A critical part of delivering accurate and powerful distance tosses is where the shoulder is when the disc is released. Look at all of the big throwers out there, men and woman alike, all of them have one thing in common with their technique: when the disc is released, their shoulder is closed to the target.
There is No Flick
The Flick Myth is totally in effect here. The arm starts at 0% speed/power to 100% speed/power over the course of the discs’ arc around the body during throw. The last moment the shoulder is closed to the target is the last spot where speed and power are 100%. The moment the shoulder starts to move from closed to open the speed and power rapidly decreases to 0% as the arm is moving to the side and no longer moving towards the target. The closed should creates a bottom out point, and serves to set the flick.
As the arm gets out away from you, out to the side, an extreme open shoulder, the wrist and thumb start to roll up. This, combined with the over stable nature of most dog discs really forces an extreme right curve. A sharp and aggressive right curve is almost always caused by an open shoulder.
Power is Going Where?
If you look at Laura in the video, it’s especially apparent in slow motion, her power is nearly totally oriented out to her right. That’s where the stick is really cranking towards. It’s quite easy to see with this big lever. She’s putting far more power and emphasis out to the side than towards the target.
Bottom out on the target with the closed shoulder. That’s where the whoosh should happen. That’s where the release should happen. All of the power gets directed towards the target and the disc pops out of the hand because the arm can no longer move forward. There is no flick.
It is very important to understand that there will still be a follow through. The arm will continue to fly up and out to the side after the closed shoulder has been hit and the disc pops out. What very frequently happens when the thrower is given this closed shoulder instruction, is that the thrower tries to stop the shoulder on his or her own, at the moment it’s moving from closed to open. This creates a very weak stop, and only serves to remove power.
Drive is focus and energy applied towards work. There are many kinds of Drive: social drive, tracking drive, prey drive, bite/kill, stalking, and food to name a few. Social drive, prey drive, and bite/kill are the types of Drive most active in the game of disc dog freestyle, and are all fairly desirable. Stalking and tracking drive can be tough... to that bottom out point, to the last moment of the closed shoulder, let the disc pop out of it’s own accord, and go ahead and let the arm continue on around as it will.