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craigg 01-11-2011 02:10 PM

Craig's Corner
Hi everybody, craigg here.
This thread is meant to be a repository for all the technique tips that folks have to offer to help people develop various facets of their game. I’m going to start by extracting all the best stuff from another thread – the 970+ rated advice thread up in the General information category.

The thread will be locked and monitored, so that only the monitor can post information – this is mainly an effort to minimize the typical thread banter you see on every thread in these forums, and make information easier to find without scrolling through pages of schtuff.

I’m going to act as consultant to the monitor, so if there are topics you would like to see discussed, or advice you would like to offer yourself, I’m going to ask that you send it to me to either respond to or to compile for the monitors to post.

If you do have some advice to offer, I’m going to ask that you put together a paragraph or two of well written thoughts, and not just a few lines of “this is what I do” kind of advice. Let’s get people thinking about their game and help them develop useful tools to make improvements. I hope to be able to add video lessons on various techniques as well, so we should be able to teach you a few tricks along the way. Stay tuned and enjoy – and please send your ideas and thoughts my way and I will do my best to respond.

timg 01-11-2011 09:07 PM

Confidence and positive attitude
This is so important that I don't think it can be reinforced enough. Confidence is truly key to execution, be it an over the water throw or a 20' putt with OB right behind the basket. If you see yourself missing or have any sort of negative thought - it's very hard to overcome and be successful on that shot. So keeping a positive attitude is really key to executing virtually every kind of shot.

So put on your best evangelist preacher voice and say it with me brothers—“YOU GOT TO BELIEVE!!” Don't just think you're gonna make it - say it out loud. Reinforce it - back yourself up. As you approach your lie say it aloud - "I can make this". Positive reinforcement is equally or more powerful than negative reinforcement. Striving to include the positive in your game goes a loooooong way.

A word of caution. Avoid giving yourself "do" instructions. There's a big difference between saying "I can make this", and instructing yourself to "make this". One inspires confidence and ends right there. The other leads to further instructions which just muddle the mind and introduce the dreaded distraction (picture it in your mind -make this... keep the nose down...be firm, DOH!!) So stay away from the instructions and stick to pumping yourself up with the belief that you can succeed. The more you believe, the more you will succeed.


The consistency it takes to get and maintain a high rating is not so much about your physical ability, (as once you acquire a certain physical skill set - it doesn't ever really "go away") as it is your ability to manage distractions.

Distractions can take many forms, from passing traffic, to kids at a playground, to that guys cigarette smoke - there are as many potential distractions out there as you could possibly imagine. So the real trick to consistently posting good scores - is all about distraction management - eliminating or minimizing the effect of those things on your concentration during execution.

The best thing to do is to make everything as simple as possible. So let's start with the actual amount of time you spend throwing. If you play by the rules - you get 30 seconds to make each shot. If you average par 54 - that's 27 minutes of actual play time. Now if you pare that down to actual physical time throwing - it's probably more like 5 seconds a throw - which totals 4-1/2 minutes. This is the total, crucial amount of concentration time you need during a round of golf. Sounds simple right?

Stick with simple. Here's a reality you cannot avoid. You can only throw ONE SHOT AT A TIME! Not one hole, or one round, ONE SHOT. This is where your concentration needs to remain - on the ONE SHOT you are performing. Not the one you just messed up, not the one after this one, not that tough over water shot 3 holes from now, but THIS ONE RIGHT NOW.

Distractions- Don’t think about the score

Distraction management - (and I guess this mostly applies to tournament play) pay no attention to the scorecard. Don't keep track of your running score, don't keep track of your score in relation to another player’s score, don't continually tally the scores on the card when you're holding it. The scorecard is a notorious and common distraction. Allowing yourself to "just play" is a lot harder than it sounds. Sometimes I will carry the scorecard for an entire round (it can be a simple addition of cadence to your game) - but I seldom know how everyone stands on the card until the end. If you find yourself constantly checking the card, or comparing /keeping a running tally w/another player - CUT IT OUT! There's nothing wrong with generally knowing how you're doing (we all do that) - but try not to be pre-occupied with it - it's just one more distraction that is unneeded, and easily managed.

timg 01-11-2011 09:08 PM

Distractions- Managing distractions with breathing
Distraction management is easy to talk about but not so easy to practice. There are some really simple things you can do, though, to set yourself and be relaxed before executing a throw. This technique can be used for any throw, but it’s easiest to explain in relation to putting.

As you approach your lie, it’s important to be relaxed so that you can focus and execute. So as you get your feet set, and go through whatever motions you go through – preparing to let fly – take a nice deep breath and let it all the way out. Take that breath and blow it out all the way through your feet. Essentially this first breath grounds you; it gets you settled into your stance, so do it slowly. Take one (or sometimes two) more deep breaths, and use your breathing as a rhythm. Your putt is going to be all the way at the bottom of your breath. Like exhaling when you are lifting weights, that last push is the last of your breath. The end of the breath is your putt leaving your hand.

This method is especially helpful if you ever feel yourself rushed during putting, or if for some reason you felt as if your timing was off. A lot of times that sense is created by you breathing IN instead of OUT. It’s really that simple-- your timing was off because you never set the putting action to any sort of body routine. This breathing exercise is the easiest way to get that rhythm in place, and it’s easy to reproduce.

Best of all, this simple form of relaxation also helps you clear your head (i.e. remove yourself from the end result), as it gives you a very basic element to concentrate on that has nothing to do with that little voice in your head and the instructions he is so fond of giving. It also imparts a simple kind of cadence to your throwing motion, which then becomes an inherent element of the consistency you strive for from one shot to the next.

I once taught this exercise to a lady golfer by the name of Suzanne Giendl from Austria. She and I were staying at a mutual friend’s house for the ‘91 Worlds in Dayton, OH. She had been having all sorts of putting issues prior to and during day 1 of the tournament. Once she learned how to breathe, all of her natural talents shone through, and she took 2nd place at Worlds that year. She thanked me for my guidance at the awards ceremony. Pretty cool ay? Give it a try – you’ll be surprised how simple it is.

Expectations- Playing without expectations

This is one of the hardest things there is to do in Disc Golf. Any time you expect to shoot a certain score (be it on a single hole, or for an entire round) you are setting yourself up for a bucket load of distractions. As soon as you miss a hole you think you should get every time - it can easily become a hindrance to your next shot, or even to the rest of your round.

This is where some of my past advice gets tied together; 1) Play one shot at a time, 2) Don't get stuck on keeping track of the score, 3) Use your breathing to relax and focus, 4) Remove yourself from the end result, 5) Laugh at your bad shots and have fun!!

The ultimate example of learning to shed expectations? Play a round with your opposite hand. Most people are not so gifted as to be able to throw well with both hands. Try it sometime – and you will quickly learn to laugh at your bad shots – because the absurdity of what comes out of your hand WILL BE entertaining – trust me. And the moment you teach yourself a little something about opposite hand mechanics, and you have a good shot – the satisfaction will be HUGE. Of course because it is a newly acquired piece of success, it will be readily dashed by your next attempt, as you return to your uncoordinated fumbling – which hopefully will keep you chuckling. This is also a great way to entertain and be entertained by your best buds. Want to have a good time? Go out with your homies and either play an entire round with the opposite hand – or make it every other shot – it’ll be the most fun you’ve had in a long time

Focus- Dealing with Bad shots

*When you make an errant throw don't consider it a bad shot, consider it an OPPORTUNITY to make a GREAT SHOT on your next throw. Only think about- ONE SHOT AT A TIME! One errant throw does not necessarily mean bogey. So when you make an opportunity for yourself, focus on THAT - and not what is beyond that. If you have to suck it up and pitch out so that you can lay up and take a 4 - learn to do that. Trying to save 3 will more often lead to bigger #'s, which = more frustration, etc.

*Learn to laugh at your bad shots - getting all pissed off will do nothing for your game. Besides - if you don't laugh at your bad shots........ how can I?

Focus- Remove yourself from the end result

Here’s a concept for “distraction management” and “short term focus” – I call it – “Remove yourself from the end result”.

The basic premise is that in order to obtain a desired end result, you need to focus on, or take control of an ELEMENT of what you’re doing, that will LEAD TO the end result. This is a concept you can apply to any facet of your golf game. I’ll give you two examples here, and you can take them for what they’re worth.

Putting: A lot of folks espouse the practice of “picking a link” of the target, and trying to focus on that, as an effective visualization exercise for putting practice. I say – that this is one of the most difficult things you can do. Based on my concept – the target is ALWAYS – the furthest thing from you – and so by nature, being at the end of the flight is the element which is the LEAST under your control. So……….by removing yourself from the end result, you choose a target that is much closer to you – thereby bringing it MORE under your control, and making it more attainable, and easier to reproduce.

OK Craig what are you talking about right? It’s all about learning to “take the picture”. Learning to visualize the flight of your disc is the key to this exercise. And really – it’s just a matter of learning to pay attention to what your shot does, and what it looks like. I pick a spot about 3-5 feet out of my hand – and I see the disc pass through that spot at a certain angle, and a certain height. And I know if I get it to go through that spot at that angle, and height, the end result will be a disc in the basket. It’s like taking a snapshot of the disc just after it’s left your hand. In order to be successful with this technique – you really just need to start watching and become more aware of what your putting stroke looks like between your hand and the basket – logging that image into your memory – and then hit “recall” every time you step up to putt. There is no one right spot to pick – sometimes it helps to give yourself an intermediate object for reference (pick a basket w/a tree nearby, and put that tree halfway to the basket – and use the tree as a visual aid to help “take the picture”). Your spot might be a foot in front of the basket, or a foot out of your hand – it really doesn’t matter, so long as it’s closer to you than the end result. You’ll be amazed how much easier it is to hit a spot 5 feet away than 25 feet – give it a try and let me know how you do

Driving: OK driving is a little different, but similar in some very important ways. In both driving and putting, one of our natural tendencies is to allow that little voice in our head to offer up instructions as to what it is we are supposed to be doing. That little voice is not your friend – in fact he’s perhaps the biggest distraction we face in the game of golf. Getting him to shut up is what will allow you to perform what your body already knows how to do. (This is part of why I say – If you can tell me what you’re thinking about while putting – you’re thinking too much!). OK – so the easiest way to “remove yourself from the end result” while driving is to simplify. Focus on the thing that will result in a smooth release. For me, my most frequent point of focus if I’m not playing well is to focus on “having good feet”. I know that if my footwork is consistent, my drives will be also. So by slowing down a hair, and focusing on my footwork – everything sort of rebalances itself – timing gets easier – lines are easier to hit. This is but one example of an item you can focus on that brings greater control over an ELEMENT of the throwing motion that will LEAD TO a desired end result. Maybe your point of focus will be where you stand before your run up – or maybe it’ll be some other item – again – what you choose is of no great consequence, as there is no ONE right way to do this. Just pick something simple, and immediate – and you will have successfully removed yourself from the end result.

timg 01-11-2011 09:08 PM

Above all else - this is supposed to be fun - and remember - you don't have fun because you're playing well, you play well, because you're having fun.

Patterns- Identify and embrace your patterns

Now I’d like to share a more general awareness exercise that might help you gather things together to make practical use of them. This could be called, “Identify and embrace your patterns”.

Everybody has “a way” that they do things while they play golf. These are usually very simple things that they don’t pay any attention to, but it’s the simple things that you can use to your advantage – things that can be used to help you find your “groove” or “zone”. You know what I’m taking about – everyone has had those days when they just groove on almost everything-- it all seems to work seamlessly right? Maybe it lasts for a couple holes, or maybe it lasts all day, but figuring out how to find and stay in that zone is VERY elusive right? Well it doesn’t have to be.

One key to finding that zone is to add cadence to your overall game. And this means doing things in a repetitive fashion. Make every facet of what you do, repeat over and over during your round, and things get more relaxed, and easier to reproduce.

Here’s an example of a pattern that I use. It has to do with how I approach my lie. As I get near my thrown disc, I set my bag down probably 10-15’ behind my lie, walk up and mark the disc, and then take the disc back and set it on the bag. Then I take out the disc I’m going to use for the next shot. By setting my bag down in this way I have done a couple things. I have put it in a place where I don’t have to move it again – it’s not in my run up, or in my throwing motion – so I have eliminated it as a distraction. I have also provided a little piece of rhythm to my throwing process, set bag, step up to mark, identify necessary shot, step back, wait for my turn, step up and get set.

There are countless examples like this that you can use that add very subtle but influential rhythms to your game. The trick is, to start identifying the ones that might work for you, and to reproduce them (do them all the time). They can include; how you stand on the tee, a basic “mock” throw or warm up swing before a throw, where/how you set your bag down like in my example above, almost anything. Now don’t get me wrong, these aren’t things you should dwell on while you play. They are mechanisms to help you relax so that you can “let yourself play”. Once you have identified and embraced your patterns – they should become second nature-- stuff you just naturally “do”. They will eventually become the things that identify your own personal style.

Realism- Play to your own strengths

When you are playing with someone obviously better than you, it's important not to try and do the things they are doing - that you already know you cannot! (Of course, if it's a casual round - the exact opposite is true - try everything and ask lots of questions). It's best to know your limitations, and play to your strengths. If your max D is 250-300 - don't try and keep up with the guy next to you that easily throws over 400' - you will get frustrated and probably hurt yourself. Instead of trying to "keep up" - play to your strengths, and PAY ATTENTION to what that other player is doing - watch their footwork, watch their release points, check out their grip. Look for obvious differences in how they approach the game. When people have skills you do not - enjoy the entertainment! Don't let it get you upset (this does happen to some folks) - one of my favorite things in Disc Golf is seeing people do stuff I can't do!!


Inner Game of Golf
Mental ToughnessTtraining For Sports by Loerer

timg 01-12-2011 11:32 AM

Tournament Preparations
Lots of us love to play in organized events. And they run the gamut from local monthlies and leagues, to Super Tour and National Tour events. Regardless of your level of participation, there’s some basic things you can do to make sure you are prepared to spend the day playing DG.

An easy thing to do until you develop certain habits is to make yourself an actual checklist – you know – like the one you make before going camping or getting on a plane. Here are some basics – most of which you should already know – but if you are new to the whole tournament experience, you may just not think about:

Bring extra shoes and socks
– It will do wonders for you to be able to change out of your playing shoes and into a pair of sandals or crocs between rounds, or especially after your rounds are over. Being able to change adds an unexpected level of relaxation that can help you reset your attitude between rounds, or take you down a notch at the end of the day. Sometimes it’s even a good idea to bring an extra pair of playing shoes. Not everyone has waterproof shoes to play in – and it’s not uncommon to soak your shoes in the early morning dew.

Bring some extra clothes – This varies widely with the time of year and weather conditions. But a fresh shirt at the end of a hot sweaty day (or a rainy one) goes a long way. Another example - extra layers during cold weather or even in spring/fall where you have more significant temperature swings at the beginning/end of the day. Clothes should be loose fitting and comfortable. Avoid garments that are binding or restrict motion.

Keep your umbrella in your car at all times. You can get a 60” umbrella at Walmart for $10-14. Buy one.

Discs – if you have extras – especially of your favorite molds – always bring some back ups. You never know when you might lose or break one. Always have an extra mini – those little suckers are entirely too easy to lose.

Golf Towels – an indispensable addition to your golf bag. Collect em, keep multiples in the car AND in your bag. Towels are not just for keeping things dry.

Drinks and snacks – Always prep a cooler and bring water or Gatorade (or the beverage of your choosing) with you. Don’t rely on there being a place nearby to pick them up on the way – sometimes the nearest place for supplies is a haul from the course. Bring it with you and you never have to worry.

Lunch – some events will feed you. Some events are close enough to retail outlets that getting fed between rounds is not an issue. Always investigate the location you’re going to visit to find out what the food situation is. It will save you a headache somewhere along the way.

The night before – If you are playing a course that is physically taxing, prepping your body for the event goes a long way. Being well hydrated helps stave off cramps and headaches, especially in the heat of the summer, so drink plenty of water in the day or two before your event. Stocking up on carbs the night before is also a good idea. A good plate of pasta will usually do the trick.

Health Aids – Whatever your physical condition, it’s always good to be prepared for potential injury, or even just aches and pains. Bring some ibuprofen (or other pain relief) with you. I take it before every tournament. Other good stuff might include icy hot pads or other balms like tiger balm, mineral ice, etc. Cloth athletic tape can do everything from taping up a wrenched ankle to temporarily mending a nasty scratch or cut.

In summary, here is a good cursory checklist for before you jump in the car:
  • Extra shoes
  • Extra Socks
  • Extra Shirts/pullover/warm up pants
  • Umbrella
  • Extra Discs/Minis
  • Extra Golf Towels
  • Cooler w/drinks/snacks/lunch
  • Ibuprofen!!
  • Icy hot/balms
  • Tape
The experienced tournament goer will develop their own inventory of needed stuff. And inevitably, you will find yourself on the way some day and kick yourself for forgetting something. If you get in the habit of making a checklist – it gets easier to remember it all and those instances when you leave some important item behind will diminish over time. Mostly – having all the junk you need during the day helps make the day more stress free – minimizing any potential distractions to the task at hand – putting and keeping your mind on playing golf!!

timg 01-13-2011 02:40 PM


if you think it'd have a place, i'd love to hear your thoughts on, loosely phrased, course management, or "golfing v. throwing". eg- walking a course (physically or mentally) before a tourney round, what kind of things are you looking for? where to be aggressive vs conservative? do you formulate a game plan and stick with it unwaveringly, or are you willing and able to change courses in the middle of a round based on circumstances? what circumstances would cause you to deviate from your game plan?

- Ted
Course Management

When it comes to competition, you can break approaches to course management down into two main categories – courses you know and courses you don’t. Personally – I don’t travel nearly as much as I used to, so most of the places I go are places I already know and enjoy. Either way – here are some basics you can use to your advantage.

Visualization – Courses you know

If you are already familiar with the course you’re going to play, one helpful thing you can do to get yourself in the right mindset for competitive play is to do a mental walkthrough. I like to do this when I go to bed. Close your eyes and relax and just play the course in your head. Play every shot, pick the disc you’ll use, and visualize every shot with a perfect result, and visualize making every putt (this is a good place to practice the breathing exercise upthread) – this is a powerful and influential exercise. This exercise helps you develop comfort and confidence before you even step on the course (plus personal bests are fun to shoot – even if they are only in your head J ). It also helps remind you of the places where you have had difficulties in the past, which in turn should encourage you to go practice those holes when you get to the course.

Courses you don’t know

Of course there’s no substitute for getting there a day early and playing the course to familiarize yourself with the layout – but this is not always possible. So there are a couple things you can do to mentally prepare yourself for the challenge. Get a map of the course and get a feel for the general length and topography. If there are photos or videos available, by all means have a look. Check out past tournament scores so you can see what range of scores people in your skill level were shooting. You need to temper this information with potential expectations. Don’t set yourself up with distractions of comparing your score as it unfolds with the performance of your buddy from last year (that you beat all the time). Looking at past scores should let you know about opportunities. Whether there are a bunch of reachable (or unreachable/multi shot) holes should help minimize frustration or surprise and help keep you on an even keel.

Course strategy once you’re there – courses you know

On courses you know – more than anything, you just need to relax and let yourself play. Avoid comparing yourself to what other players are doing – you’re not playing against them, you’re playing against the course. When you already know the shots, you should be picking the discs that allow you to play firmly – i.e. taking a full smooth swing with a disc you trust will more often than not put you in a position to score well. Another important aspect is to remember to play just one shot at a time. Don’t set yourself up for distraction by keeping track of how many birdies you’ve missed and how many are left for you to be able to reach a certain score. Keep your focus on the single shot at hand – and your opportunities to score well will continue to appear. When faced with a difficult shot (one with a high risk reward) make your decision and be confident about it. While it’s hard to make a dump and an upshot guaranteeing you an extra stroke on the hole – it’s sometimes better to do that than trying a really difficult shot – then taking an OB stroke and ending up w/2-3 extra strokes. Whichever one you choose – be deliberate about it. Playing a half-ass layup because you’re disgusted at having to do it might just cost you that same extra stroke you were trying to avoid.

Courses you don’t know

One of the best things you can do (if you don’t have time to play the entire course beforehand) is to walk through the course with just a putter and midrange. You can get through the course faster this way as you won’t be weighed down by all your gear. As you walk through – practice approaching from your comfortable upshot range 150-250’, and try and get a feel for landmarks. Look for obstacles that you can identify from the tee that are X feet away from the hole, safe vs treacherous landing zones, and layout of OB. All of which should help you be more confident off the tee when it’s time to play. Doing it this way also helps you conserve energy for the round – and get you warmed up. You really don’t need to go out and throw 4 drives off every hole before the round – by the end of the day you’ll be exhausted and probably add a bunch of unnecessary strokes to your score.

During the round

If you are unsure about exactly where the pins are, or if adverse weather conditions are affecting your choice of disc, the best thing you can do is pick a disc you are confident with for a variety of shots. I used to say – if there’s a question – throw a roc. While it’s a little different for everybody – the principal is the same. A good controlled shot thrown at 80% will keep you in the fairway a majority of the time and help you avoid extra strokes, while errant shots can add one or more strokes for no good reason. Pick a disc you can be firm with. Don’t pick your fastest most overstable disc and then try some crazy S turn and baby it into OB. Pick that stable mid, or semi beat fairway driver that you trust to go straight, or trust to turn softly, etc. You’ll have more success discing down and throwing a slower disc a little harder than trying to soft a faster disc – these kind of throws are tough to control.

Golfing vs Throwing – Having a game plan

Tournament rounds are all about keeping the opportunities coming. The more times you give yourself a chance to score well, the more times you will convert. This is the essence of golfing vs throwing. Golf shots exhibit a balance of control and power. The only times my game plan changes from the basic – “focus on control” – is when there is a significant risk reward hole on the course. If presented with that hole early in the round – I may be more inclined to “go for it” as there is a bigger piece of the round left afterward to make up for a potential mistake.

Thanks for the question Ted!

timg 01-14-2011 10:57 AM


I'd love to hear you expand on your methods of shot/line selection during a competitive round, particularly where there is a moderate to significant risk/reward aspect involved (OB, heavy winds, roll away green, etc.). you mentioned being more willing to take a larger risk early in a round, for example, but i'd be interested in hearing more about the minutiae and variables you take into account when sizing up each half of the risk/reward ratio.

i'll be keeping a close eye on your thread- thanks again!
Shot / Line Selection

OK I hope this is useful, because I think this topic is very personal. Everyone approaches shot selection based on personal preferences and comfort levels. One thing I have seen develop over the last 15-20 years – as discs get faster and faster, is really a lack of line choice. People have tended towards methods that don’t really require control of line, in favor of methods that equate to – “I’ve learned to put enough energy on this disc to make it go X distance”. True control and understanding of the flight characteristics of discs has sort of been put on the back burner position in people’s learning curve. So while the newest, fastest disc might yield you some form of immediate satisfaction – there’s an essential piece of learning that is skipped – which affects good shot selection.

So when I see people discussing the concept of “discing down” this is very encouraging to me. When throwing “low tech”, mid range, slower flying discs, you are forced to learn some finer points to your throwing motion. This in turn leads to greater control and versatility, and increases your ability to execute various lines.

I guess in this vain, I was fortunate to start playing when I did. I got to go through the progression from Midnight flyers, and the subtle differences between the 40, 50, 70, and 80 mold series, and on to the first beveled edge discs. The highest tech disc in my first 5 years of playing was an XD. So I learned a lot about how to shape a shot. That said – is why I always recommend a starter set for beginning players whose highest tech component is something like a stingray or cobra. I equate it to trying to learn calculus before algebra – if you don’t understand what a variable is, the likelihood of understanding its derivative is not so good.

OK on to the topic at hand. One of the easiest ways to take control of the shot selection process is to minimize the number of molds in your bag. I carry a couple Eagles, a TL, and a couple Wraiths for drivers, 3 rocs, 3 aviars and a cobra for mids – that’s it. It matters less exactly which molds you choose, and more that you are comfortable with them in their varying flight characteristics as relates to their age / degree of beatness. So while you may want to emulate Feldberg – who carries 30-40 discs around with him – remember that he spent most of a decade learning how to use those tools before establishing the jumbo bag practice.

Limiting your disc selection forces you to learn how to create different lines with the same disc, which is essential to being a good golfer. If you do this in the first couple years of playing, your approach to the question of evaluating risk reward will be based on more tangible factors. There are many factors to consider:
  • Is there OB near the landing zone?
  • Is there OB in the flight path?
  • How does the shot have to finish? Left/right/ uphill/downhill, etc and what is you comfort level with dealing with each of these factors
  • How does the shot have to fly? High to low, low ceiling, tight, wide open, etc.
  • Is there a good viable safe option that doesn’t have an unbalanced downside?
  • Distance – where does the shot at hand fall within your comfort range?

When the risks are high, I think the things that influence me the most are:
  • Experience with the shot – having executed (or failed to execute) the shot in the past may influence my willingness to take the risk. If the flight type/distance is something I’m good at – I’m more willing to take the risk. This goes back to knowing your discs, and being able to make them perform in a variety of ways.
  • How good is the upside of success? If the likelihood of gaining a stroke on the field is minimal, then generally the risk isn’t worth taking. Of course this has to be weighed against the potential downside. If reward is high, and risk is moderate – yeah I go for it more often than not.
  • How much fun is it to try? Sometimes you just gotta – just because – risk be damned. Succeeding on difficult shots is a rush that everyone appreciates.

When dealing with adverse weather conditions or difficult footing or landing zones:
  • Generally I’m discing down. I want control over distance. I want minimal motion at the end of the flight – i.e. landing flat generally helps control roll aways, whereas overstable finishes like to skip and walk. The most common variable to this is where you are forced to finish sharply. In this case I’m still discing down – and often prefer to play the intentional skip, where you reach for a shorter landing zone knowing full well you’ll get a little extra with the skip and walk. Upside down shots can also be a frequent good alternative (if you have developed these skills).
  • Low line drive shots tend to produce more consistent results. You may not always reach the pin, but you will suffer fewer errant shots and convert more pars – leading to more consistent scoring overall. T I M’s scenario of 200 – 20 comes into play here. When you can execute a shorter game with fewer flaws, your score will improve.
  • Rollers – I think I am the exception here, as I have developed some pretty unique roller skills, and I’m not afraid to use them in a pretty wide range of situations. More often than not it’s my thumb roller – and I’m not going to explain it in this post. Instead – I intend on doing a post dedicated to this shot – and also intend on including a video lesson. It’s but one example of using what you’re confident in. For some it may be a tomahawk or thumber, for others it may be a flick. The gist is – throw what you know – don’t try something new unless you have no other choice.

timg 01-25-2011 10:20 AM

The Spot

Everybody seems to have a different spot. The spot where your comfort and confidence levels seem to fall apart. Yes of course I'm talking about putting. And the spot has been responsible for countless missed putts, and innumerable curses and verbal flagellations.

I discovered the spot early on in my tournament career and noticed this hesitation around 25 feet or so where I switched from a weight forward stance perched up on my front foot, to one where I was pushing off the back foot up on to the front. Of course when I started too much push would drive the disc right through those Mach I chains so you had to temper the energy created by the push with enough touch to keep from blasting the target. Today I think it's more common to hear people fearing the blow by where a miss yields a putt of equal or greater come back distance.

So how do you deal with the spot? How do you convince yourself that that transitional distance is no big deal? The best thing you can do is to get proficient at more than one kind of stance. You say you can only putt with one foot forward? Or maybe you're a straddle putter. Maybe you like to stand like a stork on one foot, or maybe you prefer to shoot off the knee. Doesn't matter really - the key to overcoming "the spot" is to practice all of the above. When you're in the back yard or out at the course w/a handful of putters work the spot relentlessly. +/- 5' from that zone where it just isn't so comfortable. And do it with every imaginable stance even if you never plan to use that stance invariably, you will come across a situation where you're forced into it and you'll be glad you practiced it when that happens.

When you practice heavily on the transition zone (the spot), you get unexpected benefits. First and foremost your spot gets further from the basket so your consistency gets a boost. More importantly, you start to develop versatility that becomes hugely beneficial during competitive rounds. The reason I brought up this topic, is that I see most people warming up doing things they are already comfortable with. If you want to improve your game, you need to practice the things you are uncomfortable with. This is one that's easy to practice combine it with the breathing and visualization exercise outlined above and watch your putting proficiency jump in leaps and bounds.

timg 02-02-2011 07:33 PM

Chain high and on the way down

OK here's a concept that offers you a great variety of practice. And you can do it almost anywhere.

What range is it that you typically say to yourself – better lay up, don't want to run too far past? Is it 30-40' 50-60? 100+?

As you develop your putter/Mid range disc skills, you will find an increasing number of things that you can make them do. When you first start and you learn to deal with the inherent stability of golf discs, you may learn to zing it a bit in order to make it fly straight. Your most comfortable flight line choices are variations on flat flights that finish a little left, or sharp little hyzer shots you force to finish left.

One common result is a tendency to play firm “pokey” shots at the target when you get to that transition range – and you end up running past the basket on those 20-30' putts –

20-30' leaving with you with an equally challenging comeback putt. Or at some point (let’s say 50' for the sake of discussion) you decide it's much safer to lay up than to run at chains, because you fear the come backer.

When you’ve reached this part of your game, people generally do one of a couple things; either they teach themselves a new way to make the disc behave, or they stick with what they’ve got and monopolize their time on becoming more consistent within this "comfort range", to the exclusion of much actual target practice outside that comfort range.

The concept is as it says it is. Every time your disc gets to the basket it’s chain high and on the way down. The unfortunate piece of this advice is that you have to discover all the ways to make this happen yourself. Because there’s a ton of different ways to do it, and plenty of viable disc choices.

Think of it this way. When you're putting well, the optimum motion of a made putt is the disc going through a vertical decline within the target boundaries, at a moderate speed. This should be a reproducible motion from at least 100 feet. It’s just that the distance from the basket and the various obstacles forces you to create variable lines to the target. These are the ones you have to discover.

So take your putter and your mid and play wide little hyzer shots that are moving across the face of the target as they finish. Play high nose down anhyzer shots that parachute a little left to right through the target zone. Make up your own – FH/BH doesn’t matter. Chain high on the way down – is all that matters. When you play chain high and on the way down for everything other than a competitive round, you’ll teach yourself how to adopt a confident go-for-it attitude, and still leave yourself an easy comeback when you miss. Eventually – if it's high enough – it's in.

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