Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

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Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

Postby Blake_T » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:45 am

a lot of the things that have come up in discussion lately as well as working with a few players that fit this bill has caused me to realize there's another plateau out there for guys who are "hitting it half way."

i think the reason i'm noticing this plateau boost now is that technology has reached a state where this crowd is finally able to really outdistance themselves from the old vision of the 350' plateau. 5-10 years ago when the 350' teebird plateau was around, these guys were the ones throwing teebirds 380'. the 350' teebird guy is just scraping 400' with something like a destroyer, but the 380' teebird guy is going 430'+ with the destroyer. although the distance increase is similar (in the ~40'ish range), the amount of control they can exercise over the disc is vastly superior. e.g. just scraping 400' w/ a destroyer vs. throwing a controlled destroyer throw 400'.

this new plateau are the guys who are hitting half of it. their velocities are in the 50-60mph range (which is below the big snappers 65mph+ throws but faster than the 350' teebird guy's ~45mph). the fact that the newer plastic starts "behaving correctly" in that velocity range is where this separation has become most apparent. to make it more apparent, look at the nuke or r pro boss. guys throwing destroyers 430' are going 460'+ with those discs but guys going 400' with destroyers are only going 415'.

now why are these guys only hitting half of it? what is the other half?

in my post on the point of contact vs. the drive, i briefly mentioned that there was technically two points of contact. the first occurs with "pause" (even though it's not really a pause) that triggers the extension of the elbow. the second occurs with the "pause" (even though it's not really a pause) that triggers the extension of the wrist.

the new plateau of half-hitters is made up of players who have the timing and form to release their elbow. i've always noticed differences in these guys' forms compared to the big hitters but until recently i didn't fully understand where the key differences were. they are able to drive the disc after the first point of contact. i wasn't going to call anyone out with this, but examples of these throwers on this site who have posted videos are aaron d and bradley walker. the key to look for (aside from above average distance and velocity) is that they launch the disc with a (nearly) straightened arm.

the great separation between hitting half of it and hitting all of it is whether or not the thrower is able to correctly release (extend) their wrist. imo, wrist extension dominates elbow extension and you can see this with swedish style and the american players who have styles that have many commonalities with swedish style. many of the swedes (and players like that) have very little elbow extension but they are able to lever the snot out of the disc with a very hard wrist extension. the idea that you can get 550' power with very little elbow extension and hard, well-timed wrist extension leads me to conclude that wrist > elbow.

something that i remember distinctly (and wrote about it in my understanding the bent elbow technique article like 8 years ago) was the feeling that i wasn't tugging really hard on the disc until after my wrist was in the process of opening. i was completely relaxed until i felt the timing for that (and i haven't been able to get that timing back since my shoulder injury in late 02). doing some pen throws brought this feeling back to me. if you do a pen throw and start with your wrist cocked and the pen pointing away from the target and try to snap it hard, the real grip strength and force doesn't show up until the final quarter turn of the pen. basically, if the pen is pointed 180 away and you launch it facing the target at 0, it's from 45 to 0 where you are really exerting force. this is also why i used to often talk about a "late clench."

the difficulty is finding a way to facilitate this in a throwing motion and i will have to work upon some "secret technique" for how to get this to happen easily. back when i discovered it originally it happened like 50 throws in of day 16 of a stretch of throwing 250+ drives a day trying over and over to get this whole bent elbow thing to work. at that time it just clicked and boom, 70' were tacked onto every drive. i did my best to articulate it then but haven't really paid any attention to what i wrote back then. maybe i'll have to read it over again.

one key i can remember is that i intentionally would redirect my pull once the disc got far out in front of my body and this added a lot of force onto my wrist extension. i also know that my elbow had not fully straightened before the disc left.

basically, the wrist extends because of a rapid directional change of the forearm (e.g. moving forwards to moving sideways).
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Re: Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

Postby Blake_T » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:53 am

another way to articulate the difference between the wrist in half-hitting vs. full-hitting is:

with half-hitters, the wrist extends because the inertia/momentum of the disc forces the wrist open. it's basically a half-slip.

with full-hitters, the wrist extends actively and accelerates the leading edge of the disc to a VERY high velocity in a very short period of time.
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Re: Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

Postby rehder » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:14 am

Blake_T wrote:another way to articulate the difference between the wrist in half-hitting vs. full-hitting is:

with half-hitters, the wrist extends because the inertia/momentum of the disc forces the wrist open. it's basically a half-slip.

with full-hitters, the wrist extends actively and accelerates the leading edge of the disc to a VERY high velocity in a very short period of time.


Very good post, and I can definitly feel when half-hitting it.
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Re: Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

Postby Jsw » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:28 am

Hmm, very interesting. I'll have to reread it a few times - I wish I learned by reading as well as I do by visual aids. :?

I have a lot to think about/work on this spring - thats for sure.
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Re: Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

Postby bcsst26 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:07 am

This is some great ideas. Care to expand on "one key i can remember is that i intentionally would redirect my pull once the disc got far out in front of my body"

How would you redirect your pull? Some great discussion lately.
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Re: Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

Postby JR » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:22 am

A question in the end of the post first some background.

I'm definitely a half hitter and I was aware of this problem of not really actively opening the wrist. I tried it last year or was it the one before that briefly and got tendonitis. On the verge of it again with bad back pain from first field practices of the season :-( I planned on doing the wrist extension that masterbeato showed in his youtube video this year now that I've gotten more muscle power and found a loose enough grip that when clenched late enough does pivot the disc quite nicely. Except my arm can't yet handle the stresses of field practice repeated protana 167 drives on a line drive to 400' front flat not down from the rear of the disc apexing at about 17'. A first for me. And with a normal power grip flat release not trying to really push the wrist down or using masterbeato grip or Jenkins grip. Which gives me same D as powergrip ATM. I've yet to recuperate to try high front down line drives that I managed for the first time last fall as the first snow fell. I gained about 25-30' average D and a straighter flight out of Valks. Can't tell what happens now with Valks and new gen max D fast discs but I'll definitely move up from 400' line drives with Katanas.

When Bradley posted his first videos we talked about the direction change of the arm active muscle powered pull from back to front to elsewhere. At first we thought of 90 degrees left of the target once the wrist started moving. Later it occurred to us that it's more. With elbow stopping and shoulders turning one can also pull the elbow backward if one wants and manages that. That seems too viscious for my arm to handle at full power.

I think that wrist is more important than elbow and with minimal usage of the wrist I still get 360' with a 149 Star TB but only 315' with a new with flashing 172 Star TB that is slow and pigly. TBs have variances. I've yet to harness the wrist fully. Mafa calculated force generation out of Öystein Carlsens thesis measurements and the wrist added a lot. He quoted higher linear speed of the disc increases than I remember but even my recollections are significant. And in line with what Blake wrote about the differences between Destroyer thrower speeds vs D.

How high and which lines and front down or front flat throws were you speaking of referencing TB and Destroyer D? What would the timing and direction of the arm pull be once the wrist starts to open and when should that begin? I think I'm getting closer with the timing but I lack enough training with different pull direction changes to say what would happen with different directions and straight or backing up elbow. When I first tried it I lacked the pinch strength to hold on to the disc at full power. I have increased spin rate significantly by pulling back the elbow after straightening it in small power throws measured from 300 FPS video. IIRC I got much less linear speed increase than the measured longer throwers did. But significant none the less.
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Re: Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

Postby patdabunny » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:56 am

I couldn't agree more, Blake.

I've watched several really good slo mo vids of Dave F and it's very clear that he bends his elbow only VERY slightly and must focus on the wrist to get his massive D. His "pendulum" type arm swing is fascinating to me. If I (or anyone else) could get the timing down that is needed for this throw, I think they could have massive D. Basically what I'm saying is that I think that this type of throw may be easier to master than the "normal" golf drive that you and I have discussed ad nauseum.

When you say "actively open the wrist," are you saying to consciously extend your wrist at the apex of the throw? If so, I can see two things--first, it would be very hard to get right. Second, I can see where it would add a HUGE amount of leverage onto the disc due to the velocity of the wrist/disc complex. Am I right in this?

Thoughts?
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Re: Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

Postby garublador » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:33 am

Man, now there is knowledge all over my floor because it just got dropped!

One advantage I think I'm getting from my current, super inconsistant form is that I believe I'll get at least one slip (usually a lot more), a half hit and a full hit for every 20 field throws. It makes understanding what needs to be done a bit easier. Now doing what needs to be done is a whole different issue.
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Re: Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

Postby Blake_T » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:36 am

I wish I learned by reading as well as I do by visual aids.


anyone who doesn't already do it would gather very little if anything from visual aids.

go ahead and dig up videos of aaron and brad for half-hitting. for full hitting go ahead and find any big arm.

tell me if you can see it.

I've watched several really good slo mo vids of Dave F and it's very clear that he bends his elbow only VERY slightly and must focus on the wrist to get his massive D. His "pendulum" type arm swing is fascinating to me. If I (or anyone else) could get the timing down that is needed for this throw, I think they could have massive D. Basically what I'm saying is that I think that this type of throw may be easier to master than the "normal" golf drive that you and I have discussed ad nauseum.


Dave F's style is very similar to swedish style, and yes, the power in these throws is maximum leverage into the release of the wrist.

When you say "actively open the wrist," are you saying to consciously extend your wrist at the apex of the throw? If so, I can see two things--first, it would be very hard to get right. Second, I can see where it would add a HUGE amount of leverage onto the disc due to the velocity of the wrist/disc complex. Am I right in this?


sort of. this again covers the blurred ground that most people fail to grasp. the wrist starts to extend in a relaxed manner via incidental motion. the wrist completes its extension with applied force. read about how to throw a jab in boxing and how they talk about when the first should be tight and that sort of covers the timing of it. in terms of throwing something, the pen drill. the first 135 degree shift of the end of the pen (from 180 to 45) is incidental. the final 45 degrees is active (from 45 to 0).

what you are looking for is to transfer the force caused by the change in velocity of the part of the disc that becomes the lead edge as it whips around via wrist extension (the angular velocity is huge). it basically goes from like 0 to 100mph in like 4" of wrist movement.

either way, your current shoulder motion timing prevents you from doing either a half hit or full hit.

This is some great ideas. Care to expand on "one key i can remember is that i intentionally would redirect my pull once the disc got far out in front of my body"

How would you redirect your pull? Some great discussion lately.


this is a hard one. i once had a 1000+ rated pro take a peek at my throw during lunch of my worst tournament ever. he suggested to relax a lot more and try pulling backwards like i was yanking a rope once the disc got out beyond me. it was later that week i had my breakthrough. the directional change doesn't have to be backwards. it can be sideways, but backwards will definitely force the wrist (sort of like forcing extension during a short-arm putt).

like i said, i haven't found an easy teaching method here, mainly just putting ideas out there that might work for someone. it's up to you people to experiment and give feedback upon what works and what didn't work.
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Re: Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

Postby patdabunny » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:59 am

Blake_T wrote:either way, your current shoulder motion timing prevents you from doing either a half hit or full hit.


I know I suck. What's worse is that I have made 0 improvements in all this. I just can't seem to get my timing down, even though I can feel a little hit when I do the right pec drill, but I still throw it waaaaay right, even with the RPD. WTF. Man, this is frustrating.
Last edited by patdabunny on Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

Postby Blake_T » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:01 am

try the right pec drill using less shoulder rotation. e.g. instead of turning 180 degrees away, turn to 135 degrees.
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Re: Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

Postby Blake_T » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:36 am

btw, the key to getting something like this to work is to first grasp the concept and then practicing your attempts to actualize the concept in motion.

since this is a flow-based action you cannot isolate individual positions and expect them to work. the closest you can do is to find facilitating positions and attempt to flow through them in a manner that delivers force.

to really understand it on a conceptual level is to learn to grasp the secret of all sports and martial arts. when a boxer learns to throw a good jab, there are certain fundamental keys, like starting with a relaxed hand, quickly extending the hand and "snapping" the punch with a clenched fist. (there's even tricks on how to extend the hand even more quickly and still in a relaxed fashion).

another visual aid is my hand snapping video that accompanied the "understanding the bent elbow" article. keep in mind that it wasn't until AFTER the hand snapped forward that I would lay on the gas.

trial & error is the secret to finding your own way. unless you're the identical twin brother of some big throwing pro, everything about you will be different from every other thrower out there. your own version of actualizing these concepts into motion is the key to finding your own "best way" of doing it. do not mimic another thrower unless your goal is to figure out how something works. if you want to learn how to lever it hard with the wrist, try throwing swedish style and see if you can get the key concepts nailed down and then integrate them into a throw that works for your body.

your goal isn't to have mechanics that look identical to someone else's, the goal is to incorporate what you can in order to LAUNCH THE DISC WITH MAXIMUM FORCE/VELOCITY.

98% of this is merely developing proper timing and force. if you have that, the rest of the positions are of far less importance.
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Re: Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

Postby patdabunny » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:47 am

Thanks, Blake, for all your time and effort with me. I, for one, really appreciate your tutorship.

Exactly what was the pro meaning when he said to pull backwards? Could you explain it, please?

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Re: Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

Postby DsmDisc » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:48 am

Great post Blake. I have a buddy who is a fantastic example of this concept. I will try to get some video of him next time we play.

Basically, his elbow remains about 170 degrees the entire throw, he is very close to keeping it straight through the entire motion. He also does not close/open his hips as a normal thrower would. He keeps his chest very close to 90 degrees from target until the very end of the throw. But the snap he is able to generate allows him to throw drives 450'+. He can cover all lines, from big hyzer to annys as well by altering the amount of snap and angle of release of the disc. He has the most fascinating form I have ever seen, because it is completely 'incorrect' in the conventional thinking, but highly effective.

I have tried to emulate his style in the past, and it is effective, as long as your timing on the wrist extension is correct. That said...he probably plateaus at around 460'-480'. I've never seen him throw longer than that without special conditions (downhill wind at his back).
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Re: Hitting it half way, Discovering another plateau

Postby Bradley Walker » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:19 am

Blake_T wrote:btw, the key to getting something like this to work is to first grasp the concept and then practicing your attempts to actualize the concept in motion.


Start with putting. I have noticed that I am way too elbow dominant. Way more power in not moving the elbow toward the target at all. Just use the wrist (actively).

Also, don't be surprised if your control goes to shit at first.
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