Written by Bobby Cox #BOBblog
Throwing a perfect forehand shot is one of the most gratifying feelings for me as a disc golfer. It’s what I know best since it’s the first thing I learned in this wonderful sport. I constantly see people struggling with it on the course and it pains me because it can shave off tons of strokes in your game.
I started playing baseball when I was three years old, up until my sophomore year of college. Shortstop is where I played the most which is where the arm slot of a forehand comes in handy. I got recruited out of high school as a pitcher and a shortstop so throwing comes extremely natural to me. With all the new challenging disc golf courses popping up it’s evident that players with a developed forehand are having more success. The turnover shot just isn’t as predictable since you’re fighting against the discs' natural flight from going left (for a right-hander). For me, I have to pick the perfect disc and the perfect angle to successfully get the turnover shot where I want it to go. Often times the disc pans out and it’s extremely annoying. Another beautiful thing about forehands that you don’t get with a backhand is the extra distance from the skip. Turnovers tend to check up on the ground which is nice in some instances but off the tee, it’s usually not preferred
The biggest mistake I see in forehand form is people using way too much arm when in reality your arm is just a guide and the power comes from your wrist and legs. I did the same thing when I first started playing about six years ago and could max out around 350ft but when I learned to use more wrist I started getting it over 400ft. Less movement the better. When you use too much arm the disc often comes out nose up and a bit wobbly instead of a crisp tight spin. I usually tell people to pretend their skipping rocks on the water and that usually helps with simplifying the throwing motion. The disc choice is also important when learning a forehand. People often choose overstable discs to throw any-flex shots for more power but that just creates bad form and possible risk of injury. To create the best form, using a flippy disc is the way to go. Hyzer flip shots will teach you to keep that elbow in and use the natural flight of the disc to get all the distance you need. Having a slow and controlled run-up will also allow you to transfer your weight to that plant foot more consistently.
There are only a few of the top pros that don’t throw forehands unless they absolutely have to and they’re the ones who’ve been throwing a disc since the age of 6. Do you ever step up to the box and are faced with a tiny gap and your confidence is nonexistent? When throwing a backhand most people's eyes are pulled off the target for just a split second during their throw and have to rely on muscle memory to get it through the gap. When throwing a forehand you’re facing the target the whole time and it can be much easier to hit that gap. Forehands also come in handy when you’re deep in the rough and hardly have any room to move. You can have practically any lye and the forehand will still feel comfortable.
So get out on the course, start practicing hyzer flips, and as your power increases, slowly work in overstable discs and watch that thing fly!