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Special shots like rollers are an important skill for all disc golf players to have handy. It’s important to have a well-rounded supply of techniques to use on the course so that you’re prepared for all situations: wind, rain, or shine.
In today’s post we’re going to look at the forehand roller shot and which discs are the best forehand roller disc options.
We’ve highlighted several potential discs by skill level so that you’ll be able to find the right one for you, no matter if you’re a beginner or a professional!
What is a roller shot?
Roller shots are a more specialized shot utilized for strategic moves when you’re in a low-ceiling situation.
For example, you have to clear a line of trees in order to advance closer to your target, but there are low-hanging branches in the way. Instead of trying to throw your disc low enough to clear the branches, you can throw a roller.
A roller shot will fly part way, then hit the ground and roll vertically the rest of its path until it stops and falls over on its side.
Roller shots allow you to achieve more distance by rolling the disc along the ground than you would be able to by flying the disc through the air.
How to throw a forehand roller
Throwing a forehand roller definitely takes some time and practice. Check out this video below by Matthew Rothstein, where he describes how he throws forehand roller shots.
Rothstein’s technique is to use a V grip on the bottom of the disc with his index and middle fingers, with his thumb pressing firmly on top.
When throwing forehand, keep the disc at an upright, vertical angle upon release.
We’ve written a post before on backhand roller shots, where our suggestion was to use an understable disc.
Forehand rollers are different, however. You’re going to want to make sure you use an overstable disc when throwing forehand.
The reason these discs are different depending on the type of throw you use is because of the angle at which they’re released.
Backhand rollers require understable discs that will flip and turn over easily because they are typically released flat or on a slight anhyzer curve.
In order for them to land vertically and roll, they have to be able to turn while in the air.
Forehand rollers, when done correctly, are released at such a vertical angle that you don’t want them to turn or flip. They should hit the ground rolling. This is why you’ll want to choose an overstable disc, so that it is both turn-resistant and wind-resistant.
Additionally, you want the weight to be heavy enough to where the disc won’t just bounce and skip along the ground, but will actually roll.
When not to use a roller shot
Roller shots are not ideal when:
- You can get your disc where it needs to go by flying it solely through the air
- There are strong headwinds present
- The ground is soft
- There are branches, brush, or rocks along the terrain
The reasons being that roller shots are best done on firm, solid ground so that the disc can roll easily.
You want to assess the course and ensure there are no obstacles in the way because otherwise your disc might bounce off a rock and go who knows where.
Additionally, you will want to be mindful of wind conditions. Tailwinds or no winds won’t affect your roller shot, and neither should low to moderate headwinds.
However, strong headwinds will cause your roller to turn over and will completely destroy your shot.
What to look for in the best roller disc for forehand shots
There are several categories to look at when considering what to look for in a good forehand roller disc. Let’s break these down one at a time:
- Stability. First, pay attention to the disc’s stability rating. The disc you choose should have a turn rating of 0 or 1. Do not choose anything below 0, as that will not be conducive to a proper forehand roller throw.
- Weight. Select a disc in a heavier weight category so that it is more wind resistant.
- Plastic blend. Select a disc in a hard, inflexible plastic blend. This is important for a few reasons: first, you want your disc to be resistant to punishment and damage so that it will last longer. Secondly, you want it to be stiff and firm so that it behaves better once it hits the ground.
- Rim width. You want a thick rim width so that the disc is more stable when it begins to roll. Do not settle for anything less than 1.9 centimeters in rim width.
- Disc type. We recommend sticking with distance drivers or fairway drivers as your forehand roller disc of choice. Beginners will want to stick with fairway drivers while more advanced players would do better with distance drivers.
Avoid understable discs with turn ratings of -1 to -5. Avoid light-weight discs below 160 grams.
If necessary, you can go lighter on the weight but you might find challenges and difficulty getting your disc to roll for an extended distance.
Avoid comfortable, flexible plastics that will bend and derail your roller. Flexible plastics will also lead to weathering on your disc faster than firmer plastics.
Avoid thin rim widths because these are not conducive to your disc landing vertically and beginning to roll.
Best forehand roller disc
If you’re looking for a good potential option as a forehand roller disc, there are a number of products that could work well for your needs. The following options may work well as a forehand roller.
Discraft Nuke OS Elite Z Golf Disc
- Recommended for: advanced and pro disc golf players
- Flight ratings: Speed 13, glide 4, turn 0, fade 4
- Rim width: 2.5 centimeters
The Discraft Nuke OS is an extremely difficult disc to throw, which is why we only recommend it for advanced power players.
Discraft’s Z line of plastics is one of its most durable plastic lines. Z discs are firm and inflexible, making them somewhat uncomfortable to grip, but optimal for harsh throws where the disc might sustain damage.
Because of the Z line’s sturdiness, this plastic line will help uphold the Nuke OS’s flight ratings for a longer period of time. This plastic line is one of the slowest to season.
When thrown normally, this disc is a high-speed overstable distance driver perfect for big hyzer shots and handling headwinds.
It has the capacity for between 400 to 450 feet when thrown with a big arm.
This disc comes in max weight categories: 170 to 172 grams and 173 to 174 grams.
When thrown with enough power and the right forehand technique, it makes an excellent long-distance roller disc.
View at Amazon for more information on how this disc may work for you.
Innova Disc Golf Champion Material Firebird Golf Disc
- Recommended for: intermediate players
- Flight ratings: Speed 9, glide 3, turn 0, fade 4
- Rim width: 1.9 centimeters
This is one of Innova’s top brands for hyzer shots, flex shots, and headwind drivers.
It’s manufactured with their Champion plastic, which is a high-quality, inflexible, hard plastic. This means it will maintain form on roller shots well which resisting damage.
This disc can be purchased in the following weight categories: 151 to 164 grams, 165 to 169 grams, 170 to 172 grams, and 173 to 175 grams.
As we’ve already mentioned, we recommend choosing as heavy a weight as possible for rollers. If you’ve been used to throwing lighter weights, it might take a bit of practice for your muscle memory to adjust to heavier throws.
On a normal throw (right-hand backhand with a hyzer angle) this disc would travel between 200 and 300 feet, depending on the power you put behind it, before hooking sharply to the left on the fade.
For a roller, this disc will fly about 50 feet in front of you before rolling the rest of the distance. How far it rolls will depend on how you throw it, the wind conditions, and the conditions of the course’s terrain.
View at Amazon to learn more about how this product may work for your game.
Latitude 64 Opto Line Spark Fairway Driver Golf Disc
- Recommended for: beginner and intermediate players
- Flight ratings: Speed 7, glide 4, turn 0, fade 3
- Rim width: 1.9 centimeters
There’s a little more room to select weight options with the Latitude 64 Spark, which is another reason why it’s a more suitable choice for beginners.
Although you want to choose heavier weights when operating roller shots, heavier discs can be harder for beginners to throw with sufficient power.
The Latitude 64 Spark comes in 160 to 169 grams, 170 to 172 grams, and 173 to 176 grams.
Latitude 64’s Opto Line of plastic is one of its best and more durable plastics. This line was specifically designed to handle harsh throws like rollers without sustaining damage.
The Opto Line is also more likely to uphold flight ratings for a longer period of time than some of Latitude 64’s other plastics, which are more flexible.
When thrown normally, this disc provides moderate-distance hyzer shots and performs well in headwinds.
It’s one of the easier discs to learn forehand roller technique if you’re a beginner without a lot of power to put behind your throws.
View at Amazon for more on how this disc may work for you.
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com @dmitrimaruta