Up to this point in your disc golf career, you’ve probably played at least a few rounds. And you most likely have some friends in your corner, cheering you on, trying to teach you how to hack your game, and trying to get you to sling the disc as far as you can get it.
But the next time you head out to the course, you’ll be prepared to start practicing proper technique (and maybe even showing your buddies how to throw the disc the right way).
So, with that being said, how do you master proper disc golf technique?
You can master proper disc golf technique by maintaining good grip on the disc, using good hip rotation, reaching back to fully extend your throwing arm, looking away from the line of sight, leading the throw with your elbow, using a big, strong final step, and making sure to follow through after your throw.
It might seem complicated, but it’s actually very easy to understand the throwing process and every part of disc golf technique. After the next four quick sections, we will show you, in detail, how to achieve great disc golf technique and perfect your throw in just seven steps.
Focus on technique
Why does technique really matter? Well, for some players starting out or others who are slowly learning the ropes of the game, technique isn’t anything more than words uttered by really good disc golf players: “Focus on technique”, “use good technique”, and “you should learn how to use good disc good technique.” Technique matters because once you learn the fundamentals of the game, all of the other parts of your game will improve.
I used to hear this all the time, but never really took this to heart. Once you can learn good technique, everything else will fall into place. Learning good technique will help you with a couple of things including:
• Developing good throwing habits and rejecting bad habits
• Helping you gain more distance quicker over time
• Learning how to actually throw the disc straight
• Becoming a better, more balanced disc golfer.
It’s important to learn and expand your technique. If you do this, you will really start to crush it on the disc golf course.
Don’t worry about distance
Yes, distance matters and it matters a lot. In order to get from point A to point B on the disc golf course, you have to get your disc a certain distance. But, up to this point, you’ve probably learned that you should try to throw the disc as hard and fast as possible in order to make the disc fly as hard as possible. This could not be farther from the truth. You see, it’s not just about trying to throw it as hard as possible or trying to run up and get as much momentum as possible. Eventually you will get to a point where you need to start doing that to continue improving.
But until you are a great disc golfer, you shouldn’t worry about distance at all. It will be hard, I know. Because you will have friends out on the course that can throw the disc 300, 400, and 500 feet or more. It will look awesome, and at some point, you will try to get those distances, too (don’t worry…I did it as well). Before you gain a lot of distance, you will need to learn proper technique and master your own disc golf technique on the course. This will take time and aggravation. You need to take this time early on to learn correct technique. If you don’t, you will form bad habits that will be hard to break.
Forget about distance at first, so that you can learn technique in every bit of detail. We’ve got a seven step section below that will help you learn and master your own technique. And just because you shouldn’t worry about distance now, doesn’t mean that it isn’t important.
“The less you think about distance, the more distance you will gain.”
Don’t run up on tee pad for momentum
For this trick, you’ll have to completely defy the illogical: don’t ever run up before you throw. Running up to get some force behind your throw might seem like the obvious thing to a new player, as I thought the same thing. I used to believe that because I had to throw the disc so far, I had to get as much momentum as possible and try to throw the disc as far as I could. This couldn’t be any further from the truth.
It might seem logical. Run up on your shot to try and get momentum. This momentum will help you as you try to throw the disc as hard as possible. Makes sense, right? Yes, but this isn’t how you get better. This isn’t the correct way to throw. As a matter of fact, I tore my rotator cuff trying to throw like this. You can hurt yourself if you continue to throw this way.
Running up before you throw also makes your throws erratic. This causes the disc to go almost everywhere other than where you want it to go. The correct way to throw involves a more smooth, disciplined approach. So try using every other part of this article together with a good walkup on the teepad.
[blockquote align=”thow” author=”Throwpink.com”]Slow, steady, and consistent wins the race.[/blockquote]
Slow is smooth and smooth is far
The concept of slow is smooth and smooth is far is very simple. When you start your throws, start out slow and controlled. As you move through the motion, your body will be a lot smoother and your throws will most likely get the same, if not more distance, on your shot. The weird thing with this concept is that it’s totally true and it took me forever to understand it. Once you can start taking it a little slower, you will immediately start gaining 40 to 50 feet on your overall throwing distance.
I saw this concept, and when I started implementing it into my game, I saw the immediate distance gain. That was pretty cool. Slowing your throws down can also help you be less erratic in your motions. By this, I mean that you can be smoother in your throws and become way more accurate on every hole. You need to slow down as well because too much momentum with bad technique can cause injury. This is what happened to me.
So by slowing down and trying to be smoother with every throw, I was able to gain more distance on my throws, become significantly more accurate, and continue to negate any chance of injuring myself again. It was actually pretty amazing what a small change like this could do. That’s why I continued to use this concept while I learned proper disc golf technique. And you can, too. Let’s take a look at how you can use the 7 step method to disc golf technique in order to continue improving your game.
7 steps to the best disc golf technique and a perfect throw
Step 1 – Your grip is important
Your grip might be one of the most important parts of your overall throwing technique. The way you hold the disc determines if it’s going to be let out of your hand early, late, or just right. If you hang on to the disc too tight, the disc will probably leave late and go the wrong direction. If the disc is held too loose, it could slip out and (again) go the wrong direction. When you grip a disc, you’re looking for that in between grip. Something that’s not too tight or too lose. Something that’s just right. Work on that in order to improve your technique.
Two types of grips: pick your poison
1. Power grip: the backhand power grip is your normal driving grip when you start almost every hole. Whenever we all drive, we try to get the most power, velocity, and distance out of our shots. We don’t do this with trying to throw the disc harder or running up on the teepad for momentum. We do this with proper technique, a slow methodical walk up, and gripping the disc correctly. You can complete this grip by placing your thumb on top of the disc and your other fingers on the inside ring of the disc. Some people use two fingers, some three fingers, and others use four fingers. Modify it to whatever is most comfortable for you.
2. Modified non-power grip: the modified non-power grip is used more for short drives and approach shots. A grip in which a person places the thumb on top, the index finger on the rim, and the other fingers on the bottom gripping the inside ring.
3. Sidearm power grip: the standard forearm power throw is first and foremost for longer drives. This throw requires you to have your thumb on top of the disc, your index and middle finger on the bottle inside ring of the disc pressing down firmly, and your ring and pinky finger curled a little bit on the side of the disc.
4. Standard sidearm non-power grip: another way to hold a disc for the standard forearm throw. Simply hold the disc with same grip and stretch out your index and middle finger. This grip uses less pressure on the disc which will allow for better approach shots.
What’s best for you?
There are a lot of ways to throw a disc and even more ways to grip one. But when you throw, find what’s best for you. If you like a certain grip over another, use that grip that you like. If a power grip works better in all situations, continue with the power grip. Just make sure you like how you throw. The more comfortable you are with your grip, the better you will throw the disc.
Step 2 – Use good hip rotation
The second crucial component of a perfect technique is your ability to rotate your hips. With this, you want to try and get as much rotation as possible while still maintaining as much balance as possible. You can keep yourself balanced more for this by bending at the knees, lowering yourself toward the ground, and sticking you butt out just a little bit. And you should continue to do this and find more ways to keep yourself balanced. If you can stay balanced, you can rotate the hips more which can lead to more overall power and velocity on the throw.
Step 3 – The reach back
The reach back is extremely simple as it is just a “reach back” diagonally at about a 45° degree angle toward the ground and your back leg. The more hip rotation you get before your throw, the more reach back you can get. And the more reach back you can get, the more power, momentum, and velocity you will have on the throw. You want a fully extended arm to maximize everything listed above. Do that, then continue deeper into the throw.
Step 4 – Look away from your line of sight
Once you enter the reach back, you don’t want your head looking at the target. It would seem logical to keep yourself dedicated on the target, but instead, look down and away toward the disc. By doing this, you’re allowing for maximum hip rotation which will lead to more velocity and more overall distance. Once you come back through to throw, you will lock back onto the target.
Step 5 – Lead with your elbow
As you come out of you reach back, you will start you throwing motion. From here, what you do is crucial to how your throw will come out. When coming around for the throw, you will want to lead the throw with your elbow out. The next motion needs to be more of a straight line through the throw and less of a circular motion. You want the leading elbow to push through the throw. You also want to keep the disc close to your chest. This allows for maximum control and velocity of the disc. You will be able to get a “whipping” motion on the disc.
Step 6 – big, strong final step
The big step at the end of your drive on the tee pad is crucial if you want to be great at throwing a disc golf disc. Though important, the big step at the end isn’t very hard to do since your body’s momentum is carrying you toward that step. Once you step way out (but not too far that the drive is awkward and uncomfortable), use your back leg to push off as hard as you can to give yourself an extra couple of miles per hour on the throw. This, in turn, can increase your overall distance by at least 20 feet!
Step 7 – The follow through
As you’re completing your throw, you will plant your foot firmly and release the disc. During release, your arm will allow the disc to be released and you will enter the follow through. The follow through is simple. You just allow your arm and your body to, “follow through,” with the motion that you are already performing. This is simply allowing your body to continue through the motion as you spin or move yourself in the direction of the throw.
The follow through is important for (3) reasons
• It’s part of the consistency concept: we will talk about consistency throughout a lot of the posts on this blog because being consistent is what leads to improvement and mastery of all things including disc golf. Completing your throw with the follow through keeps the entirety of your throw consistent.
• It helps you get more velocity and power on the end of the throw: if you don’t follow through, you won’t have the ability to get maximum velocity on your disc. The follow through allows you to go from the beginning with the hip rotation and the reach back all the way through with your arm whipping the disc through the follow through.
• It keeps you from getting injured: those who don’t follow through are risking injury because they are forcing the body to stop all of their momentum right at the peak of their shot, when the arm is coming through at full force. The body needs to naturally continue through the motion so none of the muscles are strained or torn.
So just remember…
It takes all seven steps working together in sync to be able to throw with perfect, or even good, technique. And none of steps are any more important than another step. If you’re lagging in one, it can throw off your whole technique. So it’s important to practice your technique over and over and over again. If you can continue to do that, and be patient with yourself in the process, you have the ability to become a great disc golfer.
Have a pre-throw warm up routine before each shot
The pre-throw warm-up routine: a staple of some of the best disc golfers in the world. Some pros grab dirt and rub their hands together, others visualize the throw, and then some blow on their fingers to dry them off. It doesn’t matter who are or what your skill is, you need to have a pre-throw warmup routine.
It’s like a baseball player tapping his bat on the ground before he hits or a basketball player dribbling exactly three times before a free-throw. It’s the routine. The thing that gets your head in the game and focused on that moment. In disc golf, that moment comes right before you throw the disc.
And you may already have a routine. If so, that’s fantastic. Keep doing whatever you’re doing as long as it helps you get focused. If you don’t have a routine, get one. Steal one, borrow one, or make it up. Just find a way to focus yourself so that you can get in the zone.
The pre-throw routine (and good technique) keep you consistent.
If you can maintain a high level of consistency in your game, you will get better. This is because consistency is one of the keys to disc golf. Disc golf is tough and being consistent with every hole and every throw matters. In a somewhat odd way, your pre-throw routine helps you throw the same way for every shot which normally correlates to solid scoring rounds. So get your technique squared away and make sure your pre-throw routine is on point. Because that’s how you keep crushing it on the disc golf course.
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