A good disc golf sidearm throwing technique should have all of the following: control, balance, acceleration, power and follow-through. These are all essential in executing a very demanding throwing motion that requires excellent acceleration and timing to produce successful results.
While it might come natural to some and be a labor of love for others, there are some things every disc golfer can work on to improve their forehand/sidearm shots.
Clean Release = No Flutter
Many disc golfers might see the disc wobble or flutter upon release when throwing forehand. This is a very common problem, but can easily be solved.
The main cause of flutter is improper grip. Your grip might be too loose and have poor connection points to the disc. You want to ensure the disc is getting enough spin and a clean rotation to help stabilize the disc. Once the grip improves and the speed increases, that wobble will go away.
Hit the Webbing
Make sure that you have the disc completely tucked back into the webbing of your hand with no visible spaces in between for a firm overall grip. The webbing of your hand is the area between the bottom knuckle of the index finger and thumb.
Having a firm grip of the disc against the webbing in your hand will help provide control and a clean release.
Full Wrist Extension and Middle Finger Release
Be sure to have the disc positioned all the way back in your hand and have your wrist back into full extension. This will ensure that you get the entire range of motion with the wrist driving the momentum of the disc forward.
When throwing backhand, it’s easy to have that full reach back. When throwing forehand, the extension is more wrist than arm.
And lastly you must really concentrate on rolling or pushing the disc off that middle finger during the release to increase the spin and rotation of the disc. That is the key contact point when throwing forehand.
Eagle McMahon's improved sidearm game has helped him to shave off strokes from his score. Photo: Eino Ansio.
Start Short, Gain Confidence
Learn to throw shorter shots like approaches when first trying the sidearm with putters and midrange discs. Then move to longer shots by trying a tee shot with a driver on some of the shorter holes until you have the mechanics down.
You will be able to adjust the angle of your throws by simply leaning forward in your stance a bit or altering the angle of your hand and forearm. Master the little things and you’ll have success.
Eyes on the Target
One of the best things about the sidearm throw is that it allows you to face target or line of flight the entire time throughout the throw. With a backhand throw you have to turn away for a split second to acquire good extension. Use that to your advantage as you never have to look away from the fairway or take your eyes off the basket. Take your time, line up your shot, and remain focused.
Concentrate on only the necessary movements that contribute to the actual throwing of the disc, unnecessary movements will greatly affect your timing and ultimately your accuracy. Remain relaxed, take it one step at a time, and keep it as simple as possible.
Learning a sidearm throw will help shave strokes off of your rounds. It opens up many possible shots on the course and will help reinvent your game.