Putting test results: not touching disc w/ pinky at all helped me with clean releases, pop, wobble

disc-golf-neil

Birdie Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2023
Messages
384
I'm curious to hear your results if you test any of this. Here's a video showing and explaining it more clearly (including example putts), but I wrote the gist of it below as well.



I've heard multiple things about how the pinky helps stabilize the disc or helps push the disc out and give more finger pop, but I've never been able to feel the pinky help much, what I have felt, is the pinky clip the edge of the rim sometimes on the way out and cause wobble for putts that emphasize finger pushing. For more wristy putts without finger push it doesn't matter as much because I can simply open my hand for the clean release.

For finger pushing, the middle and ring fingers are generally longer and stronger, so the pinky runs out of extension before the middle and ring finger are done extending to pop the disc, so it seems like it can't help much (maybe I'm missing something) but it can still get in the way.

Removing the pinky from touching the disc and focusing all the pop and as much of the discs weight as possible onto the middle and ring finger has helped me get more consistent with powerful finger pop and cleaner releases.
 
Last edited:
Being something I feel for while putting, the pinky thing, I don't honestly know how to explain.

I use it more as a "feel swing is right" que, then an actual action. I'm just looking for a certain feedback feel from it, not actively trying to use it.
 
I'm curious to hear your results if you test any of this. Here's a video showing and explaining it more clearly (including example putts), but I wrote the gist of it below as well.
Don't forget to select HD quality and if on mobile watch in landscape even though it's vertical, my bad:

I've heard multiple things about how the pinky helps stabilize the disc or helps push the disc out and give more finger pop, but I've never been able to feel the pinky help much, what I have felt, is the pinky clip the edge of the rim sometimes on the way out and cause wobble.

The middle and ring fingers are generally longer and stronger, so the pinky runs out of extension before the middle and ring finger are done extending to pop the disc, so it seems like it can't help much (maybe I'm missing something) but it can still get in the way.

Removing the pinky from touching the disc and focusing all the pop and as much of the discs weight as possible onto the middle and ring finger has helped me get more consistent with powerful finger pop and cleaner releases.

I think putting grips can be wildly variable, almost anything that works is fine imo. I personally use a fan grip with a fully tucked index finger under the rim, I like putting with some power and this is the most comfortable way to do it for me.

I will say that I would not recommend making ANY putting decisions based on what works from 8 feet away. Literally anything goes at this range and you will not be able to tell what works. I would highly recommend settling your putting grip/form from circles edge, and test it going out into C2 as well.

One of the biggest 'aha' moments while dialing in putting has been to not heavily differentiate the mechanics of the putt from any other swing. If I could go back in time and teach myself, I would emphasize the validity of the stroke during longer putts, and heavily deemphasize the validity of the stroke during shorter putts.

It might sound dumb, but to me, your putting stroke is what works, with power, from 30-40 feet. Think about this as your actual baseline stroke, and take OFF power as you get closer. I did the opposite for quite a while, getting super confident with weak ass strokes at 15-20 feet, and ADDING power to that stroke just sucks, or did for me. I understand this sounds like "it's six of one, half a dozen of the other" but to me there is merit to this direction of thought regarding putting.

Watching your video of the example doesn't really tell me much about your stroke or whether your grip offers an objective benefit. Even from 8 feet away that disc was wobbling pretty hard, but this is probably just because from that range you barely have to do anything at all.
 
I think putting grips can be wildly variable, almost anything that works is fine imo. I personally use a fan grip with a fully tucked index finger under the rim, I like putting with some power and this is the most comfortable way to do it for me.

I will say that I would not recommend making ANY putting decisions based on what works from 8 feet away. Literally anything goes at this range and you will not be able to tell what works. I would highly recommend settling your putting grip/form from circles edge, and test it going out into C2 as well.

One of the biggest 'aha' moments while dialing in putting has been to not heavily differentiate the mechanics of the putt from any other swing. If I could go back in time and teach myself, I would emphasize the validity of the stroke during longer putts, and heavily deemphasize the validity of the stroke during shorter putts.

It might sound dumb, but to me, your putting stroke is what works, with power, from 30-40 feet. Think about this as your actual baseline stroke, and take OFF power as you get closer. I did the opposite for quite a while, getting super confident with weak ass strokes at 15-20 feet, and ADDING power to that stroke just sucks, or did for me. I understand this sounds like "it's six of one, half a dozen of the other" but to me there is merit to this direction of thought regarding putting.

Watching your video of the example doesn't really tell me much about your stroke or whether your grip offers an objective benefit. Even from 8 feet away that disc was wobbling pretty hard, but this is probably just because from that range you barely have to do anything at all.
The distances in the vid were 15 feet and 20 feet.

The one from 15 feet I was trying hard to use ONLY a bit of wrist and finger push just to practice the finger push mechanic and that's why you can see wobble in those, I'm very constrained and having to be explosive instead of smooth.

The other putts are from 20 feet and have power taken off because I'm not using my legs at all really, isolated to arm. Did you notice wobble in those? Even in slow mo I can barely see any wobble. Once I add my legs in I can easily get to beyond C1 distances with this stroke without needing to jump until further into C2.

I like the sound of that idea to build the stroke at power and then reduce the power as needed. My backswing is more towards the left of the body which is known to help a lot with power instead of the disc cramped for space at the waist.
 
The distances in the vid were 15 feet and 20 feet.

The one from 15 feet I was trying hard to use ONLY a bit of wrist and finger push just to practice the finger push mechanic and that's why you can see wobble in those, I'm very constrained and having to be explosive instead of smooth.

The other putts are from 20 feet and have power taken off because I'm not using my legs at all really, isolated to arm. Did you notice wobble in those? Even in slow mo I can barely see any wobble. Once I add my legs in I can easily get to beyond C1 distances with this stroke without needing to jump until further into C2.

I like the sound of that idea to build the stroke at power and then reduce the power as needed. My backswing is more towards the left of the body which is known to help a lot with power instead of the disc cramped for space at the waist.
I'd say if it helps you with your putting release, and you can easily get beyond C1 with it, seems worth pursuing! I agree the 20 footers seemed like they had less wobble.

I definitely get no power benefit from my pinky, but I do like it resting on the plate myself. I haven't personally noticed the disc hitting my pinky, but I have a little bit of lift to my putt, not pure spin by any means.

I do think that isolating your wrist/arm is part of what I recommend avoiding as a concept. I still use my lower body from 15 feet. Keeping that full stroke in-tact is a hugely beneficial thing for me personally. I don't need power from my lower body at close range, but I do like the integrity of the larger wave of momentum.
 
Last edited:
I'd say if it helps you with your putting release, and you can easily get beyond C1 with it, seems worth pursuing! I agree the 20 footers seemed like they had less wobble.

I definitely get no power benefit from my pinky, but I do like it resting on the plate myself. I haven't personally noticed the disc hitting my pinky, but I have a little bit of lift to my putt, not pure spin by any means.

I do think that isolating your wrist/arm is part of what I recommend avoiding as a concept. I still use my lower body from 15 feet. Keeping that full stroke in-tact is a hugely beneficial thing for me personally. I don't need power from my lower body at close range, but I do like the integrity of the larger wave of momentum.
Yeah when you lift it up more the pinky is less likely to catch on anything.

I think isolating is useful during the form-building process, but afterwards you definitely want to focus on consistency which is not isolating. Most people cannot learn a complex fluid movement all at once, so isolation is necessary. And during ups and downs later on, something breaks, and isolation can help you find out where something is going wrong. E.g., if you isolate to using just the arm and things are working well, but when you add your legs in things get worse, that's useful information to diagnose, maybe the timing is wrong between legs and arm, maybe your arm form changes accidentally when you use your legs, maybe you are inconsistent with your leg movements, etc.
 
Yeah when you lift it up more the pinky is less likely to catch on anything.

I think isolating is useful during the form-building process, but afterwards you definitely want to focus on consistency which is not isolating. Most people cannot learn a complex fluid movement all at once, so isolation is necessary. And during ups and downs later on, something breaks, and isolation can help you find out where something is going wrong. E.g., if you isolate to using just the arm and things are working well, but when you add your legs in things get worse, that's useful information to diagnose, maybe the timing is wrong between legs and arm, maybe your arm form changes accidentally when you use your legs, maybe you are inconsistent with your leg movements, etc.
Ya, whatever works, do that :)

I just do not personally see it as a series of separate movements that can be isolated anymore. I tried quite hard to have a putt that worked the way you describe, I 100% get what you are saying. I figured that the least amount of movement possible at a given range was something to strive for. For me personally, this led to being capable of some absolute nonsense even from 10 feet on occasion lol.

My timing cannot be off in the way you are describing though, because there is no timing. I am simply using the ground to build momentum in the direction I want to putt and riding that wave through the arm. Yes, there is some arm muscle activation to set up the framework of the movement, but it is minimal in the exact same way it is minimal on a smashed drive to me.
 
My timing cannot be off in the way you are describing though, because there is no timing
Huh? You mind as well say time doesn't exist.

When you build momentum from the ground, your arm moves at a certain time in relation to that leg movement. It's not absolutely perfectly timed every time since you aren't perfect. Most people probably lift the arm at the same time as they press up with their legs, some people have a distinct delay and get more momentum going from the legs before they start raising their arm, etc. You fall somewhere in this timing spectrum and you don't get it 100% right every time. No one does.
 
Huh? You mind as well say time doesn't exist.

When you build momentum from the ground, your arm moves at a certain time in relation to that leg movement. It's not absolutely perfectly timed every time since you aren't perfect. Most people probably lift the arm at the same time as they press up with their legs, some people have a distinct delay and get more momentum going from the legs before they start raising their arm, etc. You fall somewhere in this timing spectrum and you don't get it 100% right every time. No one does.
I don't mean I am perfectly accurate, I mean there isn't any kind of 'this then this then this' in my swing. Tons of people fall into this trap super, super hard with disc golf swings and form, and it is the biggest pitfall by far from my perspective.

I am absolutely not 'lifting my arm' at a specific time. My momentum lifts my arm. Looking at other people and trying to mimic them without understanding this does lead to some misperceptions, I get it. If you are 'lifting up' at the 'same time' as you 'press up' with your legs, that makes absolutely no sense and is a discombobulated swing for sure.

The arm is still just a whip in the putting stroke.
 
I don't mean I am perfectly accurate, I mean there isn't any kind of 'this then this then this' in my swing. Tons of people fall into this trap super, super hard with disc golf swings and form, and it is the biggest pitfall by far from my perspective.

I am absolutely not 'lifting my arm' at a specific time. My momentum lifts my arm. Looking at other people and trying to mimic them without understanding this does lead to some misperceptions, I get it. If you are 'lifting up' at the 'same time' as you 'press up' with your legs, that makes absolutely no sense and is a discombobulated swing for sure.
Ok, even if you don't lift your arm and 100% rely on your body to lift it up as you press up, you still have a lot of other timing elements going, when the wrists or fingers do what they do. But if you're just talking about lifting with the arm or the lack of it, then I understand what you mean.

Do you add some lifting with the arm if you have to overcome significant elevation?
 
Ok, even if you don't lift your arm and 100% rely on your body to lift it up as you press up, you still have a lot of other timing elements going, when the wrists or fingers do what they do. But if you're just talking about lifting with the only then I understand what you mean.

Do you add some lifting with the arm if you have to overcome significant elevation?
I just don't perceive it as a timing element. It is allowing the momentum to build, and this includes the 'finger pop' which is just the very tip of the whip riding that same wave of momentum. There are no positional cues for manual arm/wrist/finger action, it is cued naturally by momentum and leveraging the disc from my perspective.

I don't mean to imply my arm is LITERALLY completely limp, it is simply doing the barest minimum in the same way as it does during a smashed drive. Trying to 'time' arm acceleration just doesn't make sense to me, there is only one timing that is ever correctly flowing with the momentum generated.

Manually using the arm detached from prior momentum in putting leads to horrendous results in my experience.
 
I just don't perceive it as a timing element. It is allowing the momentum to build, and this includes the 'finger pop' which is just the very tip of the whip riding that same wave of momentum. There are no positional cues for manual arm/wrist/finger action, it is cued naturally by momentum and leveraging the disc from my perspective.

I don't mean to imply my arm is LITERALLY completely limp, it is simply doing the barest minimum in the same way as it does during a smashed drive. Trying to 'time' arm acceleration just doesn't make sense to me, there is only one timing that is ever correctly flowing with the momentum generated.

Manually using the arm detached from prior momentum in putting leads to horrendous results in my experience.
what if you were helping somebody who is learning this style of putting and they didn't have it down smoothly, and you notice they kept flinging the disc way off to the right and you saw that the most obvious reason for that is they extended their wrist and their fingers very late?

I imagine you would be likely to give timing advice, such a "try extending your wrist and fingers a bit earlier"
 
what if you were helping somebody who is learning this style of putting and they didn't have it down smoothly, and you notice they kept flinging the disc way off to the right and you saw that the most obvious reason for that is they extended their wrist and their fingers very late?

I imagine you would be likely to give timing advice, such a "try extending your wrist and fingers a bit earlier"

If you are flinging the disc way out to the right, you are simply not using ground up momentum in the right direction and do not have an accurate mental model for where your release point needs to occur. If you are extending your fingers late, you have disconnected your movement. I know ALLL about doing this lol. When I built my stroke in reverse at first, adding power almost always meant some form of herky jerky arm nonsense.

It is almost identical to the concept of grip lock, except putting strokes seem to attract a lot more manual override twitchy actions, and 'grip lock' is usually purely momentum direction. I wouldn't say you 'released' late if you grip lock a drive 30 degrees to the right. I would say your entire swing's momentum was misaligned.

The putting stroke becomes so much easier once you truly do understand that it is not fundamentally different from a drive. In both, I have a point in space that I am trying to snap my arm to.
 
I appreciate the video, and it looks like a solid putt, but I just can't seem make that finger motion/pop like you do, might help to have longer fingers. My thumb joint doesn't like that pushing motion.

There's lots of ways you can putt effectively. I tuck my pinky into the rim so the disc is loaded back into the palm/thumb base and I can almost putt without my thumb tip while the base of the thumb holds the pressure. I just have to make sure my pinky gets out of the way on the forward swing.
 
I've noticed that when my putts start yanking to the right, it helps to open/square up more to the target rather than close off more like a lot of people suggest.
 
I've noticed that when my putts start yanking to the right, it helps to open/square up more to the target rather than close off more like a lot of people suggest.

Turn front foot left?

I duno, I've been doing that one lately, perfect putts sail right by right chains. like DOH.
Keep forgetting to turn my front foot a bit more left.

No idea why that works, but it does.

My only guess is its changing some weird posture brain calibration thing with balance.
 
I've noticed that when my putts start yanking to the right, it helps to open/square up more to the target rather than close off more like a lot of people suggest.
Haha crazy. For me its the opposite. Putting is just one of those personal things. If it works, it works.

I just can never personally get the more arm oriented spin putting to work. I have small hands, and I'm 5'7, so my advice might not apply to other people at all here. I have a spot in space that I want my arm to whip to and can usually tell mostly what went wrong based on where my arm ends up actually being if I miss.
 
Turn front foot left?

I duno, I've been doing that one lately, perfect putts sail right by right chains. like DOH.
Keep forgetting to turn my front foot a bit more left.

No idea why that works, but it does.

My only guess is its changing some weird posture brain calibration thing with balance.
I move my trail foot over to the left into more open stance.
 
I move my trail foot over to the left into more open stance.
interesting.

I putt with an insanely strange stance, but then. I also can putt from 60 without having to jump all mimbly bimbly like a cat from limb to limb to get the disc over 10 meters like these top pro's do.

Ugh, sorry.
That jump putt rant came out.
 
I think putting grips can be wildly variable, almost anything that works is fine imo. I personally use a fan grip with a fully tucked index finger under the rim, I like putting with some power and this is the most comfortable way to do it for me.

I will say that I would not recommend making ANY putting decisions based on what works from 8 feet away. Literally anything goes at this range and you will not be able to tell what works. I would highly recommend settling your putting grip/form from circles edge, and test it going out into C2 as well.

One of the biggest 'aha' moments while dialing in putting has been to not heavily differentiate the mechanics of the putt from any other swing. If I could go back in time and teach myself, I would emphasize the validity of the stroke during longer putts, and heavily deemphasize the validity of the stroke during shorter putts.

It might sound dumb, but to me, your putting stroke is what works, with power, from 30-40 feet. Think about this as your actual baseline stroke, and take OFF power as you get closer. I did the opposite for quite a while, getting super confident with weak ass strokes at 15-20 feet, and ADDING power to that stroke just sucks, or did for me. I understand this sounds like "it's six of one, half a dozen of the other" but to me there is merit to this direction of thought regarding putting.

Watching your video of the example doesn't really tell me much about your stroke or whether your grip offers an objective benefit. Even from 8 feet away that disc was wobbling pretty hard, but this is probably just because from that range you barely have to do anything at all.
Great post. There's no such thing as putting in disc golf. It's a short, forward facing throw with a reach down instead of a reach back. Once you figure that out, who knows what you're capable of.
 
Top