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For some folks the forehand is a natural shot. Those folks can throw distance drivers, flippy mids, even stable putters on every line imaginable and get perfect shot shapes.
For the rest of us, it takes lots of work to develop a serviceable forehand shot. It can take a long time to develop, but I promise it’s worth putting the effort in. I know that many people try throwing forehand and end up with one of two problems. These problems are no fun, don’t go far, and turn folks off from throwing forehands.
1. They immediately throw the disc into the ground as a roller.
2. It wobbles out of the hand, goes up high and hyzers out. I call this a “banana” shot because that’s the shape it makes.
This week in the blog I’m hoping to help you avoid the turnover roller right out of your hand. So let’s examine 3 drills I think can help with that.
1. Mashed Potatoes and Gravy Drill.
You’ll need your phone (or an honest friend) and a disc for this drill.
Set up the phone so you can see your whole body. Now set your feet shoulder width apart and hold the disc upside down in your hands. You want to move your hand holding the disc all the way from back to front and keep it flat. You want to go as far back as you are comfortable holding the disc, and as far out as your release point.
You’re allowed to be a little off from level. As you can see in the video I’m not 100% flat and have a tendency to dip my wrist so I throw a little more nose up as I push the disc past my body. Practicing and getting closer to flat will help your release.
Don’t just rely on your arm! The forehand shot requires you to move your hips and feet as well. Try rocking from side to side on your feet as you rotate your arms and hips. Focus on keeping that disc level.
This is the #1 drill I work on when I do forehand lessons. I will stand with players for 5-10 minutes practicing the motion. It takes some folks a minute to get it, others take much longer. Remember your progress is your progress, if you look and see you're still dipping your disc a few weeks later you'll
2. Cocking your wrist.
All you need for this drill is your arm.
Put your fingers out straight and keep your hand flat. This is a drill that I recommend you practice slowly and infrequently. Overuse injuries stink, and as someone who has had more than my fair share of them. I don’t endorse long practice of this.
This drill is important for keeping lots of rotation on your disc. Slow rotation leads to the banana shot. I believe this also helps you stop rolling your wrist because you should be getting used to the motion of keeping your palm up to the sky.
This drill can be done with any disc, but I prefer the feel of a driver in my hand when I'm doing this because it's what I throw most of my forehand shots with.
3. Heel to Toe.
All you need for this drill is your feet.
This is a footwork drill for you to stop over rotating your wrist. We’re going to work on weight transfer to give you the power you need to generate arm speed instead of you throwing really hard.
Forehands should be gentle and smooth. Especially when you're starting out. I don't usually teach a runup to players unless they're consistently throwing over 300 feet with their forehand.
So many folks run up and leave their arm way behind them. Then they try to sling all of their weight forward and end up over exerting themselves and rolling their wrists.
Point your lead foot where you want the disc travel, not where you want the disc to end up. My forehand discs end to the right, so I aim my foot the straight line I want the disc to travel before it fades.
This is compensating for the hyzer or fade that your disc will have on the end of the flight.
Put all of your weight on that front leg. Feel how you’re distributing your weight across your foot evenly. If you lean forward you have to put all your weight onto your toes. If you lean back the weight gets transferred to your heel.
Rock back and forth so that your heel is always on the ground. This is where you get a lot of power from your lower body.
As you rock forward more quickly you’ll feel off balance and you’ll bring your trailing leg forward to stop you from eating the front of the teepad. This is the follow through and it’s important to learn on its own.
There are no worthwhile “quick fixes” in disc golf. You can go out and buy a Firebird or an XCaliber and keep force flexing a disc over and over, but you won’t gain the touch or the ability to weave through trees with your discs.
Developing a forehand that’s accurate at short distances and with all sorts of discs is important if you’re looking to improve your game. If you’re someone who rolls their wrists try these three drills that slow down your arm, speed up your legs, and flatten your wrist release.
These are drills that will help you start developing your forehand game. I hope they help you out. And let me know which one works the best for you in the comments.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397