Many Disc Golfers want to help the children in their lives develop a passion for the sport. Unfortunately, most disc golf discs are very difficult for children to throw.
So what do you do?
In this guide we’ll define the key discs characteristics needed to help kids generate more distance and ultimately have more fun, hopefully putting them on a path to a lifetime of enjoyment playing a fantastic sport!
The Two Specific Challenges for Kids, and How to Overcome Them
Child disc-golfers typically suffer from the same two challenges, but both are easily addressed by selecting the right discs.
Kid’s Challenge #1
Problem: Generating Spin
Solution: Reduce Rim Width and/or Disc Diameter
Disc rotation is the key to stable flight. Without any spin the disc will simply flip nose-over-tail, and without enough spin the disc will not properly stabilize.
Unfortunately, children experience all of the same technique-related problems that adult beginners have, as well as very low release velocities. These two issues combine to result in very little disc rotation.
Because of this, children need discs that are as easy to spin as possible.
The Physics concept called Moment of Inertia tells us the two ways to reduce the amount of energy required to rotate a disc are to shift the concentration of total disc weight away from the perimeter of the disc, and/or to reduce the outside diameter of the disc (Figure 1).
Generally speaking, the discs with the most narrow rims and smallest outside diameters are midrange discs and putters, so our search for the perfect children’s’ discs begins there.
Kid’s Challenge #2
Problem: Generating Release Velocity
Solution: Reduce Disc Weight
It has been scientifically proven that the single most important determinant of drive distance in release velocity, with each 1mph of incremental release velocity providing (on average) an additional 7.2 feet of distance!
This is especially important at lower release speeds (i.e. those of an average child).
For children, the use of a light-weight disc is critical.
Putting It All Together
We know that for the best results we want to find a light-weight, narrow-rim, small diameter disc. To be legal for PDGA play, the minimum legal dimensions (Figure 2) are as follows:
- Weight: 130g+
- Diameter: 21cm+
- Rim: No Min, 2.5cm Max
With these criteria in mind, one disc immediately jumps to the front:
- Mold: Roc3
- Manufacturer: Innova
- Weight: 165-169g grams
- Diameter: 21.1cm
- Rim Width: 1.2cm
- Plastic Type: DX
The 165-169 gram version of the popular Innova Roc is the perfect choice for children. Its small diameter, moderate weighting, and thin rim make it easy for kids to throw, while still providing the feel of a “real” disc, helping them work on their technique and preparing them for more advanced discs down the road.
Additionally, the Roc gives kids the satisfaction of playing with the same disc as the “adults”, which can be a great confidence builder (the adult version will often be closer to 174g — but they don’t have to know that….).
A Better Option?
If you are not concerned with the disc being PDGA approved, and if the child in question does not mind playing with a disc that is clearly smaller than the adults’ discs (Figure 3), an even better option is available for maximum distance:
- Mold: Mini Buzzz
- Manufacturer: Discraft
- Weight: 62 grams
- Diameter: 15 cm
- Rim Width: 1.2cm
- Plastic Type: Z
Significantly lighter and smaller than any PDGA approved disc, this Mini model is designed to provide similar flight patterns to Discraft’s #1 selling Buzzz, but in a smaller version.
At less than half the weight of a typical disc and only 6″ (15cm) wide, the Mini Buzzz will fly incredibly far with very little effort — perfect for children who want to feel like they can keep up with the adults when driving!
Reducing weight, diameter, and rim width will significantly improve kids’ ability to generate good spin and distance. Whether or not you want to keep the discs within PDGA specifications is up to you and the personal preferences of the child in question.
Either way, both of these options should immediately make the game more fun and rewarding.
If you have any additional questions, please let us know using our Contact page. We are always happy to help!