Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Downward Tilt

A quick intro: zj1002 is a screen name that I came to know and respect very quickly as I poured through DGR and DGCR Form/Technique. I was rather impressed when I realized zj1002 was the guy that Yeti used as his example in this video to demonstrate the power of hips in your drive. Here he is blasting putters like they're drivers. He knows his stuff and puts on clinics, plays lots of tournaments and coaches other players - so I quickly jumped on the chance to have him start writing some of his knowledge down! I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did! - Jason
The Downward Tilt - Manipulating Angles and Creating Leverage.
By Zachery Jansen (PDGA # 39386)

Hello to all my fellow disc golfers. 

I want to start by thanking HeavyDisc for giving me the opportunity to write about disc golf technique.

Sometime around 2008 I found myself obsessed with a new hobby - throwing a disc as far as I possibly could. Back then I never thought I would actually fly my dreams this far. It led to a job with the wonderful crew at Disc Nation and a professional sponsorship with the Legacy Discs family.

Everything I learned about technique can be found on the beautifully confusing Discgolfreview.com technique forums(DGR). I don’t think I could write this post without giving credit to the community Blake T fostered on DGR.

So I think its only fitting I focus my first article on one of the videos that changed everything for me - my lightbulb moment. The clip below of Discmania CEO Jussi Meresmaa popped up on DGR 4 or 5 years ago.

The DGR forum hive was curious -- Why did he turn the "inside" of the disc downward on the reach-back? Is there an actual benefit to it this style?

What you see with Jussi is a technique taken to its extreme. Turning the inside of the disc downward on the reach-back creates two main advantages for the thrower when timed properly:

  1. It creates extreme nose down angles for added distance
  2. It keeps the disc close to the body so it can extend through the power zone

What I call the inside of the disc, is the side closest to the body during the start of the throw. The outside being where our hand is on the disc. Its important to understand that in an ideal throw you want to leverage the inside of the disc forward. You are using your technique on the outside of the disc to leverage the inside of the disc around until it propels forward. This means that while may it initially looks like an anhyzer angle, when you open your body forward it turns into a nose down hyzer angle.

Check out this clip of Garret Gurthie from an old Innova video:

As Garrets body moves forward, he drives toward the target with his hips, shoulders, and elbow. This brings the disc in closer to the body/chest, allowing it to easily pass into the hit zone. I find with most people, this is where things are going wrong: do not uncoil the forearm before the disc reaches the right pec area

When this happens, it becomes harder to hold onto the disc and early releases occur, zapping power and accuracy. By turning the inside of the disc downward it makes it easier to hold onto the disc through the right pec (for RHBH) and into the power zone.

The longer you can hold onto the outside of the disc through the power zone as the arm uncoils, the more potential distance and accuracy you will have. As Garrets arm uncoils the disc ends up on the exact same line it was on during the reach-back. 

This technique doesn't just apply to throwing nose down hyzers. It can be used to understand how to manipulate any angle you want to create the leverage you need to throw with more accuracy and distance. I also want to clarify that reaching back is a direct result of turning the hip and shoulder back. As you open these parts of the body forward, it brings the arm in tight to the right pec.

When trying to copy a new style or technique -- learn how the mechanics of it can help your throw. 

We all have different body types, so not every style fits every person. If you are having trouble holding onto the disc through the power/hit zone, then this should help improve. Focus on the principles of a technique, and adapt it to your own form.

Okay, Jason here again. I wanted to also share this video of Zachery. If you've watched me throw on my youtube channel, you may notice that I take a very similar motion. That's for good reason. I found this video of his, and at the same time SW22 posted this one from Shawn Clement on balance. It clicked in such a big way that balance (like Zachery was displaying) was exactly what I needed to start forcing myself to do. It really was a great moment for my form and my accuracy.


  1. I thought I had read somewhere that another advantage of the downward tilt is that it lets the muscles in the arm (especially the forearm) stay loose and relaxed. You can definitely feel it if you reach back with a disc and try it. Disc tilted down and your muscles are slack and loose whereas the opposite (disc tilted up) forces your forearm to flex hard. A wild guess is that this lets your arm whip through faster, but I don't use this technique so I can't say that with any authority.

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