Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

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Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

Postby Porsche320 » Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:50 am

I'm a new player, and I've had the most success with what is basically baseball swing. I open up my shoulders and hips VERY early, and if I attempt to take steps I get nasty stall/fade. I know I'm leaving huge distance on the table because I throw my aviar 210', panther 240', and Eagle & Valk 280' on good throws. On average throws, I'll toss my entire bag between 200 and 250'. Disc selection should make more difference than this, I think.
I'm not sure how timing and lack of steps contribute to lack of distance, but I need to be able to effortlessly throw 300' for my local courses. Line drives are also preferred, as few holes are open enough for 20'+ of height.
I'm attempting to overhaul both issues with my throw by starting with the release and working backwards - which led me to the right pec drill. I read plenty about the drill, but nothing was ever quantified, and being an engineer, I like to gauge progress with numbers.
On the advice of local players, I've switched to using leopards almost exclusively, so I'll use that for reference. On a stand-still with a reach-back (my standard throw), I throw 240-270'. Doing the right pec drill with no steps, I was throwing more like 150 when I kept my hips/shoulders around 90deg, and 190' when I turned my hips closed. I expected it to be a bit closer to my normal throw.
When I tried 1-step, it was tough to close my hips, so distance wasn't much different. This is as far as I got because I feel I need to develop more muscle memory before I move on. The short distances lead me to believe I'm still doing something wrong, and I don't want to make a habit of bad form. In my reasoning, once the arm and body motion of the throw occur effortlessly, adding steps/x-step will not be too difficult, or should I develop all simultaneously? I'm not really competing yet, but is it permitted to take steps on a fairway throw? The PDGA rules are not really clear. I assumed you had to throw fairway shots from a standstill, so that was what I started with.
I apologize if this has been covered. My searches produced solutions to problems not nearly as remedial as mine.
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Re: Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

Postby CatPredator » Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:28 am

Many questions.

Porsche320 wrote:I've had the most success with what is basically baseball swing.

Here we mostly teach bent elbow technique. That is a great article that will help you understand how the arm and wrist are used to generate power.

Porsche320 wrote:I throw 240-270'. Doing the right pec drill with no steps, I was throwing more like 150 when I kept my hips/shoulders around 90deg, and 190' when I turned my hips closed. I expected it to be a bit closer to my normal throw.

Section I of the above article will help you understand how you can achieve power by throwing with the right pec technique. It is designed to force you to maximize efficiency in your wrist and forearm and will help you understand the plyometric tendon bounce that generates big snap. When you understand how the biomechanics work, it's quite possible for a person of average athletic ability to throw a disc farther than your normal throw with just a small movement.

Porsche320 wrote: I feel I need to develop more muscle memory before I move on. The short distances lead me to believe I'm still doing something wrong, and I don't want to make a habit of bad form. In my reasoning, once the arm and body motion of the throw occur effortlessly, adding steps/x-step will not be too difficult

Words of wisdom. Power is generated from the ground up, but the transfer to the disc must be efficient and take advantage of a few of the body's built in levers and the behavior of muscle tissue.

Here are the rest of the instructional articles. Read through them if you wish. There is a lot of good stuff but it will take time to assimilate it all. As you gain experience, you will probably glean new insights from going over this stuff again and again.
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Re: Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

Postby CatPredator » Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:40 am

On the rules of tournament play, you can take steps on any shot, but you must release the disc with some supporting part of your body touching the ground behind your lie, and before any part of your body comes into contact with the ground ahead of your lie (so your momentum can carry you past your lie after you throw). Once you are inside the imaginary 10m putting circle surrounding the basket, you may not step/fall past your lie until your shot has landed and you've "established balance" and picked up whatever it is you're using to mark your lie (so your momentum can not carry you past your lie).
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Re: Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

Postby JR » Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:05 am

Steps will add a lot of distance as long as you are in enough control to lose form and muscle guidance and acceleration elsewhere. Numbers are difficult to predict, because i don't know how you throw and people vary in muscle speed and strength from body part to body part. You should gain at least 30' with x step. If you don't you need to learn to do that better. There is more to be had from that for sure, but 30' should be reachable by everyone. A video would let us see, what you could do to improve.
Flat shots need running on the center line of the tee and planting each step on the center line. Anhyzer needs running from rear right to front left with the plant step hitting the ground to the left of the line you're running on. Hyzer is the mirror of that.
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Re: Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

Postby Porsche320 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:23 am

Thanks for the input and rules clarification.
I've read through the bent elbow technique, and I plan to incorporate that as I can. I'm unsure whether I'm getting it right so far. Especially the tendon bounce; I don't have much "feel" for it. I have plenty of grip and wrist strength (from years of weight training, MMA and BJJ), but it seems using too much is a liability.
The bottom line question is: how do I know if I'm getting it right? The right-pec from a standstill drill should take most variables out of the equation, so distance should be fairly proportional to quality of the snap/hit. I don't want to spend weeks on x-step, if I'm losing all my distance from the wrist-out.
So, ballpark numbers (I know everyone is different): If a player (with no glaring flaws in the bent-elbow technique) can throw a leopard line-drive 300' at 85% power, how far would he throw from right-pec standstill?

Thanks again for the help.
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Re: Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

Postby CatPredator » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:57 am

Porsche320 wrote:I'm unsure whether I'm getting it right so far. Especially the tendon bounce; I don't have much "feel" for it. I have plenty of grip and wrist strength (from years of weight training, MMA and BJJ), but it seems using too much is a liability.

The tendon bounce is difficult to develop. It requires a combination of body positions and timing that aren't very intuitive unless you've got a strong sports background in stuff like baseball, golf, or martial arts. Disc golfers focus on speed and explosive power, so your background in MMA and Jiu Jitsu could help, or it could hurt. It's difficult to say without knowing more about your style and what kind of weight training you did.

Anyway, as you bring the disc forward into the "power zone", your elbow angle collapses as the disc approaches your right pec. The farther into the power zone the disc gets, the more your wrist will need to bend inward, and that will create the elastic tension in your muscles that can be unloaded in the "tendon bounce" when you open up your hips and shoulders, and release your forearm. The thing is, the inward bending of the wrist is something that needs to happen naturally. If you purposely let your wrist collapse, it doesn't build the elastic tension and you end up with no snap. So, you need to be try to keep the wrist straight, but it needs to be dynamic and willing to accept a little stretching as well.

The plyometric jump is a good analogy. You bend your knees a little bit before you try to jump high, and the longer you wait in the crouched position, the harder it is to jump high. Your weight dropping down primes the muscles up. They're not completely relaxed, because you're still standing up, but they're not contracting hard either. Then you explode upwards. Getting the disc into the power zone is much like when your knees are bent for a brief second before you jump.

The momentum of the disc moving forward is what generates the tension. You could maybe think of it as redirecting an attacker in Jiu Jitsu. The disc's momentum will push against your muscles, and then your muscles pull against the disc. The key is that the momentum of the disc is what loads your muscles up, and then your muscles unload on the disc and use it's momentum to launch it. The timing is tricky.

Porsche320 wrote:So, ballpark numbers (I know everyone is different): If a player (with no glaring flaws in the bent-elbow technique) can throw a leopard line-drive 300' at 85% power, how far would he throw from right-pec standstill?

Probably not very far, and this person will not feel like they are ever doing the right pec drill correctly. The person throwing the Leo 300' does not have any snap. The right pec drill is a very awkward motion if you don't have any snap. With no snap, it will feel like you are exerting great effort and not seeing good results (less than 200' for sure, probably significantly less). You need to move the disc "in" to the power zone just a little bit before you launch it out. You don't want to take a big reach back, but the disc has to create a little tension on the muscles before you try to snap the disc or else it won't work.
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Re: Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

Postby CatPredator » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:35 am



I think this video can help you visualize at least part of what I'm talking about. Nikko brings the disc in, and then launches the disc out. It's in slow motion so you can get an idea of his body positions, but remember the timing is also very important. He's not doing right pec drills, but hopefully you can see how the right pec drill teaches you how to throw with bent elbow technique. This little guy throws well over 500' and is currently the highest rated disc golfer in the world.
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Re: Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

Postby Porsche320 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:40 pm

CatPredator wrote:Probably not very far, and this person will not feel like they are ever doing the right pec drill correctly. The person throwing the Leo 300' does not have any snap. The right pec drill is a very awkward motion if you don't have any snap. With no snap, it will feel like you are exerting great effort and not seeing good results (less than 200' for sure, probably significantly less). You need to move the disc "in" to the power zone just a little bit before you launch it out. You don't want to take a big reach back, but the disc has to create a little tension on the muscles before you try to snap the disc or else it won't work.


This is really the answer I was looking for!
I somehow, in all my reading, missed that the wrist should bend naturally at the end of the pull; I've been purposefully bending the wrist inward (and probably muscling out the extension too). I've been looking at the throw like a baseball swing, where I should view it more like a baseball throw. Proper wrist tension is something that won't come too easy for me, so I'll move onto the other mechanics of the throw while being constantly conscious of what my wrist is doing.

Thanks for taking the time to write up a detailed explanation. I'll continue to work on it this weekend.
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Re: Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

Postby anborn » Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:51 pm

@Cat or anyone else reading this thread.... confirmation on the below as I think i've made a mental/conceptual breakthrough
been playing actively (1-1.5/wk ave) for the last year and a half. i always was able to throw a roc straight as an arrow, but never very far (200 max), about 6 months ago made a break through (having to do with my grip) to where i can now hitting my roc 260-280. and my TL i can get to 330-350. (this is with a normal approach xstep). my motion is pretty much a straight back/straight through type of release, but i manually have the disc tucked in with my wrist pretty severely bent during the entire process. There's no spring action to it.

reading the previously posted segment:
"Anyway, as you bring the disc forward into the "power zone", your elbow angle collapses as the disc approaches your right pec. The farther into the power zone the disc gets, the more your wrist will need to bend inward, and that will create the elastic tension in your muscles that can be unloaded in the "tendon bounce" when you open up your hips and shoulders, and release your forearm. The thing is, the inward bending of the wrist is something that needs to happen naturally. If you purposely let your wrist collapse, it doesn't build the elastic tension and you end up with no snap. So, you need to be try to keep the wrist straight, but it needs to be dynamic and willing to accept a little stretching as well."


if i'm reading this correctly (and I hope) i am... the wrist naturally should "cock" into and snap out of position as you push your elbow forward while keeping the disc close to your pec. and assuming the timing of the hips/rotation is correct, the wrist should effectively load and snap all on its own?

:cautiouslyexcited:
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Re: Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

Postby CatPredator » Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:00 pm

Yes, you're getting the idea.
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Re: Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

Postby CatPredator » Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:43 pm

anborn wrote:@Cat...

:cautiouslyexcited:


Just noticed you joined this site a year and 30min after I did! Do you live in a cold state? I started going through withdrawals last winter. Ended up geeking out hard on internet disc golf to fill the void. Paid off nicely this year. Keep hanging around the forums and asking questions and your game will be better for it.
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Re: Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

Postby anborn » Thu Dec 08, 2011 4:12 pm

CatPredator wrote:
anborn wrote:@Cat...

:cautiouslyexcited:


Just noticed you joined this site a year and 30min after I did! Do you live in a cold state? I started going through withdrawals last winter. Ended up geeking out hard on internet disc golf to fill the void. Paid off nicely this year. Keep hanging around the forums and asking questions and your game will be better for it.



i've been lurking here for a month now but just joined. I live in NC (so not typically a cold state).

as stated been playing actively for about a year and a half... but really the last 6-8 months got playing with a group of similarly skilled (beginner-middle intermediates) and we're all learning trial and error style. the last break through with my grip, a recent trip to charlotte to play 5 courses there over a weekend (a couple that will be used in upcoming '12 worlds), and seeing a few guys (in RL and through youtube) all out launch the disc with seeming little to no effort, makes me think I should be able to do likewise. playing with the avair,roc,tl,a really really beatup teebird (it will turn over midflight and stay right), and a monarch (which i've decided to possibly stop throwing until I get more distance with the TL). a bag of 4-5 and at least with my current skill level, I don't feel like I need more since I haven't fully mastered the tl or monarch yet.

since the time change has severely curtailed afterwork play, I've found myself doing more and more searching online for DG related things. everything from technique and disc/bag reviews, to dying and other courses in the state and surrounding areas to check out.

In reality I'm looking for consistency off the tee as much as additional distance. but figure if i'm going to start trying to tweak things I might as well get them as correct as I can in the process.

your comment in explaining the feeling to porshe, lit sorta the same light bulb for me as it did for him. so kudos and thanks :)
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Re: Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

Postby masterbeato » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:28 am

Porsche320 wrote:I somehow, in all my reading, missed that the wrist should bend naturally at the end of the pull; I've been purposefully bending the wrist inward (and probably muscling out the extension too). I've been looking at the throw like a baseball swing, where I should view it more like a baseball throw. Proper wrist tension is something that won't come too easy for me, so I'll move onto the other mechanics of the throw while being constantly conscious of what my wrist is doing.


the wrist will bend keeping your grip and pull fluid throughout, but that is not the difficult part. the difficult part that most people fail to do is opening the wrist completely at the end to release the disc and fling it out of the hand after the wrist extension takes place. the wrist can only open with a rapid re-direction of the forearm. which most people fail to do. it is not so much the wrist tension i would be worried about so much as wrist flexibility\fluidness at this time, considering timing is the main focus right now.

be only concerned about a violent twitch motion upon release, and "only" upon release, while keeping everything fluid in motion, focusing to reach the point of contact.
My PDGA - Dan Beto

Frank Delicious wrote:and now we know the secret to your power. You are more machine than bear!
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Re: Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

Postby JR » Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:21 am

Lightning fast is the goal for the end direction change of the arm and wrist motions. But i think there's false information in this thread. You should try to resist the bending back of the wrist to the left of neutral coming from the elbow extension. And there is an active component to the movement of the wrist from bent back to neutral to the right of neutral. Sure the wrist fill flap open without any effort, but you should also try to actively to increase power by moving the wrist from left of neutral to right of neutral. And finish with an active stopping of the wrist and one mother of a pinch of the fingers. Especially the index finger and the thumb.
Flat shots need running on the center line of the tee and planting each step on the center line. Anhyzer needs running from rear right to front left with the plant step hitting the ground to the left of the line you're running on. Hyzer is the mirror of that.
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Re: Quantifying the Right Pec Drill

Postby CatPredator » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:08 am

JR wrote:You should try to resist the bending back of the wrist to the left of neutral coming from the elbow extension.


Your choice of words here [and elsewhere] is confusing. Please quote the misinformation and I'll see if I can clarify.

JR wrote:And there is an active component to the movement of the wrist from bent back to neutral to the right of neutral. Sure the wrist fill flap open without any effort, but you should also try to actively to increase power by moving the wrist from left of neutral to right of neutral. And finish with an active stopping of the wrist and one mother of a pinch of the fingers. Especially the index finger and the thumb.


It's true that guys with big snap have a component of active wrist extension at the apex of the hit but it's not something you'll be able to do until you know what it feels like to get the disc into the power zone with some elastic tension in your muscles, and where the hit is actually located. People who strong arm will not understand how wrist extension and disc pivot work because they're not even close to hitting it. Learning where the wrist "wants" to accept tension, and then release it, at the apex of your shot is step one.
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