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In disc golf, a roller throw is a shot sounds exactly as it is, its where you make the disc roll across the ground for most of its distance instead of gliding through the air. Rollers are typically used to navigate around obstacles, such as trees, and can also be used to gain extra distance on a shot. It’s a more advanced technique and requires a lot of practice to master.
Rollers are tricky shots. You’ve probably seen people who seem to be able to weave a roller in and out of any direction they please. I always emphasize the importance of having all the shots in your locker, for your game plan strategy, and to get you out of a dark sticky holes. Having a roller for those low ceiling shots comes in handy.
However, it might be difficult for younger players to get the disc down on the ideal roller angle. So, to assist you, here is some technical know-how on perfecting rollers.
1 – So, if you’ve never purposely fired a roller before, that’ll be step one.
The goal of this type of roller is simply to get you used to throwing shots that roll on the ground rather than up in the air. Rollers will go rather straight and won’t travel very far, these aren’t distance shots. A nice disc to start with is with something low speed and understable. So something like a Witness or even a Diamond from Latitude 64 are typically smart picks, and you’ll want to throw it out quite low and on an anhyzer angle.
2 – It’s best to keep rollers low because most first time rollers will attempt to throw long, where they throw really high on an extreme angle to achieve that massive distance line.
However, most players will notice that their disc fades out before they reach that point. So when first starting off, you’ll want to hit the ground as early as possible, aiming to get your disc turned up as much as possible.
3 – When you are practicing your first rollers try not to go as vertical as you see from advanced players and pros who are aiming for longer distances, well longer than we need to aim for when just getting our form down.
4 – So aim for more of a cut angle. So if you are throwing RHBH, tilt the disc to the left. it’s called a cut angle since that is the direction in which a cut roller would roll. However, it will be on a really nice cut angle and will roll rather straight while standing up. At the end, it usually simply sort of flips over on its top.
It may finish a bit left, because by this point it has lost a significant amount of speed. So after a straight roll it’ll flip over on either side.
Once you’ve mastered the easy roller, it’s time to progress to a more max distance style shot. You’ll want a disc with more speed for this shot.
1 – After you have gotten the form down on short rollers, progress to throwing max distance rollers. Get out and practice in a field.
For some discs you can try a Renegade, and I know a lot of players like throwing a for rollers, or a Queen might also be handy, but it’s crucial to make sure you pick a disc with a good edge. The 9 speed DX Sidewinder by Innova has been designed with long distance rollers in mind. Something speedier will usually have less resistance against the ground. So you’ll apply a little bit extra anhyzer to compensate.
2 – To throw this shot you need to lean back a little more, and you’ll pitch it a lot higher up in the air. The goal is to keep the disc in the air longer to reduce resistance. If your disc spends more time rolling on the ground, it’s gonna slow down or burn out when it meets bumps, shrubs, grass and any other obstacles it encounters.
So, if you can postpone that for as long as possible, you’ll usually gain more distance.
3 – You’ll want to aim for a more vertical landing when you’re throwing long distance rollers because it doesn’t have as much time rolling, or as much speed when it hits the ground to stand up and finish all the way to the right, if it’s on more of a cut. So this shot will need to land more vertically than the previous one, and it will have an inclination to tail off to the right.
As a result, when constructing your shot, keep this in mind. This form of roller is much more difficult than the first shorter type roller. It takes a more angled anhyzer. It’s an advanced shot and you really need to know your disc and how it flies before pulling it off.
And the only way to know this is by investing a good bit of time throwing max distance rollers to really get to know your signature roller disc, just so you know just what angle to place it on to make that shot work. Disc golf is all about building up an arsenal of discs, that you know how to make certain shot types with.
The type of disc you shoot for a roller can have a significant impact on the outcome. For a distance roller, you usually don’t want something with a lot of glide because it won’t move too far left and right.
You’ll want something fairly understable, but if you use something that’s more on the overstable side, you’ll find it’s a lot more beneficial for a cut roller. Overstable discs will travel to the left on a roller, much like in the air, and understable discs will go to the right.
If you try to throw a cut roller with a more overstable disc, aim to get it into the ground faster as it won’t stick on the right side for as long. So you want to get it to the ground quickly and vertically because it will resist the flip and try to go relatively straight, but it will finish very far to the left.
If you throw something even more understable than your usual roller disc, that’s usually a quick flip type roller where it’s going to hit the ground and flip and it’s going to finish typically a bit farther to the right. Use a straighter disc on a roller, you will get achieve a very straight result. It’s simply a little difficult to get the disc at the proper angle. This shot needs a lot of practice you pull it out it in a competitive game.
It’s much easier to get a more vertical angle on the disc when throwing forehand rollers. As a result, most players will prefer a more overstable disc. That’s because it’ll keep that angle without flipping over to the right.
With an understable disc, you could technically throw a forehand roller. It’s just a lot easier to shoot it a little more vertically and trust that the disc will stay straight for that long time before finishing left. Yet, it is essentially similar to the basic short distance roller, albeit with a more overstable disc.
Rollers can benefit from midranges as well. They normally do not travel as far due to their larger rim, but because they roll so slowly, they end up rolling quite straight. So, if you’re looking for a more controlled shot, understanding how to roll a midrange can be really advantageous.
Before you throw that roller, you should inspect the ground you’ll be rolling on. You’re going to have a difficult time if the grass is extremely long. You’ll have a difficult time if the grass is extremely damp. If the terrain is rough, and there are many bumps you’re going to have a miserable time. You’re going to have a difficult time if there are a lot of sticks and dirt in your path. If there isn’t much room for error, You’re going to find it a challenge keeping the disc on a narrow path.
You’ll have a difficult time if it’s uphill. And if it’s windy, you’re going to have a miserable experience. So, if all of the variables are favorable, a roller can be quite profitable. However, it is critical to account for all of those variables. If the grass is damp or really long that will slow down your disc. The same is true when throwing uphill, which takes a lot of distance off your rollers and prevents your understable rollers from flipping up and finishing to the right.
And if you’re trying to throw a roller in the wind for a right hand back hand roller, if the wind is coming into the top of the disc, it pushes it to the left, but it also tends to kind of wash it out. As a result, it cuts off a lot of distance and pushes you far to the left of where you intended. When the wind blows underneath the disc, it tends to raise it up. It shifts it to the right.
However, it raises it and tends to put it on more and more of a cut angle. As a result, it just spins out and you end up with a lot less distance. Tailwinds can be tricky, you have to put a lot more angle on your disc than you think since it won’t flip as much before it hits the ground, and it’ll be much tougher to get it to flip once it’s on the ground.
And don’t use rollers when there’s a headwind.
Here are a few tips for throwing rollers in disc golf:
Rollers in disc golf are typically used in specific situations or conditions where a player wants to use the ground to their advantage. Here are a few examples of when you might use a roller:
It’s important to note that rollers are an advanced technique and should be used only when you feel comfortable and confident with your skill level. It’s always recommended to practice, practice and practise some more. Experiment with rollers to find the best way to use them in your game.
Here’s a demo of how to throw a roller without putting your disc into the roll, instead this uses angles and power
Here are several professional PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association) players who are known for their proficiency in throwing rollers. Some of these players include:
Some more popular discs for rollers in disc golf include the Innova Rhino, and the Dynamic Discs Trespass , the Innova Sidewinder or the Streamline Discs Flare. These discs are known for their stability and ability to maintain a straight flight path while rolling on the ground. It’s always recommended to try different disc models and weights to find the one that works best for your throwing style and skill level.
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Have fun practising those rollers. And if first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again….