We’ve all seen the videos online of people skipping a cue ball over the pool table to sink another ball, or footballs being kicked into a trash can from the other end of the field. Well, those are all examples of trick shots.
You see, trick shots are shots that seem impossible or super unlikely. In disc golf, this often involves landing a basket from a ridiculously far distance or awkward angle.
To land these awesome shots you’re going to need power, accuracy, and a lot of patience. We’re not going to talk you through individual trick shots. This is because trick shots are, by their nature, unique!
Instead, we’re going to talk you through the skills you’ll need in order to set up your own trick shots.
Many of the disc golf trick shots you see online rely on power. Often the basket is a heck of a long way away from the tee, which means the thrower needs a lot of power to cover the distance.
There are two aspects of your throw that affects the amount of power you get.
The first thing to think about is your body. You need to use all of your body instead of just your arm. The muscles in your core, legs, and back are incredibly strong. You need to use these muscles to cover greater distances.
When you’re practicing your throw, focus on the following areas:
1. Hips – Your hips should be the start of your throw. You need to turn them away from the direction of your throw when you’re lining yourself up.
As you begin the throw, twist from the hips in the direction you want the disc to go. This motion, known as clearing the hips, builds momentum that travels through the rest of your body and into the disc.
2. Stretch the Back – To really build up power, you need to have a good build up. This means bringing your arm across the body and towards your back foot. This calls for a fair amount of flexibility.
If you’re having trouble stretching into that build up, focus on stretches and reaches that open up the back. The more flexible you are in the back and the trunk, the easier you’ll find all the stretching and reaching.
3. Slow and Smooth – It seems counterintuitive, but the best way to put power and distance into your drives is to move slowly and smoothly.
Beginners tend to have very sharp, jerky movements, some even take run ups. These kinds of movements will certainly help you get a distance boost as a beginner, but they won’t help you progress.
To create and use power in your body, you need to make your movements smooth and controlled. These movements actually utilize the muscles in your body rather than just raw momentum.
Smoothness is key to accuracy, which is also important for trick shots. If you can throw smoothly, you are better able to predict where the disc is going to land.
The second thing that matters when it comes to power, is your technique. Proper technique means a good build up, excellent movement, and well-timed release. It takes a heck of a lot of coordination and practice, but it is doable.
There are a few things to remember when it comes to your throwing technique.
1. Grip – You have to choose your grip wisely. For long distance you want something with a lot of power like the backhand or forehand power grip. To add a bit of accuracy, consider using the modified power grip.
2. Hips– As we mentioned, your hips are crucial to the throw. The hips should be positioned 90 degrees to the direction of travel. Plant your feet firmly apart to give your hips and your body a solid base.
3. Reach – Take the disc across the body and back toward your rear foot. Make sure this reach is nice and deep. Your head should follow the disc during the reach and the rest of your throw.
4. Elbow First – When you begin your throw, lead with your elbow. Save that whipping forearm motion till the end of the release.
5. Release – Release the power from your hips into your body, up your back and into your arm. When it comes to releasing the disc, make sure you release at the apex of your swing.
The other key aspect of landing trick shots is accuracy.
When it comes to improving your accuracy, practice is vital. You need to throw a lot of discs to get better at throwing discs.
While you’re practicing, remember to focus on your form. Good form doesn’t just help with power, it is important for accuracy too. This is because consistency throughout all of your throws makes you more accurate.
Think about it, if you can remove inconsistencies from your throw, then you’re removing variables. This means that you can predict more accurately where the disc is going to land.
You can’t control the wind or weather conditions, but you can control your form and body movements.
The other thing that can help you improve your accuracy is changing your disc. Mid-range discs are easier to control because they have a slightly thicker edge than long-range discs. The thicker edge makes the disc fly more smoothly.
Of course, you want to find a good balance between range and accuracy. Putting discs are the most accurate, but they have terrible range.
Mid-range discs are a decent choice, but again they don’t go as far as long-range discs.
Another thing to try is called ‘quiet eye’ this is a focusing technique used by elite athletes in sports like golf, shooting, and tennis.
The premise of quiet eye is that you zone in on your desired landing spot. By focusing on the landing zone, you blot out distractions around you. This focus on the goal creates more accuracy in your movements. It’s as if you tune into the disc and the basket.
Trick shots are all about doing the impossible. While luck and probability certainly factor into the equation, the most important skills to hone are your power shots and your accuracy. These will allow you to land those impossible baskets.