Posted on

Learn The X-Step NOW!

No ratings yet.

Please note we’re supported by our readers. When you buy through our links we earn an affiliate commission. Thanks for your support!

A great way to add distance to your backhand drive is to learn and master the proper footwork. With the proper footwork, you can get the lower half of your body engaged in the throw and maximize the power you impart on the disc. This can lead to longer drives and more distance. Sounds great, right?

To engage the lower half of your body in the throw, you’ll want to transition from a standstill throwing motion to one that includes a run-up. Now some players can successfully throw a drive by actually starting to run before their throw. While that does work for some, we’re going to cover the more controlled way of initializing a backhand drive called the X -Step.   

When utilizing the X-Step to begin your drive, you can add more power and distance to your throw without having to sacrifice accuracy.

What is the X step?

You can think of the X-Step as a more controlled way of performing your run-up to your backhand drives. It allows you to increase your momentum by using your legs in during your drive and also gets your body into the perfect position for your reach back.

The X-step is a 3 step run-up. If you are a right-handed player, you’ll begin by stepping with your right foot, then having your left foot come behind your right foot, and finally stepping with your right foot again. This should get you in a great position for your reach back to continue with your driver.

If you need a visual, check out this video of top disc golf professionals’ X-Steps. They are in slow motion and should be pretty easy to follow.

How to perform the X step?

Let’s break down the X-step into smaller steps so we can better understand it. They are as follows:

1. Setting up your drive by aiming your shot.

The first step in the x step is taking aim. When throwing backhand, your body is positioned with your the shoulder of the arm you are throwing with pointed toward the target. This is different than with a forearm drive, where you directly facing the target when you are throwing.

Another thing to keep in mind during this step is you want to position your body where you intend to throw the disc. This way you can extend your arm, with the disc in hand, and pointed it toward your target. The target isn’t always going to be the basket but could be something completely different.

For instance, you could be setting up a hyzer throw around an obstacle. If you are right-handed, you might aim to the right of the obstacle and have the drive hyzer behind the tree and skip toward the basket.    

2. Taking the first step with your dominant foot.

With your body positioned perpendicular to your target, you will take the first step toward the direction you are throwing. If you are using your right hand, you will take your first step with your right foot and if you are using your left hand, you will step with your left foot.

Now you will need to be moving toward your target. To get a better understanding of where you want to plant your first step, think of the top half of your body moving in a straight line toward the target.  Your first step will need to be in front of that imaginary line.  

3. Taking your second step with your non-dominant foot.

On the second step, you will be bringing your non-dominant foot behind your lead foot. So if you are throwing right handed, this will be your left foot and if you are throwing left handed this will be your right foot. This is where the x step gets its name because you are forming an x with your legs.

It’s in this step that you begin your reach back. Think of your disc being on a straight line and you are pulling it straight back away from your target. You’ll also begin to look away from your target and directly behind you.   

4.Taking your third step with your dominant foot again.

The final step is where the magic happens and by magic, I mean power. This step will be taken with your right foot if you are throwing right handed and your left foot if you are throwing left handed.

Your reach back should be fully extended and you will begin to drive your elbow forward. You should pull the disc in a straight line toward the direction you are throwing and as you release the disc your body will begin to turn around your plant foot.

5. Releasing the disc and following through.

On release, you should allow your body to follow through. So your throwing arm will move around your body and behind your back and the arm you aren’t using to throw will move in front of your body. The foot that isn’t planted in front of you will swing around.

When using the X Step, your body is going to generate a lot of force and that force needs to go somewhere after you release your disc. It’s important to maintain that momentum and swing around your planted foot. If you were to just stop after the release you would lose some force and your disc wouldn’t travel as far. It would also take a toll on your body.

Transitioning to the X-Step

A lot of players can find it difficult to start using the x-step, especially when they have developed their throwing technique from a standstill position. It’s a multiple step process and can be tough in the beginning to manage while you are focused on driving with your upper body.

Before trying to use the x-step, I recommend learning a one-step drive. So take a lead step with you dominate foot and use that to position your body for the reach back. Once you have the hang of this, it will be easy to learn the x-step.

When you are comfortable with the one step drive, it’s time to try the x-step. When starting out you don’t want to rush. Going fast doesn’t necessarily lead to a long drive and you usually end up being off balance or sacrificing accuracy.

Take it slow when doing the X-Step. Your target speed shouldn’t be any faster than walking pace but if you are new to the move, you can go slower. When just beginning to transition to the X-Step take in slow and if you notice at any time you are off balance during the movement, stop and start over.

Still Having Trouble?

Once you’ve gotten into learning the X-Step and you are still having trouble, I recommend you watch this instruction video put out by Dynamic Discs. Danny Lindahl does a great job of breaking down footwork and gives you great visuals so you can better understand the process.

Looking for ways to improve your driving? Check on this article for beginner disc golfers!

Flickr Image Creative Commons – Virginia State Parks

Review This Disc