FH Release Height?

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FH Release Height?

Postby cruz duck » Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:29 pm

I was talking to a friend who throws forehand drives pretty well. He commented that he can throw farther with a higher release point. For his longest throws, he actually releases at shoulder height or even higher. I found this especially interesting because I do the opposite. I lean down and release the disk below my waist.

I am a little concerned about this. I had been told that you can avoid arm problems by keeping your elbow close to your body. I don’t see any way to release at shoulder level and keep your elbow by your body.

Yesterday I tried a more upright position and I released the disk about waist level. My drives were inconsistent (not surprising since I am changing my technique), but the good throws went farther than my low release throws by 30 feet or so. Plus the upright position seems more balanced and I think I could be more consistent with it.

So that raises a few questions for the forehand experts out there:

1) Is it really safer to throw with your elbow close to your body?

2) Would you gain more distance if you threw with your elbow farther from your body? This is a scary thought to me, would I risk injury to my arm to gain more distance?

3) For forehands, does release height affect distance?

4) Did my 30 foot gains come from release height or upright position?

Or does it all depend on the thrower. Try different heights and body positions and find out what works best for you?
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Re: FH Release Height?

Postby mokdevel » Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:21 am

Hi,

I'm RHFH thrower myself. I also read that one should keep the elbow close to your body (for different reasons...), but for me it depends on the situation. When I need to throw an accurate throw with a lot of control I don't take any steps and the disc release happens low; I'd say hip level with my elbow close to my body.

But, when I drive (*try* to get a long throw) my release point is higher. It's maybe not at shoulder level, but quite close and my elbow is not close to my body. In these situations I usually use an overstable disc (Force) with quite a lot of angle. I get the disc to fly a nice S-curve with a predictable path.

I'm stuck in 80m-100m with my throws (RHFH). :-( ..and my RHBH sucks.

/J
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Re: FH Release Height?

Postby Mark Ellis » Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:36 am

cruz duck wrote:I was talking to a friend who throws forehand drives pretty well. He commented that he can throw farther with a higher release point. For his longest throws, he actually releases at shoulder height or even higher. I found this especially interesting because I do the opposite. I lean down and release the disk below my waist.

I am a little concerned about this. I had been told that you can avoid arm problems by keeping your elbow close to your body. I don’t see any way to release at shoulder level and keep your elbow by your body.

Yesterday I tried a more upright position and I released the disk about waist level. My drives were inconsistent (not surprising since I am changing my technique), but the good throws went farther than my low release throws by 30 feet or so. Plus the upright position seems more balanced and I think I could be more consistent with it.

So that raises a few questions for the forehand experts out there:

1) Is it really safer to throw with your elbow close to your body?

2) Would you gain more distance if you threw with your elbow farther from your body? This is a scary thought to me, would I risk injury to my arm to gain more distance?

3) For forehands, does release height affect distance?

4) Did my 30 foot gains come from release height or upright position?

Or does it all depend on the thrower. Try different heights and body positions and find out what works best for you?



Grips and throwing styles vary a lot, even among good players. So I'm not convinced there is a single BEST way to throw a disc or even a SAFEST way to throw a disc. Fortunately there is one simple answer: Try different styles and see what works for you. If an action causes sharp pain it is your body's way of telling you to do something else. I know when I throw a forehand shot hard with my elbow close to my body it hurts, so I don't unless I am stuck in a position (like in a bush) where I have no other choice.

I am in the 1) big-pull-back-arm-swing, 2) arm-away-from-the body-on-release and 3)knees bent, releasing-the -disc-low-to-the-ground camp. I have tried other styles and continue to do so because sometimes a lie in the fairway prevents some or all of these positions. Nothing else works as well for me and so far (knock on plastic) my form hasn't caused long term injury. So for me arm away from the body puts much less strain on my elbow and shoulder.

A sidearm throw in baseball is pretty close to the form of throwing a disc. So too is hitting a tennis ball or racquetball. If you watch the good players in those sports you don't see the elbow-close-to-the body form or standing-straight-up-at-impact. This observation is not controlling but somewhat persuasive.

Throwing drives while standing upright takes away the power of the legs and core, leaving a player throwing mostly with the arm and shoulder (and therefore placing more strain on the arm and shoulder). There is something called the "athletic position": knees bent, feet apart, body balanced, back straight, butt down. Think of a linebacker just before the snap of the football. This posture activates the legs and core and increases the power of movements from it.

Once in the athletic position (knees bent) releasing the disc higher or lower (shoulder level or below) is, for me, a question of the line I want. I release hyzers lower and anhyzers higher. For pure distance it is a coin flip whether an S curve or a hyzer flip works best. The S curve is safer, the hyzer flip is riskier on an accuracy basis.

There is one safety issue with releasing low to the ground that is avoided somewhat by throwing higher and that is face planting. When my plant foot slips out on a low release I am going to the ground, guaranteed. So on ice or other slippery surfaces you have to be aware of the danger. I have fallen so many times playing in winter I have trained myself to tuck and roll. This protects both the body and the shot. If I try to stop the fall the shot is doomed. If I tuck the shoulder in and roll I can still throw an accurate shot and usually same some skin in the bargain. Then I wipe off the dirt and go to the next shot.
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Re: FH Release Height?

Postby Crosseyed0811 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:28 am

In case you wanted a visual of how Mark described his drive there are videos out there, probably the best one being:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOECjLjhiTI

Worth taking a look at because his technique is a little different from what you typically see, and you'll see other techniques in that video as well. Everyone's body is made at least SLIGHTLY different, so optimal form often varies as well person-to-person.
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Re: FH Release Height?

Postby cruz duck » Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:29 pm

Thanks for the responses.

I played an early round this morning. I experimented with releasing at waist level. I tried both elbow close to the body and extended. I got there early enough that I could throw 4 or 5 drives off of every tee. I found that my longest throws were with the elbow extended. I probably threw 25+ drives with the elbow extended and felt no pain at all. So I am going to conclude that extending the elbow in is not a health issue for me.

As I mentioned previously, I used to throw forehand elbow-in and from a low release point. With that style, I throw a low line drive about 270-280 feet. I have a few freak throws that go 300+ feet, but those are rare. This morning’s waist-level/elbow-in throws were at 300 or so, elbow extended more like 320 or so. I did not throw on a marked field, I am just estimating on the extra distance.

Next I am going to experiment with higher and lower release points with the elbow extended.

mokdevel - sounds like our forehands are about the same level. And my backhand sucks as well. I have worked hard on my backhand and it is improving, but the improvement has been slow.

Mark - I agree with the baseball throw and the racquetball swing, but it seems to me that the tennis swing is pretty different. With the tennis swing, you try to keep your wrist stiff through the swing. And you even keep the whole arm pretty stiff. I think of a disc golf throw as more of a whip of the arm and the wrist.

I like your point about hyzers and anhyzers. Now that I think about it, I have always had a pretty high release point when trying to throw a forehand anhyzer.

Sounds rough about your safety issue. Luckily, we don’t have much ice or snow on the Santa Cruz courses. It can get muddy, but rarely on the teepads. Most courses that I play don’t have long approach shots, so you can usually use a standstill shot from the muddy areas.

Crosseyed811 - Thanks for the link of the video. I saw that video several years ago and was thinking of searching for it. You saved me the effort! It is interesting how the styles are different. It makes it clear that we each need to find what works best for us.
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Re: FH Release Height?

Postby JR » Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:06 am

A nit: There are different kinds of stiff in the arm and i don't mean in a funny way either. I don't know about tennis, but in DG FH driving you don't want to be stiffening the muscles around the elbow. But you do want to have quite a bit of tension in the wrist to avoid the wrist flapping back without proper tendon loading. The arm moves quite fast FH compared to BH and the acceleration with the arm is more powerful with the FH. That's the way the muscles work, it's anatomy.

For me the grip needs to be tighter earlier in the FH than with the BH to keep the disc from flopping around from slipping away due to higher forces applied. Because FH are shorter despite the high launch speeds, i'm inclined to believe, that the spin rate is lower FH. There's the story of FH having around a quarter less RPM on the disc, but i have not seen studies about that. That makes me interested in trying this out some time, but my FH driving for more than approach distances is 8 days old.
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: FH Release Height?

Postby Crosseyed0811 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:49 am

JR wrote:For me the grip needs to be tighter earlier in the FH than with the BH to keep the disc from flopping around from slipping away due to higher forces applied. Because FH are shorter despite the high launch speeds, i'm inclined to believe, that the spin rate is lower FH. There's the story of FH having around a quarter less RPM on the disc, but i have not seen studies about that. That makes me interested in trying this out some time, but my FH driving for more than approach distances is 8 days old.


My BH must be more screwed up than I thought, because I get WAY more spin on a FH than I do a BH...
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Re: FH Release Height?

Postby JR » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:09 am

How have you measured that? I use a disc with a color bar and high speed camera. I have not yet tested RPM BH this year and FH ever. Lighting is a problem now and coldness even more. I think i can get numbers, once i try the video shoot, but it's not easy to arrange always, because the hour long weekly indoor session of my club is so full of people. It's unpleasant throwing outside here so a warm place without traction problems is popular :-D

Arms are more powerful FH vs BH so there is a point, where FH should be fine for RPM. RPM does not turn the discs over btw. The opposite is true. Speed kills. Not spin. I have trouble reducing the wrist motion speed BH due to weak muscles and i'm better in that part of the form FH. BH wins in reach back distance and utilization of the legs and core. And arm tendon tension vs grip strength. Not everyone throws FH with as many fingers as BH. More fingers=more grip strength>higher potential for getting the disc to pivot fully=higher RPM.
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: FH Release Height?

Postby cruz duck » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:31 pm

I went out to the course for another early round and experimented with different release heights. All with the elbow extended. I probably threw 60-70 forehand drives.

I found that with a shoulder-high release, I could only throw big, high anhyzers. Some discs just kept going anhyzer, others would flip back into a s-curve. It was pretty inconsistent, but I only threw 15-20 drives this way. I imagine that I would get more consistent with more practice.

With a very low release, I could only throw hyzers. Again some would stay hyzer and some would flip up and fly flat.

I got the best results from a waist level, elbow extended throw, standing mostly upright, but leaning over a little bit. I think I would like to mostly focus on this throw until I can get consistent with it. Of course, if I need a sharp hyzer or anhyzer, I will use a lower or higher release, but I want do most of my work on waist-level throws for the time being.

JR - That is interesting. I want to keep my wrist loose to get greater snap, but I need some tension to keep the disc on the right angle. I don’t seem to have this problem with backhand drives. Hmm, when you throw a backhand drive, you have your arm kind of wrapped around the disc just before the snap. Maybe the arm help keeps the disc on the right angle? On the other hand, on a forehand drive you are only holding the disc on the edge and it can flap around easily.

Crosseyed0811 - When I started, I got much more spin on my forehands than my backhands. As I have worked on my backhand drives, I have developed more and more spin. I now get more spin on my backhand drives. I have no idea if it is 25% more, but it is definitely more.
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Re: FH Release Height?

Postby Crosseyed0811 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:03 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa8QHevIGKs

Thats another video that talks a lot about wrist and how to use your wrist in a sidearm drive...
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Re: FH Release Height?

Postby Mark Ellis » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:46 am

Disc Golf is a pretty new sport. Eventually science will study the sport and figure out the best form (best for both performance and safety) to throw with. Or at least so I thought.

Maybe not. There is an article in the New York Times today (For Beginning Runners Advice can Be A Hurdle, http://www.nytimes.com/pages/health/nut ... index.html) which says that there is no agreement on the best or safest running form. Rather most people just do what is naturally correct for them.

Well running is not a new sport. It has been practiced and studied a long time. There are many track coaches and presumably they teach particular techniques and running form, probably whatever their experience tells them works best. Sort of like we do when teaching a new player in disc golf.

Throwing form is so unique that a player can be too far away to recognize but we know who it is by seeing them throw. Isn't it odd that form is so individual?

Well the best form may be elusive but we think we know what terrible form looks like. So are we correct about what Terrible Form is?
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Re: FH Release Height?

Postby Dbuntu » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:57 am

Nice post Mark.
To me terrible form is simply a lack of any consistent form
It is a poor carpenter who blames his tools
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Re: FH Release Height?

Postby Sean40474 » Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:05 pm

Are there any drills you can suggest to practice gaining more spin on FH throws? My distance is lacking because of this and I feel that it is costing me strokes. I don't have issues throwing 300', but when I try to push out beyond that I lose control. To combat this, I throw more stable plastic and release it anhyzer. I know this isn't proper form for distance, also, I realize there is a time and place for this shot type, utility.
It's all about discipline and focused practice!

masterbeato wrote:...900 feet, everybody is happy.
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Re: FH Release Height?

Postby JR » Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:55 pm

Do you try to stop the wrist pointing the index finger at the target at the rip, following through with the legs, hips, shoulders and upper arm to shoulder joint motion mainly? Not that much with the wrist beyond neutral please. And pinching for all you're worth with the fingers.
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: FH Release Height?

Postby Triflusal » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:00 am

ima jack this a little, where should I be trying to apply pressure with my fingers? my grip is usually pretty loose anyway and I think that is what is holding distance back.
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