What disc(s) should I carry? This is the question for the ages
I have been asked, does colour matter? What weight? What brand? What mold? What plastic? Overstable vs understate, how many, how few, beginner vs advanced……
Let’s start with the things that do not really matter.
Colour. I have had lots of questions about colour, there are people that swear the colour of the disc matters, I myself try to avoid orange discs as a rule (I know that’s crazy), but everyone who thinks this way is wrong. The colour of the disc will not change the physics of the flight (except for orange, which clearly can not be trusted..:) ). I have read and heard people talk about red vs white vs black vs blah blah blah. A Champion Firebird flies like a Champion Firebird in each of these colours.
The manufacture of the disc is also irrelevant to the physics of flight. The main companies like Discraft, Innova Champion, Westside, Gateway, Lat 64, Dynamic Discs, Legacy, and the Canadian company Daredevil Discs, all produce great discs. A mixed bag is said to be the best option by a lot of top pros. This may be one of the reasons the Trilogy pros are really dominating as they have the choice of three companies. Innova ‘s Paul MacBeth is Paul MacBeth, he could beat you if he was tossing a beach frisbee, but the folks in the hunt behind him are increasingly mixed bag players.
The stuff that matters:
A light disc goes further, a heavy disc has more control. A light disc goes further, a heavy disc has more control. I said that twice because you need to know that.
That being said if you buy a 156g Destroyer you are not miraculously going to toss a 450′ drive. You may never toss a 450’… ever.
To the other point, if you are a new player and buy a 175 g Destroyer you may not be able to throw it at all, its to heavy and to much disc for you.
Light discs will get destroyed in a head wind, heavier discs can handle more of a head wind. Light discs being thrown into a tail wind will go much further, heavy not so much. There is no hard fast rule for weight. Comfort, arm speed, experience, and feel.
I recommend you have both heavy and light.
The best recommendation I can make for new players is somewhere in the 163-169g range for a driver, it’s not too light not too heavy. You will get more distance and not lose too much control off the tee.
For mid-range discs, go a little heavier, a lot of mid-range disc go up to 180g remember heavy is more accurate and mid-range discs are for placement and accuracy. For new players 170-175g mid-ranges are very good. If you have a lot of experience playing other disc sports you may want to go heavier right away.
What type of plastic?
There are reasons to carry different types of plastic. How it feels in your hand is one of the key factors. Do you like it? Can you throw it?
There are just too many “types” to mention, but some of the best are GoldLine from Latitude 64, Moonshine Glo from Westside and Champion style plastic (the see thru type). These types of plastic will last a very long time, do not wear out very fast and are constantly great.
Do not forget about DX plastic. Putters and mid-ranges in DX plastic can be a real advantage in some key ways. Yes they get beat up, yes if you hit a tree really hard they pancake and will not fly right again. BUT that is one of the advantages. If you have an old worn out DX mid-range it will start to fly naturally to the right (anhyzer) so you don’t have to try to flip it, which can be a challenge. Then you put a new one in your bag and you have one that goes left and one that goes right, and they are the same disc that you know how to throw.
For example, I have 5-7 Roc’s in my bag. All DX. Some go left hard, some go left a little, some go straight, some go right a little, some go right a lot. That covers all the shots I generally need, with a disc I know very well. This takes the thinking out of the game. What am I going to throw? My Shark? My Justice? My Buzz? My Suspect? My Gator?…… no, my Roc and what direction, determines which one.
The “run” matters
If you find a disc you love, get more of them now. I try to get twins, same weight, colour, stamp etc….most of that is not important but I become less conscience of that fact that I lost my favourite disc when I can replace it with its twin. The mold the disc is made in can, through time, change slightly between runs, some companies seem to be better at this not happening then others, but it happens none the less. So your favourite disc, like the new Gold Line Saint Pro you will get in your players package in Sackville, may not fly the same the next time you buy one. You may want to grab an extra just in case the next run is more or less over stable or flies just slightly different.
Overstable vs Understable
First lets clear up what the heck that means, lots of people explain stability in discs in different ways. Quite a few of them are just wrong when they do. Science is calling them wrong not me, but I agree with science. 🙂
Science states right hand back hand throwers will see:
A stable disc and flight is flat and straight. ( Right hand back hand will always have a little left finish.)
An overstable disc and flight is left turning, therefore “really” overstable like the Gator goes really hard to the left.
An understable disc and flight is right turning ( although most understable discs still finish left)
A disc with a 4 Turn and 0 Fade is quite under stable. A disc with a little turn and a bunch of fade is over stable but will start out a little under stable like the Westside World. A disc that comes out under stable with a reliable finish will maximize your distance.
So how many discs should you carry?
When you first start, three or one. Putter, mid-range and a fairway driver. A Judge (putter from Dynamic Discs), a Buzz (mid-range from Discraft) and a Teebird (fairway driver from Innova) would be a very solid choice for your first three discs.
Once you are fully addicted to the sport (it won’t take long), you will want a good variety of discs. In an advanced bag you will see a few putters, several mid-ranges of differing stability, and a variety of drivers of differing stability.
Try to avoid buying all the newest discs that come out and putting them right in your bag, or caring every disc you own in your bag (not possible for some I know….lol). It is very common to see players with 5 discs in their bag that do exactly the same thing. This extra weight is not necessary and the mental aspect of which to choose will cause you to make mistakes. try to have a balanced bag.
Have a really over stable driver for head winds, flicks, thumbers, and trick shots.
An over stable driver for hyzer shots.
A stable driver for tunnel shots, and fairway drives.
A slightly under stable disc for S-turn shots.
An under stable driver for right turning drives and hyzer flip shots.
I would add in a 150 Class (150-159g) Driver like a Boss, Destroyer, World Air for distance and tail wind drives for extra distance.
The same goes for mid-ranges. Hard left, left, straight, right, and hard right.
Bring extra discs to events, but in the trunk of your car, because conditions change and you may lose one or 2, so its good to have backups.
Im sure this is all clear as mud now…..enjoy the disc obsession, embrace the chaos, and have fun.