I have been disc golfing for 14 years, upon 1000s of hours of research. I want to teach the essential steps and things I have learned to my journey of throwing 500+ in a flat field. There is lacking information out there that is all in one place.
Learning disc golf can be a struggle, you will find so many different methods and potential misinformation. I want to make the ultimate guide for how you can work on getting your distance increased farther with proper fundamentals.
You can learn how to improve your distance from 75 feet up to 500 feet with all the knowledge I will share with you. How you should approach it and properly gain your own style.
I have a awful body type for distance, shorter and short arm span and I am bigger, getting into the power pocket creates challenges and I am able to get to 500ft anyone can. I want to share everything I know in-depth for you.
Fundamentals Of Backhand
This will be ordered in what I value most for backhanding far. I will go in-depth on everything fundamental I list and have videos showing you examples.
- Footwork – Footwork gets overlooked lots of time. It decides the angle you throw and how you aim the disc. Balance from footwork and how you distribute your weight during the walk-up can determine how far you can throw. Speed can relate to more power, but you should learn how to walk slowly and get timing first.
- Lower body – When you first learn how to use your legs in the throw, you will have potential sore calves and thighs. This goes hand and hand with footwork, but the final step is how you press into the ground and press up from the knee/thigh muscles. If you don’t do it properly, you are not generating power from your lower body.
- Hips & Core – How you twist at the waist and core can lead to more power if you learn how to do it properly and retain balance through footwork. How you stay vertical but can load and twist during your run-up is critical.
- Back & Spine & Head – Keeping your chin high helps your spine stay in line and enables you to gain distance. I see many with the chin down looking at the target, but that takes your spine out of line.
- Arm & Shoulders – I have seen many people talk about pulling, and strength, to get all the power they need to throw far. When you should be initiating the throw from the lower body and hips, and core. The throw is initiated from the lower body. You are more just “pulling” to keep the disc in the line that you have set up your body to whip the disc out on. Pulling the disc can lead to rounding and injuries.
- Timing – The most challenging part is trying to time everything together, what properly initiates the throw, and putting it all together from the ground up.
- Follow-Through – This is a crucial step to allow yourself to play as much as you want and practice daily. Follow-through happens naturally unless you are stopping it from happening. Spinning on your heal takes a lot of pressure from your knee.
There is no amount of words, that can explain how helpful every single step is. I will go in-depth on how to implement these into your throw and how you can start your journey of throwing farther. Because every single part of your body is getting used for throwing backhanded.
Before I go into how to put everything together and approach your backhand disc golf throw, I will break down some valuable terms and how you should be gripping the disc.
Why You Should Learn What Lag Is In Disc Golf
Disc golf lag is a necessary term you should learn about before a breakdown of all the steps, and it is how pros generate a huge % of the distance they have.
Lag means the disc follows behind what you are getting your body to do from the ground up, the last thing of the whip, generating it to come with so much force that you could never hold onto the disc.
Lag is caused by the throw starting with slamming(stomping)your foot into the ground, toes to heel. Then you push up on your knee/thighs. Then you start twisting your hips, then the core, your arm follows, and you pull very minorly, getting into the 90-degree power pocket sweet spot, and your arm and elbow take over.
You do not pull the disc ahead of those motions happening. It comes lagged behind, and when it is all generated from the ground up, all the power is leading into the shoulders, elbow, then hands and fingers into the disc, ripping from your fingers/hand.
Everything happens in just such a fast, fluent motion that even watching pros throw, you won’t even see it. It makes it hard to describe the timing of all that.
Pulling the disc you can create lag and get temporary distance, but it shouldn’t be your main focus, you need to learn how to create lag using your body as a whip/sling to get extreme distances 500ft+ I am not sure if you could break those distances pulling the disc.
That is why most people don’t know how important the feet/legs/knees/hips/core are for generating power into the throw.
Think of all the timing and steps you can improve, feet, knees, thighs, hips, core, back, shoulders, arms to create lag. The speed of mastering those will greatly benefit you over “pulling” the disc for temporary distance it may get you, but it will fatigue you and cap you out at distance if you are “pulling”.
Learn from the ground up to create lag, and you will have a way bigger ceiling for growth.
What Is The Disc Golf Power Pocket
From creating lag from the ground up and then slinging the disc from your feet, hips, core, shoulder. It allows you to get the disc into the power pocket which then allows snap to happen.
Getting into the power pocket in the most powerful way that will generate the most spin and speed is caused from lag, which is the ground up.
The power pocket is when you are leading with the elbow cause from rotation, bringing the disc to your left chest for right hand back hand throwers, creating a 90 degree elbow with your arm with the elbow in the lead.
Keeping squared during the throw will allow more snap, more speed and snap to happen during the throw.
Just from twisting your core and hips, it brings the disc into the power pocket which then allows snap to happen.
It sounds extremely simple and takes a lot of timing and practice to get efficient at it, but using your strength or muscles creates injuries. When it comes from the ground up you are able to play nearly as much disc golf as you want with reason.
Resting and recovery is always important.
What Is Snap In Disc Golf & Does Sound Mean Snap
Most people don’t know what disc golf snap is or what it means. When related to backhand throws, snap is quite simple, extremely simple. You don’t do anything as long as you have a proper grip, wrist angle, and form. Extremely simple, honestly snap is something you shouldn’t even worry about and it will come naturally.
Snap happens at the end of the whip (End of the power pocket). You do not try to flick your wrist. You don’t even pay attention to it. When you do proper form, the disc will rip from your fingers/hand at the very last point of the throw.
Depending on how you grip it, you may hear a sound, for others, you may not. That doesn’t mean bad or good. Some players get a sound. Some don’t.
I can throw 500+ft with my right-hand backhand I don’t get any snap sound. When I left-hand backhand for 300 feet, I will hear a snap sound come out.
You aim based on footwork, how you position your body will dictate how you release the disc.
Grip locking is when people say they hung onto the disc, but in reality, you shouldn’t be able to hold onto the disc if you did proper form cause it isn’t going to rip from your hands. You probably did bad footwork or something leading up to the throw.
The disc slipping out early is a thing and you can feel it, you didn’t quite grip it correctly or cold hands or slippery hands ext.
Gripping The Disc
How to properly grip the disc for backhand throws varies. Everyone has different shapes and sizes of hands, but there can certain things you should do.
Most say put it in the crease between the index finger and middle finger across the palm, then grip around it. For me personally, that makes me throw nose up if I don’t change it from that.
Even if you are pouring the coffee trick, it still makes me throw nose up.
So I want you to be aware of things to look out for when gripping the disc.
Even if you have the disc nose up 5%-10%, you may not even notice it, but you just lost an unknown amount of distance, 25-75feet, depending on how far you can throw.
I have my methods of gripping the disc, and things I have learned in my journey, and I have never seen anyone else share these tips. It is similar but different, and I think many could benefit from this.
With everything said, I want to share what a proper grip looks like and how you can find your own that fits your hands and just understand what you should do to allow yourself a good grip.
How To Properly Grip For Backhand Disc Golf
I will first show you a spread fan grip picture, I use this for 90% of the shots I play on the courses I play, it gives the most control and you can get enough power to get 50-400 with good control.
With that grip in mind, I will show a video next and explaining the grip, how it works, and what you should look for when finding the grip you will use. I don’t preach to copy, and everyone has different hands and sizes.
I do personally think everyone should learn a fan grip and also have a power grip. But if you look at James Conrad, world champion. He only power grips putters to distance drivers.
This short video showed the pressure point between the thumb and pointer finger/knuckle. I believe that is the main pressure point when going for max distance.
I wanted to show in the video that the full flick motion of my grip will release it flat, or I can even point it 30% angled nose-down (pointing down) with my grip, or even nose-up (pointing up).
There is many various different grips, 3 finger power grip, fingers tucked inside the rim, fingers all on the inside of the rim not tucked. Find what works for you and your hand size.
Just key points is making sure it has a clean flat release from your hand, throwing nose-up and nose-down have its benefits in certain approach shots or in the wind.
People say you pour coffee to get a nose-down angle, which I agree with. But you should test the whole movement of your wrist and see if it even allows you to snap it out on the angle you flat.
Just cause you are pouring the coffee with your disc at the beginning of the throw have you tested if you wrist even does that motion properly.
How To Stop Nose-up Throws With Grip
For me personally when I grip around the disc from the traditional method people recommend of putting the disc between your pointer finger and middle finger and grabbing around the disc. When I flick my wrist in that grip it will flick the disc nose-up every single time.
Fixes for getting nose-down, is bringing your thumb back on the plate of the disc, I can see under the disc like a 30% nose-down angle with my grip when I pour the coffee.
I can pick and choose my angle more precisely just based on my thumb placement. Sliding it downwards, I feel the traditional recommended gripping method makes your place your thumb to high on the disc then what is needed.
How Hard To Grip The Disc
Don’t grip so hard it seizes up your wrist or forearm and makes it slow, you want to grip it hard enough that you will not release it early/slide out of your hand.
The snap from the lag/force makes it impossible to hold onto the disc either way, find the happy medium that works for you.
I grip harder near the knuckle/pointer finger and thumb pressure point when throwing max distance.
Step By Step Backhanding
I have 3 different shots ranging from 230-430ft showing you how the form stays the same except how fast I decide to twist/sling decides the range of the throw.
Simple walk up, slow and steady showing control and balance and keep the center of gravity centered through the walkup and throw.
Step 1: Figure out a footwork routine
Firstly I will always stand with my feet side by side pointing at the lane I want to throw at.
Then for my footwork I do left right left right, if I want to do a bigger runup for my max distance, I will always place my left foot onto the teepad first then do left right left right.
Some people say practice stand still, but you will learn standstills along the way and when you are practicing approaches, get the benefits of both worlds and practice a slow X-step.
I have seen many do standstills then add a runup and it’s like they didn’t even learn anything practicing standstills.
You don’t need to do a fast X-step to get the benefits from it, slow and steady and practice STAY BALANCED and center of gravity always straight up and down and dont lean sideways.
Teepad example walkup
Standup and get yourself in a position of step 3 and step 4 feet placement. Then put your arm into a 90 degree angle then twist your hips backwards then forward and just see how the hips alone do the work for you, they will push the disc backwards and then when you twist them forward they bring disc back into the power pocket.
Here is 2 pictures one comparing myself to Eagle McMahon – This is what I believe is the power position to create the most spin/sling/whip/lag to the disc.
Putting It all Together Backhand
Step 1-2: Your eyes should be on the target, slow steps keeping balanced I prefer heel to toe. You should be looking straight not down or up.
Disc shouldn’t be in front of you, by your hip, chest, core. Will allow you to be most consistent once you find your routine.
If you look down you put spine out of line. (Leaning over forces you to look down to hyzerflip is different then looking down).
Step 2-3: You still shouldn’t begin rotating at this step yet.
For step 3 with my left foot, I am going from toes to heel, or I recommend staying on your toes barely as it will help you keep weight more balanced until you learn how to do it better.
(Many Pros also just stay balanced on their toes during the full throw, not letting there heel touch the ground)
As you bring your foot up from step 2 (this is your right foot going from step 2 to step 4 for right hand backhand), you will slowly start to begin your rotation into the power position. By twisting you leave the disc behind you, you should never be pushing the disc out. It will be happen from the rotation naturally from your body.
Step 3-4: You begin the rotation of everything, knee/hips/core/shoulder, naturally your head will come off the target of your line.
You use the left hand to help you get into the most cocked position, for little distances you dont need to use your left hand as much, for big throws you swing your left hand out to twist yourself more.
As I am twisting I am leaving the disc out from my body not straight back as you can’t actually bring it into the power pocket if its fully behind you, which will lead you to rounding/pulling and potential injuries.
Final Initiation of the throw:
Step 4: I would recommend going toes to heel, and stomping into your toes in a fast fluent motion to heel until you learn how it feels. When I first did that method my calves, and thighs were sore just from throwing.
The left hand swings downwards/sideways in front of you or to your side staying close to your body once its close to my body I just forget about it and just let it naturally do whatever it does.
Personally I am explaining the left hand, but don’t try doing a huge stretch and momentum when you are first using it, just do a little swing and work on getting more twist and stretch as you work and practice to gain more distance.
Getting into that position can be hard and you will feel it burn the core just from that twist at first.
As that is happening your begin opening up the the hips and and you kind of just unload everything from opening up your hips/core it brings the disc into the power pocket and I do pull a bit but pulling should only be 10% of the source or even less.
You do not snap the disc at the end of the throw it should happen automatically happen from the force, its literally “impossible” to hold onto it if you are creating lag from the ground up. It will rip from your hand.
My Key Point To Getting 500ft
Learn to get proper timing, go slow and steady with the walk up to learn.
Center of gravity centered during your walk up, “spine straight up and down” with reason to the shot.
Getting into what I call the power position to get all the rotations from the knee/hips/core/shoulder.
Don’t expect to get 500ft right away, repetitions will allow you to gain more distance over time. You do gain muscles that you don’t realize over time just for disc golf from throwing.
Allowing you to throw farther, and spin faster and mobility to twist more naturally without forcing it.
How To Observe Pros Throwing Disc Golf
What do you look at when you watch someone on YouTube looking at the form? My most significant improvement was watching the toes. Yes, the toes for disc golf, my biggest recommendation for anyone is to grab a notepad and watch their favorite pro throw on Youtube in slow motion.
Everyone is unique, and everyone has their own throwing style and what they enjoy, choose the pro you like to watch and learn from them. There are specific pros who I don’t want to throw like and some I admire and want to throw like. Develop and learn the style you enjoy and want to do.
Here is a list what to watch and write about:
- Toes – How they Balance on them, or how they twist from the toes (not all pros stay on there toes, some do some don’t)
- Knees/thighs – How they push up.
- Foot placement – Final foot placement horizontal(or facing backwards a bit)then compare the placement of how forward the right food is compared to left.
- Run up for every angle of shot, straight, hyzer, anhyzer, hyzerflip – How they position for the runup for the different angles
- The “Reach back” how the arm doesn’t go past the arm span for their body type offers.
- They don’t lean they are able to twist so much at the core/hips/shoulders making it have illusion that they lean over.
- How they brace for the follow-through. (bracing is the final plant foot)
- The myth of people punching the ground with their left arm, is wrong. Why would you want your momentum to go downwards when you are trying to generate it from then ground up? The Left arm has a use but not that.
- If you wanna hop when you throw watch Garrett Gurthie
- Slow with perfect timing Drew Gibson
Watch who you want to throw like or someone with the same body composition.
Have you ever considered these before when watching pro disc golfers trying to mimic their form, and gaining distance? Watch every single detail and WRITE IT DOWN. You will not remember every step.
Write down more, and more… You can never gain enough information.
How To Record Yourself For Form Reviews Disc Golf
I think people approach it incorrectly when you see form reviews or comparisons when learning and trying to get distance.
Firstly, when you ask someone to record you on a teepad for disc golf. What goes through your mind, most distance, do your rush your form, do you try to be perfect cause you are filming? I know I do. Maybe you don’t.
But I think the biggest thing you can do to improve is to go to a field with a tripod or a friend or even better go to the course. Record yourself throwing 15-20 shots or record yourself throwing on the teepad on every hole at your local course.
Watching yourself on 1 throw may have its benefits, but what happens if you throw better than your average or worse than your average? You need a proper amount of videos to watch and compare actually to see what you throw like.
Put those comparisons together and see if you are consistent. Do you have a throwing routine? Put multiple clips beside the pro you want to throw like.
Watch your form and write notes about yourself and see if they compare to the notes of the pro, from top to bottom.
Everyone Has A Unique Disc Golf Throw
The importance of finding your style, routine, and what works for you is part of disc golf. If you watch pros, they all throw different or slightly different runs up or how they get their arm in position.
But they all follow the same fundamentals at the end of the footwork, and getting into the power pocket, creating lag, and having it snap from their hand at the speed it’s impossible to hang onto the disc.
It’s okay to find your way of how you get into your power pocket once you understand how a throw breakdown works. It is also okay to try to copy a pro as much as possible.
Disc Golf Takes Muscle You Strengthen With Time
The more you practice the more you throw, with practicing proper form and timing, you will continue to throw farther and farther reaching the goals you have.
Disc golf for 1 is muscle memory. You will develop skills that will improve and get more impeccable with time if you are practicing. You will also strengthen muscles all over your body just for throwing in disc golf, just like baseball players.
I have been learning left-handed this year, the beginning of the year, I could only throw 50-100 feet, the timing was awful, and I couldn’t release straight.
Within 5 months of practice, I can release straight and up to 300 feet.
Get Out There & Play Disc Golf
I hope this has helped you, and if you have questions feel free to reach out, I don’t know how much time I will have to answer, but I want to help everyone.
The best information on key form points is Ezra Aderhold <<<< check him out
He doesn’t go over the full backhand but just gives key important information on shorter videos
Enjoy disc golf, throw fun shots, and practice.