Most players these days are looking to have the ability to throw both backhands and forehands. Whether it’s distance drives, carefully shaped fairway shots or touchy little upshots, it’s certainly beneficial to have different backhands and sidearm throws in your arsenal.
Which Discs Should I Carry?
If you do throw both backhand throws and forehand throws regularly, then the question becomes what kind of discs should be in your bag? Of course, as we’ve said many times, disc selection will largely come down to personal preference. What works for someone else may not work for you and vice versa. It’s all about getting out there and trying different discs to see which suit your skill level, arm speed and throwing form. Still, there are some general rules of thumb you can use to build a balanced bag.
Most players who do throw a healthy balance of forehand and backhands are likely to carry different discs for each type of shot. They will have some disc golf discs that they only throw backhand and some that they only throw forehand. Then, there may be some discs that can be utilized both ways, depending on what they encounter on the golf course.
What’s in Nate’s Bag?
Innova Star Team Captain, Nate Sexton, is a good example of this. For his backhand shots, he bags multiple Destroyers, a Big Jerm Thunderbird, Dart, Mako3 and a few other molds that allow him to throw different distances and shot shapes. Whether he needs max distance or he wants to shape a shot down a tight fairway, his backhand needs are covered.
For his forehand shots, Nate of course has his Signature Tour Series Firebird (aka the “Sexybird”), XCaliber and Rat. He will also pack an Orc when he plays wooded disc golf courses because he likes the specific lines he can shape with it. For max distance on his sidearms, however, Nate will still reach for one of his more stable Star Destroyers that he can throw for full power.
Overstable vs. Understable
Nate tends to gravitate toward more overstable discs and higher speeds instead of understable discs for his forehand throws and that’s a pretty common trend for most sidearm throwers. Forehand shots are usually more about control than pure distance, and most of us find it easier to achieve more consistent results with the stable-to-overstable plastic. Throwing slower-speed discs and understable discs forehand is more challenging. The velocity and power control, along with wrist release angle, are important sidearm techniques to practice.
That doesn’t mean new players should jump straight to bagging a super overstable Firebird, though. That overstable of a disc may just be too beefy for a novice sidearm thrower. Plus, starting with something that stable could lead to developing bad form where you roll your wrist too much or lean too much on the force flex type shot. Ideally, you want to be able to throw pure hyzers, force flexes, hyzer flips, anhyzers and S-line (helix) shots with both your backhand throws and your forehand throws.
What’s in Big Jerm's Bag?
The other half of Big Sexy and fellow Innova Star Team member, Jeremy “Big Jerm” Koling, is also one of the world’s top forehand players. However, his bag is a little different than Nate’s. He’ll utilize higherspeed discs like Destroyers, Wraiths, Thunderbirds and Firebirds. He also uses some lower-speed discs like Sidewinders and his trusty AviarX3 putter to shape a wider variety of sidearm shots than Nate, who is mostly throwing hyzers, force flexes and low skip shots with his overstable disc lineup.
With both forehands and backhands, it’s always best to focus on learning a flat release first. This technique is more important than power or velocity. Power might add distance and help fight the wind, but accuracy and knowing your angles leads to improving your game. When you can learn to keep your wrist flat and release with a straight flight both ways, you can let the discs do the work. Then, you can start to experiment more and more with different plastics, hyzer/anhyzer angles, stability, weights and shot shapes to add more distance and accuracy.
Get Out and Throw!
We always say to just get out there and throw. Practice your backhand and forehand throwing form, and don't be afraid try different discs and see what works best for you. You may love throwing a Firebird or high-speed driver. You may hate high-speed discs . Not every disc is designed for every player, but you don’t know until you try. Over time, you will know your favorite discs and which ones you want to bag for specific sidearm throws, backhands, overhands, rollers, distance drives and any other shot you may need during a round of disc golf. This is how you build YOUR best bag and become a better disc golfer!