The term "Breaking down the door" has been getting a lot of heat lately.
And arguably so.
Those that preach the method of Breaking down the Door in regards to how to properly throw a backhand and to avoid rounding, may not be fully explaining the correct context that this drill or technique is meant to produce.
How is this technique sometimes explained in minor detail?
A "quick and easy" way to teach a newer player how to get into the power pocket after achieving full extension with their "back swing" or "reach back" is to have them practice bending their elbow and drive it forward as if having the bony part of the elbow crash into an invisible door in front of them.
This is to help instill the concept that this technique will reduce rounding, bring the disc into the chest, and exit from the power pocket.
Without more knowledge, technique, and reasoning behind the full process, this often gets players strong arming the disc by trying to drive with the front shoulder, getting too far forward over their front hip, and reducing power while increasing risk for injury.
The FULL method to Breaking down the Door
Where this technique gets a bad rep is when the process is taught without regards to implementing the rest of the body.
More and more information is circulating the disc golf scene regarding usage of the lower body now that more scientific study has come to the sport.
Rotation of the hips and torso caused from proper positioning of the legs builds the power transition to the shoulders for maximum velocity creation.
The above explanation of driving the elbow "into the door" holds true, but requires usage of the hips and torso to do the pulling, not an active pulling of the throwing shoulder.
During the pull through, the X-step has set up the hips to engage. The front hip and glutes (butt muscles) should fire (activate) to get the hips rotating first. This then transfers into the torso, unwinding like a spring which creates the rotation of the shoulders towards the target.
Note: We said the shoulders rotate because the torso rotated.
The throwing shoulder should remain fixed in a 90 degree position in front of the body during the entire throw until the follow through happens towards the end.
This helps ensure that the disc gets brought in towards the chest during the pull through and hits the power pocket correctly. Then, the area from the elbow down to the disc is to act like the "whip" so often referred to.
A whip by nature is very loose during it's swing. Only when the loose end is forced into the opposite direction of it's motion do you get the "snap" sound.
The "snap" is applicable to a backhand throw when the disc enters the power pocket and the elbow has rotated forward due to the shoulder rotation. At the point of "breaking down the door", the elbow nearly stops forward movement and causes the forearm, hand, and disc to "whip" forward, ejecting the disc at a higher velocity.
Good grip on the disc helps to provide more spin and more spin means greater distance before the disc slows down.
A good way to think of this when practicing is use your lower body and torso to generate as much rotational energy as possible. Your arm and disc should simply be along for the ride and not an active participant other than the shoulder maintaining that 90 degree angle.
Fast rotation of the body is going to accelerate your arm much more quickly than just your arm by itself.
Here's a quick recap and list of steps to follow and progress into one fluid sequence:
X-step —> Front foot plant with throwing arm in extension (reach back) —> Brace front leg and weight shift —> Rotation of hips/glutes —> Rotation of torso —> Shoulder rotation and bending of the throwing elbow —> Disc enters power pocket —> Whipping of the lower arm —> Disc ejects from fingers (don't let go of the disc, let it force itself out of your grip).
With practice and better technique, there's more to be learned about the back foot, back leg, and off-arm to further increase throwing distance.
But, in order to successfully learn the Breaking down the Door method, the above functions have to be processed and implemented first.
Taking these phases and learning them SLOWLY is the best way to form good muscle memory and increase range of motion as some of these motions may not be entirely fluid for some people at first.
Remember, slow and smooth technique will more often times yield better results on the course verses always trying to go for that massive shot.
Hope this helps! Now it’s time to get out there and practice it!
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