Last updated on September 21st, 2023 at 03:03 am
One of the weak parts of my disc golf game has always been my forehand throw in disc golf. My buddies have been telling me for years to throw an occasional all-forehand round to improve that skill. However, my logic has always been not to detract from my bread-and-butter backhand practice time. Recently, I’ve started using forehand shots (also known as ‘flick’ shots or ‘sidearms’) for short approaches, and I appreciate their feel and accuracy. So, I decided to start regularly including throw a forehand in disc golf during my fieldwork. Here is what you need to know about the forehand.
Why a forehand?
One of the fundamental parts of a disc golf throw is how the disc finishes its flight. For a right-handed player, generally speaking, when a disc is thrown with a backhand throw, it will end its flight fading to the left. With most disc golf courses, designers include holes that require a variety of shots. If a hole is a dogleg to the right, for example, the backhand shot becomes very challenging. While backhand throws with understable discs are an option, mastering the forehand allows a player to release the disc as intended, finishing to the right. Additionally, throwing a forehand enables the player to maintain constant focus on the target throughout the throw—a valuable advantage. Many former baseball players favor the forehand because its motion resembles a sidearm throw.
The first thing to consider about the forehand is the grip. A proper grip helps control the angle of the disc. A good grip also optimizes spin on the disc by allowing the middle finger to push the disc and generate more rotation. There are several popular disc golf forehand grips, and they are all effective. Finding the one that works for you is the important part. Luckily, several of them feel fine and work for me. For practice and consistency, I settled on the stacked grip. Here are the most common choices.
Achieving the stacked grip involves placing the middle finger on the index finger and positioning both of them on the inside of the rim of the disc, where the rim meets the flight plate. Position the thumb on top of the flight plate, while the remaining two fingers offer support outside the rim.
To create the forehand power grip, bend the index finger until it touches the inside of the rim, and position the extended middle finger where the rim and flight plate meet. Like the stacked grip, the thumb is on top and the remaining two fingers are outside the rim.
Forehand Fan Grip
In the fan grip, separate the index and middle fingers, with the middle finger touching the rim and flight plate, and extend the index finger to the middle of the disc. Use the other three digits in the same manner as previously mentioned. This grip prioritizes angle control over power, although it can still generate a significant amount of power.
The preceding three grips account for the most popular grips used. Nate Sexton has a rather unique grip, with the index and middle fingers bent slightly and contacting the inside of the rim. He does that because it fits his particular hand, and it works very well for him. He is one of the most proficient disc golfers in the world. His style just goes to show you that YOU need to find the style that works for you. Even if that means modifying an existing grip.
One of the unique aspects of the forehand shot is the method it employs to generate spin. Unlike the backhand shot, which generates spin as the disc is pulled in a straight line to the power pocket, the forehand shot relies on active wrist movement for spin. This wrist action is crucial, especially in obstructed shots, where a full throw may not be possible. Developing the skill to generate significant wrist-driven spin can help disc golfers successfully navigate challenging situations.
While many players use the x-step as a common method to generate maximum power with a backhand shot, they still employ various styles to execute this technique. The same applies to the forehand shot, where some individuals utilize a mini x-step, while others employ a crow hop to prepare for the throw. Regardless of the chosen form, footwork is essential for setting up the reach-back and positioning the body for the throw.
Unlike the straight reach back and pull of the backhand throw, the forehand reach back is more back and up. This allows players to generate more speed on their throw as they bring the disc down into the straight part of the throw. It can also help with timing, since the forehand shot still uses hips, knees, and upper body.
The typical form for a throw, and one that generates the most speed and spin, is one that involves many parts of the body and many joints. The upper body bends to the right, allowing the right forearm to be parallel to the ground. The right wrist is cocked back and prepared for the snap. As the player pushes off the back lag, he plants the lead foot, and then the magic happens. Leading with the elbow and keeping it level with the hip, the thrower drives it forward as far as possible, then whips the forearm, snapping the wrist and hips to transfer all the energy, power, and spin into the disc!
The forehand shot is certainly an important tool in your arsenal that will help you save a few strokes and improve your scores. If you don’t throw forehand, it would be worth your time to learn the basics. Even if you only pull out the forehand when you are in trouble, it would be great to know you are comfortable with it and can execute your shot. Check out a few of these videos for more tips on throwing the