Evan’s Throw Video Analysis & Technique

By | May 29, 2013

So this is me. Back in April, I took a video of myself, did a little editing and posted it online to get some input.  Immediately I knew what the biggest issue was going to be; my lack of reach-back.  So as I was filming I attempted some more throws with more reach-back and this was the result:

Evan's Reach-Back April 2013

Still a terrible reach-back and that was one of the better ones. I posted it online and got some wonderful feedback.

You can see the Reddit thread here but I’ll post some of the highlights. (I also posted on DGCoursereview but it wasn’t as helpful)

from user Weatherstation:

Two things I noticed:

On a lot of the drives it looks like you might be losing power because you are limiting your follow-through. Try to explode all the way through it like you did in your drive at 1:16 (definitely one of the better looking drives as far as crispness and snap).

Also, like Royalhgnss pointed out, your reach back could be better. Even though the drive didn’t turn out as good as some of the others, your throw at 1:25 was your best reach-back example. Keep doing it like that with a smooth and easy pull-through and you’ll be money.

user IronyingBored said:

As others mentioned, you will be a much better golfer with a more complete follow through. More importantly, you are torquing your knee with your current finish. In the video you are throwing in the grass. Sometimes you will not complete a follow through in such instances. It looks like this shortened follow through may happen on all your shots, even on the concrete.

You need to release the tension on your knee by allowing your body weight to transfer to your heel and naturally finishing your shoulder/body rotation. This can all be done rather easily. Just go out with one goal–exaggerating your finish. Your body will compensate and you will naturally release the tension on your knee. I would stay away from over-analyzing your heel movement. Finish the throw, that’s all.

All good advice which made a lot of sense to me but I also sent a message to a user known for his knowledge of the disc throw and his in-depth analysis, SeachingforSilky.  He replied back a few weeks later with some absolute gems.  Although, I had watched the much talked about Will Schusterick teaching video and changed a few things, his analysis was still relevant and very helpful as I love understanding the mechanics of the proper disc golf throw more.

Here is what he initially said: (caution long but awesome)

All in all, you look pretty solid. The problem with disc golf is that it is pretty easy to get to where you are (for athletic people) and then REALLY hard to prgress past that, mostly because it is such a form driven, nuanced, nitpicky type thing. So most of what I have to say is going to come across as nit-picky, but I truly believe that is the difference between skill levels. Tiny, little, annoying, changes. Also, the way I normally do this is to watch in one window, and type in another, for this reason my comments are chronological to your video. [Time stamp in brackets].

(1) [22sec] In this throw you bring your front foot down already opened to the target. This isn’t a huge deal, but I noticed in earlier shots where you had it closed (totally sideways). I feel like you want it to be closed most of the time. The reason for this is that I feel like it does a few things, it gives you a more solid base, it gives your total repeatability, and it allows your hips to turn through the same every time. Since our legs are so connected to our hips, when you foot is open, so is your hip.

I do want to add that concerning the front foot landing there are two types of shots that dictate two different landings. One, the power drive. In this shot you should be reaching with your toe and it should be the first thing to make contact with the ground. from there your heel drops and when it does your foot is closed (90degrees). Two, the control shot. This is the shot you are trying in the video. It requires less power and as such less reach-back, there are less moving parts and it is easier to repeat.

Power Drive Toe Example – You actually want to opening scene here. Will always reaches with his toe, but he is a freak. Notice what happens to his knees as a result of the toe reach. at 16sec both knees are pointed in, and both are turning together (this is where his power comes from).

Upshot example Not the best shot, but you can tell that he is not reaching nearly as far.

(2) Change your shoulder to body angle.

23 seconds

23 second screenshot mentioned

This is going to change your whole world. In the same throw (right at the beginning of 23 seconds)  notice that the disc is basically brushing your body. It is turned anhyzer. You are a fraction of a second from turning through and releasing. But you are trying to release with hyzer. If I had a guess I bet that you hit your chest with the disc somewhat often. If you go back to the shot where the disc is in front of your body check out the angle that your chest and upper arm make. See that it is less than 90degrees. (What follows is hard to explain in type, be patient)

What you really want to develop is a flat throw where that angle is really close to 90 degrees. The reason for this is that if the angle is less than 90 degrees you have to adjust your wrist to prevent to disc from hitting your chest. What this means is that you wrist has to change its angle mid throw, and then reposition once the disc clears your chest. Our bodies are amazing, and will do this pretty well, but it creates inconsistency in the release angle, as well as OAT (deriving from the disc changing inclination right before release.

If the angle is higher, then the disc will easily clear your chest, and the angle will remain the same through out. (I will go ahead and say the Feldberg is the antithesis of this theory. He does not have this type of arm angle, but his throw is different than almost everyone’s on tour.) To control hyzer and anhyzer use your hips. Lean over a tad for hyzer, lean back for anhyzer. This adjustment will make you cleaner, smoother, and more fluid. By getting cleaner you will eliminate a lot of flip-up and be able to throw more neutral discs, and more over stable discs from your upright body position.

Check out Paul McBeth

(3) Your follow through is fantastic. Don’t change a thing there. You turn your back knee in to trigger your hip turning, you finish with a fist, and fully extended. It looks solid. If you wanted to tweak it a little it looks like you are toe dragging in a few shots more than is necessary. Once you have let go and allowed your energy to finish just let your back half rotate through (a la Will Schusterick, the Champ, Barry Schultz etc.)

(4) In the part where you are focused on the reach back:[paused at reach-back at 51]

You are reaching with your arm and shoulder, but not with your hips. This goes to the thing from above about reaching with your toe. To get a “full” reach-back you have to reach with your toe. By doing this you allow your front hip to turn back to the target while keeping everything on the same line.

(here again things get hard to explain). The same bio-mechanical thing that makes your back hip come through when you turn you knee in, causes your reach back to extend when you turn your front knee in during your reach-back. You can feel this by standing up, having both feet face forward and be a little more than shoulder width apart. If you turn your left knee in (and get on your toe) your left hip turns in, if your turn your right knee in (on your toe) then your right hip turns. I feel like a disc golf throw (as far as the footwork is concerned) is really just those two little movements. I digress.

The point here is that to reach-back full you must turn your right knee in to allow your front hip to turn backwards. It will provide you with 6-10” of extra reach-back, and will allow you to get back without getting off balance.

Also, take another look at your arm to chest angle here. and what that does to the disc on its way through your throw. This is the main reason that the disc flips so bad on you here. This little angle adjustment plus the extra power = roller…

(5) More reinforcement – [128]

At 1:28 and you get another glimpse of the same few issues. Disc get turned off line, get straightened at last millisecond, comes out with nose angle issues, etc. Here you had a higher arm to chest angle, but the habit of turning the disc screwed you. Which is interesting to me. It makes me believe that even when you change that angle, you will still have to focus on keeping you wrist locked, and the disc on the same line.

Also, the right pec drill is good and bad in my opinion. It is a really good way to get the basics across, but it negates the fact that we release discs in front of us. You do a good job of turning your body to face the target before releasing, but keep that in mind when doing that right pec drill. honestly it may be better to jettison that approach since you clearly (to me) have learned what it was intended to teach you.

I think that is all I have at this point. I could ramble about DG meta for hours, but I’ll spare you that mess.. All in all your form looks good. At full speed a lot of these issues were invisible. I had to pause and arrow key frame to frame. You are really close, and I think these few issues are causing you all the trouble. If I can clarify anything or add to anything let me know.

the arm-torso angle mentioned

the arm-torso angle mentioned

Mind-blowing right? He really rocked my world by getting so granular and breaking it down to a way that made sense. I wanted to clarify a few things he mentioned so the conversation specifically the “arm angle.” What he was referring to is where the arm comes across the chest. I took this screenshot of Will Schusterick drew some lines on it and sent to him for confirmation. You can see he’s just about at 90 degrees b/c he’s leaned over a little bit at the hips,


bad arm-torso angle

my bad arm-torso angle

And Here you can see mine. Not exactly the poster boy for good form. It is just something that I’ve never really heard emphasized before.

This is what SearchingforSilky had to say on my arm angle question:

So the arm angle is kinda right. Separate but right. What I was really talking about is the angle your get using your torso as one line and your arm as another with your armpit as the intersection. So, if you were standing straight and reached your arm straight out that would be 90 deg. You would lower that angle by lowering your elbow. (This is one of those things that is so simple in person, but very difficult in person.) The big issue here is that the disc cant fit across your chest at a smaller angle. Try messing around with it with a disc in you hand. If you lower your elbow, you have to take the disc off of flat.

Here your elbow is pointed at the ground, it should be pointed straight out.Here you have the 90 degree angle from upper to lower arm, you just need to raise your elbow to get the other 90 angle.

I think the perfect form will provide two 90 degree angles when the disc is directly in front of you. One is the angle on your elbow (upper and lower arm) the other is the armpit angle. the throw is always flat (at the 90 from the armpit) the only thing that changes is the hip angle. Also, I don’t think that is necessarily needs to be 90degrees exactly, only that it needs to be high enough that you aren’t tweaking the disc to bring it past. The issue is not the angle, but adjusting the angle is the easiest way to fix the problem. Guys like Feldberg throw way down below, but he has found a way to bring the disc across nearer to his stomach in a way that doesn’t tweak the angle between back swing and throw.

This really is some great information that I had never heard before and it has given me some things to really work on.  I’ve been practicing fixing these things and working on my turn/reach-back lately and I can tell a difference. I’m throwing from a stand still just as far as I had been with a run-up but my consistency and accuracy has gone way up. I’ll slowly add the run-up back in but right now there isn’t a need for it. You have to crawl before you can walk.

Now if he could only fix my putting!

*If anyone wants to send me a video of themselves, I can help you edit it and provide any analysis I can think of.

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