Form Critique - Just starting to learn things right

Interesting. Is the baseball thing a trick question? Griffey looks more smooth and effortless while Harper looks more powerful and athletic. But I think they both hit hard. Doesn't look like Griffey is loading as much.

I think my troubles with the lead shoulder is based on pulling because I'm trying to get the disc ahead of the body instead of getting it stuck behind my chest. I don't know if many people have fully expanded on getting the disc from the tip of the reachback to the power pocket or the timing involved to do that. Seems very complicated to me and I haven't found the way of getting it there smoothly and effortlessly. You know from past form reviews that there's rounding and the disc getting stuck behind. Some of it is due to slack in the chain but when I try to keep things taut I still feel like it gets left behind instead of shooting forward to the front pec.

On Griffey/Harper, not intentionally a trick question, just wondered what you'd see. Pretty much what I'd think. I'd want pressure plate readings of course, but my guess is that Harper loads up more pressure on the rear side maybe longer and hanging on later than Griffey, and his sequence looks like it has unnecessary moving parts and separation. But I would also guess that Griffey gets plenty of peak pressure on the rear leg too - just faster onto and off of the rear side. Just trying to suggest that you were on the right track about your rear leg loading. For me, it feels similar to a medicine ball or sledgehammer load, but I work on getting off the rear foot in better and better balance. Seeking more Griffey than Harper. But it's also why my legs get really gassed recently after ~40 drives even when it doesn't feel like they're doing much. It's the first time in my life I'm asking them to do that kind of work.

I agree there's more to say about the rest of what you mention here, and there are real disagreements out there. I picked Wiggins and McBeth as perhaps two examples who have a very similar kinetic sequence in absolute terms and the "same" posture cornerstones, but perhaps meaningful differences in that plant/hip/shoulder/pocket sequence. FWIW, I think in any case you want some oblique sling loading (caused by more side bend in backswing) like we discussed, and you will get more out of your lat muscle (part of the thing some people call a "pull") and posture that doesn't spoil the pocket. I'm not sure you can ever get the "best" sequence through the legs/hips without it.

FWIW if you're after distance, I think the value of "throw it back like a lumberjack" is really important and is related to my unusually long throws. I've had some success recently fussing around with whether I load the backswing a little more like Wiggins or McBeth. My body likes Wiggins' more. Sweet spots might differ for different people/form styles, not sure. Sometimes I get a much deeper pocket that gives me dramatically more leverage, but I'm a little out of sync with my lower body and shift. But when I connect them, it's always the farthest throws at the lowest effort.
 
On Griffey/Harper, not intentionally a trick question, just wondered what you'd see. Pretty much what I'd think. I'd want pressure plate readings of course, but my guess is that Harper loads up more pressure on the rear side maybe longer and hanging on later than Griffey, and his sequence looks like it has unnecessary moving parts and separation. But I would also guess that Griffey gets plenty of peak pressure on the rear leg too - just faster onto and off of the rear side. Just trying to suggest that you were on the right track about your rear leg loading. For me, it feels similar to a medicine ball or sledgehammer load, but I work on getting off the rear foot in better and better balance. Seeking more Griffey than Harper. But it's also why my legs get really gassed recently after ~40 drives even when it doesn't feel like they're doing much. It's the first time in my life I'm asking them to do that kind of work.

I agree there's more to say about the rest of what you mention here, and there are real disagreements out there. I picked Wiggins and McBeth as perhaps two examples who have a very similar kinetic sequence in absolute terms and the "same" posture cornerstones, but perhaps meaningful differences in that plant/hip/shoulder/pocket sequence. FWIW, I think in any case you want some oblique sling loading (caused by more side bend in backswing) like we discussed, and you will get more out of your lat muscle (part of the thing some people call a "pull") and posture that doesn't spoil the pocket. I'm not sure you can ever get the "best" sequence through the legs/hips without it.

FWIW if you're after distance, I think the value of "throw it back like a lumberjack" is really important and is related to my unusually long throws. I've had some success recently fussing around with whether I load the backswing a little more like Wiggins or McBeth. My body likes Wiggins' more. Sweet spots might differ for different people/form styles, not sure. Sometimes I get a much deeper pocket that gives me dramatically more leverage, but I'm a little out of sync with my lower body and shift. But when I connect them, it's always the farthest throws at the lowest effort.
Yeah. I think I'm having trouble getting the slings fully involved. I can feel them though indoors and practicing stuff. When I actually throw, it's hard to coil enough while moving down the teepad. I can feel the coiling by sort of walking in place and rotating my hips and upper body naturally. But I'm having a hard time figuring out how to incorporate into an x-step. Any tips?

Also, plant leg I'm seeing that maybe it helps when my weight is more east on the teepad instead of West. I feel more like I can drop into it more from "behind". It almost feels like I'm planting backwards when I do that. Haven't been able to put it into a throw yet but wanted to see if I'm on the right track.

Let me know how I can throw like a lumberjack haha. Unless it means getting a sledgehammer and throwing it around. I think I only have a hammer lying around.
 
Yeah. I think I'm having trouble getting the slings fully involved. I can feel them though indoors and practicing stuff. When I actually throw, it's hard to coil enough while moving down the teepad. I can feel the coiling by sort of walking in place and rotating my hips and upper body naturally. But I'm having a hard time figuring out how to incorporate into an x-step. Any tips?

Also, plant leg I'm seeing that maybe it helps when my weight is more east on the teepad instead of West. I feel more like I can drop into it more from "behind". It almost feels like I'm planting backwards when I do that. Haven't been able to put it into a throw yet but wanted to see if I'm on the right track.

Let me know how I can throw like a lumberjack haha. Unless it means getting a sledgehammer and throwing it around. I think I only have a hammer lying around.

Throw it like a lumberjack: get whatever stuff you can and start heaving it in athletic posture, baby. All the time.

IMHO this is a weeks/months long project, but because I know a bit about your goals I'll summarize what I'd probably be working on based on what I see. In baseball, Paul Nyman, talks about "throwers and pitchers." He points out that lefties can often get away with "pitching, but not throwing" because they throw fast enough that their stuff is competitive, but it's also because they're throwing from the "wrong" side from the batter's perspective, which is always an advantage. Lefties can get away with more mechanical slop as a result (this is less true in 2023, but still somewhat true). Righties need to be throwers because they generally need absurd velocity to compete at the top, which means they need pretty outstanding initial advantages plus mechanics. Dirty industry "secret": coaches often talk about the fact that it's very rare to create throwers with coaching, and instead they are using college and Minor leagues to pre-select the throwers, and then turn them into pitchers. I think many disc golf amateurs are golfers, but most of them are not throwers. From what I know of you, you want to learn to be a thrower, and if you're not one, I think you need to attack it with hard work programmatically (IMHO, FWIW, etc.):

1. X-step + learning to throw - watching your form, I do think you are starting to "counter-rotate" your upper body back while you are shifting forward, but I don't think your body is in the ideal posture to get fully "pulled taut" more or less directly away from the target. So the sequence is off and your body is in the way, which you know. There's still some slack in your arm and lower body. That's what the Door Frame Drill is really good at sussing out, but most people have things going on that block it from working at first. Flashblastx was onto something when he once told me "it's basically the entire throw."

But even if you learn to drill and golf, I think you are here to learn to throw. I think the 3 most influential helpers in my own case were medicine ball, sledgehammer*, and full pendulum throws (elephant walk, then taking it sideways like Hammer X) walking thru x-step, but I should say why I think that would benefit you as bridges between drills and disc throws. You can also do it with one armed with dumbells (more in 3 below). The problem (IMO) I'm realizing for many people is that they just haven't learned to throw much of anything with significant force in the backhand direction. And one of the big problems, like you were mentioning above, is you really need to get comfortable with a lot of compression going into that rear leg in the backswing (I don't know what the force measure would be at the backswing peak, but I think it would be quick and very high) and getting pulled taut athletically but loose at the same time you are dropping relaxed into the plant. Baseball and golf people tend to get that part faster than others. I literally needed to "heave it like a lumberjack" hundreds of times before my body started doing it automatically, then I started walking it out into a shuffle step and then x-step with high loads.

I'm just bringing all of this up to you because I think you lack that coil and rear leg loading working together. Not everyone needs the heavy weight work but I definitely did. Otherwise I would just get too rigid somewhere and tense up, or drift back into the "flatter" mechanics, or not backswing or shift aggressively enough. From there, recently I've had more success playing with quicker shifts out of the backswing, which is where more "easy" release velocity can be found as you keep tweaking things.**

I think people often still have trouble nailing the coil with one arm + light disc with the feet moving, which is where exaggerating bits with Load the Bow has been very helpful. I'm noticing that even pretty healthy young people sometimes have trouble getting fully coiled against the frame at first as they "shift from behind." So door frame drill can test/help with that.

2. Plant leg stride + shift from behind, yeah sounds like the right feeling. I think there are things to tweak in your strides to fix your balance, but I worry you might always be fighting your own body if you don't connect it to the coil/core loading posture. So that's why I nudged you that way first.

3. *If you toss a dumbell, should feel like you are "throwing your thumb" at the target. I think your arm kinetics have improved but you have a bit to gain here.


*Sledgehammer was the best $40 I've ever spent for form development other than paying my coach. Not a "quick" fix, but excellent body feedback for some issues especially as a lifelong strong-armer.

**I'm sorry to be so opinionated my friend, but if the last ~3 months has taught me anything, it is that throwing far is definitely an athletically demanding activity, and if you didn't grow up a thrower and have high goals, it takes patience. You need to get your body moving better just to have access to pushing your consistency/distance peak. And you need to keep in mind that whatever body adaptation you require lags that. You can do it!

 
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Throw it like a lumberjack: get whatever stuff you can and start heaving it in athletic posture, baby. All the time.

IMHO this is a weeks/months long project, but because I know a bit about your goals I'll summarize what I'd probably be working on based on what I see. In baseball, Paul Nyman, talks about "throwers and pitchers." He points out that lefties can often get away with "pitching, but not throwing" because they throw fast enough that their stuff is competitive, but it's also because they're throwing from the "wrong" side from the batter's perspective, which is always an advantage. Lefties can get away with more mechanical slop as a result (this is less true in 2023, but still somewhat true). Righties need to be throwers because they generally need absurd velocity to compete at the top, which means they need pretty outstanding initial advantages plus mechanics. Dirty industry "secret": coaches often talk about the fact that it's very rare to create throwers with coaching, and instead they are using college and Minor leagues to pre-select the throwers, and then turn them into pitchers. I think many disc golf amateurs are golfers, but most of them are not throwers. From what I know of you, you want to learn to be a thrower, and if you're not one, I think you need to attack it with hard work programmatically (IMHO, FWIW, etc.):

1. X-step + learning to throw - watching your form, I do think you are starting to "counter-rotate" your upper body back while you are shifting forward, but I don't think your body is in the ideal posture to get fully "pulled taut" more or less directly away from the target. So the sequence is off and your body is in the way, which you know. There's still some slack in your arm and lower body. That's what the Door Frame Drill is really good at sussing out, but most people have things going on that block it from working at first. Flashblastx was onto something when he once told me "it's basically the entire throw."

But even if you learn to drill and golf, I think you are here to learn to throw. I think the 3 most influential helpers in my own case were medicine ball, sledgehammer*, and full pendulum throws (elephant walk, then taking it sideways like Hammer X) walking thru x-step, but I should say why I think that would benefit you as bridges between drills and disc throws. You can also do it with one armed with dumbells (more in 3 below). The problem (IMO) I'm realizing for many people is that they just haven't learned to throw much of anything with significant force in the backhand direction. And one of the big problems, like you were mentioning above, is you really need to get comfortable with a lot of compression going into that rear leg in the backswing (I don't know what the force measure would be at the backswing peak, but I think it would be quick and very high) and getting pulled taut athletically but loose at the same time you are dropping relaxed into the plant. Baseball and golf people tend to get that part faster than others. I literally needed to "heave it like a lumberjack" hundreds of times before my body started doing it automatically, then I started walking it out into a shuffle step and then x-step with high loads.

I'm just bringing all of this up to you because I think you lack that coil and rear leg loading working together. Not everyone needs the heavy weight work but I definitely did. Otherwise I would just get too rigid somewhere and tense up, or drift back into the "flatter" mechanics, or not backswing or shift aggressively enough. From there, recently I've had more success playing with quicker shifts out of the backswing, which is where more "easy" release velocity can be found as you keep tweaking things.**

I think people often still have trouble nailing the coil with one arm + light disc with the feet moving, which is where exaggerating bits with Load the Bow has been very helpful. I'm noticing that even pretty healthy young people sometimes have trouble getting fully coiled against the frame at first as they "shift from behind." So door frame drill can test/help with that.

2. Plant leg stride + shift from behind, yeah sounds like the right feeling. I think there are things to tweak in your strides to fix your balance, but I worry you might always be fighting your own body if you don't connect it to the coil/core loading posture. So that's why I nudged you that way first.

3. *If you toss a dumbell, should feel like you are "throwing your thumb" at the target. I think your arm kinetics have improved but you have a bit to gain here.


*Sledgehammer was the best $40 I've ever spent for form development other than paying my coach. Not a "quick" fix, but excellent body feedback for some issues especially as a lifelong strong-armer.

**I'm sorry to be so opinionated my friend, but if the last ~3 months has taught me anything, it is that throwing far is definitely an athletically demanding activity, and if you didn't grow up a thrower and have high goals, it takes patience. You need to get your body moving better just to have access to pushing your consistency/distance peak. And you need to keep in mind that whatever body adaptation you require lags that. You can do it!


I think one of the issues is definitely timing based in regards to the x-step. When I x-step, I feel like I don't have enough time to coil before it releases. Probably due to early encoiling/pulling and probably not coiling fast enough. I will work on forward tilt and side bend since that seems to be the biggest issue that will gate me from fixing other issues. Seems easy to fix in practice but for some reason even when I feel like I tilt forward, it doesn't show up on video. Or perhaps I stand up halfway through the throw.

Also, might my footwork be part of the issue? I keep trying to correct and not turn my lower body backwards but I'm struggling to find a good cue to fix it consistently. It's probably not a matter of just landing at 90 degrees but some sort of swing thought that I need to change. Probably related to rear coil.
 
I think one of the issues is definitely timing based in regards to the x-step. When I x-step, I feel like I don't have enough time to coil before it releases. Probably due to early encoiling/pulling and probably not coiling fast enough. I will work on forward tilt and side bend since that seems to be the biggest issue that will gate me from fixing other issues. Seems easy to fix in practice but for some reason even when I feel like I tilt forward, it doesn't show up on video. Or perhaps I stand up halfway through the throw.

Also, might my footwork be part of the issue? I keep trying to correct and not turn my lower body backwards but I'm struggling to find a good cue to fix it consistently. It's probably not a matter of just landing at 90 degrees but some sort of swing thought that I need to change. Probably related to rear coil.
Your feet are still part of the issue, and I think you're having trouble with the best athletic tilt+bend because you can't quite find the balance.

I remember now I had success with this by connecting two things that have made it easier to make progress on my feet and balance, I think:

1) Taking the door frame drill to figure out the best spacing between my feet while counter-rotating back so that I (1) got a full range of motion with my leading shoulder just behind my rear hip like top MPO and (2) when I would "drop" or release the frame, the arm would come through immediately after the plant for no additional effort other than the ground force reaction. This was when my standstills got much more powerful quickly in just a couple weeks. Need to get the spacing and posture to make it "automatic."

2) The hard part: to take into X-step (other than the ground force stuff we mentioned), something that I forgot I did on my own was play with Door Frame 3 where you grab the frame and walk past it, then try to find basically the same drop into the plant and throw. I would find the spacing, then I would gradually go quicker and quicker through the footwork and shift more abruptly. If you aren't doing it right you'll get yourself torqued awkwardly somewhere or be leaning or whatever with lower power when the arm comes through. You can literally feel speed gains if you're doing it right. Do it slow enough that you don't dislocate a shoulder at first, then when your spacing and control are good you can do it fairly quickly without hurting yourself. This also is currently helping me work on converting my preference for throwing on hyzer for power into lower, flatter (still baby hyzerflips) lines of attack in better posture.


IMHO this stuff is some of the hardest part of form to master when you take away the walls, poles, and weights, but I can tell you no BS that it's where I get the biggest easy power benefits no matter what else is going on. So I think there's something deep to it.
 

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