Common Mistakes in Disc Golf: Failing to follow-through when putting
The follow-through in disc golf is just as important as in ball golf, and this applies equally to driving and putting. Today Vortica takes a good look at what proper putting follow-through is, and what it does for you.
The follow-through on any disc golf throw or putt usually tells you if the shot was good or not, completely without reference to the throw itself. If a player has good form, and follows-through successfully, they will finish balanced on their plant foot, and their shot will be a good one.
Because a player who finishes in static balance has to maintain dynamic balance throughout their throwing motion. It’s far more likely such a throw results in the disc flying along the intended path than one where a player finishes out of balance.
So, in disc golf putting, what is follow-through, and why would we want to make sure we always do it?
Defining the putting follow-through
All proper putting forms have what I call a Vertical Plane Of Play (VPOP) aligned with either the right or left eye, depending on which is dominant. Most people are right-eyed.
Click here for the article where I discuss the issue and describe how you can easily test yourself. It's about halfway down the page.
To the right, I have tried to show you this eye-aligned Vertical Plane Of Play using SketchUp.
By implication, all putting forms which do not have a vertical Plane of Play aligned with one eye are improper forms. You may practice them out of necessity (I do), and even become quite good at them (I’m not), but they can never be as accurate as a putting form which aligns an eye with the VPOP. This is why over-the-head Tomahawks and Turbo putts can be so accurate.
The disc is either swung-along or pushed-out aligned with the vertical Plane of Play, which intersects the Line Of Play (LOP). Click here to read our comprehensive article which addresses the LOP and POP in detail.
The correct putting follow-through form (seen at right) involves stopping the hand and wrist the moment the disc leaves the hand, and allows your swinging arm to come to a natural rest along the Vertical Plane of Play of your putting stroke.
Failing to maintain this static finishing position upon release of the disc, and holding it steady until the disc finds chains or the ground, is a less accurate way to putt. Period.
Choosing to finish this way not only promotes a strong ejection directly towards the basket, it focuses your mind on the finish point, and assists with reaching for the basket, and also means fewer low putts, and more directional accuracy.
It applies equally to spin putts and pitched putts. And if your putting grip features an index on the rim, then it is the last contact point at the release and is used as a restriction on rightwards movement of the disc, improving accuracy.
Instant fault diagnosis
On top of the other benefits, holding steady allows you to instantly diagnose a faulty putting release, as it’s sitting right there in front of you, showing you what you did wrong – or right!
More on finishing in balance
No matter what the rest of their body is doing, if you see a player finish a putt balanced on the ball of their plant foot, with a steady outreached throwing hand, you will know they are already a good putter - or they are about to become one!
Eagle McMahon... Ricky Wysocki... Paul McBeth... Paige Pierce... Gregg Barsby... Jennifer Allen... are all great examples of players who finish this way.
Dave Feldberg, one of the game's most capable teachers instructs us to finish this way, and then, to swing the arm down again, while maintaining balance with the back leg, and pick up your mini, before progressing towards the basket.
Not only does this additional piece of form promote the static finish, but it also perfectly complies with the demonstration-of-balance rule, and allows efficient retrieval of your mini, before swinging the back leg through to extract your excellent putt from the basket.
But Chris, I need my throwing hand and arm to balance with!
Sorry, but you really do not. That is what your off-arm and hand, and your back leg are for. They comprise almost a quarter (~23%) of your total mass and are quite capable of maintaining your balance at the completion of your putt.
If your current putting form locks your off-arm and hand out of the post-release balancing process then you have sub-optimal form, and you do not yet fully understand the biomechanics of putting.
This is important stuff
I find it hard to stress sufficiently just how important this static finish is at the end of your putting motion. It’s something I successfully trained myself to do many years ago, and yet somehow since I stopped competing seriously I had dropped the habit, and my putting has suffered greatly for it.
But the other day, I remembered the breakthrough I made talking with Yeti all those years ago, and went directly to my basket and re-adopted the static finish, rather than let my hand and arm drop away.
Instantly, my putts were nailing the chains almost exactly where I was aiming, and I wasn’t at all troubled by low putts. Remember, I’m not shooting from long distances; I practice making putts, not missing them. Here's our crucial related article about how to putt more proficiently by practicing properly.
This static-finish putting thing; it's actually two things
It's a tool you can use to improve your putting, and it is also basic putting form you use to stay good at putting.
Although this form addition will permit you to make a few more long putts and as a result, slightly increasing your must-make range, its real power is in reducing missed putts within that must-make range.
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