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Disc Review



Backhand Driving Problems

Backhand Drives
My throw is fine but I'm in considerable pain after throwing a round.


If you have bad joints as I do, pain after throwing is a great concern. A smooth throw should feel low impact and near effortless.

  • I'm experiencing upper arm, chest, or shoulder pain.
  • I'm experiencing elbow pain.
  • I'm experiencing knee pain in my plant leg.
  • I'm experiencing knee pain in my off leg.
  • I'm experiencing pain in my throwing hand.
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    Backhand Drives
    I'm experiencing upper arm, chest, or shoulder pain.

    Possible Causes
  • My shoulders stay pointed at my target for the duration of the throw.
  • I'm pulling through as hard as I can.


    My shoulders stay pointed at my target for the duration of the throw.
    Possible Fix:
    If your shoulders stay perpendicular to the target with your right shoulder pointing, then you are forcing your body to use smaller muscle groups to propel the disc and forces your upper arm to stay rigid throughout the throw. Correct form includes a shoulder rotation with a loose upper arm. This allows your shoulders to pull your arm and the disc along like a whip to the release point. It also gives much greater arm speed than trying to pull the disc yourself and also will reduce muscle fatigue.


    I'm pulling through as hard as I can.
    Possible Fix:
    I have read several places that your disc pull line should be "like you are starting a lawnmower." Keep in mind that this refers only to keeping your arm close to your body for the throw and not actually pulling with your arm in that motion. Your upper arm should be loose and your arm speed should come from your shoulders opening and pulling your arm in the process. It is bad to "force" your pull through since it will slow your arm down and it can straing your muscles as well as cause muscle rigidity in places that will effect your power if they occur at the wrong times in your throw. Your throw should feel smooth and effortless.

    The problem is something else.
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    Backhand Drives
    I'm experiencing elbow pain.

    Possible Causes
  • You aren't getting a good follow-through.


    You aren't getting a good follow-through.
    Possible Fix:
    Elbow pain is often caused by tendon strain from abrupt stopping. Try throwing a baseball 50 times without a follow-through and chances are your elbow will be sore. Disc golf throws have very high arm speed and a good follow-through is necessary not only for a good throw, but to alleviate arm stress as well. Failure to follow-through correctly can lead to bigger problems in the future such as a blown elbow, tendonitis, and even cartilage problems. If you have over 250' of power, your arm should finish almost 180 degrees from your target. If it's stopping at say 90 degrees away, this is probably the source of your elbow pain. To get a strong follow-through, make sure you pull through the snap and let your arm continue through until it stops. This may continue your body moving longer than before, so you may want to make sure you get a good pivot and even step through your pivot if you have bad knees.
    Backhand Drives
    I'm experiencing knee pain in my plant leg.

    Possible Causes
  • You aren't getting your weight centered over your pivot foot.
  • You are planting on a straight leg.
  • You aren't getting a clean pivot.
  • You are planting your pivot foot at too great an angle from the target.
  • You aren't leading with your hips.


    You aren't getting your weight centered over your pivot foot.
    Possible Fix:
    If you find your weight behind your pivot foot your plant leg will straighten during your hip rotation. This will result in your pivot foot being pushed into the ground with a lot of force resulting in either an improper pivot, twist of the knee, or both. Try to stay light on your feet and make sure to get your weight over your front foot so you can get a good pivot. Stepping through the pivot may take even more stress off of your knee.


    You are planting on a straight leg.
    Possible Fix:
    If you plant your pivot foot on a straight leg, your pivot foot will be pushed into the ground with a lot of force resulting in either an improper pivot, twist of the knee, or both. This usually occurs by failing to get your weight shifted forward enough and over your pivot foot. Your plant should occur on the ball of your foot with a bent knee allowing for a clean pivot and with low stress on your knee.


    You aren't getting a clean pivot.
    Possible Fix:
    I know a "clean" pivot is rather vague. The only thing I can say about this is to avoid knee pain, your plant foot should finish with your toes pointed anywhere from 45 degrees to the left of the target to 180 degrees or more away from the target or more to avoid twisting off the knee. This will require your weight to be centered over your front foot, your plant will be on the ball of your foot, and your knee will have to be bent for the pivot to occur freely and avoid your foot being "locked" into the ground. For those with bad knees, I recommend "stepping through" the pivot. This is achieved by letting your off leg come through with the rest of your body rather than keeping it back. This shouldn't effect distance as this will occur after the disc is released. I have particularly bad knees and I actually "spin" on my pivot foot and finish with it pointing around 160 degrees away from the basket in order to alleviate knee tension.


    You are planting your pivot foot at too great an angle from the target.
    Possible Fix:
    I have read many places the recommendation of planting your foot 90 degrees from the target. This may cause knee strain by forcing your hips to lunge through the hip swivel and straightening your knee as well as making it more difficult to get your weight over your plant foot. If you are having trouble with knee strain, I recommend planting at an angle more like 45 degrees from the target and onto a bent knee. This should allow for a clean pivot and reduce tension on your knee.

    This may cause your hip swivel to start earlier so you may need to make adjustments to your timing with this change. Your shoulders will open more and your whip will probably begin slightly earlier. If you find yourself grip-locking your throws when attempting this, it is probably a timing issue. Throws that grip-lock are often due to an early pull-through. Starting your shoulder rotation and pull through before your plant foot has landed is almost certain to end up grip locking. The rhythm of the throw should flow 1-2-plant-whip. A 1-2-whip/plant or 1-2-whip-plant is going to cause a very bad griplock/anhyzer problem. If you are finding your throws ending up way right you may want to focus on this. If you find yourself pulling early you may have found your culprit. This problem will take a bit of work to fix but be persistant with it and focus on your timing until it becomes automatic. Be very careful that you do not over compensate. Throws that end noticably left are generally due to a late weight transfer and/or late rotation of the shoulders.


    You aren't leading with your hips.
    Possible Fix:
    A common problem I have seen with players is not leading with their hips. A powerful throw starts with the legs. Your feet lead the hip rotation which leads the torso rotation which leads the shoulder rotation which pulls the arm. It's an uncoiling process that starts low and finishes high. The problem some players have is uncoiling in the wrong order. Coming out of their steps they will force their shoulders through early and often be behind their front foot instead of over it. Done with enough power and the upper body will continue moving until it comes to an abrupt stop when the body's natural flexibility is at its limit. If you do not have your hips already through at this point, the sudden stopping of the upper body will then cause the same spring effect on your lower body. If you pivot cleanly your lower body will then whip through and probably carry you well beyond your plant foot. If you are behind your foot or cannot get a clean pivot, the sudden whipping of your lower body will jam your foot down, straighten your leg by locking your knee, and procede to twist your knee until your foot is finally forced to move. If you often find yourself "hopping" off your pivot foot and onto your off leg after your drives rather than just rotating around on your plant foot, chances are you are not quite getting your hips through. Not only will this risk injury but it will also reduce your throwing power.

    The problem is something else.
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    Backhand Drives
    I'm experiencing knee pain in my off leg.

    Possible Causes
  • You are dragging your off leg's foot.


    You are dragging your off leg's foot.
    Possible Fix:
    Dragging your off foot during the throw can cause strain to your Lateral Collateral Ligament. The friction and bouncing of your foot behind the rest of your body can cause your knee to want to bend sideways and leave you with knee pain or injury. Try to make sure to step off your off leg during your plant and pivot and keep it from dragging on the ground. Not only will this help to save your shoes, but it should alleviate knee pain caused in this manner.

    The problem is something else.
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    Backhand Drives
    I'm experiencing pain in my throwing hand.

    Possible Causes
  • My fingers go numb after every throw.
  • I grip the disc so hard that I get blisters.


    My fingers go numb after every throw.
    Possible Fix:
    Numbness in the hand is bad and in the long run could lead to more serious problems with tendons, nerves, and other things you probably don't want. The root of this problem probably lies in one or more issues.

    If you are consciously throwing as hard as you can you may experience pain in your hand as well as other areas, chest, shoulder, bicep, etc. If you find yourself doing this, concentrate more on smooth and quick. Very little "power" is required from your arm to get the disc out there and muscling it will actually slow your arm down.

    If you are gripping the disc as tight as possible at all times, the numbness may be caused by the disc ripping out and bruising your finger tips. This will also make your forearm rigid and make a good elbow extension difficult. The disc should rip out, but it should do so without causing you severe hand pain.

    If you are not keeping your arm close to your body you will also get an awkward elbow extension. Throwing hard with a straight arm is going to cause an awkward sweep. Couple that with the momentum of the disc and you may be straining the tendons in your wrist and forearm. Keeping the disc closer to your body until the snap point will bend your elbow during the pull through and allow for natural elbow extension through momentum.


    I grip the disc so hard that I get blisters.
    Possible Fix:
    Callouses are good, blisters are bad. If you are getting blisters on your fingers and heavy callouses on the palm of your hand, chances are you are gripping the disc too tightly at the wrong times. Good snap only requires a very tight grip at the point the disc rips out of your hand. Try a couple of light but firm practice swings without a disc in your hand. Your hand, wrist, and forearm should be loose enough that you hear a snapping sound of your fingers slapping against your palm at the would be hit. The spot to tighten your grip is at the point when your fingers slap against your palm. Keep in mind that the momentum of the disc will naturally press it tighter into your hand at that point so you may not need to consciously tighten your grip to get good snap.

    The problem is something else.
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    Backhand Drives
    All of my drives are low or wormburners.


    Low drives are a very common problem, especially to newer players who have spent time trying to keep the disc down. Low line drives are often a requirement a technical course so here are a few things that may be causing you to get the disc too low and sacrifice distance.

    Possible Causes
  • Your left shoulder is too high throughout your throw.
  • You aren't getting your weight centered properly.
  • Your thumb placement on your grip is too close to the edge.
  • You need to throw with more hyzer.


    Your left shoulder is too high throughout your throw.
    Possible Fix:
    A RHBH throw is similar to a left handed baseball swing and some of the natural tendencies of your mechanics will effect both a swing and a throw in the same way. Dropping the back shoulder in baseball will cause an uppercut swing and result in popups. Dropping the back shoulder in disc golf also causes and upswing and can often result in stallouts. There is a fine line. Discs will need to have a line drive trajectory with a nose down flight while still getting enough height on the disc in order to achieve maximum carry. Since you will want your pull-through to come through on a level plane, you will need to let your back shoulder drop a little bit during your throw. This should change the relative angle of your chest/shoulders and give a slight upwards line on a straight pull across your chest. If you drop your back shoulder too much you will get and extreme upswing resulting in stall outs. I do not recommend concentrating on how much your shoulder height varies but if you were paying attention to keeping your back shoulder above your front shoulder throughout your throw you should ease up on this a bit.


    You aren't getting your weight centered properly.
    Possible Fix:
    Balance is critical in many aspects of throwing and is often the main cause of errant throws. If you find your center of balance behind your heels instead of over the balls of your feet, your natural body extension during the throw will be awkward. This type of balance loss will cause you to lean back during your throw, making a correct forward weight shift near impossible to achieve. The results of this will be a pivot with your weight behind the plant foot instead of over it and an early extension of the elbow. These will in turn result in a pull line that goes downwards and/or to the right. The downwards trajectory is often the cause of low throws and wormburners.


    Your thumb placement on your grip is too close to the edge.
    Possible Fix:
    A general rule of gripping a disc is that moving the thumb closer to the edge will help get the nose down while having the thumb close to the center will result in nose up throws. Many players then try to move their thumb to the very extreme edge of the disc and grip where the plastic is very stiff around the rim. Your thumb should be over the soft part of the flight plate but as close to the stiff part as you can and still get a firm grip. Thumb placement too near the edge can result in throws that have too much nose down angle and often less power. Having the nose too far down won't have much of an effect on most throws but headwinds and tailwinds will try to push the disc down further and can knock it down causing an abnormally low throw.


    You need to throw with more hyzer.
    Possible Fix:
    An easy way of adding height to a throw is to flatten a hyzer. The disc will rise until it flattens and the more hyzer angle the more a disc can rise. This also works very well for getting stable discs to fly as straight as possible. If you are throwing stable to understable drivers, rather than trying to get an upwards trajectory to get more height on your throw, experiment with hyzer angles and see how much the disc will rise before reaching a stable, straight flight. Throws of this nature will require the disc's orientation along its angle of release to be flat to nose down. If you have problems with this technique there is another section specifically addressing this subject: I can't seem to flatten a hyzer.

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