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Distance Drilling: Increasing Your Distance From the Ground Up
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Distance Drilling: Increasing Your Distance From the Ground Up
There are alternate techniques that will generate various forms of lift on the disc but many of these aren't very golf practical and I will not go into detail on them. Experimenting with hyzer angles, center of gravity, and pull trajectories will hopefully help you add some height. I recommend keeping the height option open until you become comfortable throwing high and nose down. If this does not yield a distance increase when executing it properly, there is another option to experiment with.
Disc line is very important in making the most of your throw. Ask your-self this question: Is the majority of the disc's flight coming solely from your power or is the disc getting a good amount of distance from its own flight characteristics? Many of the newer high-speed drivers behave a lot like projectiles. Players must throw them hard and flat and when they run out of juice they simply fall to the ground. Ideally, at least 25% of the disc's flight will come from its behavior as a pure glider powered by the momentum of your velocity on the throw.
Since the X-Clone's 656' distance record was broken, every distance record set since then has been with a stable to understable disc. The hyzer-flip flight of these discs has been a consistent pattern based on two underlying assumptions. First, hyzers rise on their own until they flatten. Second, the hyzer-flip trajectory generally leads to the disc flexing out of the turn in a forward direction.
If you are someone who generally throws flat and hard with an overstable disc, you may benefit from experimenting with less stable plastic thrown with a hyzer-flip s-curve line and allowing the disc to get a complete flight path. This will probably require some room for the disc to work as the disc will need to start on a trajectory slightly left of the target line and enough room on the right for a long, gradual turn. While this may not be applicable on tighter courses, it may be the ticket to your distance goal.
IV. Grip, Spin, Velocity, and How They Work Together
These three topics are very closely linked and in many ways that are not often cited as pivotal parts of throwing technique. However, how each of these characteristics affects first half flight, second half flight, and overall stability varies a lot.
At some point in time someone better than you probably recommended, “throw with this grip” (usually the power grip) and you have since then followed that without question. Although most players have the greatest potential force with the power grip (it gives the most rip force on a disc as it leaves your hand), it may not be the best choice for what you hope to accomplish.
Assuming that you are able to achieve a firm grip regardless of grip choice, each grip yields different characteristics that are generally linked to the flexibility of the tendons in the wrist and forearm with a disc in your hand. Start with a power grip. Take a disc in hand in the wrist down position. Now move the disc from the extreme wrist closed position to the extreme wrist open position while preserving the wrist down orientation. Try to remember the flexibility of the wrist and forearm with the disc in this position.
Now grip the disc with a fan grip and go through the same motions. The fan grip should be tighter and less flexible in the wrist. Try all the grips you could see yourself throwing with and compare their tendon flexibility to the grip you currently use. Some common grips are the birdie grip, the fork grip, the stack grip, the 3 and 2 finger power grips, bonapane, control, etc. Each grip should have a unique amount of tendon flexibility.
The grips with the least flexibility will generally yield less spin than the more flexible grips. The less spin on a disc, the more a disc will want to turn at high speeds. Use this knowledge to your advantage. If you are trying to throw high hyzer flips with a power grip but cannot quite get the disc to hold the turn after its apex, try a grip that will yield less spin as it is more conducive to turnover properties. Similarly speaking, if you are having trouble turning over too many discs, try moving to a grip that yields more spin. Also be aware that loss of spin is the cause of low speed fade and work with this accordingly. If your discs are landing flat or turned, you are missing out on part of your potential distance. More height or less spin should both increase potential fade characteristics.
Velocity also makes discs turn more at high speeds and determines the momentum carried into second half flight. It is the combination of nose angle, velocity, and spin that yields most of a disc's characteristics at any point in its flight. Manipulating velocity in conjunction with spin should help you achieve a greater variety of shots. There are velocity related issues that may be detrimental to your snap, which I will cover in depth in the next section.
V. Adding Snap
This section marks the end of the “easy answers” to adding distance. If none of the previous topics unlocked the secrets to more distance, or at least not to “enough” distance, adding snap is a critical, yet very difficult topic to tackle. The drills in this section may very well take a couple of weeks or longer to become comfortable with, so be prepared for some struggling as it is not an easy concept. If you are currently a bent elbow thrower, you can skip this section.
You have probably heard people tell you that “you cannot add snap.” This statement is only half true. It is true in that you cannot consciously try to snap a disc and expect any beneficial result. However, it is also true that there are techniques that are much more conducive to attaining high levels of snap.
Snap is actually the rapid coiling and uncoiling process of the wrist immediately before the rip point. This generates acceleration and dictates the force component of the throw as well as determines the amount of spin on the disc. More snap will generally accomplish three things. First, it will help the disc cut through the air more during the first part of the flight and reduce the slowing effects of air friction. Second, it will make discs fly more stable at high speeds due to increases in spin. Lastly, it will keep discs in the air longer at the end of the flight. Force, paired with velocity, will dictate the length and power of your throw.
I do wish to make something clear at this point. If you are reading this article and cannot throw much more than 350', I am going to go out on a limb and assume that you do not get very large amounts of snap. The techniques I will be covering in this section may very well involve drastic (and hopefully temporary) changes in throwing style in order to add snap to your current motion. While you may question the drills that follow, keep one thing in mind: You must GET more snap before you can HAVE more snap.
One way to find out if your throw is dominated by velocity or by snap is to look at the disc flight characteristics. If you throw a stable disc with a slight hyzer angle, what does it look like as it flattens? If your disc gradually rises as the hyzer angle decreases until flat (or turned over) your throw is probably dominated by velocity. If the disc holds the hyzer angle and abruptly flips flat (or turned over) your throw is probably dominated by snap.
Now, I want you to try to “feel” snap. Without a disc in your hand, form your grip as if you had a disc in your hand. Keep your hand and wrist loose. The wrist should be able to swing back and forth freely in the wrist down and wrist neutral positions. In a quick motion resembling the last 6” of your pull line entering the rip point, move your forearm forward as quickly as you can and bring it to an abrupt stop at the would be rip. What you should experience is a slight curling of the wrist as the forearm moves forward followed by a rapid uncoiling to the neutral position after the forearm stops. If you keep your hand and fingers somewhat loose you should be able to hear the pads of your fingers slapping against your palm.
The wrist and hand motions are purely incidental. It is gravity that causes the wrist to coil when the forearm moves forward quickly and momentum that causes the rapid uncoiling into the snap. This is the feeling you will be looking for during your throw. As a warning, do NOT try this with a disc in your hand unless you want to either break something or hurt yourself.
The first step to adding snap in your technique is to take your normal throwing form and shorten its reach back. Start small, and incrementally. If you are like most throwers and straighten your arm and reach back as far as you can, put a slight bend in your elbow. When I say slight, I mean very slight. The distance the disc reaches at the peak of your reach back should be reduced by approximately 2” but the distance that your elbow is reached back should stay the same. Try a few throws this way. If you don't feel any increase, shorten it again by 2”. Repeat this until you can feel the snap. It may take until your elbow is bent nearly 90 degrees.
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