If you polled a 100 random disc golf players and asked them what the hardest part of disc golf was, you would certainly get a variety of answers, but I would be more than willing to bet that at the top of the list you would see 3 common answers:
Throwing far, putting accuracy, and throwing accuracy
Would you agree?
Learning to throw for distance, how to routinely sink putts inside and just beyond the circle, and being able to consistently hit your line are 3 things that can be extremely difficult and 3 things that probably account for more strokes to a player's game than any other reasons combined.
We have addressed how to throw farther in a PREVIOUS ARTICLE, and putting accuracy often takes many practice sessions and repetitions.
So in this article, we're going to take a look at key elements in your form that contribute the most to back hand accuracy so that you can start hitting your intended lines with confidence and stay on the fairway as much as possible.
It's always best to start from the ground up when building anything, and that's how we're going to do it here.
Having a good foundation sets up the rest of the throw when talking about throwing distance and accuracy, if you don't have a great base, everything else can be affected.
So let's get started!
Once you know what line you want to attempt to hit, and what type of release you want to use (hyzer vs flat vs anhyzer), the first consideration to an accurate throw is your approach up the tee pad.
Generally speaking, on a throw where you want to simply throw a straight shot up the center of the fairway, a right handed player's approach is going to start from the slight back right of the tee pad and work towards the center as they go through the x-step.
This is mostly do to footwork being offset, which we'll discuss next, but you'll want to keep this in mind as you line up your shot and start your throw.
Lines more to the right or left will go in the respective direction, but with the same right to left pattern.
To make sense of this, imagine you want to hit a line off the front right corner of the tee box.
The "line" you're throwing on is from the back left corner to the front right corner. However, rather than starting your throw from the back left corner, you'll instead start from the middle and work left with your plant being near the front right corner of the tee box (for a RHBH player).
As an additional consideration, hyzer lines will generally be thrown on a left to right approach up the tee pad where anhyzer lines will go more right to left.
This is because hyzer lines typically will cause a player to be bent at the waist more where anhyzer lines cause a player to be taller.
Working left to right for hyzers and right to left for anhyzers will help a player naturally get into these positions, aiding them in hitting the right release angle.
The most important thing to remember for footwork when it comes to accuracy is that you want to keep your front foot completely perpendicular to the line that you want to throw on.
If it is slightly off in any direction, inevitably it will cause you to miss your line. Even if you don't miss by much, this can mean the difference between threading your disc down a tight tunnel or heading straight for the trees.
If if the foot is too open for instance (turned clockwise toward the target line), your hips and upper body may over rotate, causing a RHBH player to throw too far to the right of their intended line. The opposite would be true if the foot was too closed.
When it comes to footwork during your approach, you'll want to avoid turning your back foot backwards, away from the target, as this has a tendency to turn your hips and shoulders away from the target, which not only affects accuracy, but power as well.
Lastly, during your approach or on a standing throw, you'll want to keep your feet staggered and offset from each other, with the back foot's toes being in line with your front foot's heel.
These 3 things put together will set the foundation for much more consistency in accuracy and distance both.
During your approach, you'll want to keep your feet perpendicular to your target and intended line. By contrast, you'll want to keep your lead shoulder pointed directly AT your intended target during this same time.
Keeping your lead shoulder pointed at the target also helps you keep your hips pointed in the right direction prior to reach back, aiding in proper timing and weight transfer.
You should never turn backwards to the target, and loss of accuracy is a major reason why!
So keep that shoulder forward at the target until you start reach back.
In addition to the front shoulder, your eyes should also be locked on that target and target line for as long as possible.
Not only does this help you maintain awareness of where you are on the tee pad, but focusing on your intended line will also help keep that shoulder in the right direction until you're ready for the reach back, as previously discussed.
Your head and eyes should only turn slightly away from the target as it follows your front shoulder during the reach back, so don't look away too soon!
Reach back (No Rounding!)
While all of the items on this are important, it can all go to waste in a hurry if you don't properly execute the reach back phase of the throw.
Simply put, you want to avoid rounding at all costs, and keep your reach back in a straight line parallel to your throwing line.
Rounding definitely affects distance, but rounding also affects accuracy because rather than a straight line, you're creating a round path towards your release. This means that you have to time your release perfectly in order to hit your intended line.
If your reach back is in a straight line, you can simply trust muscle memory and the disc will snap out at the end of your follow through on the proper line.
Imagine someone playing darts, when aiming, they move the dart in a straight line towards the dart board, they don't add any angular movement to the throw (at least on purpose). A disc golf player should try and avoid this same angular movement to maximize accuracy.
If you're not quite sure what rounding is, then be sure to learn all about it RIGHT HERE.
If everything goes right up until this point, all that's left for you to do now is to trust it all with your follow through.
Entering a power pocket is definitely crucial, as keeping your arm straight will prevent you from keeping the disc on a straight path to the target by introducing angular movement.
But if your feet are set, and you keep everything pointed towards the target until the reach back, everything else should take care of itself and it's time to let that disc fly down the fairway on your intended line!
Sounds easy right?
But as we know disc golf is much harder than it looks most of the time.
Besides these tips, there are a couple of other things to consider that aren't form related that can affect accuracy as well that we want to address quick!
Up first is Grip.
Grip can definitely play a major role in throwing accuracy, particularly if you suffer from "grip lock" at times. This is when you hold on to the disc too long accidentally and throw way too far right (or left for a LHBH player) of your target line.
You don't want too loose of a grip, but you definitely don't need to death grip the disc either.
Keep your grip comfortably tight, yet loose in the hand, and your body will take care of the rest.
For shots that require a little more finesse, switching for a power grip to a fan grip can also help improve accuracy.
Learning to read the wind when choosing your shot is vital to a player's success, as the wind can significantly affect disc flight.
But just as the wind can make a disc more or less stable, crosswinds especially can make upshots and certain lines more difficult than in calm conditions.
When wind hits the bottom of the disc, it can lift and push the disc in the direction it's blowing, severely altering the disc's intended line of flight.
So when you choose a line, don't just think about how the disc may react in terms of stability, but also consider how the wind may push the disc off the line you're trying to hit.
The last consideration to hitting your line may be the most obvious one, but still worth the mention, and that is proper disc selection.
Even if everything goes right and you hit the exact line you wanted to hit, choosing the wrong disc can be the difference between your desired outcome and a disastrous one.
Choosing the wrong disc typically will mean you chose one too overstable or understable, or possibly too stable and straight flying, but it could also mean choosing a disc that doesn't have enough distance or one that blows past your intended landing zone all together.
Hitting the perfect line and being as accurate as possible is only achievable when matched with the perfect disc, so make sure you choose wisely.
If you need help figuring out how to pick a disc, be sure to check out THIS ARTICLE.
And that's it!
Hopefully after reading this article, you can go out and hit those lines with confidence, or in the very least, start practicing the little things to dial in your accuracy, and lower those scores.
Good luck, and happy disc golfing!
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