Release Point editor Alex Williamson co-authored this article.
It seems like a very simple thing, knowing how to hold a disc. You put your hand around it and voila!
But if you're reading this article, you likely already know the disappointing truth. Developing a proper grip is usually far from instantaneous and requires thought and time to cultivate just like any other part of a throw.
That's why we've gathered five videos that present a range of grips and give advice on details like thumb pressure and placement, where to place fingers in regards to discs' rims and flight plates, where in the palm a disc's rim should be, and more. These are videos the 1001-rated pro co-author of this article, Kyle Giovannini, believes offer information that can help any amateur player in their pursuit to improve.
For each video, we provide a breakdown of what it focuses on and the times in the video when specific points are made. If you're completely new to discussions of grip, we suggest you give the "Wide World of Grips" section in this article a read before continuing to get a basic knowledge of terms you'll hear in these videos.
Tip for Deep Dives
If you want to watch anything in the videos below frame-by-frame, here's how:
1. Pause the video.
2. Use the "," and "." keys to go backward or forward frame by frame (Mac or Windows).
This works on all YouTube videos and is a great trick to know if you want to see something specific about someone's form while watching tournament coverage, tips videos, or any other content.
1. A Good Starting Point
Danny Lindahl made his name in disc golf by creating accessible tips videos for YouTube. To be fair, this one, titled "Everything You Need To Know About: Grip!", doesn't quite live up to the "everything" part of its name. However, it does provide a good overview of common grips and explains why having a strong hold on a disc can help increase distance and consistency.
If this is your first dive into the sea of grips, this will create a basis for understanding the more in-depth advice in other videos featured in this article.
0:00-0:58 Lindahl (comically) complaining that people picked grip as a topic for him to cover in an online poll because it's such a controversial subject. An intro (no tips/advice) follows.
0:59-1:20 Explanation for why he sounds hoarse in the video (spoiler: screaming on roller coasters at a theme park)
1:21-2:05 Emphasis that the video doesn't cover every possible grip because there are too many varieties
2:06-3:12 The purpose of the power grip and why holding the disc tightly should add power to a throw
3:13-3:27 Demonstration of a fan grip and explanation of why most players can't use it for distance throws
3:28-3:38 Demonstration of a four-finger power grip and why Lindahl prefers it for distance throws
3:39-3:56 Demonstration of a stacked grip and explanation of why it could be good for players with small hands
3:57-4:07 Reiterating why holding the disc tightly can increase distance
4:08-4:32 Explanation of why, if you're throwing correctly, it's impossible to have too tight of a grip during a power shot
4:33-5:09 How and why Lindahl alters his grip when throwing shots that don't require full power
5:10-5:25 Different grips shouldn't mean a different release point.
5:26-5:50 Demonstration of a control grip Lindahl uses for upshots and its purpose
5:51-End Outro—discussion of future videos and other topics related to Lindahl's channel (no grip tips)
2. Rule of Thumb
If there's one thing Dave Dunipace wants you to know about grip, it's that the thumb matters. Dunipace created the first-ever disc designed specifically for disc golf and is president of disc golf equipment giant Innova, so he knows a thing or two about the game. Get out your pen and paper and be ready to take notes as one of the most influential people in the sport's history dispenses his wisdom.
This video from Innova's channel goes into both backhand and forehand grips.
0:17-0:46 Emphasis on how almost all grips transfer power from your body to the disc through the fingertips
0:47-1:05 Basic explanation of why the thumb plays a large roll in the amount of power your throw can have
1:06-1:49 How the thumb creates a trap for the disc's rim, allowing more power to be transferred to the disc
1:50-3:15 Discussion of the importance of keeping the wrist flexible while still having a tight grip at the end of the throw. The disc should rip out, not slip out.
3:16-4:02 The thumb is also important for shot timing/aiming.
4:03-End Recap (text) of the five main takeaways you should have from the video.
3. Grip Like a World Distance Champ
In 2010, Dion Arlyn won the World Flying Disc Federation distance championship by throwing over 700 feet/213 meters. He's still an extremely formidable player today, with a PDGA rating of 1023 as of the writing of this article.
While this video from Discraft's YouTube channel is about how to increase distance generally, Arlyn's very first points on the subject are about grip. If you want to learn how someone who has thrown the length of two full soccer fields holds their disc, this is the video for you.
Because we're focusing on grip in this article, our detailed breakdown of the content ends once the section most relevant to grip is over.
0:00-1:07 Introduction (no grip tips)
1:08-1:20 Demonstration of a standard power grip
Arlyn shows his variant on the power grip and emphasizes the importance of thumb pressure for distance and control. Interestingly, this is the exact same grip mentioned by all-time great Dave Feldberg in another video
on grip not featured in this article.
1:49-2:25 Demonstration of a fan grip and explanation of why, though good for accuracy, it's not good for power
2:26-2:35 Reminder to make sure the index finger is fully under the flight plate
2:36-3:07 Discussion of how having all four fingers under the flight plate is important for power. This section does show one player who's an exception to this general rule but cautions the majority of players from following that example.
At this point, the points related to grip have been made.
4. More on the Thumb, More on Fan Grips
Though out of the limelight in recent seasons, Will Schusterick was one of the top players in the world for years and widely-known for his abilities as a distance thrower. Here he goes into specifics on both his power and fan grip and gives more insight into the power and usefulness of thumb pressure and placement. Video from Infinite Discs' channel.
0:00-0:28 Introduction (no tips)
0:29-1:25 Schusterick demonstrates his power grip and explains which fingers are applying pressure to the disc. He also quickly mentions a common mistake (making a fist starting at 0:45) and another grip option for distance throws (the stack grip starting at 1:06).
1:26-1:42 Demonstration of the fan grip and explanation of its purpose
1:43-2:09 The importance of thumb pressure for distance in the power grip
2:10-2:50 A member of the clinic asks a question, and Schusterick briefly discusses the relationship of the thumb to the other fingers in both fan and power grips
2:51-3:56 How the placement of the thumb controls nose angle, and therefore potential distance, of a thrown disc
3:57-4:20 Discussion of how the fan grip allows for greater angle manipulation on short shots (with demonstration throw)
4:21-5:09 A question from the group prompts Schusterick to talk about how his fingers interact with each other and the disc in his fan grip. Includes a tip for people who feel like fan-gripped discs slip out of their hand
5:10-5:35 A few demonstration throws with the fan grip
5:36-6:29 A group member asks to see Schusterick power grip a driver. He shows them and again emphasizes thumb placement and pressure as key grip elements.
6:30-7:54 A group member asks about why when he throws mids or fairways with a power grip, he throws them into the ground. Schusterick explains how that issue likely comes from problems with wrist action or follow-through rather than grip.
Note: If you have issues with this, video #5 will likely be really helpful for you.
7:55-9:18 How having a powerful grip that's still comfortable for your hand is vital
9:30-End Brief talk of forehand grips and end credits
5. The Guideline
Consistent placement in the hand helps lead to consistent placement on fairways: That's the message pro Paul Ulibarri most wants to get across about grip. He's created a simple system for grip that's helped him become one of the best-known players in the game, and he shares it here.
In this video from Infinite Discs' channel, Ulibarri intertwines grip talk with discussion of follow-through and angle control. We've left it until last because its real value is in showing how grip interplays with other aspects of your throw to produce accuracy.
Again, the detailed breakdown of the video ends once the section most relevant to grip is over.
0:00-1:17 Introduction of the main topics of the video (grip, angle control, follow-through). No tips.
1:18-1:36 Demonstration of Ulibarri's grip and how he lines it up with a crease in his palm
1:37-2:01 Saying how lining up grip with the same feature of his hand (palm crease) for each throw helps create consistency
2:02-2:50 Discussing how his grip helps him control the angle of his shots
2:51-3:55 Lead-up to a demonstration shot where Ulibarri wants to show how consistent grip combines with a full follow-through on the correct line to produce high control over angles
3:56-4:08 Demonstration shot
4:09-4:17 Connection between Ulibarri's grip and generating perfect spin
4:18-4:44 How incorrect grip makes following through on the correct angle and generating the correct spin far more difficult (includes showing a bad grip)
4:45-5:23 How a grip that generates perfect spin helps keep discs on the angles you release them on
5:24-5:32 A member of the group picks an angle for Ulibarri to throw a very understable disc on.
5:33-5:44 Ulibarri shows how he sets his grip for the shot and explains that his main concern is not the disc, but his hand following through on the correct angle.
5:45-6:46 Demonstration shot followed by reiteration of the importance of generating good spin with grip and correct follow-through
At this point, the main points related to grip have been made.