Forehanders Anonymous

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Forehanders Anonymous

Postby HumanTF » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:52 pm

Since 99% of the active topics are for backhanders, I decided to go ahead and open up this one.

My disc golf journey has been full of changes. When I first started, I threw LHBH. I'm right handed, but for some reason throwing lefty felt more natural. Thought about this a lot, and the best answer I could come up with is throwing lefty is kind of the same motion as swinging a baseball bat. While it felt comfortable, it certainly didn't feel powerful. If I remember correctly, my drives were maxing out right around 250 feet.

Despite not having a clue what I was doing technique-wise, I quickly became addicted to the game and started playing at least 3 times a week. After a few months, I started routinely getting pain in my left shoulder, and eventually made the switch to RHBH. Basically had to re-learn the game, but it was totally worth it. My distance increased, and after months of play I hadn't developed any nagging injuries.

Nearly two years into my disc golf "career," I witnessed my first forehand drive. It was a completely foreign concept to me. I grew up playing baseball, a pitcher. I had the meanest fastball a 14 year old has ever had. Naturally, forehand shots looked very appealing to me. I still remember my very first forehand drive - hole 3 at Turtlecreek Park in Lebanon, OH with a 175g Pro Starfire. I barely put any power into it and was amazed at how far it glided. Flicked it a good 20ft passed the 300ft target. I've stuck with forehand for distance ever since.

I consider myself somewhat of an expert at crushing forehands. In fact, after modifying my technique this past weekend, I seem to have developed a personally unprecendented level of power and consistency. Below are a few tips for the aspiring forehander. These are by no means meant to be considered concrete rules, but rather some personal guidelines I've established when it comes to power and consistency. Feel free to dispute any of these, I'm definitely interested in a discussion.

1) Stick with 175g discs. Throwing forehand produces much more torque than a backhand throw, thus it can be very easy for your disc to turn over into an unintentional roller, especially consider lighter weight discs tend to behave more understable than their 175g counterparts.
2) Stick with overstable discs for the above reasons.

Now, don't get me wrong. You can still sucessfully forehand 167g understable drivers, but it requires a different amount of force and a different angle of release. You have to really get low and release a sharp hyzer, and hopefully it will turn over just enough to glide relatively flat. Looks pretty, but for me, was entirely too inconsistent.

3) Keep your backswing very compact. This is one of the subtle tweaks I've recently implemented into my game that has done wonders. Your backswing and point of release should be very close to one another. To me, throwing forehand is a lot like throwing a punch. You've got it cocked and loaded right by your shoulder, and then you just...well...punch it through! Previously, I had a pretty wild backswing. I'd start my run up with my disc hanging by my waist, come waaaay far behind, arm fully extended, and then try to whip it straight across. I'm embarassed to admit how long it took me to realize my pointless backswing was the direct source of my inconsistency. Now, I start with my disc positioned at the desired point of release, and bring my disc back maybe eight inches on the backswing. No power lost, loads of accuracy gained.

Time to clock out...will update later! :D
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Re: Forehanders Anonymous

Postby JR » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:15 pm

FH and overstability ain't much different from BH in the sense that many new players buy way too overstable and fast discs for their power and form BH when they start. That caps progress soon. In the beginning if you ask me. Both FH and BH have a continuum in overstability vs form and power and they are a little offset with FH needing more overstability to gain the same safety margin per thrower proficiency at the same distance. Because FH spins the disc less.

FH throwing can be more touchy and an 8" arm movement from reach back to rip is a great way to reduce that. I witnessed a couple of arm straight back FH 460' minimum flat land calm wind sea level shots this year so it can be done. Ville Piippo reaches back maybe just a part of the disc behind his right side on 530' sea level FH line drives. Innova guys like Dunipace and Jenkins start way back with a rotation in the arm movement. Dave at ear level Avery doing a 360 with the arm.

No matter what the reach back distance is one needs to start out pretty loose with the arm so as to not overpower your wrist and spin generation to not flip the disc over.
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: Forehanders Anonymous

Postby keltik » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:56 am

my favorite disc to FH is a Polecat.
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Re: Forehanders Anonymous

Postby JR » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:49 pm

But only for those 500'+ shots right? :D
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: Forehanders Anonymous

Postby cubeofsoup » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:00 pm

I completely disagree with points 1 and 2 of your advice, both of those are just tactics to mask bad form. Any weight and any disc can be thrown forehand.
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Re: Forehanders Anonymous

Postby JR » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:29 pm

If you refer to my post above that is just a quick start to get people going in the right direction. You gotta be able to walk before running right? I saw a guy in Turku, Finland throwing around 480' from almost a straight arm reach back FH. If you've got the wrist to do that knock yourself out and more power to you :-D
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: Forehanders Anonymous

Postby Wafflescoffer18 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:52 pm

When i started playing disc golf i naturally tended to use the forearm shot for all of my drives and approaches, and i agree my favorite disc is a discraft surge and it is an overstable disc, i have a hard time throwing understable disc as well i think it is due to OAT, i try to throw the understable just like my overstable.
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Re: Forehanders Anonymous

Postby pask2155 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:00 pm

What's a good average distance for forehand shots?
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Re: Forehanders Anonymous

Postby cubeofsoup » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:52 pm

pask2155 wrote:What's a good average distance for forehand shots?

with what disc?
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Re: Forehanders Anonymous

Postby JR » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:55 pm

Along the clearest route to under the bucket or at least to your 100 % putting make rate distance. The more courses are designed to favor long drives FH the more added FH distance counts. In many places these days it is enough to score ok if you reach far enough to where BH annies start to work reliably. With current technology it isn't really far at all. Since lids can move right quickly even under 100'. To navigate around obstacles is another matter and there it doesn't hurt to be able to pound out faaar. But 400'+ can be helpful but i count it more as a trick shot than bread and butter routine throw. 300' is very useful and 200' is still nice. This all requires you to have a good BH anny of course. FH alone needs 370'+ for am events and 450'+ to compete with the top level pros and on some courses 500'+ against the elite.
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: Forehanders Anonymous

Postby Mark Ellis » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:57 am

Forehanders don't have to be anonymous. For example I am only somewhat embarrassed by my unfortunate situation and actually use my real name. :lol:

Just as all players are unique, so are all forehanders. The rules given in the OP would have been perfect for me when I started self-teaching myself forehand. Now I follow none of those rules and if I could take the knowledge I have now and go back in time to give myself a lesson it would have sped up my improvement a lot.

The rules proposed are good for a player learning forehand who starts with a very strong arm. So if someone can throw a baseball through a wall then start with heavy overstable discs. The less natural power and snap a person has the more he/she should go with lighter and less stable discs.

Backswing is less important. What is key is to be able to release the disc flat and clean. You can swing your arm in windmill motions or figure 8's if the finish is correct. It seems to me, though, that too short a backswing inhibits power (like a jab compared to a haymaker in boxing or like a standstill delivery compared to a run up). Few good players have a very short backswing on backhand drives. A fuller backswing (bh or fh) causes a full body turn which helps power.

I played with a guy who did a 50 'run up on drives. Did the first 40' of that run up help him? Probably not but it also did no harm (except looking weird). What happens at the hit is what is important. Run ups and body turn aid with power and momentum and so are useful. They also minimize strain on the arm and active the power of the body core in the shot.

My early years forehanding I threw the most overstable discs I could find. These counteract flutter (oat) best. Now my flutter is less so I no longer want or need crazy overstable discs.

Scott Stokely was one of the best players in the world for over a decade and he had great power FH and BH. Great power. He set distance records in his day. I remember watching him sidearm a Stratus (understable disc) on drives and was shocked, SHOCKED, that he could control it. At the time it would have been impossible for me. Power is a great skill but nothing compared to power and touch.

With practice you can throw and control any disc in your bag forehand. Release flat and clean and gauge the power used to the stability of the disc.
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Re: Forehanders Anonymous

Postby keltik » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:15 am

yeah I was going to say that there is nothing anonymous about your forehanding, Mr. Ellis. Has Discraft thought about doing an updated FH video with you and Big Jerm?
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Re: Forehanders Anonymous

Postby Mark Ellis » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:09 am

keltik wrote:yeah I was going to say that there is nothing anonymous about your forehanding, Mr. Ellis. Has Discraft thought about doing an updated FH video with you and Big Jerm?


Big Jerm would be a good choice. He has freakish power and control. Then we add Geoff Bennett, another alien. I could carry their bags and feebly try to make witty comments.
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Re: Forehanders Anonymous

Postby keltik » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:18 am

I wasn't sure if Bennett was still on the radar. I would watch that video, especially to hear the Lizard Lawyer commentary.
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Re: Forehanders Anonymous

Postby bfowler » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:41 pm

I've been playing for a little over 4 months and just started trying to learn the forehand throw. I really, really sucked at it until I read Blake's hammer drills. It instantly clicked and while I have a long way to go in only a week my forehand shot has gone from a 5 foot wounded duck to a 200 foot shot that doesn't totally suck. I'm looking forward to some sessions in the practice field. I'm throwing a 169 Surge.
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