One of the biggest mistakes that new disc golfers make is having a hyzer release angle. If you are used to playing catch with a cheap Frisbee on the beach, your natural angle of release is with the front of the disc pointed slightly upward (aka “nose-up release”). This works for a catch disc or an ultimate disc because they are designed to float and ride the air bounces. It doesn't necessarily work for disc golf discs that are meant to be thrown with less hyzer disc angle and at higher speeds.
Drivers vs. Approach Discs
This is why you may find more success early on when you through mid-range discs and putters because they are designed more like a catch disc with a deeper rim and blunt edge. When many disc golfers first start playing, they can throw their slower discs a lot farther (or at least more consistently) than their high-speed distance drivers and fairway drivers. This is typically because they have hyzer throw with a natural nose-up release angle.
A distance driver is designed with a sharp edge and shallow rim, so it can cut through the air and get maximum rotation when thrown at higher speeds. If you throw a driver soft, with a hyzer release, and nose-up, it will not go very far. If you throw it with an anhyzer release and nose-down (with the front pointed downward), it will likely go straight into the ground, as well.
Focus on a Flat Release Angle
As a novice disc golfer, one of the things you need to learn first is how to throw any disc with a flat release angle on a consistent flight path. With a run up, or without, you are not throwing it upward with a hyzer degree angle. You are not throwing it downward with an anhyzer release and the nose pointed toward the ground. You are throwing the golf disc flat and straight through to your aiming point with smooth follow through. When you learn this simple technique, even without a run up, you should immediately see more distance from any flying disc in your bag (with overstable discs and understable discs). You will definitely notice the difference with your distance drivers and fairway driver golf discs.
Check out this video from Team Innova member and experienced disc golf coach, Philo Brathwaite, who talks specifically about the importance of throwing flat.
Of course, a flat release is only part of the equation for getting max distance out of your distance drivers. The type of throw your attempting in addition to your run-up, reach-back, arm whip and other factors will all make a significant difference as you gradually improve your throwing form. At first, though, learning to throw flat is a good thing to focus on as you develop and refine your disc golf skills.
As you get better and better, you can continue working on your arm angles and release points to increase distance, improve accuracy and gain more overall consistency with your drives, upshots and putts. There are instances where you will actually want to have a nose-up release or a nose-down release, combined with different reach-backs, hyzer angles and anhyzer angles to produce certain types of shots like flex shots, hyzer flips, full anhyzer flights, roller shots, controlled air bounce upshots and more.
Learning a flat release first will benefit you, whether you are throwing a standard backhand shot or a sidearm. Having the disc come out on the exact angle you intend is a valuable skill to have no matter what type of throw you are attempting on the disc golf course.
Learning Your Discs
Another key benefit to having a flatter release angle is that it really helps you learn your discs better. When you can throw a disc perfectly flat at full power in neutral wind conditions, you will learn exactly how it wants to fly with your particular arm speed. You can see which discs are more overstable for you, which are neutrally stable discs that fly relatively straight and which will naturally want to turn (understable disc). Then, you can work on different angles and learn how the wind and other weather factors affect the flight characteristics of each disc in your bag.
If you are relatively new to disc golf or you are struggling with your form, learning to throw flat is a great place to start improving your game. You should see better distance and consistency that will help you gain more confidence as you keep getting better and better with practice and time.