Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lizotte vs Wiggins - both are ridiculous

Let me be clear, throwing for distance is a completely different thing than golf shots. They're goal is to impart maximum speed on the disc, but just as importantly - to throw the disc very high so that it has as much time as possible to ride the wind to the ground. If a distance thrower tried to use these shots in a round, they'd likely end up on a different course!

But throwing far is fun! It's okay, I'm not some kind of skill snobbist that thinks the pursuit of one type of disc competition is better or worse than another. I think it's all really awesome. I also want to say that I can't throw a 360 and rarely work on true distance lines. Most of my time goes towards accurate distance, so I'm just a guy who thinks this stuff is cool.

I wanted to point out a few of the variations between the two biggest arms in distance throwing: Simon Lizotte (current distance holder for disc 863.5' and a mini 527.9') and David Wiggins Jr (previous record at 836').

You can watch them throw some tandem 360's here: and some great footage here:

What I think is interesting, is that they time their hit in two very different places.

If I would have simply guessed, I would have thought Wiggins would have been having the longer drives - because his shoulder rotation is faster. Look at image 1, specifically how closed Wiggins's shoulder is vs. Simon's. By image 2, he's almost caught up, meaning he had to accelerate his shoulders more to get there.

One thing that you can't overcome though, is the length of your arms. Simon's got long arms that create more leverage than a shorter arm.

There's also an untold number of other variables, from disc selection to grip strength. Holding the disc 1/1000th of a second longer at these power levels can mean the difference in total distance and height, meaning you're in the air in a better place to take advantage of wind.

Both guys, phenomenal displays of agility and power.  Simon blew apart his shoes he was putting so much force into his plant. Wiggins, by the way, set that previous record 2 years ago... AT THE AGE OF 16!! Boggles the mind, right?!

This conversation has been evolving over at DGCR and via email with my buddy Ed regarding shoulder involvement in the backhand. Over-opening is an extremely common struggle, where somebody is facing the target at the point they're releasing the disc. The following is my thoughts on the difference between what we're seeing above with the different levels of shoulder involvement in the pulling around the disc:

There's really 2 worlds for the beto drill that teaches 2 different things: Dan's way is to show where the pulling gets to start, which is at the right pec - and in the video he's blasting those shots.
My world: I couldn't blast it. It was seemingly impossible. Slowed it down to the point in the original video I posted, and that's where I felt the levering action. You are just swinging the door open and pivoting the disc out and from the right pec - you can very easy float a Mako 200'.
My point was that at no point do you want to feel like you are using muscle to throw the disc. The point of the drill is, at least in my view, to force yourself how to feel the levers of your arm collapse into the right pec position and then extend forward.
That was the turning point for me, where I started to experience the loading wrist and holding the disc much later and by a result of that, more forward in my extension. By building on that mechanism, you have a baseline for everything before it. 
Am I doing stuff that helps that mechanism? shoulder lag and a pause, I think has been around this concept. 
I think of the right pec position as being a sliding shelf that starts out extended (open) and we brace our weight which slides the shelf into the closed position.
From that closed position (right pec), the disc changes direction a bit as it begins the arc. The wrist loads even more and at this point the shoulders CAN* start opening.
*This happens so fast that it's very confusing to try to make it happen - but you will see lots of players with immaculate form use the shoulder rotation to speed up the pulling around the nose of the disc. You certainly can throw without the shoulder rotation, it's common in many players who have a stockier build (like my buddy Ryan, who I post videos of) and in my slow motion elbow extension video.
Some players like JohnE McCray - start the leverage from left pec or center chest (he's RH). You're not imagining it. I believe that players are trying to find a balance where our body can take the most amount of leverage and still have control of the pull around the nose and the hit.
How much or how little you start to open your chest BEFORE the right pec (for my RH)... affects the hand being on the outside. If you open the shoulders, the hand moves forward around the disc. So I try to time it that I stay shoulders aimed at the target to the right pec, and then in about 1/100 of a second the arm extends while the shoulders blast through - hopefully contributing to the pull around. 
You can feel it when the shoulders pull around versus when they do not. In my experience it's an added feeling of right facing force on the nose of the disc.
So ultimately the shoulder is either going to contribute to pulling around the nose or that the shoulder is going to be aimed at the target through the extension more static.
If you really wanted aim over acceleration, I'd extend with less shoulder interference.
Finally, a very exciting package arrived yesterday! My son walked  into the kitchen holding a box and asked if I bought a bowling ball!? Uh, no! I'd had a short correspondence with Gateway about potentially reviewing their discs. Hadn't known anything was coming in the mail and suddenly:

So, expect some reviews to start coming in shortly and please head on over to to have a look at their discs and thanks again guys!

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