Monday, January 5, 2015

Instep and hips

(Link for mobile users)

This is an explanation for a fella that has been trying to master the bracing motion (this is for 1 step shots). The pillow idea came from this video: - you can use car blocks, towels, even a slanted curb to get the feel for pushing on the instep.

Trying to explain the actual motion is really hard. 

The best explanation for what I think you are asking is that the back foot pushes the ball into the ground, driving the opposite hip up and forward. My plant leg stays bent and shifts into the plant toe, then instep,  then heel.

As the heel strikes the ground,  my hips are done shifting forward. They might shift 1/2" or something, but the plant leg is stopping the forward momentum. 

There's now the timing that the elbow extention should be maxed out at the point of the heel striking the ground.

During the movement of the hips moving forward, I tend to look for the torsion of the back swing to be unloading as well,  timed to hit the elbow extention and heel strike.

Probably more complicated in text than in the video.

McBeth corking the shoulders
Will with the lean back hip shift.


  1. Another fine post HUB, and I have been thinking about the same topic for a while. One thing that has occurred to me is that bracing against the front leg is either helped or hindered by one's previous natural tendencies and development.

    This is what I mean by 'natural tendencies': there are those who become left handed and there are those who become right-handed. A small number are ambidextrous. Some left handers, living in a 'right handed word' will learn to do certain activities with their non-dominant hand. Probably only a tiny minority of right-handers will do that.

    Among each group there are those who will tend to become left leg dominant when performing athletic activities (like kicking a ball) and those who become right leg dominant. and then a small number, I expect, who are equally comfortable with either leg. The combination you end up with can make learning the DG backhand - and planting the lead foot powerfully and athletically - either a relatively easy thing to do or a very difficult one.

    In my own case, I am left handed and right leg dominant. When I played baseball or hockey, I swung as a typical left hander, which meant my right leg was the plant foot. When I played soccer or hacky sack, the right leg was the one with the power and the coordination. In fact, we used to joke about it in hacky sack, the way our non-dominant legs were difficult to coordinate. This combination I have is not the most ideal for the DG backhand.

    When working on the mechanics of a LHBH throw I am faced with trying to get my left leg to be the coordinated and explosive one, and that has proven to be a challenge. My left leg is weaker than my right - and thus developing a proper lead led plant in the throw has been hampered by that fact. Along with a weaker and less coordinated left leg I imagine the associated muscles (lower leg, glute, obliques, etc) are also weaker and less coordinated.

    I've commenced doing a bunch of exercise to develop my left leg strength a bit more, including bosu-ball laterals, single leg lunges with the back (right) leg raised, etc. And just lots of practice shifting weight and locking the hip on the left. I'm already feeling a significant difference. You need to have the basic physical ability to load the leg properly before the coordination and body mechanics can click properly. That's my thought anyway. Be curious to know what you think.

    1. I think it's 100% spot on. I'd add any type of strength training that improves independent leg strength and balance. For an easy example, just try holding your disc bag in one hand and balance on the ball of one foot. Try bending as deep as you can on that one foot while maintaining balance. Switch the bag to the other hand, use the same foot... then switch it up to the other foot (both hands). It's done wonders for me in terms of balance and really strengthens your feet and ankles.

      Great insight as always Chris!

  2. Glad that made some sense. The bosu ball is a great training tool - check out some YouTube videos on that topic, especially anything with Kai Wheeler, for ideas.


    1. Recent research indicates that use of bosu for "balance training" utilizes vision as opposed to using kinesthetic awareness.

    2. Can you point me towards that research?

    3. I'll also add that, for me, bosu training is less about balance training than it is about plyometric training.

      And it seems to me that if one wanted to train specifically for balance, and some study shows too much utilization of vision is involved with a given action on the bosu ball, then the simple remedy for that would be to close one's eyes while on the bosu.

      And, almost all athletic movements involve a strong vision component, one would think. So training on a bosu with one's eyes closed may benefit kinesthetic awareness, but since the related athletic movements would almost always be done with the eyes open, I'm not sure how well the learned skill would transfer.