5 Great Videos: How To Throw Upshots/Approaches In Disc Golf

Kyle Giovannini avatar
Kyle GiovanniniMechanical Engineer/Professional Disc Golfer
Mar 23, 2020 • 4 min read

Release Point editor Alex Williamson is a co-author of this article.

Pro Peter McBride throwing an upshot at the 2019 Hall of Fame Classic. Credit: Alyssa Van Lanen

Upshots, a.k.a., approach shots. They're not flashy like throwing far. They don't feel like they immediately affect your score like putts. For reasons like these, disc golfers rarely think about practicing them.

But approach shots are just as important as any other aspect of the game. Did you hit a tree halfway down the fairway on a par 3? A good upshot will be the difference between a par and a bogey. Great drive on a par 4? You'll still only get a par (or worse) without a solid approach game.

We picked out five videos that give a variety of great tips for throwing and practicing upshots. These are videos that helped the 1001-rated co-author of this article, Kyle Giovannini, develop his game, and he still re-watches them to make sure he's staying sharp.

For each video, we provide a breakdown of what it focuses on and the times in the video when specific points are made.

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.

1. A Single Throw That Teaches Tons

Paul Ulibarri is a veteran pro who's been competing at the sport's top tier for around a decade. His distance off the tee is respectable but lags behind many top pros', so having a well-rounded game has been essential to his success. Extremely precise upshots are a huge weapon in his arsenal.

The video below from Infinite Discs' YouTube channel shows Ulibarri teaching a group how to throw with his go-to upshot technique. Watch, find yourself at least 100 feet/30 meters of space, and try it out:

Highlight Breakdown:

0:30-1:06 Explanation of why practicing upshots is important
1:17-2:45 Explanation of positioning and motions of the shot
2:45-2:55 A very quick recap of positioning and an example throw by Ulibarri
3:50-4:35 Ulibarri correcting a participant's stance and shoulder alignment gets results.
5:07-5:33 Ulibarri on why playing catch is great practice 
5:40-7:16 The importance of following through. Includes correcting a participant and another Ulibarri example throw
7:50-8:37 Discussion of grips

2. The Basics

Ulibarri's video is most useful for players who know the sport pretty well and have simply been struggling with upshots. The one below from Scott Papa and Discraft's YouTube channel is perfect for those who want to know more about the basic aspects of an upshot.

Highlight Breakdown:

1:21-3:07 How to grip a disc for an upshot. Includes brief mention of grips for driving and putting. Note: The grip in the video is far from the only option for upshots.
3:10-4:06 Disc selection for upshots
4:08-6:30 How to set up your body for an upshot. Includes discussion of throwing from a standstill or with a short run-up
6:31-7:08 The importance of following through (just like in the Ulibarri video)
7:08-8:37 Advice for releasing the disc on a flat angle

3. Forehand Upshots

There are many benefits to learning how to throw forehand upshots with putters and other slower discs. Some of the most beneficial are that you have a wider choice of angles and body positioning on tight fairways, you can easily always look at your target, and the range of motion needed to generate the shot is smaller, creating less possibility of mechanical errors.

The video below from The Angle Disc Golf is both a great introduction to forehand upshots and forehands generally. If you can master the motions shown below, you'll be well on your way to a solid longer-range forehand, too.

Highlight Breakdown:

1:27-2:59 Grip and basic motion for forehanding putters
3:00-3:33 The importance of not rolling your wrist during the shot and how to avoid it
3:34-4:09 A series of example throws on a flat angle (don't forget the Tip for Deep Dives section here!)
4:17-5:00 Example throws on anhyzer and hyzer angles
5:02:-5:28 Review of major aspects of the shot discussed in the video

4. Reinforcing What You've Learned

The next video from Dynamic Discs' YouTube channel goes over many aspects of upshots we heard from Ulibarri and Papa. However, it also points out some specifics about technique that they never mentioned.

Highlight Breakdown:

0:20-1:22 Discussion of how practicing upshots is rarely done but very valuable
2:20-2:43 Step one of his three steps to throwing upshots: Lining up the shoulders correctly for a hyzer upshot
2:44-3:48 Step two: Opening the front foot to reduce the potential for error. Note: This is specific to upshots. Opening the front foot reduces the amount of power your hips can generate and would significantly decrease your potential distance on drives.
3:50-4:27 Step three: Always follow through (just like Ulibarri and Papa said).
4:40-5:38 Example throws with discussion of where to aim and the importance of knowing your disc
5:39-6:42 How to line up your body if you plan to throw a straight or anhyzer upshot
6:50-7:38 Example anhyzer shots

5. Practice with a Champ

Paul McBeth is considered by many to be the best disc golfer of all time. He just won his fifth World Championship in 2019. When this video was released by SpinTV in February of 2014, McBeth already had two of those championships under his belt. 

The video doesn't go into specifics as much as the others do. This one is more for seeing examples of a master at work. Pay attention to how he practices, his methods, and use the information from earlier in this article on how to go frame-by-frame through his shots to inform your own technique.

Highlight Breakdown:

0:00-1:24 Playing a prank on a roommate (no disc golf)
2:16-3:30 Examples of hyzer and and flatter upshots
3:34-4:19 Examples of anhyzer upshots
4:20-5:12 Explanation of the goal of this portion of his practice and description of the "comfort circle" (an area around the basket where he feels confident he can make a putt from)
5:13-5:40 Explaining the types of throws he plans to practice with each disc and what he's visualizing as he throws
5:41-6:45 Hyzer shots
6:46-8:02 Straight shots
8:03-8:55 Anhyzer shots
9:08-9:40 Where all the shots from 5:40-8:55 landed in relation to his target

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