by Rick Bays
What discs do you carry in your bag? What disc do you choose for a particular drive? Why do you
choose that disc? Everybody is different, and we all throw differently. So, in truth, there is no definite
answer to the perpetual question "which disc is best".... but I am going to pass along to you some
rule-of-thumb advice that was given to me years ago by legendary world class player Randy Amann,
along with some of my own observations.
There are two main points of consideration in disc selection, according to the theory I follow: Speed
and Confidence. You need to consider these two factors carefully when choosing a disc out of your
bag to be thrown on any shot.
Speed. Generally, the faster a disc flies the farther it will go, but the downside to speed is decreased
forgiveness. A fast disc is less forgiving than a slow disc. A good rule of thumb is to throw the slowest
disc you can to still reach your desired throw. If you can reach a hole with a Magnet, don't throw a
Cyclone for the drive. Why? Because your overall odds are better with the slower disc. You will have
better drives more often with the slower disc. If you are three percent off on the angle of release or
point of release with a Cyclone, that may translate into 50 or 60 feet of distance away from the basket
at the end of the drive. However, three percent error with a Magnet may only translate into 25 or 30
feet of distance away from the basket at the end of its drive. So, use the slowest disc you can, they are
more forgiving and will stay closer to the line you are trying to throw them on (staying close to the
intended line is really handy when playing heavily wooded holes, too). Now, obviously, not everybody
can throw Aviars and Rocs over 300 feet, so we do need to throw our Cheetahs and Polari and XLs,
but they shouldn't be our driver for every hole, especially holes we can reach with slower discs.
(Faster, stable discs will work better into head winds, so take speed into consideration with
atmospheric conditions, also.)
Confidence. When you pull a disc out of your bag and hold it in your hand, it should inspire
confidence in you. Do you know EXACTLY what that particular disc is going to do when you throw
it? You should. If not, consider throwing another disc. If you carry 20 discs or more in your bag, you
probably don't throw each of them often enough to be exactly certain what each of them fly like.
Consider paring your selection down. Why carry four discs that all fly basically the same? Don't carry
a Roc and a Shark, they fly basically the same, just choose one and learn it well. Don't carry a Cyclone
and a Gazelle... choose one and learn it well. You have an X-Clone, Whippet, Banshee, EXP1 and
Viper? Why? Stick with one. You can use any one of those discs for the same basic shot. If you learn
just one of them well, you will feel better about it and more confident with it when it is time to pull it
out. A disc should also feel good in your hand. You should choose plastic materials and disc shapes
that feel good in your hand, you should feel like you can control this disc easily.
Predictability and consistency is another important aspect in confidence. Choose discs that fly the same
way every time you throw them. There are many discs on the market that can achieve fabulous results,
but can be very touchy to throw correctly. Stay away from these discs. Also, throw discs for shots that
they are designed for. This may seem overly simple, but I see many players trying to throw hyzer
drives with a Stingray and turn over drives with a Viper.
Conflict. Inevitably you will encounter a conflict. Your brain will tell you that the hole you are about
to throw should be thrown with a particular disc (because the speed and flight characteristic of the
disc is right). But, your heart tells you that you are more confident throwing another disc for the shot.
What do you do? If you are in a tournament, go with your heart, because if you don't feel confident
about the shot you are going to throw, you are dead in the water and probably destined for failure. So,
throw what you are confident will work. But, if you are just playing a practice round, then you should
throw the disc that odds say will work more often. You should practice with this disc and learn to
trust that disc, so then you WILL be confident to throw it in a tournament situation.