The first time I threw a disc golf driver, I noticed the disc started low but would rise higher and higher in the air. My drivers weren’t flying as far as I thought they should either.
I found that a big reason for my drivers flying as far as my mid-range disc was because of a nose-up release angle. I’ll explain why nose down is important, and how to fix a nose up release.
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Here is Why Keeping the Nose Down is So Important
Keeping the nose down is important for a beginner because it will help the player throw the driver further, with more control, and at higher speeds. This is because the disc golf disc uses a beveled edge, so when they are thrown with the nose down there is less drag and upward pressure on the disc.
In this article, I’ll describe what keeping the nose down means, and also how to fix this common problem.
What Does Nose Down Mean?
The nose of the disc is the front or the leading edge of the disc, relative to the direction you’re throwing.
When talking about the nose of the disc being down when throwing means that the front of the disc is slightly angled down when released.
A disc that is slightly angled down at release will ensure that it moves through the air in the most aerodynamic and efficient way possible.
Throwing nose down will also ensure that the disc can fly the way that it was originally designed to because it won’t be affected negatively by drag or the air as it would if the nose was angled slightly up at release.
Advantages to Keeping the Nose Down When Throwing
Teaching yourself to release the disc with the nose down can help clean up a lot of things in your disc golf game. Throwing with the nose down can start a snowball of improvements too.
Below are some of the advantages of learning to always throw nose down.
Throwing a Driver Longer Distances
A very easy way to tell if your drives are being thrown with the nose up is if you’re not able to throw your driver further than a mid-range disc.
So, throwing with the nose down will naturally increase the distance that you’ll be able to throw your driver.
The reason why this happens is that when both the driver and the mid-range are angled up, they have very similar profiles to each other. The advantage of a more beveled edge of the driver will be lost with the nose angled up.
Able To Use a High-Speed Disc
As the speed rating of the disc goes up, the more sensitive that disc will be to the release angle of the disc.
When the nose is angled up using a high-speed driver, the disc will not perform as it should.
Even if you don’t have great arm speed, learning to release with the disc nose down is a great way to use higher speed drivers to compensate if you have lower arm speed.
The Disc is More Controllable
A disc that is released with the nose up can be more difficult to control in flight. If the nose is up, there can be what is called an ‘air skip’.
When the disc is in flight, the air will cause the disc to bounce, or skip while in its flight. This can make it a little unpredictable as to where the disc will land or start to fade or turn.
More Efficient Flight
As mentioned before, a disc that is thrown nose down can reduce the drag and make it fly further through the air.
Any disc released nose down will be more efficient in flight than a disc that is released up.
How Do You Keep the Nose Down in Disc Golf?
1. Keep the Reach Back Lower
For a backhand thrower, releasing with the disc nose down starts at the reach back. If you’re reaching back at or above your shoulders, then the natural path for the arm to take will be at a downward angle.
On this downward angle, once you reach the point of release of the disc, you’ll naturally need to angle the nose of the disc up to avoid throwing the disc straight into the ground.
Instead, keep the reach back lower, aim to keep the reach back near the midsection of your body instead. This will create a more parallel and level plane throughout the entire reach back and pull motion.
2. Fully Turn the Shoulders
Many people who have problems with throwing the disc nose up are trying too hard to muscle up on each one of their throws.
If you’re muscling up to throw very hard, your body will naturally be tense throughout the entire throwing motion.
A good way to solve this issue is to fully turn your shoulders during the reach back. Your body and arms will need to be more relaxed and loose to be able to fully turn the shoulders during the reach back.
3. Elbow is Up On the Pull
After the reach back, your pull-through should remain on a low and level plane. At the same time, if the elbow is up it will continue to pull the disc through on a level plane.
Some players dip their elbows on the pull-through and then have to compensate by releasing the disc with the nose up at release.
If the elbow remains up, it will eliminate any dip on the pull-through.
4. Wrist Should Be Tilted Down
Many disc golfers use a mental cue to remember to keep the nose of the disc down at release. The mental cue is to think about “pouring out the coffee”.
The way to do this is to angle the wrist down slightly when gripping the disc as if you’re pouring liquid from a cup.
Thinking about that when you’re throwing your driver is an easy way to make the wrist tilt down slightly and pour out the coffee. Doing this will angle the nose down at the time of release.
5. Check Your Grip
A weak grip on the disc can be a reason to release with the nose up. The best way to ensure that your grip is secure and strong is to make sure that the disc is pushed firmly into the center of the palm.
The best location is to line the edge of the disc up in the middle of the palm, between the middle and the index finger. Then, wrap your fingers around the bottom side of the disc.
This grip will keep the disc firmly in your hand with the wrist in a tilted-down position.
When Should You Throw With the Nose Up?
There is a time when throwing with the nose up can be more beneficial.
A nose-down throw is great for more distance and faster disc speeds. But, when you’re trying to land an upshot close to the basket, the disc should have a little air under it and land a little more softly.
If you throw an upshot with the nose down, it could cause the disc to hit the ground and skip or roll to a stop.
A nose-up throw will land the disc a little more softly on the ground without as much movement. This type of throw is much better for an upshot that you want to land close to the target without a lot of movement.
Final Thoughts | Nose Down in Disc Golf
Training your body and muscles to learn the motion of throwing nose down can help your game in more ways than one.
Your drives will fly further, high-speed discs will become an option, and you’ll become more versatile in your game now that you’re able to throw different discs as they were intended to perform.