Disc Cycling – Play Like the Pros

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Why Carry Multiple Discs of the Same Mold?

What’s your favorite disc in your bag? Probably that Shryke, Wraith, or Destroyer that has hit just the right number of trees over the years. Release it on a slight hyzer, it flips up to flat, just barely turns to the right, and then gives a consistent finish back left. You can’t play a round without it. And then all of a sudden, it’s lost. And in turn, you feel lost – for the rest of that round and for many rounds to come. But fear not! With disc cycling, you can put your lost disc anxiety behind you.  

Cycling is the practice of carrying multiple discs of the same mold at various levels of wear to achieve a variety of flight characteristics instead of bagging a host of different molds. At the top level of our sport, cycling discs is one of the most important tools for keeping a bag that you can trust and understand, no matter what the course throws at you. Many top pros carry five or more of the same mold in their bag at a time, each with a different level of wear and slightly different flight characteristics. The discs have the same feel in your hand as each other, but one is reserved for stiff headwinds and another is used for max distance. The smartest players are carrying a few discs in the same mold at the same level of wear as well, so even if one ends up in the drink, they can sub in a backup and still throw with confidence.

When you first start playing disc golf, try out a bunch of different molds to figure out which models feel and fly best for your arm speed and throwing style. Ideally, you’ll choose the discs that give you the best combination of accuracy and distance. Once you have established your go-to molds, it is time to think about cycling.

Say you love the Star Destroyer – you should be carrying at least two or three Destroyers from the same run so you have multiple discs with the same flight that can be used interchangeably. You should also carry that super old Destroyer that you took out of your bag because it was getting too flippy. That will serve as a utility disc when you need something more understable. And maybe buy a Calvin Heimburg Halo Star Destroyer for headwinds and when you want no turn at all. By carrying multiple discs in the same mold, you can have the same hand feel with varied flight characteristics to match the required shot shape. You also won’t ever find yourself out of good options when your favorite disc disappears under the leaves. 

Plastics and Cycling

How does plastic type play into all this? Some plastics wear faster than others. That can be a desirable trait when trying to create a set of discs with a range of flight paths. DX plastic wears quickly at first, but the change in flight characteristics slows down after the initial seasoning.

Star, GStar, and Champion plastics take a long time to reach their sweet spot, but once they do, they can remain there for years. Some players use the varying rates of wear of different plastics to create the same effect as cycling discs of the same plastic. A DX Destroyer can become your flippy driver after just a couple months of play. Your Champion Destroyer will remain your stable option for much longer. You can play around with discs of different weights as well, as some lighter molds are less stable than their heavier counterparts. 

However you choose to do it, carrying multiple discs of the same model, some as backups and some with varied flight paths, will elevate your game. The top pros all use this technique to keep a consistent bag that’s ready to handle any situation. Changing wind conditions, varying elevations, and lost discs are all problems that a good system of cycling can help to mitigate. If you want to take your disc golf game to the next level, start cycling.