Elbow soreness after big distance "breakthrough"...what now??
So while field practicing last week, I was focusing on a couple things I'd been reading up on. 1st, was shifting my weight properly and pivoting on my heel. I had been having trouble feeling powerful with my hips and shoulders, and strong arming drives out to 300-350', but 6 out of 10 had uncontrollable wrist roll over. I realized I was throwing too much around my body. After watching a Feldberg tutorial on driving my front heel down to initiate the pull through, and a little practice, BAM! There it was. I felt really explosive through my hips and shoulders with a rapid weight shift.
2nd was working on keeping a strait pull-through, and keeping my elbow out at 90* from my chest. Too much towel snap work had me pulling my hand across my chest and not the inside edge of the disc. I call it, "collapsing my elbow" against my chest. This also causes to have a really late release and wrist roll.
I also changed my power grip to go back to having, not only, my thumb pad pressing on the flight plate, but also the fat part at the base of my thumb. I made sure it was tensed and not just dragging on the flight plate.
After a couple long morning & afternoon/evening sessions in the field I was able to break through into consistently hitting 400-420' with very little fade and only around 10-15' off the ground. ( extremely flat field)
I was super stoked and felt like finally the many long days of hard work were beginning to pay off. I even took thursday and friday off from disc golf.
I went to play on saturday and had a decent round, but I noticed my elbow was pretty sore! I could definitely I had unlocked a new power level in my delivery, and had to throw putters on drives where I would normally throw a teebird or Roc! That felt great!
Well after about 5 throws into my usual field practice today I instantly knew something was wrong! My elbow was extremely sore! I tried to tough through it, but I wasn't getting anywhere, so I hung it up. I did just stand still and work through my pull through in slow motion to see if I could pinpoint where the soreness was coming from.
I realized that even though I thought I was getting a good "hit" and follow through, I was actually relying on the extension of my elbow to "snap" the disc out of my hand. Basically I am accelerating my pull-through and when my arm fully extends (locks out at the elbow) thats when the disc comes out of my hand. I believe this is also the result of too much work with snapping the towel. I can snap the crap out of it with an extremely loud crack, but this comes from my arm acting like a whip. When my elbow locks out the towel come through and cracks.
The disc does "rip" out of my hand and sometimes my fingers even snap together when it pulls out. However I have realized that I am not actually pulling through the "hit" or really able to get the sensation that I am pulling the outside edge of the disc hard around the disc's central axis. I can sort of feel it when I go through the motions slowly and focus on keeping my elbow bent through the hit, but I really lose the "snap!" sensation and can't seem to feel the weight of the disc pivot around like a hammer head.
I can't explain why I have never had this elbow soreness before now, but I know that when odd things are this sore, it points to flaws in my form. When I try to throw at full speed, or even half speed, I fall right back into snapping my elbow.
I also forgot to mention that I had worked on, not pushing the disc into the reach back, but moving my body past the disc until my arm extended back, keeping my momentum moving forward with the disc remaining relatively stationary until beginning my pull through.
I think this helped me to pull later in my x-step and, along with the other things, added to my distance. But, I can't continue to see this as a major success, it just opened another form/timing issue.
Can anyone advise me on where to go from here?
Is there something I could do (like a drill) that would help me to feel the pulling through the hit and keeping my elbow bent?
Thinking about using a stretch band tied through a hole in the disc, but have never actually seen anyone use this method so I'm not sure where to drill the hole in the disc or how to position it in my hand for this to be effective.
Sorry for the life story, but all I have are words to describe my issue. No good way to video myself....
Thanks for any input advice!!!!!
Hard to say without video and that description. It could just be your grip or jamming something on your follow through. Your grip should be fairly loose until the end then grip hard. I know my elbow has bothered me when I was gripping too hard before the throw. Could be too tense in general or bad shoulder timing. Could be trying to whip too straight or not getting good extension of the arm. Other than that maybe work the hit back from the closed shoulder drill. How far can you throw from a standstill? What does your followthrough feel like?
I don't think its a grip issue...my grip stays pretty loose through reach back and early pull.
It could be from early acceleration maybe...
What do you mean by "extension of the arm" ? I feel like the reason my elbow hurts is because I'm getting all my snap from relying on elbow hyperextension. Basically the sudden locking out of my elbow when my arm fully extends toward the target forces the disc out of my hand. My follow through still carries momentum and causes my arm to continue around my body followed by the rest of my body. However, I can tell that the follow through is "passive". I.E. I should be pulling with power THROUGH the hit instead of power up to the hit and then relaxing my arm and letting it passively swing around.
From a standstill with just loading my hips and not taking a step I can throw my 170g star aviar around 225-250" maybe a teebird a little further with a bit more fade at the end...I've never actually steped off a throw from a standstill.
I stayed up last night and watched a bunch of videos of people playing, and I realized something. People who are really putting lots of spin on the disc are really throwing there elbow around their body as soon as the disc reaches the right pec. I have been focusing more on extending on a straight line toward the target. So after my disc passes the front pec my elbow then only comes around about 30* more and lines up with my shoulders @180*. The rest of the throw is done by my forearm coming around until it and my wrist are in line with my elbow (elbow locks out) and shoulders. At that point the disc snaps out and my fully extended arm follows through leading the rest of my body around.
It sort of reminds me of breaking a stick over a post or tree. Ever picked up a stick that you couldnt just break so you swing it like a bat or really like a disc and smash the center of the stick around a skinny vertical immovable object? You end up with part of the stick in your hand and th other end goes flying past the post (or whatever you broke it over).
If so, I think my elbow is acting like the post. All of this momentum is being pivoted around my elbow and the disc acts like the stick. When my arm comes around and hits the figurative "post" the disc flies out like the piece of broken off stick.
To put it in physics terms...
I think I am using more "impact-momentum" laws than "centripetal motion" to force the disc out.
I've ran into elbow issues as well. The thing that has really helped me was a post someone made a long time ago that said "if you don't follow through completely, the quick stopping of your momentum will hurt your elbow."
Now i have a fairly exagerated follow through, really keep moving around and my arm comes to a slower stop, no pain since. DON'T try to resist the momentum, Watch the pros, they spin like tops. Heck GG even says he takes a 5 step throw, 4 pre throw, and the 5th is his follow through, to focus on really following through completely.
Something to think about that worked for me. Mine hurt for months and couldn't figure out why. As soon as I focused on this, it went away and hasn't come back (except a few times when i didn't follow through, damnit)
Yeah I agree. I remember running across that post at some point and "thought" I was following through.
I think the part I am missing is PULLING (with power) through the "hit" or release.
I pull strong TO the hit and my just freely and relaxed follows through around. I will try to find someone to video me hopefully at some point.
Watching the Dan Beato "building from the hit back" video is what really made me notice the difference. When you watch him do the right pec drill he seems to focus his energy through his elbow, really accelerating it around his body. I think I have been focusing my energy all the way down through my arm to the disc.
...and when I think about it, it only makes perfect sense. I wouldn't drive a nail with my elbow fully extended, I would drive through the impact.
I did a little searching on using a resistance band, as Feldberg suggested, but it seems most folks kind of scoff at the idea that this would actually be of any benefit. I still think it might help me though, not as a method for building strength, but to really feel the sensation of actually pulling something instead of focusing on "throwing". I think my baseball background has me hard wired to focus power into a point of release. I can really visualize pulling the lawn-mower cord, but put a disc in my hand, and my brain just says "throw it"!
I have been kind of trying to model my throw after Avery Jenkins. Although, he's taller and much more fit than I am, We have similar body shape proportions. I'm built nothing like a Will Schusterick or Ken Climo. This tall, long, lanky, build is what I think of when I think of the prototypical disc golf player. They are naturally flexible, rubbery, and whippy. Its amazing to watch Will drive in slow-mo right after his actual "X-step", as he's going into the reach-back position his knees almost touch each other they are bent in so far! No way I have that kind of flexability in my old knees! It allows his torso to remain perfectly vertical and maintain a very stable center of gravity.
But to my point of watching Avery's throw...My mind's eye, kept seeing his elbow fully extend at the hit. But, after really watching it and, serveral pauses, his elbow never really fully extends until looong after the disc is gone, and his follow through is almost complete. Somehow watching Dan Beato's video exposed this exaggerated elbow swing to me. When you watch him take practice/warm-up swings from the right pec (without releasing the disc) he really exaggerates ripping his elbow through around his body. More like how a discus thrower rotates.
Is this line of thinking correct?? Or am I still seeing it wrong??
Sometimes soreness is nothing more than plain old doing too much. Avg round is one to maybe two full power drives per hole depending on length. Say 36 full power drives at most for an average golf round. There is also a good bit of rest time built into the rounds, too. You have to walk to the disc and next hole, wait your turn, etc. In a practice round, if you threw one a minute, you would be very close to or exceeding the wear and tear of two golf rounds in just an hour with no rest time. Practice for several hours in the morning and afternoon, and you could easily simulate a weeks worth or more golf impact on your throwing arm in just a few hours. That can put some serious wear on the arm if you don't or didn't build up to it.
^^^ I agree! That is a very valid point. I have been averaging 2-3 hrs of practice 2-3 days/week (with normally 2 rounds of golf on Saturday) for around 3 months now. The last couple weeks I have added in a morning session that lasts around 1 - 1.5 hrs. I usually spend 85% of this time on driving and the other on putting to cool down.
It very well could be the case that the increase in power delivered simply made me sorer.
However, I've been involved with athletics since I was young, and I am pretty good at discerning the difference between positive muscular soreness and soreness stemming from injury or over exertion.
That being said, this is actually a pretty tough call. On one hand I want to go along with you and be proud of the distance progress. On the other hand, I want to be sure that I don't continue to facilitate or implement bad habits in my game.
For me, as others have said, it was the follow through. I had big elbow problems last summer, and it still bothers me from time to time. I overcame it by concentrating on what felt at first like a ridiculously exaggerated follow through, but it feels natural to me now. The best way I can explain it is that I try to swing my arm so far around that my right elbow hits my left shoulder blade. It doesn't, but that's the feeling I go for. Doing this also really helps with late acceleration I find.
Sometimes when I throw an anhyzer I still stop my upper arm and hyperextend my elbow because I'm dumb. It hurts all day afterwards if I do that.
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