The Fundamentals of Form: Disc Golf Backhand


* Ace Member *
Oct 25, 2021
*** Click this link to view The Fundamentals of Form! ***

If you download the pdf
, the Table of Contents will function as hyperlinks!

Change log:
1.0.1.: Added 1.X.X. series and applied typographical edits from timothy42b.
1.0.2.: Applied typographical edits from lastchancer88.
1.0.3.: Streamlined language & applied light revisions
1.0.4.: Corrected error
1.0.5.: Improved vignettes about anterior pelvic tilt and related concepts (post 108-113 here)
1.0.6.: Added additional caveats and calls for study on injuries and overuse. Further clarified that multivariate throw forces can be approached in the context of overall human locomotion.

~~~~Initial message~~~~
Dear DGCR,

There have been calls before to make the vast repository of information on DGCR more accessible to everyone. There is deep wisdom here, yet the path to enlightenment is fraught for the uninitiated.

Once upon a time, Blake T mentioned that he thought this was a good idea, and that he would try to put it all down in one place. Due to his circumstances, he never quite got there.

I have been working hard to onboard every mechanic I can possibly learn from SW22 in my own form. Whether I have learned to do a mechanic myself or not yet, I work to gain an academic grasp on how the DG backhand works.

During this journey, I have developed the opinion that there are true fundamentals of DG backhand form, and that the majority of that knowledge exists on these forums and the older DGR mirror in one format or another. I am organizing it all into a conceptual framework, and playing an editor's role in compiling what has been show and written. I am filling in accessible prose and linking ideas where necessary to make a standalone document.

Of course, there are lessons yet to be learned for myself, SW22, and the broader community. The goal here is to compile what appear the be the most well-established concepts into one technical guide. It will not be a coaching manual per se, but a reference companion for those who are deeply interested in mechanics and want to either coach them or just to understand them better.

I am scraping and organizing content from this forum and have an initial outline and approach to organizing the concepts. The guide will be replete with definitions and rich in images, most of which will draw from DGCR with full attributions. This project is intended to be a living document that I would hope myself and others can update as we learn more and especially as scientific approaches enter disc golf.

To achieve this goal, I am asking for your help. I already have collected a rich repository of content. Necessarily, this project draws heavily on SW22's contributions and external sources from other sports, but information from Blake T and HUB and so many others is of course relevant. I am certain I won't get it all in the first pass by myself, so:

I would humbly request that you to please link any essential threads or specific posts and images that you think pertain to the fundamentals of the disc golf backhand in this master thread. Out of necessity I can't mention every single thread or post, but please liberally share content with the key filtering thought in mind: "what distinguishes fundamental mechanics from more superficial ideas?"

This is a labor of love. One of my goals is to consolidate what I'm learning. As an academic, it helps me to reconcile what I read, write, see, and do. More importantly, I view it as a service to disc golf, SW22, and so many others in the broader DGCR community to express my gratitude. I will share it here once it is sufficiently developed.

I deeply appreciate any and all of your assistance.

Sincerely yours,
Brychanus (John)

Last edited:
If you’ll allow sources outside DGCR, Ezra Aderhold and Overthrow Disc Golf on YouTube are worth checking out as well

Thanks! Yes, good to clarify - any sources are welcome. If there are tensions between sources I'll do my best to resolve them and point out contentious topics.
This is a great idea and in general I've enjoyed seeing you consolidate a lot of info shared on these forums into your videos and now this potential document -- I very much appreciate it!

A "physics of flight" section would be a great addition. I find having some understanding of what is happened with my discs allows me to feedback into my form for corrections. It could introduce some of the more high level physics concepts involved in disc flight and then relate them to different scenarios. Below is an (overzealous) outline of what I'd imagine would be useful for this topic.

Physics of Flight
- Properties of a spinning disc
-- Angular momentum/moment of inertia/gyroscopic stability/gyroscopic precession
- Linear momentum
-- Mass/Velocity
- Aerodynamics
-- Bernoulli's principle/lift/center of pressure & +-pitching moment/angle of attack/airspeed vs ground speed
* Light weight vs Max weight Disc
* Spin vs Speed
* How/why a disc turns and fades
* Headwind vs Tailwind and Downhill vs Uphill
* Case study: Eagle vs GG
* ...

Articles & Social Posts
Most concise post I've found on DGCR explaining disc flight:

Recent Speed vs Spin Thread w/ Gamerproof data:

A brief primer on how the injection molding process affects flight characteristics

MVP's Overmold Technology explained.

From Reddit: u/DGOkko's Distance Vs Release Velocity taken from Jomez.

From Side Bar of r/discgolf

Youtube Videos
Disc Golf Disc Ratings and Numbers: SPEED Explained

Disc Golf Disc Plastics: How they Impact Disc Flight - Parting Line

Danny from Dynamic Discs measuring FH and BH speed and spin with Chris Clemons and Eric Oakley.

Spinning - Vsauce

Fundamentals of Aerodynamics - AeroAcademy

Understanding Aerodynamic Lift - The Efficient Engineer

Popular Academic Papers
DISC-WING AERODYNAMICS - Jonathan R. Potts, William J. Crowther

Frisbee(TM) Aerodynamics - Jonathan R. Potts, William J. Crowther

Frisbee Flight Simulation and Throw Biomechanics - Sarah Hummel

FrisPy - Disc Flight Sim

Related to mechanics, the "Drive Leg Mechanics" is a favorite thread full of great info:
Hey gang, quick help request w/ context:

I'm almost finished a draft of the Concepts section. Tilted Spiral is taking more time because this section aims to tie together several concepts to summarize how the system works as a unit before itemizing the mechanics in the remainder of the document. I am discussing how ground forces, compression & decompression, and posture interact with and depend on one another.

I'm mostly mining Rocking the Hips, Shifting Correctly Makes Bracing Easy, Drive Leg Mechanics for that.

What I can't yet find are the best images about ground pressure transfer in relation to the swing & related text. I've got the seabas22 ground pressure vids (1 2 3) and related content.

What I'm looking for are diagrams people have made showing ground force flow in the feet for standstills and x-steps in the context of the written descriptions. I know SocraDeez has made some, HUB at some point, and so on. Any favorite single posts or threads on that?
you know when you find an academic paper that perfectly fits what you want to say and you can't remember where it was, at all. So you go through your history cross referenced to the day you could have looked at it? No? Me either.

#18 was pretty eye opening.

(was rotated by Bryantlikes on #23)

All too familiar. It's gotten so bad that I am pretty sure my lab members think I'm amnestic.

This is exactly one of the images & discussions I couldn't find, thank you!
Here's one of those cool threads that is a weird mix of history, challenging old and new ideas, and entertainment. Glad it got bumped since I missed it.

Anyone got favorite threads or posts from HUB they find highly influential? I know he has not been as active recently but he was in the middle of a lot of conversations and debates for a long time here.
Wallace Stevens said:
Oh! Blessed rage for order, pale Brychanus,
The maker’s rage to order words of the sea,
Words of the fragrant portals, dimly-starred,
And of ourselves and of our origins,
In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.

The Idea of Order at Key West

Anyone got favorite threads or posts from HUB they find highly influential? I know he has not been as active recently but he was in the middle of a lot of conversations and debates for a long time here.

HUB's best work is long form writing on his site heavydisc:

You're probably already familiar with the site, but you should really just go through the entire thing. Just start at the beginning of the blog post archive and work your way through chronologically. Well worth your time.

He wields mixed media well - text x picture x video x email x etc - and is an excellent creative writer. Don't sleep on the fiction, either.
You need to create lag tension and a bounce/sling/whip effect so the arm/disc accelerates faster than the body. Door Frame Drills.

We are not a wheel or driveshaft where the only way to increase distance is by rotating faster.*

Simon is much greater than 90 even though he says to lock it at 90.



Very good post about arm movement
Guide update - schedule has been nuts recently but there has been progress.

I paused to learn more about how to integrate some of the posture and leg stuff. I'm going to pass it to SW (content) and semisensei (editing) soon to screen draft 1.0 then can post a public link. I'll see if I can make it publicly commentable so draft 2.0 can include any community input.
Just bumped into this tidbit after forgetting where I saw it first & will drop it in Fundamentals. I can personally confirm some of the tradeoffs in terms of speed, spin, & joint stress. This is also relevant to discussions about things like "Wide Rail" backswings.

Shorter shots can be "wider" or more westward in the backswing, so the swing is more like >. This is a physics trick of sorts that makes it snappier/spinnier at a cost of ejection speed and tougher on arm joints.

If you want max distance without killing your joints, you need to heave it further back more inline to trajectory like battering ram or sledgehammer. Try some 360s. You can swing the disc wherever, so long as the upper arm is still wide enough so the left shoulder doesn't get in the way of the disc swinging into center.

How's this progressing. I've been browsing through the history here trying to piece things together and would love to see a directory from a more senior member.
How's this progressing. I've been browsing through the history here trying to piece things together and would love to see a directory from a more senior member.

76 Pages pre-format editing. About half of that is figures.

I'm working on leg mechanics now. There were a few decision points about how to talk about the legs, hips, and diagonal shift, but I think I have a reasonable strategy.

Teaser trailer from the doc:
Warning: this is "academic" mode as would be most of what shows up on this thread. I don't expect anything I say here to directly help anyone's swing, though some people may find it interesting and I wanted to "preprocess" some new learning before I simplify it for the text.

The text is going well. I am finding new bursts of energy and powering through before I start my day. Something occurred to me this week.

I decided to add two small components to the project given recent discussions. Usually when me or another player is struggling through something, I slow down and consider why it becomes a coaching issue and how the actions work. Undoubtedly, I wanted my little (academic) "Good Swing" project to identify components that bring momentum, efficiency, safety, and consistent distance in harmony in principle and consistent with what happens in practice. I realized that I had at least a couple more fish to fry.

1. While I generally have framed the narrative in terms of imparting maximum peak force on the disc, it seemed very justified to add a more focused, brief discussion on the role of momentum in powering the swing and inertia. One of the things that distinguishes elite form is not only impeccable mechanics, but also achieving those mechanics with significant enough momentum to power the swing and the inertia of the disc and parts of the body. When many players observe high level throwers, since momentum is an abstraction, it can be hard to see. It can be even harder to see how momentum and resulting impact forces and form come together to yield breathtaking, consistent disc velocity. Many players also have trouble understanding the role of mass in the swing at all stages, which is a key to efficiency. You can always add velocity, but if the mass is left lagging behind, you will always have efficiency issues. I want to challenge myself to address those issues a little more thoroughly head on, so I will.

2. There has been a lot of discussion and occasional skepticism about the role of posture in the swing. One view that I know SW endorses is that posture forms a gatekeeper to the kinetic sequence, and consequently timing. One of the things that I am noticing many players struggle with is that there still may need to be a significant focus on actions in the chain even if their starting postures improve, which SW frequently also works on with players. As usual, several kinds of observations occurred to me when I started paying closer attention.

For instance, at various points I have had a lot of trouble with my leg muscles wimping out entirely or prematurely. Some of it is legitimate and chronic weakness, some of it is posture, and some of it is plain old fashioned motion (action) training in the body. Each bit of work has taken considerable coaching input and practice on my part to fix, all filtered through online exchanges (again, not the format for everyone). No, no one posture adjustment fixed everything. Yes, I needed additional action work on top of it. No, I wasn't (and am not) still not completely done with posture adjustments. These things are conceptually causally related, and there is some interesting reciprocality to them.

But I've been reflecting on swing power, form, goals, and psychology more these days.More generally, I've looked around and talked here and elsewhere quite a bit, and I'm realizing that players often struggle to commit to improving posture when they do not suddenly develop dramatically increased distance from posture adjustments, or indeed give up on posture before they've completely learned it. Psychological reinforcement plays a big role in whether or not players commit to certain learning paradigms and whether one or another style will work for them - this is true of disc golf or any discipline I'm aware of. Players that bail on posture often advance to processes that add momentum (like running, hopping, the X, and so on) and add distance, but at the expense of some efficiency. The learning value of being impatient is that, they may have discovered that momentum and the body's response to it is indeed a key to power, and there are important lessons there too. Many of them throw quite far with inefficiencies (though indeed, they have some efficiencies to throw any distance), and this is no coincidence. Interestingly, many players struggle to make the connection that they can have their cake and eat it too by combining efficiency and momentum in their swings, and that peak power is related to both of these concepts.

I find this pattern so common and fascinating that I wanted to put the psychology aside for a bit to understand what does and does not come from posture specifically. I started by digging in deeper into scientific literature to try and learn about the relationship between posture and contractile force in muscles. Of course, there is a lot there, and I'm not a kinesiologist so I can only grasp it to a certain depth. However, everyone once in a while I bump into something I understand more completely in terms of physical effects. This chapter on muscle tension and forces consolidated a lot of what I've been learning, and helped me understand why some postures work better than others in DG throws or otherwise. It helped me understand why being pulled taut stretched (but not too stretched!) and loose (but not wimpy!) and in postures that maintain muscle lengths near certain lengths produce stronger forces than others. The high-level DG postures put muscles naturally into positions to exploit these advantages in smooth kinetic sequences Each player needs work to discover - and then optimize - them. Talking about it might or might not help any given player. Adding momentum to it adds the bang to your buck.
How's this progressing. I've been browsing through the history here trying to piece things together and would love to see a directory from a more senior member.


The "alpha" version has been sent to a few people to solicit initial comments if they are willing.

I will post a "beta" version after cleaning a bit up soon for broader visibility. I will treat it as a "living" public document and evaluate input and critiques to incorporate necessary changes.
Brychanus; said:
Psychological reinforcement plays a big role in whether or not players commit to certain learning paradigms and whether one or another style will work for them - this is true of disc golf or any discipline I'm aware of.

Just a comment about learning/teaching paradigms. I've taken music lessons from some high level teachers. Sometimes the discussion goes like this. You're doing X and you need to do Y. Many students get the idea by doing A. Nope, didn't work. Okay, we'll try B. Somewhere around F or G there's an AHA moment.

There's not always a straight path from the wrong X to the right Y.

(private theory, sometimes it's not the exercise at all, it's differential reinforcement of a precursor to the goal)

Latest posts