How to Throw Backhand in Disc Golf: Beginners Guide to Perfect BH Throws

Asking “how to throw backhand in disc golf” is an unintentional simplification. I understand where the question is coming from. I was a new disc golfer myself, once upon a time, and how to throw backhand was something I wanted to know. 

However, the question suggests a simple answer. Don’t get me wrong, there is a basic form to the backhand throw on which everything else is based, and I’ll cover that. But, if you want the full understanding of the backhand throw, grips, and at least a basic form, you’ll want to stick around for more than a quick question and answer. 

The Setup: Visualizing The Disc Flight Path

It doesn’t matter if you perfect the art of throwing backhand if your sense of direction isn’t accounted for. Visualizing your flight path is psychological, and as you throw, your visualization translates into physical ability. 

Stand in the tee box and analyze the fairway ahead of you. What kind of disc are you holding? What’s the flight pattern of the disc? If your release timing is accurate, how will the disc travel down the fairway? Will it s-curve? Will it fly straight and bolt hard to the left or right as the energy fades?

Your body naturally follows your eyesight and the information you gather in your mind. There is a reason “keep your eye on the ball” is a baseball staple. Your vision guides your actions, and the same holds true in frisbee golf. 

The mind is a powerful tool, and even though disc golf will never be compared to chess, a degree of mental focus is necessary to perfect a backhand throw—or any throw, for that matter. 

Get Your Footwork Right

The hardest part about learning how to throw backhand in disc golf is perfecting the footwork. Even standing still, your feet have to be in a certain place, with the proper follow-through after you release the disc. The general idea is to get your strong foot planted before you release. Ideally, your strong foot should plant as you’re at the peak of your pull-back. 

It’s not easy to time out if you are not used to it and have never done it before. For some, it will take several run-throughs to get the hang of it. The biggest reason for having your strong foot forward when you reach your maximum reach-back is to give you the power to push off your back foot and rotate your hips (more on that below). 

Hip Rotation and Release

The “power pocket” is the term some professional disc golfers use to refer to the area the disc passes through as you are exploding forward, which maximizes distance when throwing backhand in disc golf.

It doesn’t really matter what it’s called. It only matters that this “power pocket” area truly exists, and it’s all about your hip rotation, how you carry your arm forward, and how you release the disc. The perfect form is described as ¾ of a square — the shape of your upper arm, lower arm, and shoulders. 

When I first started, I was always told it was like cranking the pull cord on a lawnmower or a chainsaw. As it turns out, that was not correct, and it took a while to force myself out of that movement. Even now, I still haven’t completely shaken that old style of throwing. 

Grip

For the most part, when learning how to throw backhand in disc golf, you’ll be working with the power grip and the modified power grip. Some of your standstill backhand throws may utilize the fan grip or a modified version of it as well. It depends on how far you are from the basket and the disc you’re throwing. 

Speaking of grip, utilize it so that the nose of your disc is angled slightly down. The idea is a flat release, not tossing your disc up into the treetops. Focusing on keeping the nose down pays dividends down the road, as it will help you mold different flight patterns from your grip alone. 

The Backhand Throw: A Step-By-Step Guide

The disc golf backhand throw is dynamic, which is to say that it’s not a single, simple technique that is readily explainable to anyone new to the game. It’s useful when standing still, moving, or using the x-step. It involves multiple grips and is changeable based on the type of disc you’re throwing. 

As you can see, with the above details, a lot goes into it. Synchronization is key — hip rotation, arm path, grip, release, footwork, and your visual field. All of this has to happen with the correct timing. An ill-timed release will turn your disc into a tree taco if you’re in the woods. 

Standstill throw

The standstill throw is simpler, mostly because most of the footwork is no longer a part of the equation. However, it’s also one of your most versatile backhand throws in the game. This is the throw you’ll make for most of your approach shots and short throws off the tee. 

Step 1: Stance and Grip

Stand facing east or west, with the basket north of you. The heel of your forward foot should be even with the toe of your rear foot. Most of the time, you’ll use a modified power grip or a modified fan grip for this throw. 

Step 2: Motion

This throw is all hip rotation. You don’t need the brutal extended reach back. When you throw, your elbow leads. Imagine you’re elbowing something directly in between you and the basket. Your forearm should be at a 90° angle to your upper arm and elbow as you come around. 

Step 3: Release 

Rotate on the heel of your forward foot, spinning at the hip and bringing your arm around, releasing towards the basket. Just like a power throw on a long drive, you want the disc to leave your hand as a result of the torque. This means your power grip doesn’t need to be a death grip on the disc. 

Disc Type

For the most part, this BH throw will involve a mid-range disc. For my part, my standstill throws normally involve my Westside Harp, Sockibomb Slammer, Buzzz, Claymore, or Truth. Occasionally, if I’m driving with a putter, I’ll break out the Dagger

X-Step Throw: How to Throw Backhand in Disc Golf

When you first start looking into how to throw backhand in disc golf, the x-step is the one you’ll come across more than any other technique. Some people spin, but most just stick with the x-step without the spinning theatrics. As you can see in the above collage, I can’t get my arm all the way back as I hit the x-step, so don’t feel bad if you have trouble getting the timing down. 

Step 1: Stance and Grip

If you’re building up for a distance drive, you’ll invariably utilize the power grip, maybe a modified power grip in an uncommon scenario. Again, you line up facing east or west, but your feet are positioned with your toes pointing more toward the basket than off to the side. 

Step 2: Motion

As the name implies, you’ll take several steps; however many are comfortable for you, and as you turn for your reach back, your rear leg will cross in front of your front leg. As you rotate your hips around, your front leg will return to the front, planting hard on the tee box just before you completely come around. 

Step 3: Release

As before, your disc should leave your hand of its own volition, ripping from your fingers. The x-step is generally utilized on distance drives, so you’re bringing your full power to bear. If you find yourself letting go of the disc, you’re doing it wrong.

Disc Type

Distance drivers, fairway drivers, and mid-ranges will all find their way into the x-step. For instance, some of the more overstable mid-ranges are more than enough to handle an x-step drive, like the Roc, Justice, or Verdict. The Sergeant is a good fairway option, while the Westside Queen and the Champion Destroyer are good examples of speedy distance drivers. 

Other Backhand Disc Golf Techniques

There is more than one way to throw backhand in disc golf. If you’re new to the game, you’ve probably heard of the terms anhyzer and hyzer but don’t know the details. Hyzers and anhyzers are thrown either to shape a line down the fairway or to compensate for the turn number on the disc. 

Anhyzer Backhand Throw

Nothing changes with the standstill or x-step throws, only how the disc is angled. In this instance, you will angle the disc with the outer edge higher than the inner edge from a right-handed perspective. However, don’t manipulate the disc itself on the anhyzer throw.

Simply hold the disc flat and raise your elbow without adjusting your wrist to keep the disc flat. This will create an anhyzer without making it difficult to keep your disc in an anhyzer position with your wrist all the way through the throwing mechanic. 

Hyzer Backhand Throw

Hyzers are the exact opposite of anhyzers, with the inner edge (the edge of the disc closest to you) higher than the outer edge. For understandable discs, this will compensate for the disc’s tendency to flip over on a distance drive. You can also use it to cut around dog legs with stable or overstable discs. 

The hyzer throw, once perfected, will open up a massive door for you, with opportunities to shape your shots like never before. The mechanics are closer to the traditional throwing forms, but this time, you use your wrist to angle the disc rather than raising or lowering your elbow.

Disc Types and Their Impact on the Backhand Throw

In disc golf, there are putters, mid-ranges, fairway drivers, and distance drivers, with a few molds here and there that fall somewhere in between (the Harp is both a mid-range and a putter). These discs have different plastics, rims, beadless or beaded designs, and weights. 

No matter how good you get at the form and mechanics of the backhand throw, there will always be an adjustment period when you put a new disc in your hand. For me, the biggest differences are understable to stable to overstable

The higher the turn number and the lower the fade number, the more I have to drop off when it comes to the strength behind the throw. This is where I find the most difficulty adjusting, and many disc golfers will as well. Fortunately, the grips and releases don’t change much from disc to disc. 

A power grip on a mid-range is the same as a power grip on a distance driver, even though your fingers are tighter inside with a mid-range than they are with a distance driver. 

Speaking from Experience: How to Throw Backhand in Disc Golf

The best thing I ever did to improve my backhand throw and gain more distance was to start by standing still. I didn’t start taking steps at the tee box until months had passed. 

Practice standing still and reaching back behind you like you’re about to pull the disc around for a long-distance throw. Keep your eyes focused on the basket until that brief moment when you can, then immediately snap them back to the basket as you come around. 

I discovered that the more I practiced from a standing still position, the better I was able to transition into steps and my own clunky version of the x-step. Over time, my distance went from about 200’ and wildly off-target to around 400’ and straight ahead. 

I’ll never be a prolific disc golf driver, but I can compete with almost anyone who shows up and wants to play at my local disc golf course. Start off slowly, be patient, and utilize your mechanics from a standing-still position. Before you know it, you’ll be throwing rockets down the fairway. 

Final Putt: How to Throw Backhand in Disc Golf

As the saying goes, “Perfect practice makes perfect,” and learning how to throw backhand in disc golf is no exception to the saying. Take your time with it and get the mechanics down before you move into the x-step, running steps, and/or spinning before you throw. 

Disc golf is a blast to play, but you’re not going to be hyper-competitive if you blow through the learning phase. While I’ll always be an ok disc golfer, easing into the learning process made the game a lot of fun for me and gave me the competitive edge to give my friends a run for their money. I know it will do the same for you. 

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