As a five-time Freestyle Frisbee world champion, I have spent more time playing Freestyle than any other disc sport. However, I have been known to dabble in others. Disc Golf is one disc sport that I have always appreciated and admired. I used to golf on a weekly basis. Seeing Juliana Korver take up Freestyle has piqued my interest in the benefits of cross training between Freestyle and Golf. I know I brought my Freestyle skills to my Golf game, and that Golf improved my Freestyling. So, I’ve assembled a panel of experts (list below) to help explore this topic.
This article covers 3 ways that Freestyle Frisbee will improve your Disc Golf game. Part 2 will cover 3 ways that Golf will improve your Freestyle game.
When I asked Glen Whitlock for input, he said that learning Freestyle can help you, “…see more flight path opportunities to get around obstacles.” This is true for a number of reasons.
First, Freestyle is all about reading and controlling the disc’s flight path so you can get into position to do your next trick. Because there are so many situations (e.g., up-wind, down-wind, cross-wind, through a hoop, long throw, short throws), a player develops multiple solutions for any situation.
Second, in Freestyle one learns to throw a variety of throws, all with finesse. Juliana Korver says, “I see some players who have never thrown anything other than a golf disc. Unfortunately some of them also think that they need to throw the most overstable disc they can find. Someone with freestyle skills would have better knowledge of the flight of a Frisbee and wouldn’t get caught in this macho mistake. It takes skill, knowledge and finesse to throw an understable disc on Hyzer and let it flip up to flat and then slowly glide to the right at the end of the flight (right hand back hand shot). Having experience throwing other Frisbees will make it more likely that a person will have this shot and understand the need for this shot.”
Since Freestylers are constantly tracking and controlling the flight of the disc, reading the wind becomes second nature. No matter if I am playing or just walking around, I can tell where the wind is coming from, how strong it is, and how consistent. I am certain this helped me on the tee as I would change my disc and/or throw based on this sense. Crazy John Brooks agrees, “I found that after learning so much about the nature of the wind and different types of breezes and ‘swells’ while pursuing freestyle, I was able to comprehend a lot more of the conditions on the Disc Golf course. For instance when things were calm on the Disc Golf course, there was a need to put a little more strength and punch into the throw. This was needed to create more penetration and manage a more direct line to the target. On a windy day, I soon found success in adding things like float, stall, skipshots, an occasional air bounce putt or short tricky approach from the deep rough, and of course allowing the wind to work for me when it is in a helpful setup.”
Photo By Oren Meron
For getting your arm in top throwing shape, there’s no better way than to play speed flow. Speed flow is the act of playing catch friends with some trick throws and catches mixed in for fun. One goal is to flow seamlessly from the catch to the throw. With this style, you will attain the highest number of throws-per-hour possible, which is great training for throwing strength. Ken Westerfield says, “Just like in any professional sport, athletes look for different but complimentary training activities that will add to their playing skills and fast-freestyle is the perfect complementary exercise to add to any disc sport.” Lori Daniels adds, “It takes a lot of stamina to walk hours through a Disc Golf course and still maintain concentration to throw with accuracy. Freestyle and Ultimate are keys for me staying in shape and maintaining endurance – which definitely makes a difference with not feeling as fatigued after playing 18 or 27 holes of Disc Golf.”
The experts agree, training in Freestyle can help improve one’s Golf game. Juliana Korver adds, “If you play Disc Golf, it must follow that you love or at least appreciate the beauty of the flight of a disc. Seems that is the perfect baseline to be attracted to freestyle.”
In Part 2, I’ll explore how Disc Golf can improve one’s Freestyle skills. Read part 2 here.
If you have experiences in cross training between Freestyle and Disc Golf, please share in the comments.
Special thanks to the Panel of Experts:
- Juliana Korver (Part 1 & 2)
- Crazy John Brooks (Part 1 & 2)
- Glen Whitlock (Part 1)
- Lori Daniels (Part 1)
- Greg Hosfeld (Part 2)
- Matt Gauthier (Part 2)