Giving advice during a disc golf round is a touchy subject. Some folks want so badly to improve their game, yet when you suggest something, whether it’s a disc choice, or a weird quirk to fix in their form- they tend to resist. I am guilty of this for the most part, yet when someone tells me a fact instead of a pointer, I find it easier to process. This is what happened about a month and a half ago, when two different friends told me in the same round that I am dragging my back foot to the point where it’s an anchor (note they didn’t say, “You need to stop dragging your back foot).
To make a long story short, when throwing backhand right handed, your left foot is used for power. It’s the foot that connects to the leg that connects to the hip which pushes your whole body into motion for your drives. As with every sport that involves throwing, proper disc golf form requires a smooth follow through, and with right-handed-back-hand throws this means your left foot needs to come off the ground after push off to allow your whole body to pivot around when your disc is released. Some real smart sports people who study movement science can tell you why this is important and how momentum and inertia aid in the slinging of discs, but all I needed to know was that after I made a concerted effort to not drag my back foot I threw my drives fifty feet further. Fifty feet is a big number for a disc golfer. If you change your grip a little, or if you experiment with different discs and angle of release, you might add fifteen feet. But fifty feet is a total game changer.
After seeing myself actually DO this, I’m shocked at how herky-jerky it looks. It’s a good thing they mentioned this to me, because if I continued stopping in mid-drive, I am convinced I could have torn my knee to pieces. It’s a very violent motion to just stop mid-throw. Years of baseball growing up had me used to using my RIGHT leg as my power leg, and lifting that leg off the ground after an overhand throw seems perfectly natural. Only after forcing myself for a week to lift my left foot off the ground with my backhands did it start to seem natural. There are a handful of other important elements to a good disc golf drive, many of which I haven’t mastered after playing for just three years. To this point in time however, this was the single biggest development in my throw. There were a ton of discs that started to actually fly differently, not just farther. At one point I emptied my bag of all five distance drivers, making every single one turn right mid-flight. My Flow, Surge SS, Nuke ESP, Katana, and my Havoc all went over 340 something feet with a convincing low “S” curve flight pattern. Granted, these aren’t the meatiest of discs. I wasn’t throwing an Ape, or a Firebird, or even a max weight Surge, but the five discs I did throw aren’t exactly Sidewinders either. They’re all pretty much middle of the road on the stability charts.
From this point on, I’m trying to keep my ears open to what people think of my game. Certainly I’m not looking for everyone I play with to chime in on how they think I should play, but bits of information here and there can always be processed and considered. It’s hard to imagine how many more months or even years I could have gone before consciously realizing what a true ‘follow-through’ looks and feels like on a disc golf drive. It really does feel like I’m saying “Anchors away!” with each throw and letting my entire body throw the disc instead of only my arm…
I’m attaching a YouTube video of two drives I threw on video. The first drive just happened to be when old habits caught me by surprise and I left my foot planted. It’s painfully obvious how much smoother the second throw looks. I’m not claiming that the rest of the throw is up to snuff, but the difference in footwork is quite obvious from the first to second throw. Enjoy.