"Anyone throw amazing backhands that DO run the basket and still leave short comebacks? If so, how do you do it?
Anyone know of any top pros that utilize this shot?"
For the last six months I have been working on exactly this.
I had been frustrated for a long time by my rubbish approaching backhand as this put pressure on other parts of my game. A friend over here spent half an hour with me going through the approach and it revolutionised any shot up to 60 meters for me (approx 180')
The shot I now play is a very slightly nose up straight line at the basket, it leaves my hand and doesn't deviate off line (even on low confidence days when my form is dipping it will only go slightly anny and ends up a few meters right of the basket) , from within 40 meters (120'ish) it never leaves me more than a 6 meter (18') come back putt (even on the really bad days!!) if I miss left, right or high. I use a wizard for these sort of approaches, beyond 40 I might get out the Roc depending how I feel. I've been experimenting with using a driver with this grip for longer approaches where I wouldn;t want to throw a putter with a power grip and it seems to be working quite well for this too,
It took a rethinking of my short approach, I had had a clinic with Avery Jenkins last year where he had said he threw all his shots with the power grip and just used a varying amount of power, this is what I had been trying to do previously. I didn't tend to get clean and consistent releases and found it hard to judge power doing it like this unless I hyzered my approach. In February I had a quick clinic - the half hour desdcribed above - with one of the top UK pros Neil "Bruce" Webber and it just made all the difference
What I now use is a fan grip. My pinky is on the inside of the rim, the middle two fingers fan out for stability and control and the index finger I curl to about a 90 degree angle so the edge of the disc rests between the first two joints of the finger, the pad of this finger doesn't touch the disc. Most of the spin seems to be imparted by the disc pulling off this part of my finger. Its the exact same grip I use for putting.
The way it was explained to me which made so much sense was to think of the approach as less of a throw and more of an extension of the finger spring used in putting so you get a nice clean popping release. I would start out at the basket and just work my way back 5 meters at a time with three discs throwing the same straight line I would if I were putting at it, but just do this side on. Using more shoulder twist as I went backwards. So up to 20- 25 meters would just use the lower arm (see Edit below) from below my elbow then 25- 35 turn the shoulders away but keep my eyes locked on the target then further out start to turn the head away as well, doing this i found in practice that I was suddenly nailing shots in from beyond 60' without realising it and it seemed easy.
I now tend to nail at least one from the 20 - 40 meter range each round - these tend to be so much more rewarding than a hyzer approach as well as you can tell they are going in from the moment they leave your fingers, whereas with a hyzer its always a bit of a will it, won't it moment - I now hardly ever take more than two shots from within 50 meters, and I'm really not a very good putter my confident make rate only being with 15' (until recently it was 9'
). Next year will be my first full season on the British Tour using this style and I hope to win the amateur division with it. I've won my first one day amateur event recently using it, (my driving had gone to sh*t at the time as well so the approach was even more important) Its the confidence it gives you buy knowing that you have a chance of the shot going in, but will nearly always get it down for 2 if you miss that makes it so good. It also feels that i'm now playing the game the way it "should " be played.
The beauty of this as well is that i've found it holds up really well in bad weather. The disc doesn't tend to turn over into a headwind (the slight nose up angle and a fair bit of spin being imparted keeps them stable) Because most of the spin is coming from a rip off the top of the finger rather than a pad it doesn't matter if the disc is wet, it still rips. I can also use this same approaching method from strange straddle possitions to get round obstacles where I am square to the basket instead of side on and its is incredibly accurate like that as well, throwing out from the stomach/chest area.
As for top players using the sidearm approach I was watching the Dutch Open final last year which has a number of holes with OB close behind the basket (I got caught out repeatedly
) The winner Markus Kallstrom sidearm approached on all these sort of holes. He would aim at the ground right in front and just plant his sidearm there 2 ' from the basket, he never seemed to be going for the chains but just playing the sidearm as a safe in for two shot. (he was about 10 shots clear at this stage so could afford to) it was a windy day and it seemed he felt more confident putting that shot exactly where he wanted it low to the ground all the way.
EDIT: Actually been just trying this out at work. I hardly use the lower arm at all using this technique so ignore the bit about 20 -25 meters, my whole arm from the shoulder down to the wrist actually stays fairly locked in position (but relaxed) throughout and it is a shoulder twist that generates foward momentum before the wrist extends, the fingers spring open and pop the disc towards the target.