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Hey everyone!

Got a question for you. After a 4+ month lay-off from disc golf as a result of two torn tendons in my right knee (and poor footing conditions in the snow and ice...not wanting to hurt myself WORSE), I finally headed out to our local course to test out the knee and throw some plastic yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised with my putting and approach shots...almost as if I had no time off from disc golf at all! However, my drives were absolutely, utterly TERRIBLE.

I was getting it out there around 290-300 feet on most of my drives before I injured my knee last fall, and yesterday about the best I could muster was 240-250 with an Orc (even worse with my Pro Wraith or mid-range discs...when I was throwing my mid-range discs 240-250 last summer). The footing was iffy (still snow and ice on the ground), but I probably threw around 30-40 drives and I just could not get it going.

I think part of the problem was that I wasn't able to fully extend and/or plant my full-weight on my right leg in my X-step (I play left-handed). It was incredibly frustrating though, as I didn't get a deuce until one of the last 2-3 times I threw on our second easiest hole (220 feet). That, and the 2-3 times I tried to fully-extend and let it rip, my right knee sent the same dull pain which caused my 4+ month layoff in the first place.

Any ideas for how I might get 300+ foot driving distance back with EITHER a tweak to my X-step walk-/run-up or other modified footwork in the tee...where I don't have to place so much weight/pressure on my right leg? If I re-injure that knee and I can't play my usual 40-50 holes/week this Spring and Summer, I'm going to be beside myself. Any ideas, videos, tutorials, suggestions, etc. related to throwing motion and coming back after a significant knee injury would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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I was in the same situation as yours about 2 years ago. I tore my MCL, PCL and meniscus in my left knee (I'm a RHBH) and I had alot of problems trying to get my x-step to allow me a fluid and powerful motion without risking any more damage. So, here's what I did and it seemed to work out well during the recovery stages and I think it could work for you.

When I started my x-step I noticed that I wasn't getting any power off of my pushing leg (injured left leg). That was because it was still weakened from the surgery and I had a mental block about putting too much force onto it. So I stated to consciously slow my run-up to a walk-up. I also forced myself to turn my back to the target when I cross stepped. This let me push off straight backward with my bad leg and minimized the side to side and twisting motion of my knee. The motion allowed me to keep some of the full body unwinding motion that is key to getting good speed and snap out of a drive. I also forced myself to throw off of only my front plant foot. This also took some of the strain off of my knee when rotating my body. If you are able to get a good amount of rotation from your hips, torso, and shoulders then it shouldn’t be a problem. If you want to give it a try make sure to take things as slow as possible when you’re starting out. Let me know if you need a better explanation and I can try to draw up some pictures.

Hope this helps.
Thank you Seth! That is a FABULOUS reply. Exactly what I was looking for. I'll give those ideas a try the next time I head out on the course (hopefully yet this week).
I'm not qualified to give disc golf advice . but I can give you advice about playing w knee injury.I have totally blown left knee too big a wuss for the knee replacement yet. I just use the xstep w/o a walk or runup. And like in PT where they make you exercise a certain way to make sure knee heals right, work on your technique. you'll find you can get that distance back & then some when that knee heals up. And knee brace just to be safe.
Three years ago I had a full knee reconstruction and started playing DG. Yeah, I didn't have much D then. This past summer I had re-injured my knee and had to stay off of it for a few weeks...

One thing that I can tell you I did was focus more around my snap, arm speed, and muscle memory. I had already been using an Equalizer and I just hit that harder for "workouts". I focused on form, snap, and muscle memory rather than my legs. When I started playing again, I started just using a slow stride run up instead of a full X-step. Turns out, I could still hit 300-320 like that.

Now that my knee feels a lot better, I have probably started to hit 380+ just from still following those workouts.

Moral, don't push your knee too far, take this time to rest (play one round per 10 days on a good course for footing). Workout your upper body and focus on training your muscles to enable you to put less strain on your legs.
Thanks Brad and Darrell!

Yes, I've used the knee injury as an "excuse" to work on my putting and technique (upper body) a bit more...hoping that I come back as a better player after my knee is back to 100 percent. My biggest fear, however, in working my upper body more and placing more responsibility upon my left shoulder (LHBH) is the fact that I never fully recovered from a torn rotator cuff as a pitcher in high school baseball (20 years ago). I'm good for 18-27 holes most days, especially when it is hot and humid outside, but have always relied upon most of my power from my lower body. If all of the sudden I am placing significantly more burden on my shoulder, I'm afraid that I could have a bum-arm by the time my knee is good to go. I'm surprisingly decent as a RHBH thrower too, but nothing close to the same distance off the tee.

The joys of hitting middle age, right?! :-) I'll probably never be GREAT at disc golf anymore...I just want to be GOOD and be the best I can possibly be. Without killing myself in the process or ending up in a wheelchair.
work on not using a run-up, it's helped me tremendously. I can almost drive as far w/o a run-up on certain holes...
Thanks! It's been a while since I reported back in this thread (10 weeks), so I thought I would post a quick update. My knee continues to give me no pain this Spring, and I am continuing to practice my altered X-step "walk-up" and release points. My distance still isn't back to what it was. However, I'm getting up around 300 feet again off the tee using a walk-up and a slightly higher release angle which places less pressure on my knee. At least some of the time. I've also gotten a bit of help and advice on better discs to use as well. NOT to add distance! But to control fade/slice better so that I will be free to mentally concentrate even more on other minor aspects of my release points.

I STILL want to run-up on some of the longer holes...but I have continued to resist that urge this Spring, as I really, REALLY don't want to re-injure my knee! 270 and straight is better than 330 and a return-trip to the hospital... :-)
Even before my recent shoulder injury I did a lot of shots form a stand rather than a run-up. I'm not trying to brag because hey.. I suck. but I can get some good distance from a standing shot. more than most people I know or have seen play anyways. ( I said most!! not all!! )

what I do is breathe and concentrate on my line and rock back and forth with a few practice swings till I am ready then get my hips into it and make sure I have good "snap"

Injuries do suck. and Ive learned to become part of the "vitamin" crowd ( keep my advil/aleve on the ready)

and I know its the throw moreso than the disc, but have you tried throwing a Rogue? It's a great disc that will get good distance and glide if thrown right and doesnt require a big arm IMO.

anyways. hope your knee gets better :)
Derek, I am assuming you are RHBH for most drives? I recommend that you try working on your forehand, using this as an opportunity to focus there.

I finally came out of this winter with a forehand and I actually think I am getting a little past my best backhand drives in length. The RHFH puts a lot of action on your left leg, much less on your right. I can definitely see, as I get even older, the likelihood of more and more forehand driving for me.
Terry,

Actually, I'm a LHBH player 95% of the time. Come play the course that I helped design/build here in Springfield, MN and you'll see it is a bit of "leftie's revenge" for ALL those right-handed courses out there. Ha! I'll play courses RHBH a bit when I just want to screw-around...and I am alone out on the course, but LHBH is my bread and butter.

I've thought about working on my forehand too, but the problem (as you've eluded to) is that I would have to put a LOT more pressure/action on my right leg...which is the knee I wrecked last Fall. I haven't wanted to tempt fate. That, and my LHFH shots to this point SUCK. LOL. I know I need that shot in my quiver...but I'm just working to get back my LHBH form before I go TOO crazy with it. That, and I need a bit more distance between my knee injury and hard-core LHFH practice, in order to protect myself just a bit more from potential injury.
Knee surgery is a PAIN.
Been there.
Tore meniscus in my right plant knee... old baseball injury, re-injured during a disc golf tournament in Clearwater, Florida. AAAAARGH!

Okay,
What you need to do is slow down and concentrate on your follow through. Stop the run-up completely. Knee pain sucks. It is a mental thing to be very afraid to shall we say go through mentally all that agony has an effect on you! It is scary. Start walking into your throw. Concentrate on your form.
But starting slow and getting your confidence back helps. You might even improve upon what you had before.
If you encounter ANY pain STOP!
It is a slow process, can take a while or years, only you will get it.
My doctor told me to ride a bicycle and swim to strengthen my knee.
(have good days and bad-- developed arthritis in the joint).

I actually learned how to throw sidearm to help.
Now able to throw both, backhand and forehand. Sometimes amazing how far I can get a sidearm throw to go now. Some of my best disc golf friends would like to master the sidearm.
Use a baseball snap at the end...
It helps the all around game.

Another aspect:
Yes you heard it before eat and sleep right
And definitely stay in shape and exercise ( yes work out -- not for bulk ).
Hope this helped.
Thanks Disc Player Sports!

The hardest thing for me is that I'll be fine for days/weeks at a time, then on days like today (no playing, no injury, etc.) it just hurts/aches. I don't know whether to try and play through it, or if I should live to fight another day. I usually err to not playing on days like that and/or sticking to only practicing my putting...but I'm afraid of what happens if I'm in the middle of an event and all of the sudden start to get that dull ache. I usually play Amateur, so it's not like it would cost me any money to quit a round/tournament early! I just know that once I tee off on that first hole, my brain tells me to stay out on that course until I either finish or somebody has to carry me off the course. :-)

I've just BARELY started practicing my LHFH more (got some tips and advice from one of our better Pro players here in Southern Minnesota at my last event)...and I am also definitely working hard related to diet and exercise. I'm still carrying around about an extra 15 pounds I put on while being a couch potato over the winter (unable to play...run...etc. while recovering from the injury). I know that's not helping my knee either, so I'm working to drop that weight. It's tougher as I get older though, but I know it's important.

No more run-ups! Start to learn the forehand! Lose some weight and hit the gym! In addition to putting, putting, putting, those are the items at the top of my personal agenda.

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