Saturday, October 17, 2015

Shift Shift Pump the Breaks

HELLO. It's Jason. Whoooo? I know, I know. I sorta disappeared.

I'd call it a long stretch of blogging vacation. I had to check out of the internet world for a while, because of 2 big things:

1. Renovating my basement has taken up a vast majority of my free time. Concrete demo sucks.
2. I needed a break from the self analysis.

I wouldn't say that I ever lost the love of fieldwork, it's just that I started to miss the game of disc golf. I decided to (temporarily) pull the plug on form tweaking and blogging because I felt like I was too much in my own head and I really needed to get out and put the disc where it needed to go.

In the basket.

So let's get down to business. My fellow form nut, Sidewinder22 passes around Shawn Clement videos all the time, even though Clement is a ball golfer. Clement is a master of the golf swing and more importantly, he's very good at describing what we should be doing.

The beauty is that a ball golf swing is similar to a disc golf swing in all the key areas. So watching one of Clement's latest videos - he said something really amazing.

I'm going to paraphrase for the disc golf throw: during the back-swing, imagine that you're lined up to play tug of war with a person standing behind you. At the extension, imagine that you're lined up to play tug of war with a person standing IN FRONT of you.

I really want you to get up, outta that seat and keep your spine up-right, but set your hips and the pressure of your feet to be in the back-swing. (Some fools call it a reach back.) Maybe have a wife/girlfriend/boyfriend (who tolerates your insanity) hold onto your hand.

Feel the pressure. Ball of back foot only, HEEL UP. Keep your stance closed like it should be. The video above is able to show the forces of bracing back and then forward because I'm on a rug. Tug of war behind me, drives the rug backwards - then tug of war in front, drives the rug forward.

Switching to the extension of the disc (arm forward), set those hips to be ready to pull against that person in front of you. You're playing tug of war in TWO directions.

Now, here's the key: move from position 1 to position 2 and feel what happens to your body. Move back and forth! There's an axis through your core that is going to keep you in balance. If you're too far forward, you're going to start tipping. Too far back, you'll tip or get on your heel. Just right, through the axis of rotation and it's perfectly balanced and if feels so ridiculously powerful that you know you're onto something.

What I see very often in form critique requests, is that humans are good at setting up for the initial tug of war with the guy standing behind you. But when it comes time to brace to counter-balance your weight shifting around the axis, we fail to pull against the guy in front of us.

Ways I personally failed:
1. Zero front side bracing.
2. Barely front side bracing.
3. Too far over my disc front side
4. Not enough over my disc
5. Chin too far down
6. Back to #2
7. You name it, I was doing it wrong

If you can brace against the front side, then when you're pulling back on the rim of the disc during extension - you get a very powerful ejection.

Period. It's on par with feeling what the hit does for you. Timing of that brace with the disc extension is a big piece of the engine.
Below is Eagle McMahon winning the tug of war on the front side.


  1. I am so glad to see you back. I understand the need to take a blogging break and rip up the course, but I selfishly was hoping you would be back soon. You make things so simple to understand but detailed and listening to you has boosted me a good 75 or 80 feet on my drive.

  2. In the Simone video a few back he mentions " I just do this little trick..." add that to the bracing and you've got something

  3. So this would be the "outward pull" that I have heard mentioned in the past? This is something that I just cannot get my head around. I feel like I want to push the disc away from my body when I get to the right pec but I feel no power doing that. When I used to play Ultimate (a bazillion years and injuries ago) my whole backhand form relied on just snapping the disc out by pulling around the outside edge. I just can't seem to do that from the right pec..... I think this is the key but I'm sure I have a thousand bracing and hip issues before I can even get to this point....

  4. This is the part I'm really stuck on right now is figuring out the weight transfer. I know the logical order is the lower half followed by the upper half. My confusion I guess is how to make it work. When I watch the slo-mos of many pros it seems they're driving hard with their back foot while bracing on the front side. What I can't tell is if they're intentionally turning on the their heels to open the hips or if it just naturally occurs when the top half begins to turn.

    Then on top of that I'm having difficulty determining when to accelerate my top half

    1. Heel turn is a natural bi-product of proper posture and being braced against that plant foot and INTO your lead hip. If you take a ball-golf swing or a baseball bat swing - and at the end of the swing with your abdominals facing targetward, you lift your plant toes: foot wants to pivot open on the heel.

      This is going to sound crazy: but you don't really determine when to accelerate the top half. The system of : posture, hand on the outside, hips opening, holding the disc late through the forearm extension will will "accelerate" the disc.

      Trying to accelerate it is impossible. Staying loose and hitting all the important spots will naturally impart acceleration on the disc. Tightening the grip and optimizing the shifting/bracing will increase the ejections speed. Trying to speed things up, will screw up timing and decrease distance.

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