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  • Writer's pictureChris Davies. Edited by Martin Galley

12 Classic Mistakes In Disc Golf. No.1 - Classic Rounding

Updated: Jun 24, 2020

Once a week Vortica examines what we consider to be one of the 12 Classic Mistakes In Disc Golf. They are as follows: Rounding, Lazy Off Arm, Dipping, Low Elbow, Teepad Speed, Crow Hopping, Throwing Too Hard, Nose Angle, Wrist Rolling, Over-Discing, Weight Shift, and Foot Plant.

What is rounding?

Rounding is when your body comes between the disc and the Line Of Play (The line the disc is intended to fly along), or the target. It results in a rounded pull, using mostly the shoulder, little elbow, and results in short inaccurate throws. The only way to be accurate when rounding is by the timing of the release, due to unavoidable physics: rotary motion always produces a tangent from an arc.

Typically, when new players “reach back” what they do is reach around their body, rather than reaching out along the Line of Play (LOP).

Rounding looks like the player is hugging themselves, and they sometimes hit their left shoulder or upper left arm with the disc during their throwing motion.

A good disc golf throw begins by pulling the disc along a straight line - The Line of Play. The Line Of Play is the continuation of the line the disc is going to fly along, traced all the way back to the furthest point in the reach back.

Pulling (and smashing) in a straight line means that early releases will simply drop a little short, but still be on the intended line, whereas rounding and letting go early results in a disc going strongly left.

Similarly, late releases on a straight line pull will cause the disc to fly a little long, but again – on the intended line, while a late rounded release results in an aggressive anhyzer going strongly right which often turns into a roller. This leads us to…

The Griplock Fallacy

Many pretty decent disc golfers (including yours truly) occasionally suffer from what is referred to as “Griplock”. Griplock is ostensibly when you hold onto a disc too long, and it spears off to the extreme right of your aim point, usually flying on an anhyzer line. But griplock is a myth.

What people are experiencing with “griplock” is rounding, and trying to throw too hard. The extra effort in a Very Hard Throw damages not just the timing, but the technique, resulting in a rounded smash.

How can I tell if I am rounding?

If once your pull begins, the angle between your upper arm and your chest ever decreases or is ever under 90 degrees, then you are rounding. Thanks to the Latitude64-sponsored player, Danny Lindahl, for this keen insight. Check out Danny’s great instructional YouTube Channel --> HERE.

Figure 1. The Line of Play, and keeping the chest to upper arm angle higher than 90 degrees.
Figure 1. The Line of Play, and keeping the chest to upper arm angle higher than 90 degrees.

The upper-arm-to-chest angle starts at 90 degrees (or more, if you rotate your shoulders further than square to the LOP) and it must increase throughout the throwing motion. If it decreases, then you are leaving the disc behind you, which means the only way to throw it is to bring it in an arc around your body, using mainly your shoulder.

Rounding looks like a player hugging themselves with their right arm, and the disc never reaches the right pectoral chest region, which is described as the “Power Pocket”. It’s where true power can be applied to a disc. (See Fig. 1, in the middle)

Chris, bending spacetime with his Proton Envy
Chris, bending spacetime with his Proton Envy

Another way to say this, is that as you begin to pull the disc forwards, you must start closing your elbow (from 180 degrees – straight), so that when the disc gets to your chest (right pec), your elbow angle is now around 90 degrees (or even less if you want more power). This ensures that even though the shoulder may be turning, the disc is still coming to the chest because the hand and elbow are pulling it into the chest at the same time.

Another way to tell if you are rounding is to have someone stand behind you, looking at the line you are intending to throw along, and have them tell you if, at any time in the throwing motion, your body obscures the disc from the line.

A proper reach OUT feels like you are reaching well away from you and in front of you.

How to fix rounding

It can be extremely difficult to correct Classic Rounding, depending on how long you have been playing, how talented you are, and how aware of your body you are. The simplest and easiest way to correct rounding is to build one of my inventions - the Mobius Line Puller (Pictures here) or if you are not so talented with tools, using the following method:

Purchase at least 5 metres of rubber tubing from a Physiotherapist. These are used to create resistance for patients recovering from injury. The tubing you want is the lightest resistance possible – NOT THE HIGHEST!

Now, take an old midrange disc and drill a hole through the flight plate, the same size as the tubing, right next to the rim of the disc. Tie one end of the bungy cord through that hole.

Take a couple of large size Screw Eyes (with closed ends. Do not use hooks!), and screw into a fence post or similar, at the height of your hips, and another at the height of the base of your sternum. (The height simulates different types of throw: flat or hyzer with some height) Tie the other end of the bungy to the screw eye.