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Old 04-14-2009, 11:12 PM
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cc0049 cc0049 is offline
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970 rated plus advice?

I was wondering if any of you 970+ rated players would be willing to share your best advice with us. What are some tips you are willing to pass along? What do you do to prepare for tournies? How do you develop your game? How do you practice? How do you decide what discs to carry in your bag? What do I not even know to ask about?
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  #2  
Old 04-15-2009, 09:52 AM
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cc0049 cc0049 is offline
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I just saw that there are only 22 members on this site that are over 970 rated. Hopefully some of you will see this and offer some feedback.
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:51 AM
biscoe biscoe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cc0049 View Post
I was wondering if any of you 970+ rated players would be willing to share your best advice with us. What are some tips you are willing to pass along? What do you do to prepare for tournies? How do you develop your game? How do you practice? How do you decide what discs to carry in your bag? What do I not even know to ask about?
955 currently but should be 970 plus with next update since my events that will go in are right at 1000 and i play so few events that there won't be much to drag them down. i'm certainly atypical however in that i'm 43, had a major back injury a few years back and rarely play anymore yet my game has markedly improved.

when i do practice it is usually putting- practice putts you can make- you are trying to train your brain you make ALL your putts, if you've been playing any period of time your body already knows how to do it. force yourself to make a certain number in a row from a certain distance before you can stop to simulate pressure. (believe me when it has already gotten dark and you're still out there after the rest of the family has had dinner that 9th and 10th 20 footer are pressure putts!)

driving for distance is vastly over-rated. my last couple of events were on courses that are long and very difficult (loriella, woodshed, whipping post)- i only throw 325 or so on a regular basis but course management, solid approaching and consistent putting have carried me through past players who consistently throw 100 feet further.

preparation for events is pretty much limited to making sure i'm fed, hydrated, and ready for potential crappy weather. i'll do some degree of visualization of the course in days prior if i'm not bogged down with other things. i'm lucky if i play one practice round every 2 weeks or so.

the biggest single thing i've done technically to improve my scoring is to go to throwing hyzer flip on virtually everything in the woods. it helps me make the first gaps and leave myself in a situation where i can play for birdie or par rather than par or bogey. biggest improvement mentally has been to decrease my expectations and not be so hard on myself if i screw up (this goes hand in hand with not getting to play much).

look back at your tournament rounds following an event shot-by-shot, it will help you see where you are making mistakes you may not even know you are making on a regular basis.

with the exception of newer faster drivers my bag setup has remained pretty much the same for years so i'm very familiar with my discs even if i don't throw them very often.

as always ymmv.
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Old 04-15-2009, 11:00 AM
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cc0049 cc0049 is offline
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Thanks Biscoe, that sounds like great advice. I've heard before that putting from a distance that you can make ALL your putts for practice is a good idea. I have a tendency, like a lot of people, to get too far out and try to hit those when I'm practicing. I'll bring myself in and practice from that 100% distance more now. I guess that gradually your 100% distance should increase.
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:06 PM
jdawg24 jdawg24 is offline
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i'm 974 so i'll reply now while i still meet the criteria i agree with everything biscoe said, especially on the importance of putting. if you can make everything within 20' and some b/w 20-30', you should score well in a tourney round. the short putts are key - you really don't want to miss a 15 footer in a tourney. 30'+ is bonus range.

for tourney prep, try to see the course in advance if at all possible, and don't play too much the day before. limit the discs in your bag so you'll know what everything does, and don't use unfamiliar new discs in tourney play.

the main difference i see in adv and lower tier pro level players is consistency and shot selection. adv level players have all the skills, but are likely to have a few bad holes in the course of a round that impact the score. the bad holes are usually a result of being overly aggressive in choosing a risky line or throwing too much disc -- like throwing a roc vs driver on a tight hole. the pros will choose a disc that limits the downside -- maybe the roc doesn't go as far, but if it hits a tree it will go less far into the woods...so a 2 is less likely, but so is a 4+ on a tight wooded hole. same thing with drivers -- maybe the boss can add another 20' if you throw it just right, but the teebird is way more consistent and is always a safe shot....especially when its windy. the line you throw is important too. pros seem to choose the smarter line...instead of trying the low % shot through the really tight gap that's a definite birdie, they might play the safer route thats at worst a long putt/upshot.

like biscoe said, if you replay the tournament & how you played each hole, you can probably come up with a bunch of mistakes on a few holes. a couple of different decisions could be a big difference in scoring, and when all is added up a few strokes go a long way.
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:14 PM
bazkitcase5 bazkitcase5 is offline
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I'll have to come back to this thread when I have more time, but over time, I have posted a lot of advice in a lot of different threads if anybody cares enough to look some of them up

but I will for sure mention FIELD PRACTICE

take 30 discs, go to a wide open field (local football field is nice if you don't throw over 360), and chunk discs, down, back, down, back = 120 drives - which can be done in a little more than an hour (consider how many rounds it takes to get 120 all out throws on the course)

doing this:

1) allows you to work on your technique with nothing extra to worry about, no trees, no aiming, no pressure, just you, the field, and the disc you want to throw

2) builds your muscles, like lifting weights (if you have never done field practice, you will be sore the next day or two)

3) allows you to learn your discs - what do they do for you when thrown hard, which ones fly the best for each type of throw your interested in

4) if it is any kind of windy outside, the open field will be no holds barred, so you will learn how to throw in the wind

5) you learn how far you can throw and what your limits are (the idea of a tournament round is to know your limits and stay within them) - if you can not throw 400', then do not try to park the 400' hole, throw the distance you are comfortable with and know you can be accurate with, and then make the easy up shot - no point in risking the loss of control

for me, learning to throw longer is not so you can throw longer, but so you can throw the shorter shots, easier - personally, I can throw about 400-420' in a practice field, but I rarely throw over 400' in a tournament, but I can pretty much throw 350' on command with a great deal of accuracy

so when it comes to playing serious rounds, you know what your capable of, what your limits are, what your discs do, your technique should be better, and all this should make you more confident with each shot and that is half the battle! (accuracy will come with time and repetition and then putting is a whole new ballgame)
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:28 PM
t i m t i m is offline
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I'm 966 -- and have never hit 970 -- but that's stayed true because I have a bad habit of playing tournaments even when I'm injured. And when you're in a huge knee-brace from a bouldering accident, have a torn-ACL and pulled ligaments in your throwing hand, you're not going to score your best. About 90% of the golf I play averages out to 970+, so I don't feel unqualified to add my .02.

Biscoe and jdawg have given a lot of helpful suggestions already. Biscoe lives about an hour South of me, so I see him play in tournaments, and will vouch that he has been playing some lights-out golf lately. 1000+ rated, and that's without any flashy drives or power shots. It's just all consistency/accuracy.

I don't have a lot of time to comment, so I'm going to suggest a thread a DiscGolfReview (the only other disc golf forums worth following, IMHO) that started recently that is looking at "requirements to be 1000 rated." It's not quite the same discussion, but it has a lot of relevant information. I'm going to steal my own posts from that thread and drop them below -- they focus on tendencies of 1000-rated players, which also apply to 970-rated players.

The biggest thing to know is that virtually everyone who will ever pick up the disc has the potential to throw 1000-rated rounds. If you can shoot 250' and make 20' putts, you can thrown 1000-rated rounds if you are always consistent. It's not distance, it's accuracy. The posts below will bring that point home.
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:28 PM
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There are less than 120 players in the world rated 1000+. So that's truly the elite of the elite. And there is an exponential decline as you descend from the top of the stack at 1041... There are more players rated 1000-1009 than there are from 1010 on up. So I think even within the pro ranks, there are levels of pros.

(all numbers below based on ratings current as of this posting -- historical trends will vary slightly)

1 = # of players 1040+
8 = # of players 1030 - 1039
8 = # of players 1020 - 1029
34 = # of players 1010-1019
65 = # of players 1000-1009
93 = # of players 990 - 999
192 = # of players 980- 989

Being 1000+ rated requires -- above all -- consistency and confidence. 1000-rated pros don't make many mistakes. And when they do make mistakes, those mistakes, on average, probably cost them less than one stroke per mistake. I've noticed that as I've gotten better, (I'm ~970), I make a lot more crazy shots to make up for my mistakes. If a pro hits a tree off the box, they're still likely to walk up, find a line through the trees, and pure some crazy flick anhyzer through the trees to give themselves a shot at a 3. Often, a pro's mistakes don't end up costing them any stokes, because they can make up for it the next time.

Also, most pros have more "luck" than most normal players. They pure more hard lines and get more good tree bounces and whatnot. That's usually because they are giving themselves a good shot to begin with. A good shot is more likely to get "love" from the course than a bad shot. Playing pro is a mix of skill and luck, but fundamentally good shots tend to have a higher percentage of favorable results. So the appearance, when watching a pro, is that there is more "love" on the course.

Also, pros can consistently putt within the 30' circle. The difference between being able to hit a 20' putt consistently and a 30' putt consistently is HUGE. Work the math: the area of a 20' circle around a pole is 1256 square feet; the area of a 30' circle around a pole is 2826 square feet; the area of a 40' circle around a pole is 5024 square feet.

So the real world difference between a 20 and a 30' putting ability is that you've more than doubled your possible landing area for your upshots. That's huge. That means a pro only needs half as much accuracy as an am on their upshots to achieve the same score. And if a pro can make a lot of 40' putts (which ams seldom make in tourneys), then you've almost doubled that putting area again.

Think about hitting a 1256 sq. ft. target vs. hitting a 5024 sq. ft. target. Yep -- that's a 4x larger area. That's HUGE. And if my target area for putting 4x the size of yours, then that makes my drives a lot easier, since I can take a much broader range of lines and still land in my "putting circle". That makes upshots a lot easier for the same reason.

Every player over 1000-rated can putt, and it's because putting well opens up all kinds of other possibilities. When you've got that huge target -- that huge "putting circle", then suddenly, you can take big hyzer shots over trees and crazy skips down 90-degree alleys and all sorts of other options and not worry about threading the finest line possible.

A lot of playing pro is removing luck. A pro looks at any shot, and says: what are my highest odds of getting where I need to land (for my upshot or my putt). And then they take the highest odds.

The other thing that helps is that a 1000-rated pro knows their own limits. If a hole is 450' across a field and into a tight gap, and they know they can't throw 450' on a bead, then the smart option -- the pro option -- is to throw 300 or 350 or whatever is max-controlled distance and land with a good line on the gap, so that it's an easy three. An AM would huck as far as possible, hoping for a crazy run at a 3, and end up left or right wide with a really hard angle on the upshot. A pro makes the smart decisions, knows their own limits, and takes the high-percentage 3s when they need to.

All that ultimately matters is the final score, not the highlight reel. And 1000+ rated pros play for the final score, within their own limits... it's up to everyone else to win or lose the game. A pro plays only the course.
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Old 04-15-2009, 01:35 PM
t i m t i m is offline
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Try this -- any of you. Take your local course scorecard and look at the distances. Work through the card with an imaginary player who has 100% accuracy up to 300 feet and 100% accuracy at 30' putts. Therefore, any hole up to 330' is a deuce, any hole up to 630 is a 3, any hole up to 930 is a 4...

You can also try this with a theoretical player who can only drive 250' and only makes putts 20' and in, but can do both 100% of the time.

Yes, this is a theoretical player, and we're not taking into effect uphill and downhill, trees, etc... but since any pro we're talking about can throw more than 300', I think this is a pretty good number. They will also make a lot of putts outside of 30', but for this exercise, we're using 300/30 at 100% as hard numbers. See what those players shoot and see how that compares to the SSA for whatever course you're looking at.

I looked quickly at three courses people would be familiar with -- Renny Gold, Delaveaga and Maple Hill -- and ran the numbers and compared them to tourney SSAs from big events in 2008.

* Renny Gold has an SSA of ~70, and playing 300/30, someone would shoot a 55 in that layout, about a 1085-rated round; playing 250/20, someone would shoot a 65 for a 1028-rated round.
* Delaveaga has an SSA of ~81 for 27 holes, and playing 300/30, someone would shoot a 66, about a 1091-rated round; playing 250/20, someone would shoot a 76 for a 1030-rated round.
* Maple Hill longs has an SSA of ~62.5, and playing 300/30, someone would shoot a 48, about a 1107-rated round; playing 250/20, someone would shoot a 54 for a 1062-rated round.

The theoretical, 300/30, mistake-free player above is averaging more than 50-rating-points higher than any golfer in the PDGA, and that's without landing any drive over 300-feet. The theoretical 250/20, mistake-free player is averaging ~a 1040 on those courses, which would be the 2nd-highest rating in the world right now. Definitely in the top 10 no matter how you slice it. So in theory, 250/20 could put you in the top 10 players in the world, as long as you can do everything right, every time, on pro-level courses.

Sure, driving farther helps, but accuracy and consistency are far more important to scoring well. I don't think not being able to reach 400' holes matters as long as you make sure you take ALL of the short birdies.

Test 300/30 or 250/20 with your local course scorecard, and see how that theoretical pro does against your best scores. And we know that ANY of us are capable of throwing 250/20... it's just a matter of doing it accurately, over and over and over and over and over and over and over...
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  #10  
Old 04-15-2009, 01:46 PM
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JR Stengele JR Stengele is offline
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Excellent info fellas. This is very informative.
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