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Stability Ratings

Stability Ratings

Simply put, a disc’s stability rating determines its flight path. For a right-handed player throwing backhand (or a left-handed player throwing side-arm), the higher the stability rating, the more fade the disc will have to the left, and the sooner it will start to turn to the left.

“Natural Curve” by Throwing Hand & Style
Hand Used Throw Style Natural Curve
Right Backhand Left
Right Forehand Right
Left Backhand Right
Left Forehand Left
To understand the impact of the stability rating on a disc’s flight, you need to consider the natural curve of a disc. The natural curve is the direction a disc will inherently want to turn given the type of throw that is performed based on the spin that is created.

An over-stable disc will increase the amount of turn in the direction of throw’s natural curve. So, the greater the stability rating, the greater the amount of turn the shot will have.

See What “Stability” Means for You...
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Negative stability ratings mean that the disc is more likely to turn to in the direction opposite of the throw’s natural curve. When a disc turns in the opposite direction of the natural curve of the throw, it is known as “turning over” the disc. Understable discs can be turned over more easily because they provide less resistance during flight. So, when an understable disc is throw with enough force and spin, it will turn over. This means that a disc with a stability rating of -3 will not exactly provide the mirror image of one with a +3, because the +3 disc will want to turn a great deal in its natural direction, whereas a -3 disc will need to “encouraged” to turn over by providing sufficient power, snap, and spin. The physics of the throw and spin on the disc dictate that disc will always want to turn in its natural direction, so the best way to have shots that will turn right or left is to use the same disc for backhand and forehand shots.

A disc with a negative stability rating will be more likely to turn to the right, but may simply fly straight depending on the angle of release, and how much force and spin is put on the disc when thrown. For this reason, we recommend that beginning players start with discs that have a stability rating between 0 and -3.

In addition to determining which discs are likely to be the straightest flying, the stability rating also provides insight into the best types of shots for a given disc. A disc with a negative stability rating, for example, is the best choice for an anhyzer, while one with a positive stability rating will be best for a hyzer. This is an important distinction, because a player trying to learn to throw an anhyzer with an overstable disc will experience a lot of frustration because it will be very difficult to get an overstable disc to turn right.

Stability ratings are most important for drivers, as most mid-range discs and putters are engineered to be neutral flyers (stability at or around zero). If you are planning on selecting more than one driver for yourself, then we recommend selecting drivers with different stability ratings, as this will provide you with a variety of different discs to throw and give you discs that will better suited for different types shots, like hyzers and anhyzers.

As your game develops and you start throwing with more power and consistency, you will find that you will need discs with more stability to maintain a straight line. Click here to view our intermediate page and to learn more about selecting discs with more stability when the time is right.