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Old 12-19-2016, 02:04 PM
pmpstr pmpstr is offline
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Default Upper arm to body angle question / thoughts

I'm going to try and tame the length of this post, but it's not gonna happen... so here goes.

So I've noticed a phenomenon similar to the "moving around the disc" phenomenon (which I consider to be such because it is simply a product of good form). I came across a video not too long ago (sorry for no link, I cannot find it ATM), and the young gentleman was talking about quite a few key points about BH drive form. At one point he mentioned a "90 degree angle between your upper arm and your chest". I haven't found much more information out there regarding this, but I thought it was very interesting. For me, no matter how much technique I had learned (mostly from these forums and associated videos, as well as heavydisc.com info, which is awesome stuff), I could not seem to find consistent aiming accuracy. Sometimes early release, sometimes late release, rarely a straight release. It was mainly an issue with inconsistent timing with my shoulders / arms / torso. Too anxious with the arms and it came out early. Too anxious with the shoulders and I was way open releasing to the right (RHBH).

So I started developing this "90 degree theory" based on that one key point. You see, I also play ball golf, and there is this little "test" you can do where you can easily learn what the top of your backswing should look and feel like. Grip the club, bring the club shaft up on top of your back shoulder, straighten your lead arm (allowing the club to come up off your shoulder as a result), and twist your hips / torso back. Voila! That's where your backswing should be. This also exposes a VERY interesting fact, that although it is called a "backswing", your arms are really only moving up and down in sync with your twisting body (always keeping your arms connected to your upper body), and not actually "swinging" at all.

This all lead me to think about the disc golf throw in the same way with this "90 degree theory". Plant foot angled about 45 degrees away from target, which points the hips away from the target. Hold the disc in normal grip, make a 90 degree angle at elbow, also make 90 degree angle between upper arm and chest. Twist the torso back, now unbend the elbow. Bam. Ideal reachback. Where am I going with this? Follow me for a minute... Firstly, this exposed the same thing about the arm as did the ball golf exercise; the arm only really bends and straightens at the elbow (this is not including followthrough, only form up until the hit). Great, so now what? I attempted to work the phenomenon into my form, focusing ONLY on keeping my arm close to a 90 degree angle with my chest, and ONLY bending / unbending my arm at the elbow (this sounds rigid, but it really wasn't. I was not "forcing" my body into these positions, more just focusing my timing to ensure it). The result ends up being this series:

~ Elbow bent 90, arm 90 to chest (keeping it this way up until I start my reachback)
~ As I plant at a 45, twisting at the waist back away from the target, the upper arm maintains the 90 to the chest, while the elbow straightens in sync with the twist back (this can also be delayed, but more no that later... maybe...)
~ pull into the chest (back to the starting postion) by untwisting the hips / pulling the front shoulder forward in sync with bending the elbow back in, maintaining 90 between upper arm and chest (this brings the disc in close to create a tight rotation)
~ Keeping the 90 in place for arm / chest, extend the forearm out once elbow reaches its peak (more on this later as well, but this created that picture perfect release point that you see in the slow-mo videos of the pros. Releasing the disc while, you guessed it, the upper arm is at 90 degrees to the chest. This part blew my mind a bit too)
~ Follow through and forget everything you know about 90 degrees (basically allow the body to naturally finish so as to not put undue stress on your body)

The result? After some playing around with it, I was hitting some dead straight lines that I just wasn't able to do before. The same week I learned this technique and went out to the field and practiced it, I played a round with friends at a course we all hadn't played before. It was hands down my best round of disc golf I'd ever played. I live on the east coast, so we play ALL wooded courses, so accuracy is a must. My friends were calling me a machine because I was just hitting every line I needed. Even parking a few holes within 10' (which isn't all that common for me usually. This is only my 2nd year playing). I've never seen accuracy out of myself like this before.

I've said ALL of that not just to maybe share this technique with others in the hopes that I can help another up-and-comer get over the accuracy plateau, but also to reach out to the vets on this forum to get your insight on my findings. There are some lead up questions I have as well, but I will (hopefully) bring those up organically as this conversation progresses (I imagine the direction I think it'll go, and my followup questions should get covered eventually).

Thanks in advance for any feedback. I am CONSTANTLY working on my form (be it drives, upshots or putting). I do field work at least once a week, and play 1-2 times a week (if I didn't have responsibilities I swear you'd have to tear me away from the course). Oh and if you haven't noticed, I am infatuated with sports technique / body physics... though I am NO expert.
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  #2  
Old 12-19-2016, 03:32 PM
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sidewinder22 sidewinder22 is offline
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1. At 45 degrees your plant foot sounds like it is pointed too targetward/open, I keep my plant foot closer to perpendicular / 90 degrees to apex of the target line.

2. Throwing with a wide upper arm angle(around 120 degrees) like Nate Doss, Barry Shultz and KJ Nybo took my throw to the next level. The elbow is always forward/out/leading. When you start from the ground up, the torso rotates and the arm lags behind collapsing the angle, you want to resist collapsing too close to 90 and it might eventually at release.

3. Most players don't turn their hips/shoulders nearly back far enough to get a wide angle upper arm with the arm/disc straight back.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvGudQYfjD8#t=3m50s



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Old 12-19-2016, 03:55 PM
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NathanNoodleArm NathanNoodleArm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidewinder22 View Post
Throwing with a wide upper arm angle(around 120 degrees) like Nate Doss, Barry Shultz and KJ Nybo took my throw to the next level. The elbow is always forward/out/leading. When you start from the ground up, the torso rotates and the arm lags behind collapsing the angle, you want to resist collapsing too close to 90 and it might eventually at release.
For clarification you're saying start with an upper arm angle of 120 degrees so that when the arm lags hopefully it winds up around 90 degrees?

This is my form a few months ago.



I clearly have a problem with this and was trying to maintain that 90 degree angle in my fieldwork this weekend...without lots of success I might add.
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Old 12-19-2016, 04:28 PM
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sidewinder22 sidewinder22 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanNoodleArm View Post
For clarification you're saying start with an upper arm angle of 120 degrees so that when the arm lags hopefully it winds up around 90 degrees?

I clearly have a problem with this and was trying to maintain that 90 degree angle in my fieldwork this weekend...without lots of success I might add.
Yep, your arm is closer to 60 degrees there aka hugging yourself.
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Old 12-19-2016, 06:06 PM
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Nathan is certainly hugging himself in the picture, but in his case I don't think the solution is to go straight to a wide-rail throw. Instead I think he would benefit more from concentrating on turning his shoulders further back as opposed to just reaching back with the disc. Schusterick has a part in his clinic (pretty sure) where he discusses this sort of error. I believe his solution is to envision using your off-arm's shoulder in order to determine length of, and initiate the reachback. That way you really are reaching back with your torso, and not just kinda shoving the disc in a backwards direction.

To counteract difficulty of getting the elbow out front smoothly, without muscling, and ahead of the weight of the throw; I had to think of the throw as swinging my humerus by pushing with my rear foot, once balanced on my brace.

Certainly it is easier to get the elbow out front with the wide rail, but why nuke the entire arm position, when he could just load even further into the back foot before he shifts to the front leg.
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Old 12-19-2016, 06:57 PM
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sidewinder22 sidewinder22 is offline
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Originally Posted by Jimbat View Post
Nathan is certainly hugging himself in the picture, but in his case I don't think the solution is to go straight to a wide-rail throw. Instead I think he would benefit more from concentrating on turning his shoulders further back as opposed to just reaching back with the disc. Schusterick has a part in his clinic (pretty sure) where he discusses this sort of error. I believe his solution is to envision using your off-arm's shoulder in order to determine length of, and initiate the reachback. That way you really are reaching back with your torso, and not just kinda shoving the disc in a backwards direction.

To counteract difficulty of getting the elbow out front smoothly, without muscling, and ahead of the weight of the throw; I had to think of the throw as swinging my humerus by pushing with my rear foot, once balanced on my brace.

Certainly it is easier to get the elbow out front with the wide rail, but why nuke the entire arm position, when he could just load even further into the back foot before he shifts to the front leg.
Read my first post under "#3" where I say most players don't turn their shoulders back far enough and the link in post takes you directly to where I say the same thing in the Door Frame Drill as Will says.

"Wide Rail" is all relative and most all the top players use it although it can vary some especially with different body types. Will reaches back with a very wide arm angle which is "wide rail" even though the arm and disc are straight back - which is the same position as the Door Frame Drill. Will just typically turns his shoulders/body further back than Doss and has faster rotational speed so his arm collapses more going forward and also has longer arms and narrower shoulders. Doss typically only gets into the actual Door Frame Drill with the arm/disc straight back when going for big distance and he turns his shoulders/body further back.

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Old 12-20-2016, 10:51 AM
pmpstr pmpstr is offline
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Yes! sidewinder, you've touched on my first followup point that i was hoping would come up. The wide rail. In doing the "90 degree" thing, I did notice that doing so prevents me from getting the disc to my right pec (just given how the angles line up). I realize that isn't ideal, but I think this is a stepping stone to getting there. It's kinda like in ball golf, where you learn the basic form first (at least in my opinion), and THEN you start tweaking that for more distance by playing around with timing (creating more lag and whip effects). I see a lot of top players may have that 90 degree bend at certain points during their throws, they often also abandon it slightly at other times in favor of that lag. Lagging the arm at reachback can slightly close that 90 degree bend, while getting the disc to the front pec opens the angle beyond 90 degrees. But there still seems to be "checkpoints" at 90 degrees when at the peak of the reachback (save for wide railers), as well as the near 90 degree bend at release.

Now, on to what I REALLY noticed about wide rail while incorporating it into the 90 degree theory. As I said, 90 degree bend in the middle of of the throw puts the disc closer to your back pec than your front. I believe once big advantage with wide rail is that you're actually sorta mimicking the effects of the "maintain 90 deg." thought process, but instead you are maintaining a wider angle, which in turn means you are more easily able to return the disc to your FRONT pec (wide angle at start with disc against front pec, maintain wide angle on reachback ((wide rail)), maintain wide angle back to front pec, and... well... this is where i get a bit caught up... Try to get to 90 degree angle release? Maintain wide angle at release? This I'm not sure about.

I do remember maybe UniHyzerBomber mentioning in a video perhaps that he was having more success getting the disc further forward to his front pec when using wide-rail. His theory had more to do with the physics of the disc's momentum changing and making the disc momentarily weightless (thus allowing you to hold onto the disc longer). I believe he was right about that, but I don't think that was the FULL reason. I think it also had to do with the reasoning explained above. It's much easier to get the disc back to front pec when you're not fighting to open that angle from 90 to... let's call it 110-120 degrees? I think with your body moving in the same direction, your arm is fighting to get there faster. Again, just another theory. I've played around with wide-rail. Jury is still out for me. To counterpoint the pro I've expanded on, the con would be that you are taking the disc off of that straight line, which will take a lot of practice and discipline to learn to put the disc back on the correct line.

This brings up another follow-up question for me. WHEN should the arm have the disc sitting back against the chest? At what point in the rotation? Adhering strictly to 90 degree rule, it pretty naturally return to the chest about in time with being in the power position (as your mass is centered, in the "middle" of the throw). Is this proper timing? Or should the disc be returning to the chest earlier? I can't imagine the answer would be any LATER than what the 90 degree yields. So for me it's just a question of how soon...

Thanks for all the conversation, it's some really great insight!
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Old 12-20-2016, 11:00 AM
pmpstr pmpstr is offline
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One small clarification also... I think I mislead you on my plant foot. I'm planting with my foot at 45 degrees AWAY from the target, beyond perpendicular. So I should have maybe said 135 degrees from straight. I will try and get some video footage of my form posted soon to maybe shed some light on what I'm talking about, but unfortunately the setup i have in my garage is a bit tight for wide camera angles. I'll see if I can set up something out back.
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Old 12-20-2016, 12:43 PM
pmpstr pmpstr is offline
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One last observation. I'm noticing in the Nate Doss video that he's essentially doing at 120 degrees what I'm trying to do at 90 degrees (he stays pretty close to the same angle throughout his throw).
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Old 12-20-2016, 05:09 PM
pmpstr pmpstr is offline
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Had a chance to take some video. I have the same video in slow motion if needed. Any critique welcome as well!

https://youtu.be/cluLjI5DbzI

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