Winter has come, time to learn a forehand?

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Winter has come, time to learn a forehand?

Postby Mark Ellis » Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:59 pm

Winter is the off season for big tournaments and many players scale back their efforts in cold weather. Could this be the perfect time to learn forehand skills?

Why forehand? Why now? Well most players are backhand dominant and the off season is a good time to learn new skills. For those actively competing in tournaments or leagues in the summer, your focus and practice tends to be on what you use the most often, your bread and butter shots. The off season has less time pressure so you can work on new stuff. If your winter weather includes snow then rollers are out. Putting is always good to work on but in cold weather standing still doesn't generate the body heat that throwing longer shots and walking after them does.

In Winter footing is precarious and forehands take less run up, less body involvement and less follow through. In short, when your footing is worst (sidehill, uphill, snow, ice) and your position most cramped (leaning out of a bush) a forehand may be your best friend. So if you learn a forehand on ice how good can you throw it in July?

But, the insightful might argue, forehands are more prone to grip-based errors in bad weather. True, but if you are ever going to learn the shot you need to understand its risks and limitations as well as ways to counteract grip problems. Missing a forehand in a casual round in January is much less painful than in a tournament round in August. Maybe now is the time.

So go out, give it a whirl. If you have problems you can use this thread to get answers from a myriad self-appointed experts. :lol:

Hi, I am Doctor Ellis. I have a high tolerance for your pain and if your health insurance is current we can give you the best treatment available within your policy limits.
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Re: Winter has come, time to learn a forehand?

Postby discmonkey42 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:10 pm

And, when you throw your elbow out trying to learn this shot, you've got the whole winter to heal!!! :wink:
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Re: Winter has come, time to learn a forehand?

Postby Mark Ellis » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:18 pm

discmonkey42 wrote:And, when you throw your elbow out trying to learn this shot, you've got the whole winter to heal!!! :wink:


Don't injure yourself and you don't need to heal.

The elbow out/elbow in debate will continue as long as the Buzzz/Roc debate. Neither can be absolutely right or wrong so long as some folks find one works clearly better than the other for them. Use whatever works for you and if one causes too much pain then just give up the Roc. :lol:
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Re: Winter has come, time to learn a forehand?

Postby Stringbean » Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:09 pm

In learning forehand, what's a good disc to start out with? Not brand specific but in terms of understable / overstable, driver / mid / putter, etcetera?
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Re: Winter has come, time to learn a forehand?

Postby Flipflat » Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:28 pm

Stringbean wrote:In learning forehand, what's a good disc to start out with? Not brand specific but in terms of understable / overstable, driver / mid / putter, etcetera?


honestly, whatever feels good in your hand. I learned with a sidewinder.
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Re: Winter has come, time to learn a forehand?

Postby JR » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:14 am

I would not use something that makes the practice so frustrating that you stop before you learn anything. So OAT punishing squirrely and the most understable discs are out in the very beginning. The most forgiving discs are obviously seriously overstable discs. Once you've become comfortable with the body movements and have gaines some routine straight discs are taking off the training wheels and when they work fine your form should be good enough to transition to hyzer flipping discs fairly easily. Proper size and shape of the discs is essential in having a sensible learning curve too. A tall beaded disc can be a pain to release cleanly for small hands and not easy for larger ones too. Gripping wise in winter tackiness is a great ally and generally thinner and wider winged discs than you use BH are often the easiest to grip and release cleanly. Beads won't help most people so i'd avoid those in the beginning.

I'd start with very moderate amounts of throws and not trying to punch 100 % at all to get proper form as soon as possible to not learn bad habits that you need to unlearn. The greater benefit is to avoid injuries. Seeing if elbow in or out hurts you had better not push the arm to the limit or above it by using a lot of power and reps. The nasty thing about pain is that it can happen tomorrow when tissues swell from the exercise you did now that didn't feel bad at all or so mildly discomforting that you might not even notice or think anything of it while practicing. It is easy to get greedy with something new especially if you see progress. Which should happen the fastest early on at least if get good advice on good FH form.
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Re: Winter has come, time to learn a forehand?

Postby Mark Ellis » Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:55 am

Stringbean wrote:In learning forehand, what's a good disc to start out with? Not brand specific but in terms of understable / overstable, driver / mid / putter, etcetera?


It depends on the skill and experience you already have with forehand throws. If you have basically zero proficiency, then take out your entire bag and maybe add a few overstable backups from your collection. When learning a basic skill it is better to have a stack of discs to try ( more time throwing, less time retrieving ). Winnow them down by how well they work for you.

During a round you might want (or be forced to) take a forehand shot in a putter, mid or driver range, so ideally you want to learn all of them. If you can convince a buddy to join you in learning forehands then you can play catch with a putter from 50 feet, gradually extending back to 100'. Switch to mids and go from 50' to 150'. Then switch to drivers from 100' out to 250' or whatever your easy power range is. Playing catch cuts down on retrieval time. Even if the throws are erratic and you are more playing FETCH than catch it is still more efficient.

It is best to learn in a wide open, flat, mowed area and count your discs before you start. Pay special attention to any shot which rolls and you will find them all easier.

For a raw forehand beginner going by yourself to practice is good. Taking a buddy to play catch with and brainstorm and to watch each other is better. Bring along a buddy and a teacher (anyone better than you :D) is best. If you don't have a teacher then watch a few teaching videos on youtube. No matter who your teacher is or which video you watch, take all advice with a grain of salt. What is best for you may not be what works best for them.

You already have a comfort zone with backhand throws. You can throw a controlled shot at roughly 50-80% power which you can rely on. This is the type of shot you want to develop first in forehand in each category ( putter, mid and driver). The key to a forehand is releasing flat and clean and balanced. Think of each category (putter, mid, driver) as a separate task to learn. The release stays the same but the power quotient varies. Soft for putter. Easy for Mids. Full motion for drivers.

If your disc hyzers out too much or it turns over and rolls then this shows you are not releasing flat (the hyzer out may be too weak a grip). This is the most common error. Think about a sidearm karate chop. Your palm faces the sky and remains parallel to the sky. You need to keep your palm flat until you release a forehand. Turning you wrist over (and therefore your palm since they are connected) too soon is common.

We all would love to throw with great power. But imagine if one month from today you had reliable, competent forehand shots out to 75' with a putter, out to 125' with a mid and out to 200' with a driver. How much would this help your game? These are realistic goals. A couple times a week of practice for a month and start mixing them into rounds and these shots are yours.
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Re: Winter has come, time to learn a forehand?

Postby Monocacy » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:46 am

Mark Ellis wrote:But imagine if one month from today you had reliable, competent forehand shots out to 75' with a putter, out to 125' with a mid and out to 200' with a driver. How much would this help your game? These are realistic goals. A couple times a week of practice for a month and start mixing them into rounds and these shots are yours.

This. Throwing these short-ish shots FH just make the game so much easier. It is also nice to have FH as an option when you have an obstructed stance.
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Re: Winter has come, time to learn a forehand?

Postby Steady 26542 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:45 pm

I recommend watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOECjLjhiTI
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Re: Winter has come, time to learn a forehand?

Postby discpunk26 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:09 am

I just got my forehand back, and love that part of my game. The one thing I don't like about a lot of the forehand videos is that they show wide open field drives. One of my favorite throws is a step out forehand turnover shot. I'm sure you guys know the one I'm talking about. The one where you are up against a tree or in the middle of a bush and you have to stretch into the middle of the bush and still get your shot to finish to the left, where your outstretched to the right to get this shot finishing left. It's the shot that most backhand players dread. I would like to see a video that shows and demonstrates this shot for a get out of trouble shot.

Forehand and rollers are great tools to have, and just like the start of this thread said, winter is a great time to learn one of the strongest standstill shots in the game.
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Re: Winter has come, time to learn a forehand?

Postby seehad » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:22 am

I first learned my backhand 20 years ago and thought I would always backhand. Last winter was the first time I played much in the cold and remember how frustrated I was losing a huge chunk of distance on my drives. This summer was my first season of tournament and league play and knew I needed to develop this aspect of my game. A group of us go out at first light on saturday mornings regardless of weather and these will be forehand only rounds.

I've been practicing forehands to the point where I feel comfortable attempting shots on rounds where I'm going for a low score. Practicing with a comet seems to really help keep my form smooth so that is what I throw the most of in the field. I'm confident I will have a consistent forehand next season; my goal is to bring my 907 to a 950 by the end of the season.
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Re: Winter has come, time to learn a forehand?

Postby ELItheICEman » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:19 am

I've been struggling with my FH pretty much since I started last spring. Even after watching and reading anything I can find about form and how to improve, I still haven't gotten much better. Any time I throw a decent FH drive I consider it to be pure luck.

That said, I took a minute the other night to practice the swing without a disc in hand. But I began by pretending to throw a baseball. I found a comfortable swing that didn't hurt or feel awkward at all, and it consisted of more body lean and turn than I've used trying to throw a disc thus far. So using that as a starting point I started adapting that swing for a disc - first with no disc in hand, practicing the different wrist flick; then with a disc in hand, but not throwing.

Just getting the feel for FH that way has made a huge difference for me. I'm still not able to just walk up and throw a good FH yet, but if I repeat the process described before I actually throw it gets me back into my groove.

Hope this helps.
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