Is this why I'll never throw far?

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Is this why I'll never throw far?

Postby harkerj » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:26 pm

I was just reading the article on trying to "feel the hit" via the towel snap analogy, wherein I found this lovely nugget:

"Give your elbow a little bit of bend and keep your arm, wrist, and hand loose enough to move but tight enough to stay in place."

Loose enough to move, but tight enough to stay in place.

Awesome. How the @#$% am I ever supposed to do that???? Clear as mud, that.

Then I watched the video. I gotta tell ya, this business of fingers slapping against palms seems like nonsense to me. Can anyone help me?

Whenever I try to duplicate the video (and I've done it enough now that it feels like my arm is going to fall off), no finger slapping of any kind takes place. Either my "grip" is loose enough that my fingers just fly all over the place (but never elastically snap back into my palm), or my "grip" is too tight and my hand just stays closed the whole time. I feel like an idiot.

I know that thousands of DGers can "feel the hit" but I fail to see the logic here and I'd like to think I'm a fairly smart guy. If I watch that video frame by frame, it appears the guy's hand "opens" as he draws it back, or perhaps as he begins to flick it forwards (impossible to determine in RL player), and then his hand "closes" - ostensibly due to the fingers reflexively snapping back into the palm, creating the "snapping" sound.

I've been flinging my arm around like a moron for the last half hour, and I've come to this conclusion: if I hold my "grip" loose enough that it flies apart when I "snap the towel", nothing happens that would cause my fingers to snap back into my palm. If I hold my grip tight enough that it doesn't fly apart when I snap the towel, my grip just stays closed the entire time.

I will say that in the short time that I've been playing, I certainly have heard the occasional "pop" when I really try to throw hard, and I assume that is the sound of my fingers slapping my palm as the disc rips out. But I definitely cannot control when that happens, and it seems like I should be able to from everything I'm reading here.

So... what am I missing?
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Re: Is this why I'll never throw far?

Postby martinb » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:04 pm

uhmm it should be your thumb and index finger making the snap? maybe thats what your missing? snap doesnt necessarily make a good release/throw. that might be the other thing?
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Re: Is this why I'll never throw far?

Postby JR » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:00 pm

Usually an audible sound indicates a slip. Micro slip, where the disc goes in the correct direction with half hitting partial pivot only or an early slip with the disc going the wrong way. Left for a RHBH throw. Old school players here say, that with a lid the popping sound (that doesn't add D per se) comes from the middle, ring and index fingers sliding off of the disc and hitting the palm. I can't say for sure yet if one should concentrate more on getting the thumb and the index finger to pop against each other after they've been forced apart by the disc and slamming together after a pinch or getting that and the rest of the fingers against the palm.

What i konw is taht i need more measurements and distance and flight path analysis and healing to say for sure, what works best for me. ATM it's a project for the future and i'm uncertain about, what's what. Initial situation is that i've intentionally left the pressure off of the index to middle fingers for a couple of years. At the moment i think it is a mistake for a healthy person. I was forced into that by my arm injury, but gained an insight into how to get the disc pivoting and how it feels. That produced 14 to max 17 RPM spin last year. after training with grippers last winter and intentionally trying to squeeze the middle finger to pinky toward the palm hard early in the throw i got to 21 RPM this year. ATM my best exit speeds are so much in the air due to not being able to keep the left fot on the ground at the hit with full speed, that i can't estimate, what's what. Grrrr!

I know that at fast run ups and at sneaking speed x steps with the left foot on the ground at the hit i get an average of about 6 MPH faster exit speeds if i hold the disc with only two fingers inside the disc. And with the outermost joints under the rim. I also know that my pinch strength ain't enough to hold onto the disc event with sneaking speed x steps to have the disc to fully pivot before the rip. So it is clear that in order to improve speed and spin on the disc i must add pinch power.

I've tried to add pinch power for a long time and my arm injury can't handle two drives with a full power squeeze of the middle finger to the pinky without being in agony for a couple of days. So it's not golf worthy or sane to practice that. So DGR need another guinea pig for spin and speed determination. Too bad there are only akuf and Bradley Walker that i know of, who have access to equipment with which to measure speed and spin of the disc regularly. Meaning speed measurements with a radar instead of the lesser accurate camera measurements. Since my injuries prevent me from finding out what is going on it is a matter of others to see, how different grips stack up speed and spin wise. And only Brad has the ability to do both spin and speed measurements at will. Because akuf and me have used a radar of out club mate and i have a camera for spin measurements.

One would need to go through each grip with each finger putting in all different kinds of squeezing powers in all directions at all different timings to even gain an initial estimate. Let alone to try a statistically meaningful analysis of each version. That would mean years of work for even a single thrower. That would not necessarily reveal how things would differ from player to player and what factors would explain the differences. Meh. Not easy to pull of a study like that. Or even the measurements and leaving the study to others.
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Re: Is this why I'll never throw far?

Postby garublador » Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:48 am

harkerj wrote:So... what am I missing?
You're trying to duplicate what's done in the video rather than experimenting with different timings to get the feel of the hit. If you try to do exactly what's done in the video you may never get it. It sounds like you're focusing on grip strength when you really should be focusing on timing.
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Re: Is this why I'll never throw far?

Postby harkerj » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:02 pm

Correct. What puzzles me is that in the video, the person seems to be able to generate an audible "pop" WITHOUT a disc in his hand. Up until reading that article, I thought that the pop was created by the disc ripping out of your grip and your forefinger and thumb/palm snapping together (due to the fact that you had been "squeezing" the disc).

Without a disc, nothing should be "popping", right? And if so, what was the author of that article/video implying by asking readers to work at it until they hear a pop as loud as possible? "What you are listening for is the popping sound of your fingertips slapping against your palm."

(By the way, I'm talking about this: "Understanding the Bent Elbow Technique by Blake Takkunen" http://www.discgolfreview.com/resources ... bow2.shtml )

This is just nonsense. As a collegiate track and field coach and high school science teacher, I know all about stretch-reflex, a good deal about most other body-kinesthetic motions, and more than my fair share about torque and other physics concepts related to disc throwing. Having said that, the idea that you should be able to assume your disc grip position, WITHOUT a disc in your hand, then fling your arm/elbow/wrist in such a way that your fingers would first be forced "open" out of the grip poisition and then dynamically snap back with such velocity that they would produce an audible pop by slapping aginst your palm... it just doesn't work that way. Your fingers (levers) are simply too short to have that kind of stretch-reflex happening.

Asking a disc golf noob like me to try to replicate that sound... heck my arm is still sore today after trying to do that yesterday. (And I'm a guy that can play several rounds of disc golf - 100+ throws easy - in one day with no soreness.)

So then I ask, what DOES make the snapping sound you hear in that video clip? I'm not sure, but at least a few times when I did it, my wrist definitely popped/cracked. That was NOT my fingers slapping my palm, I don't know what it was. Perhaps it was the tendons in my wrist snapping against the bones or other connective tissues, I don't know. I've read elsewhere about "tendon bounce" - maybe that was it?

Ultimately, I went to that article looking for a way to practice the "feel" of the snap, the hit, whatever you want to call it. That article was referenced in at least two or three other threads I read. And, unless someone can prove me wrong, at least THAT part of the article is inaccurate and should be edited/removed.
Last edited by harkerj on Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is this why I'll never throw far?

Postby Timko » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:19 pm

It's the recoil sound of your fingers hitting the palm of your hand or the meaty part of the thumb.
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Re: Is this why I'll never throw far?

Postby MDP » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:09 pm

Timko wrote:It's the recoil sound of your fingers hitting the palm of your hand or the meaty part of the thumb.

This^^^

The snap in the video is the result of abruptly stoping the arm and wrist, while you hand and fingers are relaxed. I can do this on command in rapid succession so it's definitely possible.

It is not the same snap sound that can occur when throwing a disc.

I haven't read through that article in a while, but I don't remember it saying that the snapping sound was "the hit" or anything like that. It's a way of feeling the timing you need to achieve it. Obviously it's going to be different if you're actually holding a disc.

But that section of the article is simply trying to get you to feel the hit. Your hand will open a bit to make the pop but it doesn't have to be much, but again it's about getting a feel for the timing (all of the levers closing in order). It's a kind of isolation drill.
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Re: Is this why I'll never throw far?

Postby roman » Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:21 pm

The towel exercises help to figure out if you have it or not. I always thought they were kinda bull because I could never get a loud, crisp pop out of a towel. I stopped doing it and kept my practice in the field. Recently I finally did get good snap and decided to try a towel for shits and giggles and what do you know, now the towel pops. Really loud. I couldn't believe it.

Don't hurt yourself. If you're feeling pain, you're doing it wrong.

edit - to expand on the loose/tight analogies... I can slap my fingers against my palm but that's not really snap. Similar motion, so I guess that's one of the many ways they're trying to get you to feel the motion. You really do have to stay loose to be able to get good clean snap. However, you don't want to be so loose that your arm is all over the place. That's all they're saying. Stay loose and relaxed, but keep your body and your arm in proper alignment still.
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Re: Is this why I'll never throw far?

Postby garublador » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:23 am

harkerj wrote:Ultimately, I went to that article looking for a way to practice the "feel" of the snap, the hit, whatever you want to call it. That article was referenced in at least two or three other threads I read. And, unless someone can prove me wrong, at least THAT part of the article is inaccurate and should be edited/removed.
Yeah, that article is almost 10 years old now. All of those old articles probably should be looked over and updated but my guess is that Blake would rather consolidate them rather than edit all of them individually. Either way it's a fairly large undertaking for something that's just a hobby. The drills from the "Incomplete Secret Technique" are much better.
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Re: Is this why I'll never throw far?

Postby Alcuin » Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:05 pm

I've been working on disc golf in a serious way for about six months. When I first started, I read this site casually and tried to work from the hit backwards, do towel drills, and pound the hammer. It felt terrible, so I stopped doing it. I proceeded to play for a couple of months with drivers way out of my league (only went up to speed 9, but that's enough). I never threw my putter for distance, and while I bought a Comet because I'd heard good things about it, I was afraid to use it because by then all I could get it to do consistently was turn and burn.

Then I decided that I was either going to take this stuff seriously or not, so I forced myself to do right pec drills and throw only my Comet and Wizard (and the occasional Magnet) from the tee from a standstill. Once I started doing that, and practicing a lot (pretty much every day), the right pec drills started to make sense. I'm starting to feel the weight of the disc sometimes when I throw and am throwing my Comet longer and longer (today I got one out to 275 according to Google Earth, that's my best distance yet).

Essentially, what I'm saying is that this stuff works. The right pec drill and hammer pounds are not intuitive. Your brain wants to throw with your arm, but the right pec drills teach you to throw in a way that feels very awkward at first but then you start getting used to it. I'm not at all athletic, so it's taken me a lot of work to get even this far, but I wouldn't have been able to do it if I didn't read this site and work through these things.

What I would say is not to focus on producing some sound, or making yourself do the things that you see others doing. You have to find out how you yourself will throw, so you need to find the hit for yourself. These articles and all the great discussion here will point you in the direction of finding the hit. The drills try to get you close to the zone where the hit will be, but you have to find it. And it's all about timing, which no words could ever convey. Hours and hours of practice, searching for the hit and getting incrementally closer every time is working for me. It feels awkward and yes, I'm sure I looked stupid out in the field, but once it starts to pay off it's worth it.

[Signed up just to write this post. Also, to say thanks to this site and forum for showing me the way.]
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Re: Is this why I'll never throw far?

Postby Dbuntu » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:30 pm

harkerj wrote:So... what am I missing?

Practice.

My advice for what little it's worth:
It sounds like you're overthinking the process.
I'm not a huge thrower myself, 350 is a pretty damn good throw for me so I can't speak to the variations you need to get 400+. However, I can tell you that loose" means something more like "relaxed" in this context. Relaxed muscles move quicker than tense muscles and it's quickness that creates distance. Just keep tossing and don't worry so much about hitting distance markers. Eventually the concepts you've read about will start clicking.
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Re: Is this why I'll never throw far?

Postby harkerj » Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:35 pm

In search of the "sensation" of the hit.

OK so I'm not one to give up, and I've been trying to "find" the popping sound that Blake T was producing in his video, and I believe I've found it. They key came in combining another part of "the hit" with what Blake was describing in his "how to" video.

Blake's instructions tell you to hold your fingers "loose enough to move but tight enough to stay in place." As I stated earlier, as I experimented with this, if my fingers were too loose, they flopped open and stayed open, not slapping back against my palm at all. If my fingers were too tight, they never opened at all and my grip just stayed closed. Either way, there was no snap.

But then I read (elsewhere or in the same article, I forget which) that when you are actually throwing a disc, your grip is to be loose (to allow your joints/levers to move freely and build momentum) until the precise moment of the "hit," at which time you clamp down on your grip as hard as possible.

So I tried incorporating that concept into Blake T's wrist-flick drill.

And voila. All kinds of pop. Fingers slapping against palm (or more accurately, the meaty part of the base of the thumb).

If I make a conscious effort to clamp down on my "grip" at the same time as I do the wrist-flick thing, the "pop" that results is far louder than the pop I can make by simply closing my grip as hard/fast as possible without flicking my wrist. Then, following Blake's further instructions, I can begin to manipulate various amounts of pre-snap "muscle/grip looseness" and I can clearly hear the effect that this has on the loudness of the pop. In this way I think I was successfully able to get the feel of "the hit." And, as Blake T predicted, as soon as I tried to add a full reach back, I could no longer find the pop. This will be the focus of my practice, I guess.

So for anyone attempting to accomplish this, I would revise Blake T's guide thusly (my modifications in bold):

"For those who do not have 400' of power, it may be difficult to conceptualize and really feel the hit. Stand with your feet perpendicular to an object (or other point of reference), shoulder of your throwing arm facing your imaginary target. (Basically line up like you are about to throw a disc at your target.) Point at your target with your throwing hand so that your throwing arm is more or less where it would be when you release a disc. Hold your upper arm (from shoulder to elbow) more or less in place, and give your elbow a little bit of bend. Keep your elbow, wrist, hand and fingers loose enough to move. (OMIT: but tight enough to stay in place.) Your hand should be oriented as if you are gripping a disc (choice of grip isn't important). Now act like you are snapping a towel at your target object (chances are your natural motion for this will involve a little bit of shoulder rotation). Start small - just a little bit of bend at the elbow and wrist as you draw the "towel" back, then fling the towel towards your target by snapping mostly from the wrist but also from the elbow a little bit. If you've held your "grip" loose enough, this flinging motion will cause your fingers to flex open a little bit when your hand starts to move (due to inertia, thanks Ike Newton). To actually SNAP the towel that your are flinging, you must abruptly STOP the flinging motion of your arm and wrist, right about at the time when they are fully extended. At the same time, you want to clamp down your grip on the imaginary towel (so that it doesn't go flying out of your hand). Your goal in this is to coordinate the timing of the movements (and the subsequent stopping of those movements) so that you hear a popping sound of your fingertips slapping against your palm. If you are getting the sound but it is very soft, your hand is too loose. Increase your grip strength a bit. If you are not getting a sound, your hand, forearm, and wrist are too tight. Try loosening up a bit. Search for a happy medium of muscle tension that gives the loudest pop. If you're doing this correctly, the popping sound of the closing grip WITH the fling will be orders of magnitude louder than the sound you can produce simply by attempting to slap your grip closed WITHOUT also flinging the elbow/wrist. The exact point at which the pop happens is the "would be" hit. After you have been able to achieve this, attempt it again but this time bend a little bit more at the elbow before flinging. See if you get the same sound. If you can, gradually increase the amount of elbow bend "pre-fling." Your shoulder and upper arm will likely get slightly more involved as well. Make sure not to loose any of the volume of the pop - if you lose volume, you're losing the force of the snap and doing something wrong. Figure it out before continuing further. When your elbow is bent all the way back and your throwing hand is basically at your chest, congratulations, you are now doing the "Right Pec Drill" without holding a disc. Grab a real towel and you are now doing the "Towel Drill." See if you can get the real towel to snap. NOW try with a long reach back and see if you can get anything even close to the same result. Chances are the answer to this is no."

ANYWAY... I'm quite certain that I am not breaking ANY new ground with this (considering Blake's orginal article was written in 2002, all this shit has been figured out long, long ago), but it was a small victory for me, so I thought I'd share.

The next time I went out in the field, I can definitely say that being able to feel that snap, and trying to replicate it while throwing a disc, produced noticeable results in my actual throws. I won't say that I went from 280' to 400', but I bet I went to 310' or 320' while actually not throwing as hard as I do on my "normal" throw. And the flight characteristics of the discs I threw changed noticeable as well, which was cool.

Then, of course, I got cocky and tried to really launch one.... and we all know how that ended up.
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Re: Is this why I'll never throw far?

Postby Wyno » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:19 pm

harkerj wrote:Then, of course, I got cocky and tried to really launch one.... and we all know how that ended up.

LOL yeah it's really fascinating how hard it it to keep that feeling while adding arm speed! Nice work with both text and understanding, now for practice.... Good luck!
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Re: Is this why I'll never throw far?

Postby Blake_T » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:17 pm

this article was pretty much the first attempt at trying to explain/teach snap in any kind of depth. pretty much everything written in that article has been replaced by the hammer drills aka "incomplete secret technique."

it took me roughly 7,000 right pec drills in a month to figure out exactly what was going and trying to explain it for the bent elbow article.

the popping sound from the video is sort of a waste of time to pursue beyond just understanding relaxed to firm in the same way that you learn to jab as a boxer.
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Re: Is this why I'll never throw far?

Postby harkerj » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:54 am

Blake_T wrote:the popping sound from the video is sort of a waste of time to pursue beyond just understanding relaxed to firm in the same way that you learn to jab as a boxer.


Yup, I understand that now. It's a starting point, a means to an end. An end that is far, far, far away if yesterday's practice session is any indicator, ha ha.
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