As if throwing on flat ground isn't hard enough at times, eventually you have to deal with a dreaded uphill shot.
Sure, we all love throwing downhill, as our throws seem to just glide and glide for infinite distance, even with less than perfect form.
But when faced with an uphill shot, our skill, technique, and form seemingly go out the window as we try and muscle the disc up the hill towards the basket.
If we're not 100% sure of what to properly do, what usually results is a less than desirable throw that ends up being very short, as the disc seems to fade out much more quickly than what we're used to when throwing on flat, or downhill terrain.
The good news is that while these shots seem tricky or challenging, there are some techniques and tips to help you not only overcome them, but to excel at them, and take your game to the next level.
So stick around, and let's take a look at
How to throw uphill in disc golf!
Technique and Form
The first thing worth discussing when throwing uphill is form.
Generally speaking, you never want to throw a disc sky high, as this will significantly limit your distance, and throwing uphill for the most part is the same way.
You still don't want to throw the disc too high, especially with a headwind, because you will be exposing the bottom of the disc to the wind which will slow it down too quickly, in turn causing premature fade and a significant drop in distance.
But because of the elevation change, you do want a slightly higher release than what you may use when throwing on flat ground.
The important thing to remember with this higher release is that you still need to keep the nose down relative to the line that you're throwing on.
This is vital for all throws when trying to maximize distance, but holds even more true when trying to throw uphill because you want to limit the effect of wind and gravity on the disc to prevent an excessive decrease in disc speed.
Other than that, stick to your form as best you can, and don't try to muscle the disc, as this will cause form breakdown and a less than desirable throw.
When throwing uphill, because you are going to be throwing on an upward trajectory, you run the risk of throwing too high.
When this happens, the disc slows down too quickly as it fights possible wind and gravity, and the disc quickly falls to the ground prematurely.
This quick decrease in speed will also cause a moderate amount of fade which further limits distant.
To visualize this, what happens when you throw even an understable disc very slowly?
It fades much more significantly compared to when it is thrown with moderate to maximum power, when it typically may not even fade at all.
To offset this, one thing you can do is utilize a shot that many players use for throwing maximum distance on flat ground, the Hyzer Flip.
A hyzer flip is when an understable disc is thrown with a hyzer release, causing it to flip to flat, prevent from turning over, and flying with a nice S-shaped flight pattern to maximize distance.
As we've said, even an understable disc is going to be slowing down much quicker than usual, but the understability will prevent the disc from fading excessively, if at all.
This will ultimately allow you to reach more distance than you might with an overstable disc.
It will also allow the disc to finish more straight, rather than to the left AND short.
Although a hyzer release will work great, you can also opt for a more flat release as well if you want more turn in the initial part of the flight.
When thrown flat uphill, the disc will fly with more stability, and will often times still fade out at the end of its flight, even if it may not on flat ground.
If there is a substantial head wind, a player may even opt for more of a stable disc option, or a disc with a less high speed turn rating to prevent the disc from turning over, something that could happen if the conditions were right.
Some players do still choose to throw their normal distance drivers when throwing uphill, but they often have the arm strength to do so, or are trying to get a disc to finish to the left in its flight (Right hand back hand throw).
It's worth noting that this type of shot will work from both the tee pad and the fairway, but you do have another option at your disposal,
Overhand, or Utility Throws.
Sometimes, if you're within 200 feet or so from the basket, and the tree/obstacle cover allows for it, an overhand throw such as a tomahawk or thumber is going to be your best option to get your disc up the hill.
Instances where an overhand throw would work best are:
Lack of adequate space for an x-step or approach
The terrain is so steep that it would not allow for good footing, and
Little overhead cover to prevent the disc from dropping back to the ground
Overhead and other utility throws are definitely throws you should practice and have in your back pocket, as you never know when else you can use them.
You can learn all about overhand throws and how to do them in THIS ARTICLE.
In review, understable discs are going to work best for uphill shots.
Because they are going to be more capable of resisting the decrease in speed associated with uphill shots, they will be less likely to fade than their stable or overstable counterparts.
You can hyzer flip them up the hill for maximum distance, or release them flat if some fade is still desired at the end of the flight.
It's worth mentioning that lighter weight discs will perform better on uphill shots because they will maintain their flight characteristics longer to maximize distance.
Some popular, understable discs for you to try out for these uphill shots include both fairway and distance drivers.
Our Top 5 options are as follows, click on any of them to check them out at Infinite Discs:
Discraft Avenger SS (my own personal go to option)
If you already have some understable discs in your bag that you like to throw, or even some more stable discs that are beat in, go out and experiment with them on uphill shots.
Try different release angles and compare their flight and distance to other discs in your bag to see what works best for your style of play and ability level.
If you're opting for an overhead shot in an uphill shot situation, then an overstable disc is going to be your friend here.
Odds are you already have an overstable disc in your bag to use for other shots, so experiment with them to see how far you can throw them and which ones feel most comfortable in your hand.
While uphill shots can be quite intimidating, especially when you're not used to them, with a little bit of practice and experimentation with different discs, you'll be well on your way to confidently throwing uphill in no time!
Just remember to:
Don't throw too high
Keep the nose of the disc down, and
Try out understable discs
Do these things, and you'll definitely see an improvement in your uphill game!
Once you take on the challenge of defeating uphill shots, it's next time to learn
Click on the link to check it out!
Good luck, and happy disc golfing!
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