Top 5 Disc Golf Distance Tips
It’s no secret, every disc golf player wants to add distance to their game. No matter if you’re a beginner or a professional, that added distance down the fairway is going to lower your scores and make you a better overall player. More distance usually equals more birdie (or eagle) opportunities. This article is about top 5 disc golf distance tips.
I’ve been teaching disc golf for over fifteen years to thousands of players over the time as I host numerous instructional clinics every season. By far the most frequently question that I’m asked is…”How do I get/add more distance?” That’s never a quick or easy question to answer because there’s actually a lot that goes into the throw and other factors that contribute to gaining distance.
It always comes down to a few simple components that are absolutely necessary in order to gain distance which are Technique, Timing, Speed, Power and Follow-through. I’m going to go through each of these throwing fundamentals to give you top 5 tips to your disc golf distance.
One of the biggest factors to gaining disc golf distance is refining your overall throwing technique. Those players that are considered to be some of the longest throwers in the world usually have flawless form and technique. By that I mean that they have very little unnecessary movements and motions that are going to directly affect extension, speed and power of the throw.
In order for a player to add distance to their drive, they need to focus solely on the throwing motion itself and concentrate on the athletic movement that combines proper stance alignment, posture, and balance. Using a straight linear reachback with full extension of arm and elbow, bring the arm through the midsection close to the body driving the elbow and accelerating on one straight line through to the release. Using the power from your entire body and not just your arm to throw and utilizing your body weight shift when pushing with your legs. By using simple but effective form it will allow you to then later expand to more controlled speed and power.
One excellent way to analyze your personal form is to do slow motion video of your driving practice sessions, you’re going to be able to see all of the nonessential movements and irregularities that could be taking away your distance down the fairway. Another great way to evaluate throwing technique that I highly recommend besides watching your own form is watching how the top professionals do it, either on video or in person at a local event.
Timing is everything...no, truthfully it actually is everything when it comes to properly throwing a disc far with good control and accuracy. It’s the necessary component for the fundamentals of proper footwork during the run-up to the fluid motion of throwing a smooth disc golf distance drive. Repetition is the key to finding this timing that you’re looking for, using field practice and lots of it to find that timing with your proper technique is going to produce the best results. I’m talking about going out the fields at least a few times a week if you want to see a noticeable progress.
Now you’re going to have some throws that feel terrible but then you’re also going to have some throws that feel incredible, it’s about figuring out what’s creating that difference and repeating those throws that felt great. Many times players feel that they most speed up their technique in order to throw far but in essence it’s often about slowing things down a bit especially in the run-up to find that perfect timing.
I’ve been taught for many years but several outstanding players/instructors this key phrase...“Slow Feet, Fast Hands”. That’s referring to slowing down the pace of the lower body during the run-up while still remaining very quick and fast with the upper body during the arm swing. If you’re not getting the distance that you’re looking for try slowing things down to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your body’s production.
Speed kills when it comes to annihilating discs for maximum distance. The arm speed in the throwing motion comes from staying loose and avoiding too much body tension, if you’re too tight you’re going to lose the quickness. This relaxed calmness within the body is going to ensure proper arm extension and body rotation which is necessary for the increased arm speed.
It’s well timed acceleration through the zone (mid-section of the body) before the explosive whipping action of the body and slingshot effect of the arm upon the release of the disc. Going from 10% to 110% when bringing the disc through with a very fast, almost violet motion but a controlled motion that won’t greatly affect accuracy.
The best way that I’ve found to surprisingly increase arm speed is by using something as simple as a golf towel. By taking the towel in your throwing hand, reaching your arm back as you were going to throw a drive and bringing the towel through with the arm swing with quick acceleration. This will enable you to feel the looseness of the body but the speed of the arm coming through. And with proper timing you should be able to make the towel snap or at least that’s the goal. Repeat 10-15 repetitions per arm just to maintain symmetric balance and avoiding overdevelopment of one side of the body.
Trust me, I wish that big disc golf distance was all about sheer muscular strength and raw power. But I’ll the first to tell you that it’s not. Well, maybe a little. As I mentioned before it’s about technique, timing and acceleration. Those components are absolutely critical and that’s what is going to allow you to properly throw the disc but without power you’re not going to get the distance that you strive for. Any player that you’ve ever seen throw over 400’ has a considerable amount of power but the question is, how do you get that power to add distance to your disc golf distance drive?
Much of the power necessary to throw is accessed from the lower body, hips and core. These are very large muscle groups contribute largely to the explosive force generated from the ground and up focusing on the body weight shift when driving and pushing with your legs. You’re utilizing your entire body getting some incredible power by then rotating and loading your lower body while transferring that torque throughout the upper body.
I always try to explain to players that they need to keep your lower and upper body separate with great flexibility and strength throughout their core. One obvious way to get get stronger is to workout but to properly train and strengthen those muscles that you use to throw including your legs, core, back, shoulders and arms. I highly recommend the use of resistance cables/bands because they allow great range of motion as well as promoting great flexibility and increased strength.
Always follow-through...always and forever! Once you build up all of that torque and tension upon the explosive release of the disc you must realize that not all of that energy transfers into the disc but much of it still remains in the body. You must allow for your upper and lower body to decompress and uncoil on the follow-through relieving unnecessary tension on your knees, hips and lower back.
To properly follow-through you must ensure that you lift your back leg up and that your foot doesn’t drag on the ground upon release. If this is noticeably happening quite often this typically means that you’re leaning back too much. You need to concentrate on taking a shorter last step, getting a majority of your body weight over that plant foot and bringing your back leg around on the follow-through.
The follow-through is an essential part of proper technique but it many times overlooked as something that should occur naturally but doesn’t always in many players. By focusing on bringing the legs and hips as well as the arm and shoulders around on the follow-through of the throw will help to prevent many of the most common disc golf and disc golf distance related injuries.
Summary of Disc Golf Distance Tips:
The writer is a household name in disc golf. A face for the whole sport. Avery has been touring professionally since 2000 with great results, the brightest being his 2009 Disc Golf World Champion title. Avery is also known to be one of the longest arms in disc golf distance, with 3 US Distance Champion titles under his belt.
Besides being one the top pro players in our sport today, Avery is well recognized as a true ambassador of the sport. He’s played disc golf in almost every US state. Outside the US, he's played in countries like Taiwan, Japan, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Estonia and Germany. At Discmania, Avery is responsible for the Deep in the Game clinics, and he goes around the world educating players on how to become better in the sport of disc golf. He's also our Discmania Combine host responsible for evaluating players trying to make it to Team Discmania. Furthermore, Avery also works as a Disc Golf World Tour expert commentator.
Other helpful disc golf articles:
- Top 5 Beginner Tips
- Top 5 Discmania Disc Golf Discs
- How to Choose the Right Discmania Disc Golf Disc
- Discover Disc Golf
- Most Popular Discmania Discs
- Disc Golf as a Camp Activity
- DiscGolfPark is Lifting Disc Golf in the Mainstream
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