable discs that you’ll be throwing on a hyzer.
Low-speed means that the discs don’t have to be thrown very hard to be thrown correctly. Understable discs are better for learning (and newer players) because they will fly straighter for longer before giving you any fade at the end of flight. Understable discs will also turn for you, allowing you to throw straight shots a little easier. Hyzer is simple. You’re simply throwing the disc on a slight angle. A forehand hyzer means that the top of the disc will be facing away from you.
So if you throw a low-speed, understable disc on a hyzer angle, that disc will “flip up,” or turn so that the disc flies straight and allows you to easily learn forehand shots. The disc will do all the work for you at first if you use the right discs. And once you improve just a little bit, you can start working your way into faster, still understable discs like control drivers and distance drivers. But take it really slow at first. Check out four great forehand disc recommendations below ⬇️.
The best discs for learning forehand in disc golf
Latitude 64 Ruby – putt and approach
Axiom Paradox – mid-range
The Paradox is a new, very understable mid-range from Axiom discs. This thing is perfect for forehand practice.
Innova Leopard – control driver
Discraft Avenger SS – Distance driver
The Avenger is on my list of best drivers for beginners. It’s very understable and will be perfect for your forehand once you develop it enough to throw drivers. MAKE SURE TO BUY THE AVENGER SS, NOT THE REGULAR AVENGER. The Regular Avenger is very overstable, while the SS is very understable.
2. The Tuck
Now that you’ve figure out your discs, let’s look at actually throwing the disc. We’ll start with something easy – The Tuck. “The Tuck” is a quick tip that I learned that seemed to help right off the bat. The Tuck is a very simple thing to do with your disc and it refers to you tucking the disc back into the webbing of your hand. You want your disc to be as far back into this area as possible. If you see space between your hand and the disc, it’s not back far enough. Tuck it into the webbing of your hand completely. This will help you have a firm grip on the disc and will provide you a lot of control and a clean release.
This is the first thing you do when throwing forehand. Once the disc is firmly tucked, you can focus on your grip on the disc.
Now that you’ve tucked the disc properly, we’ll check out how to grip the disc. When attempting to throw forehand, there are three grips that we’re going to look at: the power grip, the stacked finger grip, and the split/fan grip. There are some other modified grips, but I won’t get too much into that today. I’ll just stick with the main three.
Power grip: the first is the power grip. This is a grip that maximizes your potential for distance. It’s great for truly wide open shots where you’re trying to get max distance. It’s a great grip, but can be a little bit less reliable when you’re looking for accuracy on the course. If you just want to bomb it, this is the grip.
This grip is completed by holding the disc with your thumb on on top of the disc. Your pointer finger is essentially behind your middle finger bent and holding the inside of the disc. Your middle finger is straight out holding the inside of the disc. Ring and pinkie fingers will be bent helping to hold the disc in place.
Stacked finger grip: the next grip is the stacked or stacked finger grip. This grip is great because a it balances both power and accuracy. You’ll feel confident when trying to get distance while not sacrificing any of the accuracy. All in all, this is a confident “just right” disc golf grip.
You throw this grip by again placing your thumb on top. Your pointer and middle fingers will be stacked on top of each other, straight out, holding the inside rim of the disc. Your ring and pinkie fingers will be bent helping to hold the disc in place.
Split/Fan grip: the last grip is the split or split/fan grip. This grip is great for providing complete forehand accuracy because it provides more support with spread out fingers. This grip is different than the others because it is purely for control and accuracy on shorter drives or approach-type shots.
This shot is completed by first having your thumb on top of the disc. Your pointer finger and middle finger are on the bottom of the disc spread apart making a “V.” Middle finger should rest on the inside ring of the disc. Your ring and pinkie fingers will be straight and should be resting on the outside lip of the disc for support.
That’s it for grips. Pretty simple but easy to get messed up.
But which grip is best?
The best way to hold the disc is really up to you. As long as you model the three main grips, you really won’t be wrong with your grip. The whole point of showing you all the grips above is so that you can choose the best grip that works for you. Because finding a grip that works for you is very important. It’s all about what’s most comfortable and what works the best. As long as you like your grip, it’s not too tight or too loose, and you can follow the rest of the tips on this list, you’ll be a forehand pro in no time.
4. Starting short
Now there are two ways to really start throwing forehand. Well, three ways, but the third way involves practicing distance shots and that’s not very practical when you’re first starting out.
The first way, starting short, is what I preferred. I highly recommend starting out a short distance away from the target or the area you’re throwing towards. That way there’s not much pressure and you can kind of learn the forehand motion. You’re not really trying to perfect forehand at this point because you’re just beginning to learn forehand.
One trick is to throw a couple of discs at the basket as you’re walking towards it. You can do this as you’re playing normal rounds and get a few extra forehand practice shots in.
5. From the standstill
You can also start out from a standstill. This is the second way to start throwing forehand. involves you simply standing still and practicing throwing your forehand. Others prefer to start this way because, by doing this, you’re taking all of the lower body portion of throwing forehand out of the equation.
Throwing forehand, just like throwing backhand, involves a lot of different moving parts. Your grip, your technique, lower body, footwork, aim, and timing are all a part of throwing a great forehand. So the standstill kind of just eliminates the lower body and footwork so you can make it simple at first. I liked the first way better but either one can work fine.
You’d actually be surprised how far you can get a disc to fly from a standstill. Check out Gladiator Disc Golf’s video on the wrist flick in #7. He’s able to get his disc to fly almost 300 feet from a standstill (with proper form and flick)
Also check out Chris in the video below. He’s able to get good distance using proper forehand technique ⬇️:
6. Palm up
After you start throwing your forehand, you’re probably going to run into problems. Don’t worry, though, because it’s inevitable and every single new forehand thrower has issues. One huge issue that you’ll probably have (because I know I had it) is disc wobble. This problem is simply described as, after you release the disc, your disc doesn’t fly with a lot of spin and will wobble through the air. Disc wobble is just a wobbly disc after you throw it.
One part of fixing this disc wobble problem and working toward having a good forehand is keeping your palm up during your initial throw. This will help you to keep the disc on a level plane so that you can release the disc flat. Try as hard as you can to keep that palm up through the throwing motion and while you’re working on this, keep thinking “palm up” while you practice. Your palm won’t be perfectly straight facing up, but try to keep it facing up.
Caution, though, as you don’t want to finish with your palm up. This could cause unnecessary strain on your elbow and arm. Allow your wrist/hand/arm to turn after you release the disc.
7. Flick the wrist (or “snap” the wrist)
The wrist flick, or “snap,” is another great way to eventually eliminate that wobble from your forehand throw. The “snap,” or “flick,” is your wrist’s extension past your body when you release the disc. Getting this “snap” or “flick” from your wrist is one of the most important parts of your forehand throw.
This snapping/flicking motion allows you to, first off, help solve the disc wobble problem. Once your forearm develops, this motion allows you to add big distance on your throws.
You accomplish this motion by making sure to have a proper grip, keeping your arm tucked into your side at about a 90 degree angle, then as you bring the disc through to throw, you snap or flick your wrist forward as you release the disc. That should start to give your disc more spin and momentum as you improve your forehand.
If you’d like to see a very detailed video on this, check out Gladiator Disc Golf’s video, “IMPROVE Your Forehand Throw with this Simple Tip! | Flick of the Wrist” He demonstrates the flick/snap very well below ⬇️:
I also like the Scott Stokely video below for advice on the snap/flick ⬇️:
8. Lower body
As for lower body, it’s not a huge part of your forehand, but it’s still pretty important. Most of your forehand is coming from your upper body form and your wrist action on the disc upon release. When you start your forehand, understand that you don’t need to engage as much lower body as you think. You also won’t need as much power on the throw as you think.
When you start to throw, you’ll want a shorter run up. You don’t need the whole teepad to throw. Stay low to the ground. The lower you get using your lower body, the more you can maximize the use of your lower muscle groups to help with power. Bend your torso to match the angle you want to throw. The lower you go, the more hyzer you can get on your throw.
Once you engage into your throw, hip rotation will be very important. As you go through the throwing motion, your hips should rotate to face your target as your arm comes through on the snap/flick.
Remember: you are not turned completely 90 degrees from the basket (as in looking straight ahead and the basket is to your side). This is incorrect technique. You want to stay as straight as possible looking toward the basket. As you come through, you will turn just a little bit to bring the disc back before you throw. You still want good hip rotation through your throw.
The video below by Ready Disc Golf is an excellent lower body and footwork tutorial ⬇️:
You footwork is just about as important as any other part of your forehand throw. You’re going to want stick with an easy walk up because you don’t need much momentum in order to throw the disc correctly. Remember back to when you read about throwing from a standstill. You can get a lot of distance from just standing still, so throwing from a walk-up doesn’t have to be fast. So I would essentially cut the teepad in half. You don’t need much room there either to throw a perfect forehand.
Start on the foot you’re going to push off with (normally it’s the same side foot as your throwing hand). You can do an X-step if it’s comfortable but the proper way for RHFH (right-handed forehand throwers) is the following:
- Step with the right foot.
- Step with the left foot.
- Do a small shuffle with your feet onto your right foot again.
- Then push off with your right foot.
- Left foot pointing towards the basket before you throw and rotate into your follow-through.
Those steps are how you correctly move through a forehand throw. Proper footwork is important and will help you complete the forehand as efficiently as possible.
Overthrow Disc Golf’s video “Forehand Footwork in Disc Golf” is perfect for explaining this a little bit more in depth. Check it out below ⬇️:
The great thing about forehand that completely differentiates it from backhand is how you throw the disc. With backhand, your arm comes across and essentially behind you and you turn your head away from the target. It sounds counterintuitive but it’s correct.
With the forehand throw, you’re able to continuously look at your target as you throw. That’s absolutely perfect for you because it allows you to aim. With that being said, you’re still going to want to give yourself something to aim at.
What I suggest is that you pick an aim point out in the direction of the basket. This will help you throw your forehands more accurately than if you just aim in a general direction. This will help you stay accurate and hit all of your lines just like you do on the backhand. Just because you’re looking forward on the forehand, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be accurate if you just wing it. Pick an aim point and throw towards it.
11. Master the technique in 7 steps
While you’re steadily progressing through learning the forehand, I challenge you to take it one step further and master the entire technique. You can do this is 7 easy steps.
Step 1: good grip, disc tucked into the webbing of your hand.
Step 2: first step with your right foot and swing disc out and back.
Step 3: step with left foot, bring disc up and into your body
Step 4: small shuffle to right foot, bring disc back and wrist is bent before the flick/snap.
Step 5: push off with your right foot to throw toward the target and step with left foot. Left foot should be straight toward target.
Step 6: arm comes through with elbow leading. Continue through motion and allow for wrist to flick/snap as you throw. Your hips should start to rotate as you throw the disc.
Step 7: allow hips and wrist to continue rotating and follow through after release of the disc to avoid injury.
So that’s the entire forehand motion. Learn it. Master it. Perfect it.
12. Be smooth
After you soak all of the previous 11 tips in, I want you to think back at everything we’ve gone over. Now take all of that and think about this next tip:
I want you to be smooth in everything that you do. From your footwork to your lower body movements to your flick and everything else, try to practice and implement all of this new knowledge in the smoothest way possible.
Before you move on to the next tip, check out “Disc Golf Forehand Form Review” by Overthrow Disc Golf. In it, they walk through Jeremy’s forehand form and compares it with Eagle McMahon’s forehand form. Good video that shows that you need to stay smooth through your shot.
13. Don’t try to throw as hard as possible
This tip and the last one kind of go hand in hand. You need to be smooth in your forehand.
One easy way to do this is to go slow in everything you do. Remember: slow is smooth and smooth is far. Go slow, be smooth, and earn your distance on the forehand.
The best way to think about this is with pro players. They do not try to throw as hard as they possibly can. They use proper technique, go through movements slow, and use their body’s momentum and snap to get the disc to fly great distances on the forehand.
I would start at like 20% power when you first start with your forehands. Once you work up a decent forehand, I wouldn’t power up past 80% until you’re completely comfortable with your throw and you’re able to proficiently throw that forehand on the course. Once you are an advanced thrower, you can go above 80% power and experiment with what works for you.
At first, though, don’t try to throw as hard as possible.
14. Field work, net practice, and repetition
I want you to know that this section basically says, “GO PRACTICE!” As jokingly as that sounds, I really want to emphasize how important practice is for trying to develop a good forehand throw. Practice is super important and there are three main ways to practice your forehand.
Field work is the first way. Field work is simple and requires you to go practice throwing in an open field.
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.
You can check out this field work post here on my site for more info about how to do field work.
Net work is the second way. Getting a practice net and throwing into it is a great way to develop your forehand. Be careful, though, because you need to make sure you have good technique throwing into your net.
Grab the net that I bought here on Amazon.
Repetition is the third way and is is simply repeating something or doing something over and over again (until you eventually get better at it). This is similar to both of the previous practice tips but there’s a little bit of a difference. Repetition, to me, means any way of practicing over and over again that helps you get better. That could be repetition of field work, net work, drills, or just any exercise that helps you improve. As the famous speaker Zig Ziglar used to say, “Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.”
Along with your practice in the field, with a net, and on the course, you also need to add in a couple of awesome disc golf drills to help you really improve your forehand game. Here are a few that I found helpful along the way.
Disc golf forehand drill for smooth sidearm technique by Disc Golf UK Ltd Richard Hatton:
You can also check out the sidearm hammer drill from Richard Hatton as well. This one was pretty interesting.
Lastly, check out Disc Golf Gladiator’s video again on the disc golf flick. I know I already put this video in, but I thought it was awesome.
Confidence on the course is one of those general tips that I give out to just about everybody for all parts of disc golf. But in regards to forehand, you need to be confident in your abilities as you progress through learning this tough shot.
You don’t just need to be confident in yourself, but in your shot selection as well. You need to know when and when not to use the forehand while you play. If you know you may have a better shot with a thumber or a regular backhand, take that shot. If you think you can crush a forehand better on a certain hole, take that shot. Be confident in your shot selection and you’ll soon be more confident overall in your forehand.
We talked about disc selection earlier, and one easy way to become more confident in your forehand, is to know exactly how all of your discs fly on the forehand. So once you develop your forehand game some, learn how to throw all of your discs on the forehand. Understanding how all of them fly will make you more confident in your forehand and in your yourself while you play. This will all in turn make you a better player on the course.
One of the last tips I have for you on improving your forehand is to have patience with the whole process of developing your forehand throw. It’s going to take time.
Now you may be thinking, “wow, have patience, that’s a horrible tip.” But I want you to understand that developing your forehand will take awhile. 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 here 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 forehand throw. So be patient and keep at it.
Other ways to learn the forehand
There are so many tips on learning forehand that I really had to shorten this post just to fit the first 17 tips. Even so, this post is huge. If you made it all the way to this point, you must really be dedicated.
So here are a few other quick tips for learning the forehand:
- Record yourself throwing: watch yourself throw and allow others to critique you!
- Other online learning/YouTube: as you can see, you probably searched “disc golf forehand tips” or something like that and found this post. You clearly want to learn this throw. So make sure to check out all of the resources spread out across the rest of the search results. This post gathered up almost everything I could find but I’m sure I didn’t include everything. Make sure to check out other blogs, Reddit, and the countless forehand videos on YouTube for more.
- Watching pros on YouTube: I love watching pro tournaments because they always give quick tips and tricks in with commentary along the way. Good way to learn.
- Find a mentor: if you can find a pro player, expert player, or just someone who can throw forehand like a boss, ask them for tips, have them watch you, or have them mentor you for a couple of weeks. Obviously reimburse them in some way if they’ll accept it, but most players just want to help others learn. So definitely find a mentor if possible.
The final say on forehand
So that’s it disc golfers. I really appreciate you checking out this post and I hope that your forehand game starts coming along better than mine has. I’m convinced that if you follow all of the tips I’ve put in this post, and implement them into practice excessively, you’ll undoubtedly become a better forehand thrower in a very short period of time. Because mine improved just from writing this post and practicing just a few of the tips. Imagine how good you’ll be in just a few months if you practice this stuff everyday! I know you can do it. Thanks for reading, disc golfers!
Don’t forget about 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. This book is Epic. So don’t miss out!