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Trying to learn snap and make it easier for others


* Ace Member *
Mar 18, 2007
Finland, sea level
Hi everone. I think it is appropriate that my first post on this board deals with snap. Since it seems to be the most often reoccurring question on throwing technique in this board.

I have read the articles on this board over and over again. I got a lot of hints and basics. Unfortunately for me it was not enough. Especially on the topic of snap. So I don't wonder if other people haven't got it as well. I got a lot more ideas to try from reading through every topic touching snap on this forum. And I got a lot clearer picture of what should happen. I still have a some unanswered questions in my mind that I think should help averyone else learning snap to conceptualize what needs to be done.

Don't get me wrong, I love the articles and effort and time that Blake and others have put into explaining throwing and snap specifically. I fully realize that not everyone is able to convey in words so complex matters as adding snap and training oneself to notice and manipulate snap. It is no wonder that the question of adding snap resurfaces time and again since there does not seem to be a cookbook recipe of adding snap. I hope that with your help we could be collectively nail down in words how we could teach people to add snap to their throws. I realize that for those of you who already know the ins and outs of snap and have learned it naturally by just doing it without trying to Einstein it in your head into a physics dissertation that it is difficult to take the trouble of breaking the technique down into concepts and words. If we could achieve that it could be compiled into an article so that you gurus wouldn't always have to answer the same question again and again. And it would probably help many more than me in getting full understanding and practical skills needed for utilizing snap to the fullest.

I'm in a good position now to relate to everyone going through the pain of realizing how difficult it is to understand how snap works and how it should be incorporated into throwing technique. I have taken the first step in learning how snap feels in throwing midrange discs with less than full arms speed. So the feeling is not totally unfamiliar to me any more. I also can easily relate to people trying to conceptualize what shoukld be done. My strengths are not in answering what should be done but in making questions that lead to a step by step analysis what sould happen during snap.

Before going into the questions that break down snap I'll relate my experience so far so that you gurus can gauge the lack of competence I have. And appraise where I have gone wrong so far. And give you some kind of reference where I'm coming from. Please do not hesitate to ask me for more details. Currently my throwing hand prevents me from throwing and trying to incorporate what I've learned from reading driving and snap related topics from this forum. I learned a lot more compared to the articles and technique repair section. So trying to get my head adound to what should happen is all I can do.

The faults that I have identified so far from reading this forum are: Off axis torque resulting from incorrect plane of follow through compared to the hyzer angle of the disc. In my case I've been throwing too overstable drivers for my technigue and the speed of the disc leaving my hand. I have a quick hand with very low amount off snap. If I throw muscling as hard as I can I have to concentrate hard on not letting my wrist roll over clockwise. And I'm still not always preventing that mistake from happening. When running with an x-step I throw from about upright position not weight forward. So far I have not tilted my hip to left during hyzer shots that I try to flatten out in flight. I've started to move way into bent elbow from full reac back in my standing still tracing of correct lines done with my remaining good hand(non throwing). I haven't managed more than a couple of dozen throws before I hurt my throwing hand. So I can't comment on the progress from changing technique. I tried to concentrate on the feeling of snap by standing still and utilizing half of my hand strenght and a little turn from my hips and shoulder. This was two months ago. It was -17-21 C so I was really restricted because of clothing. I quess that starting the hip turn, shoulder turn and pull through of the hand was almost concurrent. From non throwing practice with my off arm it seems that I burnt insane amounts of energy in pulling in a straight line with my hand with full power and full acceleration. So my hand reached full speed way before the disc had passed my torso. Rookie mistake judging by what I've learned since and what I've tried in non throwing tests. I had no or very little follow through. I did way too many throws per day and increased weight lifting simultaneously. I'm a noodle arm but not wet noodle arm. I started to feel snap only after I increased hip turn to about half of what I can achieve if I don't concentrate on anything else and hand to 60-70 %.

Since I don't know exactly what to do and have heard conflicting advice I just did not concentrate on gripping the disc hard around snap. I'm used to squeezing at around 50-60 % of my good finger strenght. I just learned to modify my power grip to a more efficient one. I have too small hands for modern drivers. My index finger is 7,2 cm long. The easiest discs to grab for me are Discraft Storm and Flick. I'm 172 cm tall and slightly overweight. So I've been losing energy on the disc on at least two fronts in grip. I squeezed lightly so that clenching my muscles did not hamper my arm speed. I don't have scales to measure my finger strenghts or speedometer to chack my arm speed. I'm definitely not a slouch on arm speed. And that has held my technique back. Since I was able to stay ahead of my friends with similarly poor technique by just muscling harder. Not very wise and efficient and long D way of doing things. I'm in the process of learning away my false habits.

I had no clue about the range of motion with my wrist should be travelling to achieve snap when I started to learn throwing with snap. I just let my hand be loose with just enough sgueezing power to hold the angles on the discs. In my case around 40-60 % range roughly with a Z Buzzz, X Storm and E Sabre. Since I did not know what I was doing I just tried to notice the feeling of snap that I had felt based on the article Grip it to rip it IIRC. IIRC it the article did not state the range the wrist should move from left to right. I'm throwing RHBH. I just let my wrist flap from fully curled to the left to past hand shaking position as far as my wrist goes. This way the range of my shots increased around 5-10 meters and the fade halved in right to left movement.

Since I was just muscling away by maximizing the speed of the disc in a straight line that was how I added steps into my throws. First on then full x-step without run up. I directed my throws into a straight line from start to finish. I did not try to turn my legs and body, but to lean towards the basket. So I had been thundering along at full speed with the disc from somewhere around my torso to as far as my hand could reach straight towards the basket. Bad idea!!! No follow through if you remember... Basically every muscle in my body was used to achieve full speed at the slipping, not ripping, of the disc. And full stop of my hand from all the power I could generate. Bam! You could see it like this: I was unbeknowingly trying to separate my arm to let it fly after the disc towards the basket. Quess why I can't throw now?

I had been throwing flat so I need to get well to see what throwing nose down will do. By getting my muscles all tensed up I can get a power grip 1 down about 25 degrees with a Storm 175 g. With hand muscles loose I can get about 12 degrees down. I can get a couple of degrees more with loose muscles if I manipulate the disc with my fingers resulting in looser grip and increased failure rate. It is ironic that the discs that I can get the nose down with are the ones that don't need that much angle. And not enough nose down with modern drivers. Although RIDT 148 g is 7-10 degrees nose down with about 50 % tense hand muscles which doesn't kill me or my arm speed. If i get my wrist down and drop my hand down from my shoulder about 10 degrees. I don't need to do this as much after I eliminate off axis torque.

With this kind of newbie technique deficient way of throwing I get GPS measured 1,5-4 meters high line drive profile average distance of about 85 meters with about 95 % of the throws landing within +- 5 meters of this distance. With overstable drivers hyzer release to flat flight. Weight 175 class in Star Wraiths but also a 166 and RIDT from 148, 166 and 175 g. Also with heavy Champ Orc, Champ Starfires etc. E Sabre 172 g flies about 80 meters or so. Because of off axis torque and recent arrival of my first Wizard at 172 g in medium super glow I reach only about 45-50 meters. I've thrown 80 meters with 173 g elite pro glow APX. This is in heavy winter clothing and in snow about 20-30 cm thick. My longest throw on hyzer flip in air is with a 166 g Star Wraith at 109 meters with top height of about 10-12 meters. With a skip RIDT 166 g went 112 m. Also in heawy clothing at about -3 C with no wind.

I was a lot less powerful player with perhaps a little worse technique last summer. Then I threw a shot with an171 g SOLF when I tripped and got weight forward too well with spinnin gmovement of my body. The height was too high for my experience to judge accurately since it was on a field wihtout close references. The height was at least 1,3 times the height of a Finnish flag pole. The disc flew with about 75 degrees of anhyzer after the flip and was about 3 degrees of flexing flat when it hit the ground at 115 m for my longest flat ground shot so far. Ironic isn't it that while almost tripping over I threw with better technique than usually and my longest throw? So I really don't know what I can achieve with improvements that I've read of. And after learning to add snap to drivers.

Because of these issues with my technique and my injury I'm not an ideal test subject in trying to learn snap and trying to describe in detail the steps and exercises so that it is universally understandable by following written guide from step to step. At least yet after my hand heals. I'll try to help in creating this kind of article how I can. I do need your analysis, experience etc. Let's try to make this part of learning the game a little easier for everyone and stop Blake from being barraged over and over again with the same questions. Please.

The questions that I need for understanding snap are as follows: when and in which order which parts of the hand move, where to, at which speed, starting when, with what kind of angles between different parts of the hand one should throw, with what kind of tensions in which muscles and with how much pressure one needs to squeeze the disc with which fingers into which direction(s).

Let me try to give more background into these questions by explaining where I am right now and how I got to these ideas. A reality check for me please. I read on this forum that Blake suggested letting the wrist move by acceleration of hand and lower parts of your body less than an inch to the left. I forgot the exact amount. And when the disc is just about to rip out of your hand the wrist should be at handshaking position or half or was it a quarter of an inch turned to the right of the neutral hand shakin position. If you arethinking of horizontal plane. Wrist down is naturally mandatory with enough angle to achieve required release angle for the shot you are attempting. For me it is easy to handle a low thin rim disc such as Storm, Buzzz and very low wide rim Flick so that my hand muscles are loose enough for maximum arm movement speed. The tenser the muscles between elbow and wrist are the slower the arm moves and the lesser the range of motion of the wrist in the horizontal plane is. Hence it is easy for me to understand why Blake suggests such a small wrist movement compared to my first try on maximum wrist movement. It makes sense to me to have as small a possible of movement with as fast as possible of an acceleration with the wrist. To me it seems that maximally fast acceleration at the right time would force the disc to rip out of the hand with the highest of confidence of not getting the disc stuck to your hand. The timing gets harder the faster and smaller the movement is. Also it would seem to me that the faster the shorter movement is the more power is imparted onto the disc.

What I don't know for sure is a plethora of questions. For claritys sake let's move chronologically from start to finish. The basics of the throw such as the possible run up, x-step and turning of the hips are to my knowledge not directly related to snap other than giving correct speed, momentum and direction and giving rhythm to your brain. With the caveat that from what I understand the hand absolutely not should move at all too soon and be pulled by the arm at least too fast and too soon. Here is where I need help in understanding what comes first. So I can not pin point the exact time of the beginning of snap. Disclaimer: I don't have other articles memorized by heart and don't read them writing this. The answer could lie there. But I'm being lazy on this intentionally since I need to know multiple takes on these things to form my opinion. And this is a long post to write and read and requiresa lot of thinking. I wouldn't want to have excess lenght and detail on my part to put off more knowledgeable peole than me from answering. Unfortunately to get a sense of the magnitude of the complexity of the subject I need to ask a lot and give a lot of background of where I'm at in comprhension and throwing skill and how I got there so that others may follow in the steps I've takien and am going to take based on your counsel. So I need to touch issues that are not directly part of strictly snap but do have an effect on how snap feels and when it happens and at which angles of different joints. As there seem to be a lot different techniques and ideas about how to thrwo and how to get to snap.

I've looked at MSDGC 2004, 2005 DVDs frame by frame lately and seen the worlds 2003 and 2004 earlier. I've seen it stated that the disc should rip out of your hand at different locations depending on the source. Some say when your shoulder points to the basket and the hand is in the hand shaking position with the arm pointing 90 left of the direction of the basket. Some say directly at the basket and some have suggested in between versions. Judging by the DVDs most featured players in open division release around 10 o'clock position, that is around 60 degrees left of the basket. There are variations between 9.30 and 11.30. I don't remember having seen anyone at 12 but one did at 9 o'clock.

I'm not sure of what would be best. If one were to throw in a line keeping the disc exactly in a line in space and releasing at or close to 12 o'clock when the elbow needs to shop open more in a larger amount of degrees than in the next version. Is it better to start by pulling the disc a little out from the body when the disc is at starting position of the throw towards your chest as close as it can be as the disc passes your torso and then around the start of the extension of the elbow (is it exactly at the beginning or later, if when?) when the back of the disc is at the same level as your right side(or exactly wherre?) you also start to limit the forward motion of your shoulder and elbow so that the elbow does not go as far towards the basket as the first version where the elbow is the closest point of your body to the basket until the elbow chops the fore arm straight towards the basket.

It might be easier to understand the difference of these techniques by following the tip of the elbow. In version 1 the tip of the elbow does reach a point where it points right at the basket when the arm, hips and legs are at neutral basic standing position as if you were throwing from stand still without using anything lower than your arm with your right ear canal pointing to basket. In version 2 the elbow also leads the movement to around where the discs center passes your right side assuming you are standing in normal stance without using anything lower than your arm to throw the disc with right ear pointing to the basket. The difference starts here. After the center of the disc passes your right side you don't point the tip of the elbow towards the basket as quickly. In version 1 the elbow chop is timed diffrently than version 2. There are naturally several versions of timing and starting points of elbow chop vs the position of the tip of the elbow in relation to your body. I jus give two extreme versions. The reasons come after the descriptions of the extreme cases.

In version 1 the tip of the elbow points towards the basket and then only you start chopping or extending your elbow. It is unlikely that the elbow stays in the same place from the beginning of the extension to when the whole arm, forearm, hand and fingers shebang point towards the basket. Assuming you were to stop the uncoiling of the wrist to hand shaking position and raised the wrist from its proper down position to hand shaking position but at shoulder level. In version 2 you would start the chop way earlier so that as the hand is extended it would be pointing at around 10 o' clock which seems to be the preferred position of disc release on my sample of throwers on DVD quality source material. Where exactly would be the earliest point where the version 2 elbow extension would start is a bit of a mystery to me. What is different about version 2 is that you would also start to extend your hand away from your torso as the disc passes your torso.

Where exactly would the best point to start moving the hand away from your body be I don't know. I'm not sure if symmetry is the key here but I've practiced version 2 with actually hitting my solarplexus right in the middle with the disc lightly glancing and from this position where the elbow is somewhat chopped. From here I start to extend my fore arm towards 10 o'clock position so that the elbow stays at about the same place from the start of the extension of the fore arm to the end. Where I suspect the best place to also start the extension of the wrist to happen in the snap. In version 2 the tip of the elbow would not be on a direct line from four spine to the basket. Since the arm/forearm/hand/finger unit is fully extended towards 10 o'clock at the snap and hit or release of the disc. The unit would of course pass the point where it points towards the basket because of momentum but a while after the release of the disc. If I've understood correctly it is possible to have the disc to fly to several different directions with version 2 unless you have the correct amount of gripping power. With too little power the disc would slip out of your hand to the left of the basket with less than full lenght of flight. With correct form and aiming right into the basket at full lenght and there aren't that many or none that can hold on to the disc so tightly squeezing that with every prior movement done correctly at full power the disc would go a lot to the right at very large percentage of the distance potential. Not over 100 % of the direct line I presume.

Finally to the point of the post. Whew! Bear with me please :) You're almost there. Honestly! I have reasons to believe that tehere are pros and cons with both elbow chop timings and directions. Regardless of how you throw you need to keep the disc as close to you body up to some point in time to get your elbow to be bent. Dave Dunipace IIRC said that not beyond 90 degrees or you would lose power but I assume that depending on your body at or close to 90 degrees would be the best way to maximize your power ans speed setting yourself up to the snap and release of the disc.

Here's the nasty big scientific word plyometrics for you. You look up the exact semantic meaning relating to this case if you need to. Understanding the best way of using your body to propel the disc in the most powerful and efficient combination is what I'm after. Since not all of us aren't the fastest and most powerful athletes with the best muscle memory routine with infinitely quick multitasking brain able to correct kazillion things on the fly with our bodies we ought to keep the gap as close as possible by getting 100 % out of the potential of our bodies in perfect technique harnessing our bodies to do the work. Harnessing the body is the key with regards to plyometrics. I'm not trying to repeat what has been said on this topic by more knowledgeable people on the forum(perhaps in the articles as well?). Just trying to show what I know and enlighten people who haven't heard of this. Once again unfortunately I'm at a loss how to exactly get out the last percentages of technique and harnessing physiology.

Laymans explanation of plyometrics follows: Regardless of the version you throwing I've tried to describe earlier you get the disc close to your body as the disc passes your body and your elbow will bend. As it bends it loads up your muscles and tendons like a spring. As you start exending your elbow you release this built up force that you've gained at least partially free to your hand courtesy of prior movements and momentum from much larger muscles beneath shoulders. The hand extension from elbow should be as quick as possible if I understand it correctly.

The reason that I've been writing about elbow and different techniques is that exactly similar versions of joint extension happen at the wrist as they do in the elbow. Again I do not know which version is better. I'm not sure about the timing either. I take it was Blake who wrote in different words that the beginning of the uncoiling of the wrist happens when the elbow is fully extended and cannot move in the direction where it was moving but the shoulders still keep moving. Since anything from shoulders to fingers doesn't stretch the direction of the movement of everything at least from the wrist up to the shoulder changes. If we took an example of the version 1 elbow extension everythin from the wrist to the shoulder would point towards the basket while the wrist would still be coiled fully.

If you did the stupid thing I did injuring my hand without follow through and false direction on preceding movements with legs and torso your hand would not move at all so the power you have generated up to this point would be mostly moving to your wrist causing it to extend towards the basket. If instead preceding movements were spinning you around your wrist would still uncoil and the direction of your movement from the shoulder to the wrist would make a 90 degree turn to the right beginning from the point where the elbow has fully extended. It follows that since the only part that still can move freely without the bones breaking is your coiled wrist. So the wrist can freely uncoil to facing the same direction as the arm and fore arm bringing the fingers to point in the same direction as the upper parts.

What I don't know is whether it is better to wait until the direction change uncoils the wrist automatically and the disc rips out of your hand or should you start to uncoil your wrist with your own muscle power. If powering is good when should it start? With how large a movement in lenght? This relates to the grip strenght and the tenseness of your fore arm muscles and the required angles of the throw.

I do not know how hard I should grip with which fingers exactly and I don't have a clue as to how much pressure exactly I can squeeze with which finger into which direction. With the power grip I squeeze the disc with the pad of my index finger towards my palms and index fingers bases meeting place. The tip of my index finger touches the bottom of the flight plate. I have a lot of unused power here and I will investigate this. I try to push with my lock fingers towards the base of my thumb. The power is way lower than with the index finger. Less with tall wide rimmed discs since I can't reach the flight plate well enough. I have tried eevry other thumb position than middle of the disc. I've varied the downwards pressure of the base of the thumb and the tumb. With the pad or higher parts. All this is likely to practically no avail since I've not squeezed hard enough with my index finger and thumb. I oppose my thumb and index finger and squeeze here too. Untapped potential here too.

I remember having tried to squeeze harder and have seen much greater disc speeds than usually but changed probably incorrectly back to a looser grip as I was throwing too high. And sometimes stalling and in compensation with wrong methods also doing a lot of wormburners. Back then I was bending my left knee too much during the x part of the x step. Since it snowed in the middle of the change I didn't learn enough. Since I couldn't push my self upright with the left leg from the snow. And I forgot the difference the increased grip strenght made. Remembered only the problems. Silly me.

Whatever the needed squeezing power is all of it should be only applied at last possible moment to reach the requird power so that the arms speed is preserved. I don't know when you should start to accelerate with full speed with your arm and with what kind of speed you pul until then. If you do at all. I've concentrated on rotating my hips and shoulders so fast concentrating on that alone that the back of the disc passed my right side so fast that I missed extending my elbow. I had to open my fingers to release the disc into right direction. Too late by 10 degrees. I hadn't moved my arm from the shoulder at all. So I can do parts of the throw much faster than I'm used to doing rhe full throw. And cannot perform any part of the throw as well in the full throw than in practising one single part.

What I'd like to know is at what position the disc is in relation to your body when you accelerate your arm or do you move your arm at all? At which angles three dimensionally are the shoulders, elbow and wrist? Where do the knees point, how much twisting has been done at the hip in which direction? How fast are the aforementioned parts moving in which direction and are you concentrating on quickness instead of clenching muscles like a bodybuilder? In order to be quick you have to stay somewhat loose but how loose is the quickest way? I mean how many percent of muscle tension from relaxed to clenched do you use in each of the muscles from the toes to your arm? If you don't move your arm at all is it wasting muscle power? Intuitively it would seem that the more muscle groups you use the power could be sent to the disc. Also when do you put 100 % into the throw?

This is so long a post that I can't proof read it now and probably forgotten things I meant to ask and forgot describe in greater detail what I have done and what the effects were and how it felt. At this point I think brevity is a virtue :) If I get enough answers to clarify things for me I might be able to expand on this and fill in the almost inevitable gaps to achieve an abc step by step of how to train for getting snap and feeling it and utilizing it in different situations.
For example What is the movement range of wrist in snap between a full power driver vs mid range throw on a lowish line drive hyzer to flat or totally flat release to flat flight with an example disc and the lenght achieved with proper form for a top player. To give people a reference towards which to strive and give indication of possible technique or physical deficiences compared to pros. So that one can stop fretting about what to improve next and stop second quessing about adequacy of technique and move to other things such as playing or learning cuorse management etc.

With sincere apologies for showing part of the complexity of snap and not being brief and causing migraines. Quess how fun trying to figure all of this has been for me... And really truly humbleness and gratitude towards those have learned to utilise snap also in driving and who can help me and hopefully others to learn more easily than just trial and error. I'm sure that there are those that never learn so. With written detailed instructions a lot many have the possibility to learn before frustration turns them away from trying or at worst from the sport.

Janne Räsänen

PS My first name is not pronounced like it's in English and it is a male name thank you very much :)
Do cliffnotes come with this novel? I would love to read any feedback especially from those on here who can drop backhand bombs, but I cant give any because I dont have the time to read this GIANT post.
Drew wrote: "keep in mind for next time brevity is the soul of wit".

Like I said. I'm very sorry about the length of the message. I partially agree with your point. This time I feel that describing my witlessness on throwing the correct way is the problem. To cure that I need more understanding. To steer those in the know into filling my blanks needs pointing out the blanks I have. The other reason for problem analysis was the realization of how little I knew before reading also the forums -not only the articles. And the resulting realization that others who come after might be spared the two years of throwing incorrectly that I've done. And the realization that even though the articles on this site are a great beginning. They are just that. Not enough to make learning snap as easy as abc.

My original post was less than the full lenght of the story I assure you. Unfortunately this really is a killer difficult and complex subject. To make heads or tails of snap I need a lot of detailed info to determine what works and why and what doesn't and why not. With any luck I might get it and be able to produce a check list for doing things that isn't too long. Fingers crossed :)

Cliffs notes indeed. I had never heard of those before. This is what I need and since I haven't found one I hope picking your brains will enable me to make one for simplifying the steep learning curve that I suspected existed. Based on how hard I throw with puny D compared to what I've seen others do. My smash factor sucks.

Seeing it not understanding it is surprisingly easy with regards to snap. If understanding the mechanics specifically is what I need to do I'm willing to do it. Unfortunately freeze frames of DVDs don't help because the frame rate is too low and the hands and discs are just a blurr. Hopefully my endeavors and your contributions will make snap a breeze to learn for others.
Wow. That was a spectacular amount of concepts to explain and expound upon.

There are really two subjects rolled into one there: how to teach snap, and how to explain the technical elements invovled in producing any kind of propulsion from a BH throw. In my opinion, it is super difficult to combine these two themes effectively.

It is a classic left brain/right brain issue. Take shooting free throws in basketball, trying to articulate the proper vector forces being exerted in a body to create the movement of a ball upwards and forwards so that gravity's constant will "pull" the ball through a plane space is a super complicated mechanics problem. But actually practicing free throws until making them is automatic is pretty attainable for most any of us.

Thinking about one's throw whilst trying to throw does in fact impede the right brain ability to feel/will the body to do what it can.

That said: most of the best players I see, those who have been playing for a while, actually use some of their throwing energy to counteract their pure snap.
In other words, there is a lot of body motion and leg tension exerted to keep the throw on its desired plane, so that even a mis-throw is just a bit of a mis-throw.

So it's not just a question of maximizing snap, but of maximizing predictable snap. Gifted athletes will do this easier than the rest of us, there certainly is degress of inate talent for having the body control to adjust one's timing.

end part 1 of response
jiwaburst said:
Wow. That was a spectacular amount of concepts to explain and expound upon.

Indeed :) Is there anyone still who does not agree that this is a rediculously difficult subject to tackle in words or in theory? ;-). I truly wish to see high frame rate HDTV quality close up footage of snap. And I'm still not sure if even that will suffice for me or others. At least it would help.

I wholly agree with jiwaburst. And please do not get an aneurysm trying to respond to all of this at once. It is a good idea to split the responses.

Unfortunately there was one thing I'm not sure of what jiwaburst meant.

Back to jiwaburst:


That said: most of the best players I see, those who have been playing for a while, actually use some of their throwing energy to counteract their pure snap.
In other words, there is a lot of body motion and leg tension exerted to keep the throw on its desired plane, so that even a mis-throw is just a bit of a mis-throw.

snip ends

I had thought that having snap would ease keeping the disc on its desired plane. This comes from using too overstable hard fading discs too much on my favorite course that is filled with tunnel shots. And I'm not happy with the distances I got earlier. Even with the knowledge that I have to change many other things as well as snap once I'm able to throw again. I think that everyone can relate to my elation once I started to see more distance and straighter lines for the same effort as before. Can you blame me for wanting to learn more and spread the happy message and teaching people how to do it?

I can understand the need to have low amounts of snap versus arm speed in a hyzer flip to help the disc to flip. I'm not sure if you were thinking of this. Otherwise I can't think of a reason to delibrately avoid snapping. Well thanks for making me think of this. Eureka! Ok I just got something. One could actually need to have maximum amount of fade to make a dog leg to the left and in s-curves the amount of snap can influence the onset of the turns. Correct starting angles and maintaining some curve lines can indeed benefit from low snap/arm speed ratio. I hadn't thought of that before or heard anyone talking about that. Or were you thinking of something else?

Like I suspected I'm too inexperienced to even ask all the questions. I'd be happy to be able to ask even the right questions :)

Keep the brain ticklers coming :) Some things I might figure out for myself eventually it would seem. But your experiences are much needed.
I can't explain it, I can demonstrate, but putting it into words, that is harder than learning how to throw with snap.
I didn't read you whole post either, and I'm sure Blake can do a better job at explaining this, but...
Snap at a basic level is the sound of the disc ripping from your hand. The change in direction of your hand motion is the cause of this ripping away.... ie. your hand and the disc are basically going straight during the pull. When your hand gets to the end of your arm it must change direction in order for it to stay connected to your arm. The disc wants to keep going in the same direction because of its momentum, hence the snap.

So the way I see it you need 4 things to get snap
1. A pull close to your chest.
2. A strong grip
3. Good follow through.
4. Practice

Disclaimer *** I am neither a guru nor big arm, so take this as you will****

Good luck.
OK, what I was saying earlier is something I can try to explain in terms of shooting a basketball, or maybe tennis too.

Say you have the ball on the baseline 10 feet away from the hoop and are going to shoot a quick shot. You are guarded by somebody but have a little bit of space to jump up and shoot that shot. Your body is probably going to put just as much effort into your jump and aligning your shoulders for that shot as you would if you were shooting from 18 feet.

In tennis, during a rally from the baseline, a good player will usually use just as much energy to try and hit a safe shot down the middle as they would trying to hit a winner.

In disc golf, If I am trying to throw a high knife hyzer 210', I still want to have the disc rip out of my hand like I would if I was throwing for closer to max distance. I still want the firm snap to keep the disc on the right plane. But I will be using energy to keep my body from accelerating 100%, I feel this mostly in my quads.

Last December, I left the country for 5-6 weeks, couldn't play disc, didn't do any exercize really. When I came back and tried to get ready in 5 days for a tourney, I threw a couple of practice rounds and a field seesion, no more then I normally play, and practiced my putting a couple of times. I was wrecked for the tourney, not in my arms/wrist/shoulders but in my quads. Especially from putting. That much time off was enough to lose a bit of fitness in my quads which I use for balance and guiding my throw and putts.

I forget where, but someplace Blake commented about how much more accurate he is if he takes a full rip on a disc. Full rip does not neccessarily = full distance with that disc.

That's all I meant.
And I still might be a bit confusing/confused with the proper terminology.

that is more than i want to read in one sitting, but i read the first half earlier and skimmed the second half recently. JR, please put some direct questions if you want super thorough replies.

a quick note, some of what i wrote in earlier articles isn't 100% correct, but hey, it does steer people down the right path in its concept (wrist movement isn't really important at all, but the pre-stretched behavior of the muscles is the same whether or not the wrist moves at all).

there are 3 sides to snap:
1) what exactly causes snap
2) what snap actually is
3) how snap occurs

1) snap is caused by a plyometric extension in the tricep, forearm, wrist, and hands. rapid contraction of pre-stretched muscles which allows the body to fire FASTER than would otherwise be possible. the keys here are body placement and timing.

2) what we refer to as snap is basically ball golf smash factor. how MUCH of the potential kinetic energy that we generate ACTUALLY gets harnessed and transferred onto the disc. #1 builds the greater potential energy, but it does not necessarily mean that the energy is put into the disc.

3) the extension and finish are where the potential kinetic energy becomes actual kinetic energy imparted onto the disc at launch. the extension begins AFTER the disc has passed the right pectoral. the disc speed should be progressively faster from this point onward (that is what it means to accelerate the disc). each point closer to the rip, the disc will be faster than a point before that.

something of note, people either have little snap or big snap. there's really very little room in between. if you are throwing under 425', you have little snap. if you are throwing over 425' you have big snap. body mechanics and placement as well as disc orientation will only take you so far without big snap. 410-430' is about the peak most players can achieve with nearly perfect form but with little snap. big snap will likely add 60-100' to a person's throw, but anyone throwing under 350' is unlikely to have the body mechanics needed to add big snap.

most player's snap breakthroughs will take them on a magnitude of like 350' to 425'+, and that is a legit bump that just "happens" when they get it and the extra 75' just sort of shows up.

a "pure" on-axis throw can be performed at any angle from 90 degrees hyzer to 0.000001 degrees hyzer simply by adjusting the rotational plane of the shoulders. this is how it is most applicable for golf shots as well as for distance throws with modern plastic. this requires a tilt of the shoulder plane to match the desired flight plane. to "telegraph" the angle, the shoulders at the reach should match the desired throw angle. e.g. if you want a 20 degree "pure" hyzer, at the reach your right shoulder should be lower than your left shoulder so that the line connecting the two makes a 20 degree angle below flat. similarly, when you are faced up to the target after the rip, the follow through should continue so that when they right arm is pointed 90 degrees to the right of the target, the right shoulder should be 20 degrees higher than the left shoulder.

most players release the disc way too early to ever harness snap. good snap happens well out in front of the body and you are nearly faced up when the disc comes out. low snap throwers generally have the disc leave from within 12" of their body, and generally to the left of where they should be to really "hit" it. this explains why many low snap throwers will have monster distance if they grip lock it.

the real acceleration begins after the disc passes the right side of the chest and into the extension. however, if your mechanics are bunk (such as the disc being way away from the chest at this point) there is no way to get the proper extension behavior. this is why the bent elbow is a useful tool for learning how to time/feel snap.

the last key is that the disc should leave from directly behind the hand. that is why a good late finish power throw will still go straight even if you are faced up to the target (most intuition would say the throw would probably pull to the right). a key here is being weight forward in order to get nose down and a likely result of weight back will be grip locks.
Jiwaburst, would it be fair to say in as few words as possible that you meant: Trying to snap the same way each time when it isn't necessary to have low amounts of snap keeps the amount of error sources lower?

So try to snap the same way each time. When going for less than 100 % distance use a shorter disc or dial back on other parts of your body. Such as legs and hips.
So try to snap the same way each time. When going for less than 100 % distance use a shorter disc or dial back on other parts of your body. Such as legs and hips.

this is only partly possible, and if you watch upper level pros, most have a very good 200' finesse drive. (cam todd comes to mind and he would cut way back on his extension and rip on shorter drives).

my no reach back, no steps, no hip action throw with a putter yields me like 230'.

similarly, very stable mids/putters require a substantial amount of pop on them to keep them from stabling out... which makes performing say a 150' shot with a max weight newish mid/putter extremly difficult if you throw wizards, challengers, etc.

there's a mix of factors, but there is a point where people have to pare down their throw.
Thanks for the clarification. I knew that one must always adjust everything based on many requirements. Such as obstacles, wind, the disc, lenght, flight path. etc. This is important to point out to novices. As there are several ways to reach the same target.

What I thought jiwaburst was saying is that since there is so much that can go wrong in a throw you should exercise KIS(S). Keep it simple :shock: By eliminating as many variables as you can for a given throw that allows reducing throwing mechanics to a bare minimum.
Thanks for the suggestions Blake. They confirmed a lot of what I had expected. I knew a lot of these things as well. Here go the specifics I'm missing as far as I can gather all of them from my leaky memory.

Sorry for lumping together several questions. For me the interrelationships of the questions are necessary for understanding.

1 If the range of motion of the wrist isn't important but the pre tension of the tricep, forearm, wrist and hands are -how many per cent of the range of tension from rest to max tension should one use for each muscle prior to the beginning of the snap and during snap?

1b Should you think of maximizing the quickness of motion instead of tensing of the muscles for best results after you have reached proper tension? Which are the starting points of acceleration for different joints and at which point should maximum speed for arm, forearm and wrist be reached? Should you be moving everything at under 100 % speed until the wrist starts to uncurl? Or is it wise to even go for 100 % speed in every part trying to achieve max D or max golf D when there is enough room that the inaccuracy of throwing hard is a nonissue? I think I know what the starting points for unbending joints are but I want to be sure.

2 Do the fingers matter here other than just squeezing the disc hard enough to keep it in place and prevent the disc from slipping early? Like can you consciously try to push the disc by uncurling fingers after the wrist has uncoiled.

3 At which exact position of the disc relative to your hand should the snap begin? Is it relative to the angle at which the hand is pointed relative to the basket? Is pointing straight at the basket the most efficient way? Or what is?

4 I'm fairly certain that I've locked my wrist before trying to loosen up my wrist as much as possible for freely flapping from fully closed to fully open. I could not get the same amount of snap by locking the wrist. The differences in the flights of midranges were obvius once I let my wrist move. Was I using my wrist and muscles as hinges or as springs while letting the wrist move as freely as possible? Hinges I quess. What is the best combination of muscle tension and the range of movement? I'm having hard time believing that absolute zero movement of the wrist is a good idea. I really am not sure how plyometrics would work with zero wrist movement but kinetics should suffer from it. How does plyometric energy from a locked wrist transfer to the disc?

5 Are there differences in efficiency between these methods? My quess is that neither of the versions are the best way. My reasoning is that not allowing the wrist move at all is missing out on the kinetic energy of the movement since basically I'm decelerating the movement of the wrist with muscle power into zero movement. Not tensing the muscles is missing out plyometric power of my wrist. Right or wrong?

6 Just to make sure do you mean that the extension of the elbow begins after the rear of the disc has passed the right pectoral muscle?

7 While not strictly a snap question how does the extension of the elbow differ from the extension of the wrist? The same questions here as well: What is the best time to start combining shoulder movement to elbow timingwise? Should the elbow be fully extended before the wrist starts to uncoil or what kind of overlap there should be? The same for shoulder and elbow. Should there be overlap for shoulder, elbow and wrist movements? I think that you absolutely must continue turning shoulders after you release the disc but when to start and at full speed from the beginning? Or later? If, then how fat from which point onwards?

8 How does elasticity relate to 7? Is a lot of twisting of the knees, hips and shoulders less efficient than some lesser movement? What is the best way of using your lower body? Does this relate to the quickness of a person in using these different parts? I can be weight forward with a leg stance 1.5 times the width of my shoulders with the right leg 90 degrees to the left of the basket with the disc in my hand so that the front of the disc at same level that my left side. When I twist my legs bending my knees down around 15 degrees, hips and
shoulders, my left shoulder points 100 degrees to the left of the basket and the disc is between my body and the basket even when I haven't moved the disc at all with my hand. Twisting like this turns my toes of the right leg to 45 degrees left of the basket. If I uncurl back to standing in the initial stance the disc would again be behind my left side without any movement of my arm, forearm and hand.

9 What is the minimum range of required movement for knees, hips and shoulder in degrees? How many degrees of turning at each point is too much or can there be too much provided no cracking of bones?

10 I'd like to know the feel of the snap (who wouldn't) and some advice on progressively train for it would be nice. Would my experience be beneficial in relating tosnap virgins? What exercises would help me feel it at full power with x step? Have I skipped some helpful steps? Was I concentrating on the wrong feeling? In my case the movement of the wrist from coiled to open? Should one concentrate on the feeling of the change of tension in the muscles? If so in which muscles and how does that feel? I've never felt that.

My history: After reading the articles I tried to feel the snap. Unfortunately for me trying to hit with a towel is not accurate enough to be 100 % certain indication of how I should move which parts and when. At first I tried to move my arm fast. No luck whatsoever. At about 50 % arm speed a little. I think the difference was slight loosening of my wrist from locked into place. Once I realized that I loosened the wrist more and gained full wrist movement. Then i started to try to squeeze my fingers hard and stop the wrist into handshaking position without the wrist down movement. no feeling of the movement. I started with the disc in my hand with full reach back and full speed arm movement without leg and torso movement so shoulders to the fingers were the only moving parts. The disc was moving at top speed minus the effect of the shoulder turn happening as the disc passes the torso before the disc reached my left side. I tried to move my hand in a straight line to the bitter end of extending my arm, forearm and wrist towards the basket without follow through >I hurt my hand. No joy. A little recuperation after two weeks or so of trying unwittingly to break my hand I dialed down the arm speed since I could not feel the wrist movement. Several iterations later I felt something at around 60-70 % of power. Dialing back to 50 % lost the acceleration sufficiently to loose the feeling. Trying to power up slowly up to 80 % lessened the feeling. Even though I did not concentrate consciously on any other part of the throw and put my full attention to feeling the snap. Since that didn't help when I took the last step of the x step and turning the legs and hips I decided to forget about trying to feel the wrist uncoiling. After rereading the articles I tried again without the disc in my hand. This time I tried to keep the movement of my knuckle back to forth at an inch. Concentrating on maximizing the quickness of the motion. I hadn't tried to go for speed of the movement before. I only managed a minimum movement of 2
inches but the feeling was very much easier to feel even at 100 % power. This is the easiest way of feeling wrist mvement for me and I quess the best way I know to teach someone unaware how it feels like.

11 Can you describe the feeling of snap? What is it that you feel? Where it happens? How do achieve the strongest subjective feeling? Is that also where you get most snap? With and without the disc in your hand. Do you have small or large hands, especially long fingers? I mean can you get similar feeling from a midrange and a driver? I can't feel much of anything doing things the same with drivers. And I can easily feel the mids at 80 % arm speed. Should the feeling be similar with putters, mids and drivers? If not what kind of difference should you feel?

12 When a throw isn't released too early? Say where's the 50 % snap limit from purely too early a release? Is the early release purely caused by too loose a gripping power? How much does the position of the hand matter? Is there a difference between pointing straight at the basket and say 11 and 10 o'clock positions?

13 I release the disc at 12 o'clock position with the elbow and wrist extended and still the snap is visible only on mids. I am velocity dominated judging by the disc flipping to flat or turned over right after the disc leaves my hand. This happens with mids and drivers. In my original post I described the technique flaws other than snap that I've identified. Is it possible that screwing up as royally as I have in other things like off axis torque prevents the effects of snap in throws? Could I already have snap and not realize it or see the changed flight patterns other than lessened fade and increased distance of 15-30 feet with mids? Talking about lowish line drives from 150-250ish ft nose released flat. Have get the nose down and weight forward figured out once I've recuperated.

14 After the back of the disc passes the right pec how much arm speed in percent of an average male players arm speed should the disc be moving at? Is the acceleration of the arm and unbending of the elbow 100 % of speed after this? One should be thinking of the maximum speed while doing this, not how hard you can tense your muscles. Leave the showing off of your muscles to bodybuilders right?

15 Blake, when you say that most low snap throwers release early when the disc is 12" away form the body do you mean the back of the disc? For someone as short as me this means around 15 degrees of too little uncoiling of the elbow with a straight wrist. I haven't had grip locks nor monster throws. Does too little squeezing power of the grip prevent grip locks? I quess so based on my 50 % squeezing power of my maximum. How hard should one grip powerwise? 100 % at the hit? How long does it take to tighten the grip from keeping the disc in position to the release strenght? When should one start to grip hard? I mean what is the latest possible time to start squeezing that a normal person should be able to achieve the optimal grip strenght? If someone has a scale could they squeeze it to roughly indicate how hard you squeeze the disc at the hit?

16 My intuition tells me that releasing as late as possible with every joint extended hand pointing to basket the disc the disc ought to follow the vector to the basket. Maybe I've been influenced by Dave Dunipace or I'm screwy? No reply necessary unless you really have to :) My quess is both :p What I cannot for the life of me understand is what does it mean to have the disc directly behind your hand? I grip the disc so that if you were to set the disc in front of your feet between you and the basket chest towards basket the grip is at 9 o'clock. I can understand that the hand is between the closest part of the disc to the basket and the basket when the elbow is extended and the arm and the forearm are pointed towards the basket but the wrist is fully bent back so that the disc touches the side of the forearm. Do you mean this? I can't understand how the disc could be behind my hand after I uncoil my wrist to handshaking position with wrist down. After uncoiling the wrist to neutral position the disc is still gripped at 9 o'clock if viewed from above you with 12 o'clock being the basket.

17 Am I overemphasizing the positioning and timing? Do any of those matter as long as the disc passes your body as close as possible? And the elbow and wrist are extended to handshaking position with wrist down pointing toward the basket with the proper hyzerflat/anhyzer angle?

I'm sure that I had more questions in the original post but let's try to make sense of these first and if I'm still unsure of something I'll ask more and then check if we didn't cover everything. Please do not overexert yourselves in replying. I welcome everyones omments not jus Blake. Feel free to reply in several smaller parts. Your replies are truly deeply appreciated. I think that Blake is the greatest consultant on throwing technique in disc golf. He does seem to be the most effective spreader of information in the sport. And among the most experienced and knowledgeable people who can answer the questions you didn't know to ask. By not even seeing you! I think cheers are in order :)

Blake, if I, you or somebody else is able to make a step by step description of trying to learn snap at some point with hints of what to think of and try to feel with descriptions of body movements and timing would this be good enough for an article or sticky on your site? I think putting the results where they are easy to see would expose more people to the information cutting down repetition of asking about snap over and over again. I don't know how many snap threads I read here and still wasn't sure of many details. Are we doing this for nothing? Have you already done this for your DVD?

i'll pick away at these 1 by 1 as i find the time...

1) the way you are thinking about it isn't really relevant... fluidity allowing you to accelerate the extension of the arm into focused power. i've always said it like this: imagine you are trying to smash a board with the back of your hand, but your intent is to put your hand THROUGH the board. plyometrics aren't conscious, they are a biproduct of the motion when correct timing and power focus are used. your hand should be moving faster AFTER the disc is out of it than at the rip.

1b) the muscles should not tense until you are at the late part of the throw (aka after the disc has passed the right pectoral). messing around with no reach back should reinforce when (and in what way) you have to start being "strong." you must throw hard to throw really far, but it is when you try to throw hard is important. most players burn up all their power within the first 30% of the pull, when they key for power focus is in the last 10%. i get more accurate the harder i throw when my timing is on. most people attempt to throw too hard and kill that timing factor, being strong too early in the throw.

2) the fingers matter, and there are a few drills you can do to get the "spring loaded" feeling in the fingers/hand. you should focus on being strong with the fingers as you pull THROUGH the shot. uncurling the fingers will steal power.

3) snap begins to generate as the disc passes the right side of the chest. snap is transferred to the disc during the 2" before the rip and continuation of power 2" beyond the rip.

4) you have to be careful about locking the wrist vs. locking the forearm. this is difficult, but important. plyometrics happens if the wrist is loose or locked. i've done it in both ways and can say that it is more consistent to have the wrist nearly locked. with 0 wrist movement, the tension on the tendons/muscles still happens. your wrist has to be nearly locked in order to truly transfer force to the disc.

5) there is very minimal kinetic energy potential by allowing the wrist to move. as for the tensing muscles part... it misses out on the force transfer onto the disc. the real key here is WHEN. you are better off limping your arm than trying to muscle the disc with poor timing.

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