Thursday, July 31, 2014

More on Hips and some Outtakes

I've officially gone deep into the rabbit hole of backhand technique. I feel like Jack Bauer on hour 23 of saving the world from some plot that involves 17 double crosses and corruption in the reach back and... not you plant foot??!!  You would do this to me?!?!

It's been an evolving internal dialog while I'm doing all this fieldwork and reading in the dark corners of the form/analysis forums that has me thinking about learning how to drive from a standstill. It  is regularly given out as advice to people looking to fix their form.

The issue I have with this advice is that a distance drive from a standstill does not translate into fixing the way 99% of players drive, which is with an x-step or an x-hop. "But how will they learn to shift their weight? It will help smooth out the backswing!", I can hear the calls of heresy already.

You do not generate your forward momentum the same way in a stand still drive. In a stand still you have add something to the movement that you do not have to add in an x-step. It's much easier to take a step or two to get your hips moving.

I'm not saying that there's no value in learning to drive from a standstill. I'm saying that if you're working on getting the fundamentals down, take the easy access to power first.  I am making a big assumption, and it's probably the biggest hole in my argument - but I'm assuming that you aren't strong arming. The Dan Beto Video teaches how to make sure to accelerate the disc from your right pec... and it's probably taught more people the right way than any other video. The right pec drill though, once you've worked out where to pull from, isn't going to fix all the other issues of timing that you still have to work out.

And driving from a standstill and throwing upshots from a standstill are two different things. I believe that regularly throwing piles of upshots from 50-250' is a great idea... but toiling away to hit 350' from a standstill with a putter, I just don't think it's the best use of my time. Add a step and save yourself the headache. At least that's my argument.

Okay. Moving on.

There seems to be two common ways to generate a weight shift when driving with an x-step or x-hop. You can twist your hips against your core muscles during the reach back, then drive your knee down to uncork the hips, the core, the shoulders. This style is clearly visible in Will Schusterick's form. He has what I'll call an "active knee drop" where he's using the forward momentum from the x-step that's pushing him down the tee-pad instead of pushing with the back foot.

When you watch the full video you can see his hips are staying at the same velocity throughout the x-step until they stop during the plant/twist/open. The hips are not really accelerating from the plant foot - they're maintaining the momentum created in his x-step. His knees work together like a wave; it's really impressive.

Feldberg exemplifies the second style I'll call a "straight knee", which is much less driven from a twisting hip and more from a hip driving forward and the hips open with the drive, not from the dropping knee. He is accelerating his hips forward from his back foot to his plant. When you watch the full video, you can see Dave actually catches up with Will by accelerating forward to his plant foot (even accounting for the fact that he's further back in the teebox) because he's pressing/sliding his hips forward with that back foot.

The key difference is that an active-knee is going to require that back knee to get involved and some people are not built for that motion. I think Paul McBeth is somewhere in between. He does drop his knee, but it also appears that he's getting some drive from the instep of his back foot before he drops his knee.

And here's the kicker and one of the most frustrating parts of digging through all the footage, the screen shots, the posts... as players start taking some heat off a throw, they all do it different ways.

  • Shorten up the back-swing
  • Don't drive their hips open with the knee.
  • Don't involve the hips as much. 
  • Less momentum from x-step

On top of that, they will adjust how closed or open their shoulders are and on top of that the amount of hyzer or anhyzer they can change things as well.

But for now, we can see that just in the hips, there's 2 distinctive styles. An active hip opening (Will) and a more combined hip/core opening (Dave).

The current curriculum if I was going to teach Backhand 101, would look like this:

1. Footwork: X-hop vs X-Step
2. Hips: Active knee vs straight knee hip shift
3. Upright Spine from Beginning to End, Coiling not Reaching
4. Wide reach back, hand on the outside of the disc
5. Driving Elbow, Pulling nip to nip on a flat line
6. Bracing on the Plant Foot

To answer a question that somebody messaged me:

Yeah, frustration is something I deal with.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Budget Friendly GRIP EQ Alternative

The embed is still acting strange, so direct link is:

A thread popped up on DGCR (here it is) where bamfb posted some huge images of a bag he had found. It was a really promising looking disc golf bag that was a back pack style very similar to a model, the GRIP EQ.

I have a limited budget that means $150-250 for a backpack just isn't happening. I'd been using a nice big quad-strap style bag that my brother had given me, but once it was loaded up, it didn't carry nearly as nice as a smaller camera bag that I'd rigged up for discs previously. But it could carry about 22 discs and 2 water bottles, so I stuck with it. Eventually I ended up just carrying about about 12 discs (4 putters, 3 mids, 5 drivers) because it was much easier on my shoulders/neck.

But I missed the comfort of a backpack.

I'd looked at a ton of fishing packs that could accommodate the wideness required of discs, but nothing really struck me as right.

Seeing this bag, I almost immediately knew it was a winner and after about 10 minutes of digging for other reviews, I pulled the trigger.

It's currently available here: Overstock shipping was free, but slow.

I may end up making a disc divider out of some thick square bottles like I did for my last camera bag - or I might go fancy with some pvc pipe. I've yet to decide, but either way - I'm already very happy with the bag.

El cheapo dividers.