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In this article, we will assume a right-handed player who throws backhand (RHBH).
How the frisbee, or disc, flies is central to understanding in order to get the right equipment. Each disc has a number combination that describes how the disc behaves in the air. The values given are Speed, Glide, Turn and Fade. Remember that these numbers are not standard for disc golf in general. All manufacturers have their own values, which means that a disc with speed 14 at one manufacturer does not have to mean that the disc behaves in the same way as a speed 14 at another manufacturer. So use these values as benchmarks and try your hand at it.
SPEED / GLIDE / TURN / FADE
4 5 -1 2
Speed, or speed, tells you the speed at which the disc is flying. Within which range speed is stated varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the most common is that it is stated between 1 and 15. 1 means low speed and 15 means high speed. A common beginner mistake is to buy a high-speed disc because it should reasonably fly faster and longer. But a high-speed disc requires significantly better technology. In other words, high-speed discs are better suited for slightly more advanced players.
A disc with high speed cuts better through the air and is a good alternative when you throw in headwinds. A disc with lower speed gives you a little better precision and in tailwind a disc with lower speed can actually fly longer than a disc with high speed.
The disc is pulled, naturally, towards the ground when you throw it. Glide indicates the resistance to this, ie how the disc is pressed upwards and thus stays longer in the air. Glide is specified in the range 1 to 7 where 1 is low and 7 is high. If you have a disc with glide 7, it will float longer than a disc with glide 1. Therefore, higher glide is easier to use for beginners. Discs with lower glide are easier to use in strong winds. If you have a headwind, you should choose a disc with a lower glide. If you throw in tailwinds, you should choose a disc with a higher glide.
The turn indicates how inclined the disc is to pull to the right (RHBH) during the part of the flight time when the disc has its highest speed. Turn is specified in the range +1 to -5. A disc with +1 in turn tightens less than a disc with -5. A disc with a smaller turn is better to throw in windy conditions. If you are a beginner, you should choose a disc with more turns.
Fade indicates the disc's tendency to deviate to the left (RHBH) during the last part of the flight time. Fade is specified within the range 0 to 5 where a disc with fade 0 gives way by less while a disc with fade 5 gives way by much. A disc with a low fade thus goes longer and more straight. So why would you want to choose a disc with a high fade if it is shorter? It could be, for example, that you have an obstacle you have to pass where the disc needs to turn left. Or the basket is in a position where you are not allowed to throw past the basket. You then get more control of your distance and can throw with more confidence if you choose a disc with a high fade.