This week I’d like to talk about following through on your shots. This blog is inspired by a lesson I just gave, but also by seeing hundreds of players stop short on their follow through over the years. I watch a lot of players tee off on Hole 1 of our courses while I’m in the Pro Shop, and I think following through on your drives can get players more distance and accuracy.
I believe the reason players have a tendency to stop short is because so many people have played catch and throw or ultimate frisbee first. Ultimate frisbee is great! Even if I have trouble throwing those giant frisbees, I still enjoy the sport. It’s a reason so many people try disc golf, because they are enthralled by the flight of a disc, but the motion for the two sports is so different, and there’s a reason for that. In ultimate you’re playing around a defender and your throw has to be quick; you can’t use your feet, so small movements are best. In disc golf you’re free to make the best shot possible and you can run up to that spot without worrying about a player being in your way. Once a person has learned how to throw one way, it’s difficult for them to think about the differences between the mechanics of the two sports.
First I’m going to talk about how you need to follow through on your drives. If you want maximum distance you need to follow through on your shots. It doesn’t matter if you’re throwing a forehand, backhand, overhand, or any other shot you can think of, when you release the disc keep pushing through your motion. Stopping short is bad because it slows down your arm speed and the disc, leaving you with a fluttering shot. Committing to throwing a drive means that you don’t stop when the disc has left your hand; your drive is done when your follow through is over.
If you’re throwing a backhand your arm should continue the motion, swinging out around your body, creating a twisting motion that carries your trailing foot forward so you’re off balance, forcing you to land your foot out in front. This is how baseball players throw such high speed; they fully commit as pitchers to falling forward after the pitch. Your trailing shoulder (non throwing hand) should end pointing towards the direction you threw. Here’s a picture of 5x World Champion Paige Pierce and her follow through. Take a look at that left hand of hers that came all the way through, and the trailing leg is about to stomp down on the tee. I believe Paige is someone that has perfect driving form. If you want to model your follow through on someone, I suggest you try to copy hers.
If you’re a forehand player, your follow through is your throwing arm swinging across your body. When I do this, my arm that I’m not throwing with kind of shoots backwards and up a little bit. Innova Star Team member, Jeremy Koling, and Innova Crew member, Thomas Gilbert, are both incredible forehand throwers. These pictures really demonstrate how far players should be following through. They both have their heads up straight facing forward. Their throwing arms are outstretched across their bodies while their non throwing hand goes up and stays forward. That’s a good place to keep it. Mine trails and shoots back, but as long as it’s not in the way whatever works for you will be fine.
Now let’s move onto putting. Following through and extending your body is important in the drive but it’s equally important for putting. This is a video of Slomez’s (a slowed down version of some top pros putts going in) by Jomez Productions. Try to ignore the disc going into the chains, it will happen every time in this video. Instead watch the pro and how they look when they release the disc. Focus on how they fully extend their arms even after the disc has left their hand. Even when they snap their hands back to their sides for balance, they’ve already fully extended. If they’re still too fast try slowing it down to .25 speed. The throwing arm hand will fully extend with the fingers pointed out at the basket. In putting it’s important to push that follow through out so you get a clean release. How often is it that your release is a little funny and you doink the basket on a putt you routinely make? Following through will help you maintain a consistent release point for your putts. This picture of Innova Team Star member Jessica Weese perfectly demonstrates a full extension. She isn’t going to leave this putt low for sure. Her whole body is extended towards the basket, and if you want to make putts this is exactly what you have to do. If you can mimic this pose I recommend it.
Another thing you can do to practice is hold your arm out before your putt. If you like holding your arm out towards the basket you can work it into your pre-putt routine. Some pros do this as part of their routine. You can see Simon Lizotte and Paige Pierce doing just that here on hole 10 of our Eagle Course as they attempt a long putt. Simon extends his arm with the disc to find his desired release point, Paige does this without her disc. Holding your arm out helps you not only find your release point, but it also helps to make sure no clothing snags as you putt.
If you’re not sure if you’re following through on your drives or putts after you release the disc look at where your feet are. If they’re side by side, you’re stopping short on drives. Another way to receive feedback, if you feel like you’re overthinking things, is to ask a friend to watch and tell you after the round. You can also record yourself and review your form, looking at what could be improved as well as how you can make adjustments to correct it. At first, working on your follow through can seem like a lot, but over time it will become a part of your shot that you won’t have to think about.
If this blog helped you please drop a comment below, or if you have any questions I do look at those as well. I’m always available to help people if they want some tips. If you’re in our area and would like more personalized tips, we do offer lessons where I can work with you right out here on our courses.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397
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I’m a sports management student at USM and for the most part I don’t like pay-to-play sports. I’d argue that they’re detrimental to the growth of the sport, target rich people, and ruin the fun nature of sports.
But disc golf is different.