Switching from sidearm to backhand.

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Switching from sidearm to backhand.

Postby schla104 » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:46 am

Hey all.
I have been playing for almost 4 years now. When I began learning, I tried backhand and sidearm. Sidearm just came much more naturally to me and I have been playing that way ever since. I play a pretty good game, but I am always wondering if I could play better by switching, or at least being able to throw a good backhand. I'd really like to be able to add a good solid backhand toss to my arsenal. As far as discs go I have,

Pro Beast
Champion Orc
DX Firebird
DX Archangel
Pro Starfire
Star Wraith
Star Valkerie
Champion Teebird
DX Roc(Main reason I want to learn proper backhand technique)
and quite a few other Innova discs.
Also have Ching Velocity.

I've read over some of the articles on this site and things and tried throwing but more or less I wind up with the same problem. I can't get any distance out of the throw. Are there any good videos I could watch? Any other tips? I believe I am just not throwing correctly. I saw that video on the X-step. That helped a lot to see it in action. Is there anything like that, that will show arm movement and grip? And does anyone have any tips? Also, I've been trying to learn with the Roc. Is that the disc I should be trying? Or should I try with something else first?

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Postby krusen » Tue Apr 11, 2006 12:15 pm

I went through the same thing about 2 years ago.
Yes, the Roc should be a good disc to learn with. A leopard or something similar would be good too.

The breakthrough I had was when I started to let my body rotation do the work and not my arm. It's more like a full body whip than it is a throw. Keeping the disc close to your chest also ties in with this, and is very important.

Other key pointers:
Rotate your grip so the disc is in line with your forearm.
Follow through. Accelerate through the hit.
Think "fast" not "hard"

Are you releasing the disc or is it popping out? If you're releasing it, the disc is much too far from your chest as you bring it through.

Read and re-read Blake's articles on driving with practice sessions in between. Checking out the player videos is also a good way to pick up on some things. Everything will eventually start to jive, and you'll be out-distancing your forehand shot.

My backhand has taken over and now I need to practice forehand just so I can throw it accurately.
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Postby jiwaburst » Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:10 pm

My backhand has taken over and now I need to practice forehand just so I can throw it accurately.

Me too. I have only been playing for a few months, but pretty quickly decided that I needed to work on my backhand if I wanted to get good at this game.

My sidearm was easy from the get go, backhand much more difficult, especially for distance.

I had thrown a lot of catch discs and realize that my good technique from those was not great for golf.

Mainly, sidearm distance is easy without doing any footwork. You can just do a weight shift to your front (left) foot while throwing sidearm and get close to your Max D. With backhand I had to force my self to throw with my weight off my right foot, to really get my weight forward. In other words, the place in a sidearm throw that was balanced for release was not correct for backhand.

There are two main ways I can see from my recent experience to start throwing backhand, either with drivers that require a lot of nose down (the high speed drives you have listed), or with putters, midranges, and older drivers. I'd recommend not using the high speed drivers at first, but gradually mix them in.

Why? Besdies the fact that this is Blake's standard advice :D Because it was easier for me to really feel my balance and weight shift when throwing backhand from a low position to a high one, really snapping the wrist with a hyzer release. With high speed drivers, this technique will lead to more stall outs and a feeling that you aren't getting anywhere. But once it feels clean, it is just a 15 minute adjustment to do the same thing with the wrist in a nose down position.

Going the other direction, from practicing with high speed drivers to then standing over a 150 foot roc shot, for me at least was frustrating as I didn't really know how to throw firm and clean with 40% power.

Good luck. Expect a few shanks and griplocks. But know that you can go from 200 to 290 very quickly, Then once at 290, other things start to kick in and it becomes fun to see how far you can push that drive.
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Postby presidio hills » Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:35 pm

i think this is a common problem, so don't feel like you're alone. 3 people i play with regularly are in your same situation... one of them took it upon himself to put a lot of effort learning the backhand and he's making good progress. one advantage is that since nothing feels too natural you'll be able develope your technique based on reading about and practicing propper mechanics as opposed to what "feels right and get's the job done" (which might actually be bad form leading to bad habits). i noticed this about the dude who learned the backhand; he really focused on getting a good follow through and his form is more textbook than most others i see at his level and even above his level.

read them articles... there's so many little things that matter, it takes a lot of practice to figure it out.

use elements of what works with your sidearm technique that can be translated over to your back hand. this is hard to explain but i feel like i did this first with learning a sidearm and then back and forth between my sidearm and backhand. for example; i noticed that with my sidearm if i could configure my steps to get my hips from facing away to opening towards the target i was getting good distance. i also notice that a lot of it involved a simple movement of the upper arm and then a clean flick of the wrist. these are the 3 main things i now focus on with both throws, in terms of mechanics. i think the tempo for both styles of throwing is also similar.

get a driver that's easy to throw... something slower and glidey without a lot of fade, and hopefully without too much highspeed turn. i think an XL or something similar is the best for learning a good backhand throw. you can toss it lower power and still get it to hold the line you're trying to hit. throwing the roc will teach you tons, and maybe you should even do that first. people that can throw rocs well will be able to translate the exact same form to something like an XL or other easy to throw drivers... just maybe on a lower line.

don't learn with your orcs, starfires, and other fast wide-rimmed drivers.
i run on lazer beans
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Postby twmccoy » Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:16 pm

I also started out sidearm but quickly adoped a backhand throw after lots of short inconistent shots. I can now throw way farther than I ever could backhand. Far more accurate too. Just give it some time. It sounds like you have a pretty good disc selection.
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Postby Thatdirtykid » Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:38 pm

I was another who learned to throw backhand after playing forehand for a while.

I have a piece of advice though dont look at it as switching to backhand, look at it as adding another shot to your bag.

I switched to backhand, then pretty much stopped throwing sidearm. I thought I wouldnt forget how to throw one, but I kinda did... have been working on relearning lately. its good to have both.
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Postby schla104 » Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:46 pm

Wow, thanks for all of the really great posts and tips guys. I will hopefully be working on it tomorrow afternoon at Acorn. There is a few nice open longer holes towards the end of that course.
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