When learned and used correctly, the backhand throw is without a doubt the most powerful throw in disc golf.
Not only will it yield the longest throws, but the most accurate and versatile as well.
Forehand throws can and do offer a HUGE advantage when incorporated into your game and for many reasons!
The biggest problem however, is that many players seem to struggle with making the decision of when to use a backhand vs. when to use a forehand.
They either only rely on the forehand because they don't feel comfortable yet with the backhand, or the opposite; they only know the backhand and feel that their forehand is a weakness.
For players who are adequate with both throwing techniques but just aren't sure when each should be utilized, you're in the right place!
Choosing when to use either throw is very important when trying to be competitive on the disc golf course and we're here to help make that decision a little easier the next time you're out playing so you'll have a better idea of
When to throw a forehand in disc golf!
So let's get started!
In no particular order, these are some situations when you may be better off throwing a forehand rather than a backhand!
1. Fade in the Opposite Direction
As a quick reminder, fade is when the disc finishes to the left for a RHBH (right hand backhand) throw, or to the right for a LHBH (left hand backhand) throw.
So naturally, a good time to use a forehand instead of a backhand is when the disc needs to finish in the opposite direction than it normally would for your backhand.
The simple mechanics behind this is that a disc spins in the opposite direction when thrown with a forehand than when it is thrown with a backhand. This opposite spin causes the disc to fade in the opposite direction.
Regardless if you're faced with a long or shorter distance, there are just simply and inevitably shots out there that will force us to get our chosen disc to go in the opposite direction than what we're comfortable with.
So if you're a right handed player, and the shot calls for the disc to finish to the right, simply choose a slightly overstable to overstable disc and use a forehand to get it to fade to the right.
You may be asking yourself however,
"Great! But why not just use an understable disc and throw a backhand turnover shot to get the disc to go to the right?"
And that is a great question!
And the simple answer is that sometimes the angle we need the disc to fly on is so significant that a backhand turnover just might not be good enough.
Say you're a right handed player facing a sharp dog leg right shot. In order to get a disc to go right on a back hand, you would have to use a stable to understable disc thrown on anhyzer.
The risk you run with this shot however is the disc either not turning over enough, or turning over too much and flying errantly into the rough or even becoming an unintended roller.
In these situations, a forehand with a more overstable quality to it will be much more consistent and reliable the majority of the time.
Backhand turnover shots have their purpose, but typically not for hard turns to the right (or left for a left handed player).
Additionally, a good forehand off the tee can significantly help set up your next shot from the right side of the fairway if throwing RHFH, or from the left if using a LHFH.
If you were to have use a backhand, it may accidentally fly too stable or even worse, stall out and become overstable, pinching you off for your next approach shot.
2. Approach Shots
Getting on the green, or even approaching it can sometimes be difficult depending on the surrounding environment. Slopes on the green or intended landing zone, for instance, can sometimes favor one throwing style over another.
As discussed in #1, throwing forehand vs. backhand places a different spin on the disc.
For a RHBH throw, the disc is spinning in a clockwise direction, whereas for a RHFH throw, it's spinning in a counter clockwise direction.
This may not seem significant, but say you need a shot to go the right, and the landing zone slopes down from right to left.
Because you need the disc to go right, you have 2 choices, a turnover shot or a forehand shot.
The problem with a turnover shot however is that the disc has a high probability of hitting the slope and rolling away from the basket or landing zone, whereas the opposite spin from a forehand will more than likely cause it to stop dead in its tracks.
In other words, a favorable situation for forehand approaches is one where the disc hits into the side of the slope, rather than coming in on the same angle and causing it to skip/roll long distances away.
For this reason, you wouldn't want to throw a forehand when the disc will be landing on slope that is going down from left to right (for a right handed player).
Approach shots also offer unique situations where you need higher than normal throws to go right or left. For shots that need to go left, you'll naturally want to throw a high, backhand hyzer throw.
For ones to the right (for a right handed player), a high forehand on hyzer will likely be better than a high turnover shot to prevent rollaways and still achieve the angle you want in your shot.
As a general rule, forehand throws will often skip more than a turnover shot, and a turnover shot will more often cut roll. So what you want the disc to do after it hits the ground needs to be also considered on not just approach shots, but all shots.
3. Step Out/Blocked Throwing Motion
Many times in disc golf, we land in a position where the disc finishes next to some tree or structure that makes it incredibly difficult to get a proper backhand shot executed.
This is a situation where stepping out to the other side and lining up a stand still forehand can be a huge weapon!
Taking your most advantageous positioning that gives you an athletic movement should never be passed on if it helps you get out of a tough spot and preserve possible injury trying to make something happen (smacking your hand/arm on that tree you're up against).
4. Really Tight, Immediate Gaps
Lastly, let's say you have a very tight tunnel gap in front of you.
Standing forward and throwing a forehand can oftentimes be significantly more controllable and accurate than a backhand where you're turning your head away from your target.
Because blasting through that immediate gap sets up a chance at a good score for that hole, you want to take the most accurate shot you can to get it through.
It's important to note that there are many situations where a backhand or forehand throw will serve you equally well to get the job done, so you should choose what method you're more comfortable with.
But there are scenarios where you're at an advantage or disadvantage with one shot type over the other and hopefully this article gave you some clarity on the matter!
All in all, forehanding has become much more popular of a technique to add into most players arsenal of throws.
There are people out there who have not learned it, who just will not learn it, or have not learned to do it well, and you will often hear them say "I wish I had that throw" when they're trying to get out of a sticky situation or have a better tee shot setting them up for the more direct line at the basket.
If this is you, my advice is to practice it!
And get yourself at least one reliable disc specifically used for it so that it can maintain it's desirable flight pattern.
What are the best forehand discs?
Here are some options that have been tested true by the Disc Golf Guys!
Simply click on any of them to check them out at Infinite Discs!
What are your favorite forehand discs?
Feel free to let us know what your go-to options are!
So get out, practice those forehand shots, and keep on lowering those scores!
Happy Disc Golfing!
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