On the course I often see players attempt a backhand anhyzer throw which fades out very early, leaving them in a bad spot. Such shots cost at least a stroke, and often more. Today, Vortica takes an in-depth look at how to throw anhyzers, so they actually work.
But wait, what IS an anhyzer shot?
It is a throw which begins reaching right the instant the disc leaves your hand, for a right-handed backhand (RHBH) player. It means the far edge of the disc is higher than the closer edge upon release, and it stays that way for a significant portion of its flight. Or all of it.
Anhyzers which are thrown low are generally called “throllers” which cut-roll hard left when they land.
Anhyzers that are thrown high can continue to reach right their entire flight, and can roll long, or they can land flat, or even with hyzer to finish, with a skip.
OK, Let’s go!
Before we get into the meat of the content, it’s necessary to have a quick review of what we’re actually trying to DO with an anhyzer shot. Right-handed players are trying to make the disc reach right, rather than left, which is the traditional flight shape for a RHBH player.
When players attempt an anhyzer, they want it to:
A) Slowly reduce the anhyzer line, land flat and slide to a stop, or
B) Maintain or increase the anhyzer angle, and roll when it lands, or
C) Fight out of anhyzer into hyzer angle, before it lands.
The issue is that the angle the disc lands at can vary tremendously -from steep anhyzer to steep hyzer. So, anhyzer throws can slide to a stop, or roll hard left, or stand up and and roll long and right, or bounce, or even skip - phew! This means the size of the potential landing area is absolutely massive, and failure to control how an anhzyer throw lands can be disastrous.
Disc touch-down angles and expected ground action:
Flat to shallow hyzer (0-5°) - slides to a stop
Shallow hyzer (5-15°) – skip low left
Medium hyzer (10-25°) – Short spoon skip, can reach basket height
High hyzer (25-45°) – more of a bounce than a skip
Spike hyzer (45+°) – Bounces where it lands, or makes a tombstone
High anhyzer (45+°) – Stands up and rolls. Disc stability controls roll path
Medium anhyzer (25-45°) – Cut rolls to the left
Shallow anhyzer (15-25°) – Disc can slide out or cut roll depending on Things™
Very shallow anhyzer (<15°) – Slides to a stop.
These ground actions depend upon the disc having the appropriate airspeed and spinning speed. Discs which are thrown with low airspeed and low spin will behave differently.
Intentional skip shots and rollers are subjects for a future article.
Please note: very shallow landing angles behave very differently for hyzer and anhyzer shots due to the direction of rotation. RHBH Hyzers spin clockwise and land with the rim travelling opposite to the direction of travel, which promotes skipping, while anhyzers land with the rim going the same direction as the disc is travelling, so it touches down like a wheel and wants to roll.
How spinning speed affects disc flight shapes
Thanks to Bart Bird over at Best Disc Golf Discs for this information – check out their brilliant YouTube channel, over here.
Half the spinning speed will result in twice as much high speed turn.
Twice the spinning speed will result in half as much high speed turn.
Now, it is unlikely you can generate twice the spinning speed of an optimal throw, but as a learner, particularly in forehand, it is certainly possible to throw with half the spinning speed.
If you are following along nicely, this might tempt you into thinking a low spinning speed would help you throw anhyzers, because the disc will want to turn more in the high speed part of its flight. But that is not the case. A slower-spinning disc will fade out more quickly into a hyzer line, and be short and left.
There is definitely a time and place for such a shot, and slow spin speed can be used to force discs into extreme anhyzer-to-hyzer lines over short ranges, especially if high speed overstable discs are used.
However, as a general rule, for all shots except pitch putts, the more spin you put on a disc the better. More spin = more ability to maintain the hyzer or anhyzer angle you placed on it for longer, before it fades out.
How airspeed affects disc flight shapes
We all know by now that as discs slow down they fade to the left for right-handed players, and this is true for anhyzer throws, also. But the more airspeed (and spin!) you put on a disc, the more likely it is to hold your chosen hyzer or anhyzer angle for longer.
So we can easily see that we need to use plenty of airspeed and spin to stop anhyzer shots (well, in fact, all shots) from hyzering out early.
Low airspeed kills anhyzer throws
This is the key to understanding anhyzers, in my opinion. It is why Simon Lizotte, Eagle McMahon, and Seppo Paju can throw such stupendous anhyzer shots; they are able to create prodigious spin and airspeed.
And, what is the biggest killer of airspeed? Why, it’s altitude of course! We all know that discs trade airspeed for altitude whenever they are climbing, and it’s why we have to throw very overstable discs downhill, because their airspeed stays extremely high, for an extended period, which tends to make discs turn over, and anhyzer to their deaths, far right, and short.
And what is the biggest thing we need in an anhyzer throw? Why, it’s altitude of course! And herein lies the problem: we need to generate enough airspeed so that the disc flies over the top of its arc; what I call “Anhyzer Hill”. It will then happily slide all the way down into the happy place I call “Anhyzer Valley” - where it converts its altitude into distance by reaching to the right while staying on a gentle anhyzer angle.
So, how far you can throw an anhyzer depends on how fast and how high you can throw it. When starting out throwing anhyzers, you should be using understable putters and midrange discs only, and not trying for radical flight shapes, and keeping the top of the arc relatively low to the ground – no more than 4-5 metres.
Disc types and their behaviour when thrown with anhyzer
These behaviours assume optimum spin and airspeed.
Understable discs will begin to turn after the initial stage of flight, so the anhyzer angle increases. (Goes more right.)
Overstable discs will begin to fade after the initial phase, and this results in the anhyzer angle reducing. (Wants to go left.)
All discs will begin to fade if they are in the air long enough. A great part of the skill of throwing anhzyers is judging the correct height for the required ground action upon touchdown.
What are we physically trying to do, in an anhyzer throw?
We are trying to throw the disc with sufficient airspeed such that it is still able to keep flying (rather than fading) when it reaches the top of Anhyzer Hill, before it can begin the long, beautiful glide to the right that typifies well-executed anhyzer throws.
You must be consciously thinking about the exact high point, and its location in space in your set up, and adjusting your Plane Of Play (POP) and Line Of Play (LOP) appropriately so that you can execute your shot so that it passes through the hoop you have mentally placed there, and will start descending from that point onward. In this regard it is no different to a hyzer throw.
If you are unable to generate a lot of airspeed, then you need to reduce the height (and hence the reach) of your anhyzer shots, so that they do not flex out early.
If you are unfamiliar with the terms Plane Of Play (POP), and Line Of Play (LOP), they are integral to a fuller understanding of disc golf. Please read our articles on these subjects, linked above.
You need more anhyzer than you think you do!
I often see players shaping up anhyzer throws, but the angle they are shaping up with is not even close to the angle actually needed to execute the shot.
This is due to the Dunning-Kruger effect, where players of low skill level assess their ability as far greater than it is, and they overestimate the power and airspeed they can create.
You ALWAYS need to put more anhyzer angle onto the disc than you think it needs.
This applies to almost all players, almost all the time.
Because you actually throw more slowly, and with less power than you think you do, it is necessary to always put in more power than you think you need. And so by putting in too much power, and too much anhyzer angle, you will sometimes put in the exact right amount, and nail it. [insert bigass smiley]
Making the adjustments necessary to set up with correct anhyzer angle and power can take quite some time.
Nose Angle is critical
A nose-up release angle ensures the early death of any anhyzer throw. We have already devoted an entire article to this subject, and you should read that, over here.
When we are talking about Nose Angle, we mean Angle Of Attack in aeronautical terms, and it has no relation to the angle of the ground the disc is flying over. It means the angle that the leading edge of the wing meets the inbound airflow.
In order for an anhyzer throw to stay on an anhyzer, and not flex out, the disc has to be thrown upwards, but with a flat (or even downward) nose angle. And remember, I don't mean flat or down compared to the ground, but rather the air the disc is going to be flying through.
When you launch a disc outwards on a flat trajectory with the nose-up, it deflects significant amounts of air downwards due to drag (see the diagram below) which produces mechanical lift, and directly trades airspeed for height.
When you launch an anhyzer shot, it is momentum which is carrying the disc upwards, there is almost no air deflected downwards, due to the combined forward and upward velocity put on the disc. Thus, even though the disc is gaining altitude, it is retaining most of its velocity. This is key.
Learn to control the disc's nose angle as shown in the article linked above.
The Gyro-Push stage of flight
This is what MVP call the initial stage of flight, after the release, and it’s where the disc will hold the line you let it go on, purely due to the inertia of the disc. Depending on the type of disc, and the power you use, the gyro-push phase will be shorter or longer.
We use power to extend the gyro-push phase when we want a disc to turn or fade later in its flight.
When you let an anhyzer shot go, the same gyro-push effect lets the disc adopt an initial flight attitude, and hold it, before the high-speed-turn (Turn) phase of flight begins.
For understable discs, this is where the anhyzer angle is strengthened by the nature of the disc. For overstable discs, it is when the disc begins to fight out of the anhyzer angle you applied at release.
You can exploit this gyro-push stage by using it to control how quickly the disc will hyzer-out, or anhyzer-on, if you will, and being able to land a reaching anhyzer shot flat on the ground is a tremendous skill to have.
Please note, the gyro-push stage of flight will not entirely counteract the anhyzer angle applied, and so the disc will reach right from the start, but not as strongly as when the high speed turn phase of an understable disc takes effect.
How to throw an anhyzer
For hyzers, we know that you will have your nose over your toes, and appear to be almost hunched over the disc when smashing the hell out of it. To throw anhyzers, we un-hunch, stand up straight, and then shove our hips forward a bit, and pull our arm through slightly higher compared to our rib cage, so that the Plane of Play our disc is on, is now on an anhyzer angle.
When you have your hips forward, you will be able to follow-through in a downward direction, as the follow-through takes place on the Plane of Play, and hence controls the hyzer/anhyzer angle of the throw.
You must ensure your follow-through goes from high to low.
Simon Lizotte throwing a sky anhyzer at Konopiste, 2018. From the SpinTV video.
Note the upward angle of the Plane Of Play, downward follow-through
mirroring the upward throwing motion, upright posture, and extreme foot-plant location.
What about the footwork?
In our normal setup for a flat or gentle hyzer release we are planting our front foot between 15 and 20 centimetres in front of our back foot, in relation to the Line Of Play. This permits the hips to engage properly and provide power to the throw, when the rear knee is turned inwards and downwards with great energy as the elbow is closed – these actions are what brings the disc to your chest.
But for an anhyzer throw, we want to extend that forwardness of the front foot even more, by up to another 20cm or so. This accentuates the hip-forward angle of your body, and tilts your Plane of play onto the correct angle for the anhyzer release.
It also ensures a good brace, and it promotes the back side of the body following through and around the plant foot, taking a step forward and around to finish.
When I throw anhyzers they don’t start reaching right straight away
Sorry, those aren’t anhyzer throws. Your Plane Of Play is still on the hyzer, or flat angle. By definition, an anhyzer throw begins reaching right immediately, just as a hyzer shot reaches left.
A disc which flips to the right from a flat throw, or a hyzer throw is called a “hyzer flip”, “flip shot”, or just plain “flip”.
It is possible to throw massively far using an understable disc and throw it on a sky-anhyzer line but with hyzer angle, such that the disc flips over before it reaches maximum altitude. Such sky-hyzer-flips can also get you into massive amounts of trouble.
But Chris, my anhyzers always fade out! What am I doing wrong?
There are several possible reasons for this.
You’re overly ambitious, and trying to throw your discs too high
You’re not applying enough spin
You’re not putting on enough anhyzer angle at release
You’re not using sufficiently understable discs
You’re using discs with too-high speed ratings
You're sending the disc out nose-up.
Remember, the keys are altitude and airspeed – just like for an aeroplane, the more you have, the safer you are, generally. If you are a new player, or you are not generating a lot of airspeed then it is unlikely you will be terribly successful trying to throw anhyzer shots.
I want to throw anhyzers with a low ceiling!
Sorry about this, but you can't really. Not unless you are trying to create some sort of radical flight shape with a very overstable disc, and you want it to curve right, then fade hard and skip left.
Low ceiling shots will normally require flipping a disc if you are looking for distance, and/or any sort of reach to the right. Or throwing flat and letting a disc turn before landing.
These are very difficult shots to get right, and why you will often find people using a backhand roller from the tee on such holes.
And this is one of the primary reasons you should learn how to throw forehand. No disc golfer's game is complete without the ability to forehand.
So - why not avoid anhyzers, and just forehand everything?
While the two throws have some similarities, forehand throws apply less spin, and hence fly with less stability, and it's why the distance record will always be held with a backhand throw.
Plus, it is often the case your forehand shot is blocked, but an anhyzer play is available.
A forehand throw can never reach right and then left to finish, so having both kinds of throws in your arsenal gives you access to a huge range of flight shapes and shot options.
Anhyzers also open up the backhand roller shot option. But that is a subject for another article!
When not to throw anhzyer
For RHBH players, it is very unwise to throw anhyzers with wind coming from the right. The flight plate will be exposed to the wind, and hence the disc will be slapped to the ground very rapidly where it will cut roll left - far from your intended landing area.
Conversely, you can easily take advantage of left-to-right winds to lift the disc greatly, and extend the range, and the reach of anhyzers.
Low ceiling shots, as mentioned - so keep in mind the forehand and backhand roller options when confronted with a ceiling that might yield a 20-metre drive if it gets caught up.
Take an incremental approach to developing your anhyzer game
As with all things in our disc golf game, we are on a program of continual refinement over time, rather than making huge leaps forward in performance.
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