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Old 10-01-2020, 05:49 PM
Dingus Dingus is offline
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Default The illusion of power

I had a major re-breakthrough today. A little background, I had been a good distance thrower but lost my form, going from 500' to sub 400' purely from a mechanical loss of skill during one offseason. Today I think I regained some of what I had lost and it was purely from realizing a key part of the mental game with distance driving.

Most athletes grow up with two types of training, aerobic and "strength" training. The "strength" training we did was basically focused on hypertrophying muscle groups by lifting heavy stuff and putting it down. To achieve hypertrophy, the important thing is to put maximum force load on the muscle, which we did by lifting really heavy stuff against gravity which produced a steady and ever present force load. This trains a person to think force load on muscles = power. The more you feel that resistance from gravity, the more work your muscles are doing. Which is technically true.

With throwing a disc this mentality is counterintuitive and for me lead to negative training loops. I was looking to feel that force load on my muscles as the evidence that my muscles were doing good work on the disc. Of course in reality, when you feel force load during the second half of your swing, what you are really feeling is the resistance generated by your poor form. You are actively inhibiting the acceleration of the disc. My failure to realize this caused me to spend hours in the field trying to increase the resistance, suffering from the illusion that this resistance was power.

The thing that lead to this realization was doing a kettlebell snatch. If you were to swing a kettlebell with even muscle pressure throughout the swing, you would be hard pressed to snatch much weight at all. But with proper form, I can easily snatch a 50lb bell over multiple sets. The key is that all the force is generated by my core and legs in the first moments of the move, and the rest is simply me guiding the bell up above my head. Look at this random video; the bell actually floats in the grip for the last third of the snatch.



Today I went to the field with the goal of feeling zero resistance through the second half of my swing. I didn't get back to 500' but cleared 430' on a couple throws. I hadn't touched 400' in months so that was a solid victory for me. I bet that this idea of resistance equaling power can explain many of you out there that have visually okay form but fail to generate any power. Also it may sound like I am talking about strong arming, but I am not. Strong arming is accelerating the disc with your arm muscles. I am more talking about requiring your arm muscles to resist early release of the disc, and equating that strain as evidence of disc velocity and power. Curious to hear other thoughts on this.
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Old 10-01-2020, 05:57 PM
RocHucker RocHucker is offline
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People talk about "pinching really hard" before release of the disc, and that equaling distance. Are you saying that that is bad?

I also tend to feel some tension in my arm as I try to get the elbow in front and keep the arm from opening too early. Is this also bad? (note: I'm stuck at like 380ft).

Does this idea of resistance = bad apply to core, shoulders, legs, etc?

Would love to hear more about what the arm and everything else should feel like.
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Old 10-01-2020, 07:31 PM
Dingus Dingus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RocHucker View Post
People talk about "pinching really hard" before release of the disc, and that equaling distance. Are you saying that that is bad?

I also tend to feel some tension in my arm as I try to get the elbow in front and keep the arm from opening too early. Is this also bad? (note: I'm stuck at like 380ft).

Does this idea of resistance = bad apply to core, shoulders, legs, etc?

Would love to hear more about what the arm and everything else should feel like.
I would love to hear SW’s opinion because mine is certainly not an expert one. The purpose of pinching down at the hit is to create that pivot point. I would guess that if you could manage to form that pivot point without added force via timing it would result in greater exit velocity compared to forcing the pivot with grip strength.

As for other tensions, I think of it exactly like the kettlebell snatch. Great force and tension to achieve initial velocity, and then minimal tension guiding into the hit.
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Old 10-02-2020, 12:20 AM
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sidewinder22 sidewinder22 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RocHucker View Post
People talk about "pinching really hard" before release of the disc, and that equaling distance. Are you saying that that is bad?

I also tend to feel some tension in my arm as I try to get the elbow in front and keep the arm from opening too early. Is this also bad? (note: I'm stuck at like 380ft).

Does this idea of resistance = bad apply to core, shoulders, legs, etc?

Would love to hear more about what the arm and everything else should feel like.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dingus View Post
I am more talking about requiring your arm[hand/grip] muscles to resist early release of the disc, and equating that strain as evidence of disc velocity and power.
I don't think of it so much as resisting early release, but actually leveraging/pushing/directing the disc forward with the grip to the release. Grip pressure will need to increase as you accelerate against the inertia/G-force of the disc.

Different grips and swing arcs can greatly affect when/where and how much pressure is needed. I use a fan/pinch grip and don't grip very hard, but I feel master control of the disc's weight from the thumb on the inner rim thru the flight plate and fingers on flight plate. My thumb feels very strong/firm/leveraged against the CoM of the disc to sling it out like a hammer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvsHetJkKFo#t=2m

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Old 10-02-2020, 12:41 AM
Dingus Dingus is offline
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Originally Posted by sidewinder22 View Post
I don't think of it so much as resisting early release, but actually leveraging/pushing/directing the disc forward with the grip to the release. Grip pressure will need to increase as you accelerate against the inertia/G-force of the disc.

Different grips and swing arcs can greatly affect when/where and how much pressure is needed. I use a fan/pinch grip and don't grip very hard, but I feel master control of the disc's weight from the thumb on the inner rim thru the flight plate and fingers on flight plate. My thumb feels very strong/firm/leveraged against the CoM of the disc to sling it out like a hammer.
Bolded is what I am trying to say. I think that people using extreme grip pressure to force the pivot are making their aggressive swing arc play nice via grip power. The other way to go, which I personally think is better and has more distance potential, is to change your swing arc to make that extreme grip pressure unnecessary.

If you used ratcheting pliers to securely prevent a disc from escaping yet exert zero clamping power on the disc itself, you could still redirect the energy of the disc in the desired way. Of course our fingers aren't mechanical grips so this exact thing is impossible, but I believe this type of true "gripless" pivot would provide the most efficient transfer of energy.

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Old 10-02-2020, 09:53 AM
bsammons bsammons is offline
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I’ve been thinking the same thing for a while. Any motion of the hand after release is technically energy loss, as it wasn’t 100% transferred to the disc. Obviously you won’t be 100% efficient as the arm will still move after release, but if the disc rips from the hand while the finger is holding firmly, that either means 1. The hand is slowing down the disc, reducing disc speed at release or 2. The hand is moving faster than the disc at release, meaning energy wasn’t transferred to the disc as efficiently as possible. If you look at baseball pitchers, which I feel like have one of the purest downswings and motions in sports, the ball leaves the hand in a fairly graceful manner. The linear velocity of the ball becomes greater than the linear force applied by the body->arm->hand, and it simply is ejected, much like if you slam on brakes in a car and a box in the back seat comes flying forward. So if proper grip force and direction is applied, the most efficient release would simply “slide” out of the hand at the ejection point, with the least amount of resistance applied from the grip. It would be tricky to get the hang of such a release because it has to be firm enough to accelerate but loose enough for the disc to slide out, but once it’s mastered I can see it being extremely accurate because of very little possibility for error, and very, very efficient because of little to no power loss at ejection.

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Old 10-02-2020, 12:46 PM
RoDeO RoDeO is online now
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My best and longest drives happen when I feel the disc rip from a strong grip- like it's trying to break free from mt grip. When I feel it slide smoothly out it looks good but goes 30 feet less every time. I think the strong grip has more to do with holding onto it longer and getting more leverage. I have experimented myself and found my strongest 2 finger grip gives the best between smoothness and grip strength with max distance also.

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Old 10-02-2020, 01:56 PM
bsammons bsammons is offline
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Originally Posted by RoDeO View Post
My best and longest drives happen when I feel the disc rip from a strong grip- like it's trying to break free from mt grip. When I feel it slide smoothly out it looks good but goes 30 feet less every time. I think the strong grip has more to do with holding onto it longer and getting more leverage. I have experimented myself and found my strongest 2 finger grip gives the best between smoothness and grip strength with max distance also.
Feeling the disc rip is indicative of the disc Or arm having a fair amount of momentum to it, but I like to look at things through the only objective lense there is - at least in this case - which is math and physics. Scientifically speaking, any sensation of the disc ripping derives from energy loss. Either you’re slowing the disc down, because your hand is opposing its momentum, or your hand is going faster than the disc at release, which indicates poor efficiency. Gripping the disc firmly may initially help you get some power on the disc, but from a mathematical standpoint, if the disc rips from your hand, it simply cannot be as efficient, and therefore powerful, as if it is loosely ejected.
Now, for your longest throws-I do not doubt that is the case. But what’s happening is you haven’t found the appropriate grip positioning and force to maximize efficiency. If efficiency is maximized, then 1. The disc won’t slip out prior to reaching peak velocity and 2. The hand won’t slow down the disc. If the grip is too firm, then it WILL slow down the disc. The force to rip from your hand must come from somewhere, and the only place it can come from is from the disc’s forward and rotational momentum.
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Old 10-02-2020, 02:17 PM
Dingus Dingus is offline
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Originally Posted by bsammons View Post
Feeling the disc rip is indicative of the disc Or arm having a fair amount of momentum to it, but I like to look at things through the only objective lense there is - at least in this case - which is math and physics. Scientifically speaking, any sensation of the disc ripping derives from energy loss. Either you’re slowing the disc down, because your hand is opposing its momentum, or your hand is going faster than the disc at release, which indicates poor efficiency. Gripping the disc firmly may initially help you get some power on the disc, but from a mathematical standpoint, if the disc rips from your hand, it simply cannot be as efficient, and therefore powerful, as if it is loosely ejected.
Now, for your longest throws-I do not doubt that is the case. But what’s happening is you haven’t found the appropriate grip positioning and force to maximize efficiency. If efficiency is maximized, then 1. The disc won’t slip out prior to reaching peak velocity and 2. The hand won’t slow down the disc. If the grip is too firm, then it WILL slow down the disc. The force to rip from your hand must come from somewhere, and the only place it can come from is from the disc’s forward and rotational momentum.
Not sure I entirely agree with this. I do agree that if you are straining your grip with forearm muscles flared in an effort to delay the release point, you are most definitely losing some velocity.

BUT, in order to cause the disc to pivot around the fulcrum of your fingers, you will absolutely need to have your fingers exert some force on the disc. Without that force happening Newtons first and third laws are violated.

We want the kinetic chain to flow through a series of successively smaller pivots to achieve maximum velocity. The smallest and most important pivot is the finger. Going up the chain we have wrist, elbow, shoulder, and maybe spine? At the end of the day our bodies generate more than enough force to throw a disc at a huge velocity. The problem is that biomechanically our hand can only be propelled through the air so fast. By inducing a pivot at the fingers it does leak some of the net power from the system, but in turn it significantly raises the maximum mechanical velocity headroom. We WANT the disc to travel faster than our hand.

I think my end point on grip strength is that gripping force must be applied to cause the disc to pivot around your fingers, but any additional gripping force beyond that needed to induce a pivot will reduce the exit velocity.

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Old 10-02-2020, 02:52 PM
bsammons bsammons is offline
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I’m 100% with you, the finger applied force to the disc. And yes, theoretically the disc will be on the index finger last, as it’s the furthest point of the lever. I wasn’t at all saying that the finger exerts zero force on the disc. All I was saying is, at the point that the disc leaves the hand, there should be as little force applied from the hand to the disc as possible. The disc leaves the hand because it is at that point moving, at the very least in a linear sense, faster than the hand. So once it is going faster than the hand, the laws of momentum state any force applied by the hand WILL slow down the disc-so once maximum (as I had said earlier peak) velocity is reached, there should be no force of the disc “ripping” from the hand. It should accelerate and then be ejected out by its momentum, much like a baseball by a pitcher.

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