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You’ll hear about throwing “nose down” a lot when you first get started. This is the most desirable type of throw.
There are a variety of reasons that throwing nose up can pose problems, which we’ll explore more in-depth.
But first it’s important to establish what nose down is and why it’s the ideal way to throw a disc.
The nose angle is called your Angle of Attack.
Once you learn to control your nose angle, you can master control over the distance and trajectory of your throws.
What is nose down in disc golf?
Nose down is a type of flight path that you can throw in disc golf.
Understanding it means needing to understand a lot of aspects of your throw angle.
There are physics involved in throwing the best disc shot.
The most basic principle is that if you want your disc to cover a large distance, you need the leading edge to be followed by the trailing edge.
That’s what gives you a straight throw that allows for maximum distance.
If the trailing edge is above the leading edge, you get a nose-down throw.
If the trailing edge is below the leading edge, you get a nose-up throw.
Definition of a nose-up throw
When the leading edge is higher than the other edge, it interrupts the airflow and creates drag, which slows the glide path.
This is a nose-up disc.
Nose-up discs won’t work well when you’re trying to throw over long distances.
But this type of angle can be used for greater control and creative maneuvering.
When you become an experienced player, it’s about throwing the angle on purpose and understanding what happens when you do.
Nose-up discs have a habit of climbing higher in altitude, getting higher in the air instead of going faster.
Once the disc reaches the apex of its trajectory, it stalls in the air, and then it takes a dive to the left.
This is one of the most novice mistakes you can make.
Nose down flight
Nose-down flight can be an equal problem to nose-up flight.
By angling the disc downward, you cause the disc to dive until it hits the ground barely any distance away from where you threw it.
You have to throw the disc straight if you want to make any significant distance.
It is important to note that nose-down flight is often utilized by advanced players who use Anhyzer throws.
A professional might throw a disc nose-down from a great height to achieve a certain objective.
But before you can throw nose-down on purpose, you need to learn to stop throwing nose-down by accident.
What a nose-up throw looks like
You can learn to identify a nose-up throw by what happens after you throw the disc.
If you’re able to see the top plate of the disc when it’s above the height of your head, and you tried to throw it straight, then you’ve thrown a nose-up shot.
It’s also common to end up with accidental nose-up throws when you begin experimenting with Hyzer angles.
You might believe that you have the best angle, but accidentally be throwing at an angle that keeps the disc nose too high.
Not only is it helpful to recognize these throws when you do them, but you can also recognize nose-up throws in the players around you.
By observing people throughout their entire throw, you can see how the angle of the nose changes the trajectory of the disc.
How to stop throwing nose up in disc golf
The biggest key to not throwing nose up is to reduce your angle. The closer you come to throwing straight, the further your disc will fly.
Even if you can’t get your throw perfectly straight, you’ll notice marked improvement if you make the angle a little less steep.
Reducing the angle
You’ll need to change the way you grip the disc. In addition, you’ll have to become aware of the angle that your forearm bones have against the disc.
Before you do anything else, it’s important to learn to use a power grip.
For a proper power grip, you can follow these steps:
- Grip the disc.
- Firmly push your thumb down until your wrist is dragged along with it.
This movement is called Ulnar Deviation. You use the same physical motion when you shake hands with someone.
Now keep pushing until your disc is parallel with the bones of your forearm.
Your wrist joint will be held at a 90-degree angle to the disc.
Though this grip may feel a little odd at first, it will help to stabilize the disc and keep it from wobbling during its flight.
There’s actually a name for that wobble: Off Axis Torque.
Your disc will wobble in the air when the throw didn’t involve a correctly aligned forearm.
You might also see the disc wobble if it’s spinning slowly while moving forward quickly.
The slow spinning can’t make up for the quick forward trajectory, which impacts the stability.
Most people notice this specific issue when they’re first learning how to do forehand throws.
As you pull through, smash the disc, and release it into the air, the thumb must stay firmly pressed down throughout the entire motion.
This motion dictates what nose angle the disc takes.
If you do all of these things, the disc should be flat when you release it.
Many people find that once they use the right technique to avoid throwing nose-down or nose-up, they set a new distance record.
Other causes of nose-up flight
Maybe you’ve adjusted your grip, followed all the instructions, and keep practicing.
And maybe you keep seeing nose-up results anyway.
You might be wondering whether there’s anything else that can affect your throw.
Other aspects of your technique and physicality can impact your throw.
The most common error that beginners make is this: standing on their back foot when they throw.
Once you notice this error, it’s relatively easy to correct. But you need to notice that you’re doing it before you can fix it.
When you go through the throwing motion, you need to transfer your weight fully to your front foot.
There shouldn’t be any weight on your back foot. You should have a sense of momentum pushing you forward.
Another beginner mistake is aiming to push the disc up instead of out. This is especially common for young children.
When children begin throwing, they learn that gravity impedes their efforts.
So they naturally learn to throw upward to keep objects in the air longer.
You might still have this instinct as an adult. It’s tempting to throw the disc upward in the hopes that the higher it gets, the farther it will go.
But that simply isn’t how physics works.
The disc needs to glide on the air. If it’s angled upward or downward, the airflow keeps it from reaching its full speed, and it will fall much faster.
By contrast, when you throw the disc straight and out, it can sail for hundreds of feet.
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