Learning to throw a Disc Golf disc – part 2 – Research

Terminology

*Note* All statements will be made assuming a right-handed backhand (RHBH) throw. Left-handed backhand and right-handed forehand throws will result in a flight path opposite of the ones described here.

Introduction

Lets start off with the fact that I had NO idea what any of the disc golf terms meant. Hyzer, anhyzer, understable, overstable? What really got me where were ratings and in particular the ‘stability’ ratings. How the heck do I determine what a disc is actually going to do?

This chart on the Discraft web site was helpful in clearing things up.

This list of terms also helped.

There are quite a few factors in how a disc will behave after it leaves your hand.

Below is a very good video explaining all the factors. Don’t get intimidated though. As you’ll see later on I boiled this down to two factors to greatly simplify the process.

How Discs Fly – A beginners guide – link

Of all the terms used in the video there were two that are used in describing how a disc is going to act IF (and that’s a HUGE if) the disc is comes out your hand level front to back and side to side:

Understable
Overstable

In my mind these are the critical initial concepts to understand.

A understable disc, for a right-handed player throwing backhand, will fade to the right. This tendency is indicated in the disc’s stability rating by a negative number.

A overstable disc, for a right-handed player throwing backhand, will fade to the left. This tendency is indicated in the disc’s stability rating by a positive number.

Obviously a disc rated 0.0 indicates that the disc will fade very little if thrown correctly.

As seen in the video above, a disc’s behavior regardless of the stability rating is also affected by:

The WEIGHT of the disc (this is indicated in grams) as heavier discs can be more overstable than lighter discs of the same model and can be less affected by the wind than a lighter disc.
The release point of the disc in your throwing motion
The SPEED with which the disc comes out of your hand (how hard or how much power is being applied) and the WEIGHT of the disc. It is possible to throw a disc too hard. Doing so will overpower the disc which changes the flight characteristics.

How much SPIN the disc has when it is coming out of your hand. Later when I talk about driving I will give an example of how I was ‘overspinning’ the disc and how I changed my motion to address that.

Local wind speed and direction

So, there are quite a few factors to consider.

Simplify
I decided that I was going to consider the stability ratings of the discs as the single factor that I would work with as I was rebuilding my throwing motion.

The goal is:

If I throw a disc with a rating of 0.0 on a windless day my throwing motion should make the damn disc go straight and fade just a touch at the end.

Disc Selection

So based on the criteria what discs did I select?

Resources
Discraft Stability Guide – link
Discraft Flight Guide – link
Discraft Disc’s at a glance – link
How Discs Fly – link

'Heart of Gold’ put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore, so I headed for the ditch.” Neil Young written for the liner notes of his 1977 compilation, Decade.