#1  
Old 10-10-2012, 12:37 PM
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iacas iacas is offline
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"Simple Keys" to Disc Golf

I'm a golf instructor, and I'm the Director of Instructor Development for 5 Simple KeysŪ.

What we've done with 5SKŪ is break down the true commonalities of the game's greatest players and called them keys. If you can achieve more keys, you'll improve as a golfer. All of the Keys are not only achievable (i.e. everyone can get better), but are measurable as well.

They are:
  1. Steady Head
  2. Weight Forward
  3. Flat Lead Wrist
  4. Diagonal Sweetspot Path
  5. Clubface Control

We can measure all of those things, and improving at them is achievable by all golfers of any skill level. The more "keys" you have, the more you have in common with the game's best players, and thus, the better you're likely to be.

These commonalities are pretty widely applied. The way we've defined things ("steady" being "relatively still" not "completely unmoving" and with wider allowances for drivers versus mid-irons), there are virtually no exceptions at the top levels of the game. None. If you can name more than a few exceptions to one of your Keys, it's not a true Key.

So that got me thinking (via this thread): what are the "keys" or commonalities among the game's best in disc golf?

I'll start off. I think that "weight forward" is one of them. I haven't seen ANY pros throwing off their back foot. I don't have the pressure plate readings, but many seem to reach about 90% pressure under their front foot by the time the disc is near their pec and 100% pressure soon after. These numbers would vary slightly for stand-still throws, but does everyone agree "weight forward" is a "Key" to disc golf? Why or why not?

Borrowing from Key #4 and Key #5 in golf, I think "Nose Angle Control" and "Wing Angle Control" are two (though perhaps they could be condensed into one). The game's best players control the nose angle and wing angle to a very small degree for the selected throw.

Grip isn't a commonality. "Straight Line Delivery" isn't one (see Dan Beto's delivery path for the first exception that springs to mind) either.

So, what are the other "Keys"?

P.S. Forehands are likely different enough too that they might be excluded, as are thumbers and tomahawks.
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2012, 12:51 PM
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kutz167 kutz167 is offline
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I think one possibility may be spine angle. If you look at the angle of the top pros' spines just before release, they telegraph the plane that the disc will be released on. This translates into shaping the shot. From what I have seen, pretty much all "good" or better players do this, too.
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  #3  
Old 10-10-2012, 12:58 PM
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joegraham joegraham is offline
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I think a common key to any full speed throw has to be eliminating off axis torque. The disc must be released smooth and the disc must be in the position you're pointing to at release to maximize its distance and designed flight path (accuracy and consistency). I don't know how to describe how to release the throw to beginners or how to analyze an OAT throw, but to me it's a real key to being consistent. I learned this slowly transitoning from airbouncing lids to pulling a golf disc straight through. The Whammo one and only key comes to mind and it may be the one key to rule them all: "Flat flip flies straight."

This is a great topic and it would be great to get opinions and try to boil it down for simplicity.
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:06 PM
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jtreadwell jtreadwell is offline
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Gotta have something about Snap in there! Without snapping the disc at the end you're not going to get too far and it's an issue many beginner to intermediate players struggle with. Someone else that has a better technical understanding of this can probably state it better.
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:12 PM
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GripEnemy GripEnemy is offline
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^^^Snap is such an arbitrary concept though, I notice sooooo many people that have no idea what it truly is throwing the term around all the time

Good topic, though!
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:39 PM
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iacas iacas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kutz167 View Post
If you look at the angle of the top pros' spines just before release, they telegraph the plane that the disc will be released on.
Then I'd just say that's a component of "Nose Angle Control" and "Wing Angle Control." There's a "spine angle" in golf but even the games best sometimes "early extend" or do other things which don't satisfy this as a true commonality.

Just playing devil's advocate now. We had about 50 potential "Keys" in mind, and only 5 (for golf) ended up sticking to the end.

FWIW the first three Keys in 5SK deal with striking the ball solidly (and getting a good amount of speed) while the last two deal with controlling the flight of the ball.

So while "Nose Angle Control" and "Wing Angle Control" could be condensed, possibly, into "Disc Angle Control" that's just the angle(s) at which you release the disc, so it says nothing about how you get there and actually put some speed into the disc.

And for all I know those won't last, either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joegraham View Post
I think a common key to any full speed throw has to be eliminating off axis torque.
I like that one. Is it "measurable?" Even if it's just by visibly "measuring" or seeing what the disc does?

I like this better than "smooth release" FWIW, even if they mean the same thing, because "smooth" is somewhat subjective.

But at first glance I like "No OAT" (though ideally it would be phrased in a positive way, not as a negative "No").

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtreadwell View Post
Gotta have something about Snap in there!
How do you measure snap? If you can't measure it I'd eliminate it right away.

Achievable
Measurable

Those are requirements, as is "near 100% commonality among the game's best."
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:22 PM
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joegraham joegraham is offline
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I like that one. Is it "measurable?" Even if it's just by visibly "measuring" or seeing what the disc does?

I like this better than "smooth release" FWIW, even if they mean the same thing, because "smooth" is somewhat subjective.

But at first glance I like "No OAT" (though ideally it would be phrased in a positive way, not as a negative "No").



Those are requirements, as is "near 100% commonality among the game's best."[/QUOTE]

I think OAT is measurable visably by the thrower or observers. It certainly could in slo mo video easily. You can see wobble or flutter.

To put it positively as something to achieve could be "ON Axis Rotation" where the disc is rotating in a plane only around it's center (with no fluctuation/wobble/flutter).

I do tell newbies to try to attain a flat line drive to get maximum distance and control while they're learning to increase arm speed and then shaping lines.
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:56 PM
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iacas iacas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joegraham View Post
I think OAT is measurable visably by the thrower or observers. It certainly could in slo mo video easily. You can see wobble or flutter.
OK. Good then. I'd say it meets that criteria then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joegraham View Post
To put it positively as something to achieve could be "ON Axis Rotation" where the disc is rotating in a plane only around it's center (with no fluctuation/wobble/flutter).
Given how much OnAT has to do with nose and wing angles, I'm thinking that perhaps - similar to Keys #4 and #5 in golf - these could be condensed into one or two keys.

For example, "Controlled Axis Tilt" and "On Axis Torque". The first controls the wing and nose angles (it's really just one angle, but breaking them up is like talking about "backspin" and "sidespin" on a golf ball) and the second simply means the torque is applied around an axis perpendicular to that axis (which is pretty much perpendicular to the flight plate).

Quote:
Originally Posted by joegraham View Post
I do tell newbies to try to attain a flat line drive to get maximum distance and control while they're learning to increase arm speed and then shaping lines.
Thanks.

So right now, perhaps the Keys are (in no order):

Weight Forward
Controlled Axis Tilt
Perpendicular Axis Torque
... with others yet to be determined.
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  #9  
Old 10-10-2012, 03:15 PM
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joegraham joegraham is offline
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What about weight shift? You have to have it in throwing a ball, or swinging a tennis raquet, golf club or baseball bat. In disc golf most full strength throws are done with a walk/run up. The lower body accellerates, and the upper body coils and uncoils for a whip like action for max speed of the throw or swinging the implement. You have to have a push off with some strength and speed from the back foot to the front foot with good timing to let the body feel the uncoiling of the whip action.

Hmmm, maybe two different things: weight shift strength and speed; and coiling/uncoiling efficiency and speed.

Last edited by joegraham; 10-10-2012 at 03:16 PM. Reason: sp
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  #10  
Old 10-10-2012, 03:28 PM
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timothyasteele timothyasteele is offline
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Arm speed. Measurable, and definitely necessary for distance (in addition to snap/spin which is not going to be measurable though).

Tim S.
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