“Slow is smooth, and smooth is far.”
It’s one of the truest things in disc golf. A smooth throw leads to a really flutterless flight of the disc and often gets you a great distance. Here’s a blog I wrote all about throwing smooth shots. You can take a look at it if you have questions about what “smooth” is.
To throw a disc far, or consistently you’re going to need to practice being smooth. One of the reasons I had a leg up when I started disc golfing was my 5 years of dancing ballet. We practiced every week making sure that our motions were fluid and beautiful. Who’d have thought that dancing would be a cross training for disc golf?
Here’s a clip of some ballet to help you visualize smooth motion. Notice the way that Mia Patton (the dancer) is so powerful when she moves. It’s deliberate movement of her arms that lead from one spot to another. Despite moving quickly she’s never off balance.
There’s no doubt in my mind that if we gave her a disc she’d have a level, straight throw with a stable mid/understable fairway driver in under 15 minutes.
Unless you’re interested in several years of ballet lessons, let’s examine some tips and drills that can help you get to the point where you’re throwing smooth shots.
Tips On Getting Smooth Form
1. Warm up before you play. I can’t stress enough that you need to get that feel back. No matter how many times you’ve thrown a disc you need a little mental refresher. Give yourself at least 10 minutes to putt and throw a few upshots. When that flutter is gone from your throw, you’re back to smooth.
2. When learning to throw, have either a couple of the same disc or a friend to throw the disc back to you. I like to throw midranges that I know really well. I love the Discmania MD3 and have been throwing it since 2014. It’s going to be the same straight stable flight every time. So I have a few of those in my bag and I throw them one after another. This disc is a great choice for players of all skill levels, so if you’re in the market for a new mid that can be thrown forehand or backhand, check out the MD3.
3.Watch the Pros. There are power players and then there are finesse disc golfers. Power throwers are the folks like Garret Gurthie, Eagle McMahon, and Anthony Barela. They’re known for their long distance drives of over 500’ consistently.
You don’t need to power up to watch smooth throws. Here’s Bradley Williams, one of the smoothest players on the Disc Golf Pro Tour. He won on a “bomber” course in 2022 just throwing smooth finesse shots. Watch his fluid movement and try to remember it when you’re throwing. If you’d like to support Bradley, snag his 2022 Tour Series Pig here.
Drills To Practice
1. Swan Arms. (For Backhand)
This drill is to get your throwing arm used to a backhand motion. When throwing you want your shoulder to lead, followed by your elbow, then wrist, and finally hand. Don’t rush this drill. Focus on getting your arms to move in segments first. You can practice this drill in front of a mirror or your phone. After you’ve practiced this drill the way Maria Khoreva showed you, turn your arm sideways and draw it across your chest like you’re throwing a disc.
Common Mistake: You need to bend your arms for this drill to work. Don’t be flapping your arms like this. That arm can’t be straight the whole way or you’re not getting any additional speed added to your throw.
2. Forehand Swing.
Get a tennis ball and a table. You’re going to put the back of your hand on the table and the heel of your hand should be touching the ball. Unlike the backhand drill, when you’re doing forehand your elbow and shoulder are locked.
Put your putter between your throwing elbow and your hip. Now push that tennis ball by rotating your hips. It should go somewhat straight off the table, if it goes off on your side of the table you’re rotating too quickly. If it goes off the opposite side you’re rotating too slowly.
This looks silly, it feels silly, and it’s a great way to get your forehand started if you’ve been struggling with it.
You will eventually be able to bring your elbow slightly away from your side, but that’s a highly advanced skill for forehand throwers. When you do become an advanced forehand throwing player, you can use the ProPull to do the same drill but move your elbow out further.
Throwing smooth shots is not something that you can do once and master. Make sure you’re working on throwing smooth shots every time you’re out there on the course.
If you’re out there practicing, consider picking up some chalk bags to keep your hands dry and consistent and a stable midrange like the Discmania MD3 to help you when you’re out there training.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397