Being Relaxed and Loose is Actually a Thing? Who knew? (Everyone, I guess).

itsRudy

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Gold level trusted reviewer
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Sep 22, 2017
Why didn't I listen to Danny Lindahl earlier? I just didn't know how, to be honest. It always sounded like great advice, but it's like "Eat less." Way easier said than done once a triple cheese pizza is staring you in the face.

Was out the last half year due to a wrist injury. ZERO play, ZERO practice. I usually don't play May-beginning Sept anyways, preferring the cold barren bush-free months. But this was longer. Six full months almost. Coming back the last 2 weeks, I noticed, as I do with every extended time out, a marked improvement. Usually it's a small distance gain.

I had that, too, this time, no biggie and not an earth shattering increase. But I got a massive gain in accuracy both driving and putting as well. And I was a horrible putter. Missing at 10/15 footers all the time. Now I'm making 20 footers consistently and even get a decent run on 40 footers. Made several yesterday during round. It's not a one time thing. The last 4 outings, I just notice so much improvement in putting, it's insane. My home course, with 400 rounds there under my belt, I just played or tied my best record the last 3/4 times. And driving. The distance increase is small but what I'm doing. On narrow tunnels that my history shows got tree-magneted 8 time out of 10, I'm punching right up the gut and going past a basket 20 feet, which I never did passed before. Not distance thing, just accuracy. And I'm noticing the like, over and over again. Surpassing tunnel shots and hitting all types of angles.

I had to ponder this. Why this massive jump in my game with no play. I'm dumb as they come so I took a while to ponder this some days.

And I noticed it. Because of my previous injury, I'm allowing myself to be as slow (in run up) and loose with no real expectations. I just wanted to play again to play, with what little I had, not max it each and every time. The thing before my injury, that month I gripped the disc as tightly throughout just as an ill-conceived experiment. For seven years, I always ran through the run up as fast and tight as possible like I'm gonna win a race with it. Arm tight. Hand tight. Robotic motions. Etcetera. Now I just go a sedate pace and only tighten my grip the last split second before release.

But I wasn't improved my first two outings out the gate. Actually slightly worse than before, it just didn't bother me cause I just expected it and worse. Total acceptance of suckage, better than not playing at all. I don't think looseness or slowness is some magic ingredient to power, but to experimentation and change. It's like the tightness was constricting me to the very current already-well-practiced shitty form that was holding me back. Being loose, I think I'm subconsciously experimenting with what brings results but without the pressure to get max speed everytime. It's like gaining the permission to fail and change quickly. I'm just happy to play again now. If I have to throw my second shot 200ft to pin or 100ft, it's not really going to matter to the score.

Think the same thing happened with putting. It wasn't right out the gate but by my 3rd round. Also got all the myriad points and tips emptied out of my head. I'm just swinging, not trying to emulate a form or trying to be the perfect spin or pitch putter as shown on TV YT. Just something in the middle that's working for me. Before, I would be all in my head, second guess and focus more on my form, foot placement, what my hands are doing, wondering if I should switch to another model putter next time at the shop, than on the basket. It was a mess, like trying to learn to dance and being awkward and stepping on your partners' toes every time, after years still. Now it's just about the basket and trying that one small adjustment if it didn't work last time. It's like I went from second stage conscious incompetence, jumping over conscious competence, a little bit into unconscious competence.

Anyone else experience this? It's like a total revelation.
 
Just wanted to add a couple practical ideas. It looks like many people not used to throwing
for efficient peak force
(even if they have been disc golfing for a while) have a lot of trouble getting the reflexive parts and have too much slack/not the correct muscle tone in sequence.

When you work on your drive form, added momentum in good posture & sequence can help you access the reflexes talked about in what SW linked above. You can help generate it using pumps and letting your body mass build up tension/small stretches and unload into the throw. Ideally they are only exactly the size they need to be to power a shot, but might need to be exaggerated to feel and do at first.

When you downscale or downtempo those for shorter shots, you can still (1) use pumps to help generate momentum and the stretch reflexes heading into and out of the backswing and/or (2) access the chain in a smaller form "move past the disc" style, but that requires more mastery of the kinetics. I have had more success with 2 recently after working for a long time with 1. I still get the best peak distance from a full pendulum, and use more of it if I don't have a lot of room for my feet to move. I've found that shrinking the pendulum down has helped me continue to work on my X-step & balance coming off the rear side - attacking it from both directions seems to be effective. Incidentally my accuracy and ranging at medium distances seems to be increasing quickly as a result.

This is somewhat like the difference between a one inch punch and "superman" punch in martial arts. In a sense you are using the same chain, but in the absence of momentum you need excellent kinetic control to generate some of the stretchy parts for the one incher vs. a superman. Superman punch makes it easier to get since the momentum helps stretch you out and use the ground.


Overall I think this is an advantage of working with and harnessing momentum learning to throw, even (or especially) if wild at first, then dialing things in for control.
 
For me it is a fine line. For a good shot, my arm needs to get in the right position. To accomplish that I need to move it consciously, but not too consciously or I will lose power or shank it. Wanting to throw a far shot therefor usually results in a shank. Wanting to add power to the shot makes me consciously pull the arm and everything gets out of whack. The best shots in a run up feel like the first a sequence of events that are started by the first steps and end at the follow-through, but everything between is just a series of consequences set in motion by the first step that cannot be interrupted.

I also wonder what that is like for pro discgolfers in high pressure situations. Do they feel the need to throw hard or good? Do they fall into the trap of consciously trying for a good shot? Do they have some train of thought that keeps them lose?
 
TLDR...

Smooth is far.....

Haha actually I did read it, congratulations on putting it together. I have also experienced Aha moments through injuries.

When you are protecting whatever is busted you are working on a better body flow and semi conciously a better form. You are more concerned with the right movement over results. Trying to throw at 80% power is difficult when your body is at 100%, your brain and ambition gets in the way.

I think pro disc golfers are just that much more used to the mental side of the game, there's so many traps that us regular golfers fall into. Some of my best tourney rounds (and a few wins) came when I thought I was out of it and just kept playing a conservative damage minimizing round. If I think I'm 🔥 I don't play my regular game, I take too many risks, get too aggressive and often suffer.
 
I also wonder what that is like for pro discgolfers in high pressure situations. Do they feel the need to throw hard or good? Do they fall into the trap of consciously trying for a good shot? Do they have some train of thought that keeps them lose?
We'd have to ask some of them and I'd wouldn't be surprised if TaE's answer applies.

When I'm having a bad day I always think about these. It's not schadenfreude, but it's normalizing to see the top guns be human sometimes.

SSIhbM6.gif


 
We'd have to ask some of them and I'd wouldn't be surprised if TaE's answer applies.
Well FWIW I hang out with a lot of semi pro golfers (occasionally haha) largely thanks to my buddy Al. He's been running the local tourney for over 30 yrs and was around when our course was established, he pushed me to set up a course when he sold his place so the "Triple Crown" 3 course tournament could continue and kinda took me under his wing. I also ran my own tourney the Margaritaville Doubles for a decade (now defunct) I've met a few true legends of discgolf and freestyle and been whooped by all of them.

In a tourney i try to pick out a few someones that are about the same ability and see how I card against them. 16th place is fine as long as Sam or Scotty is behind me :D

Lots of the pros I know were just the regular contenders 15yrs ago. Some advanced to sponsorship some of us did not haha. My disc golf philosophy has come from players with 30+ yrs of experience, the thing that separates the pros from the Joe's is consistency and grace under pressure, athletic ability only gets you so far. Most of them are very calm and composed. I can't tell you how many times I've heard:

Smooth is far.

Also:

Throw the gap, the basket doesn't matter.

There's nothing wrong with par

One shot at a time.

It's not a bad shot, it's a chance at a great comeback shot.


These are the mantras that keep me loose and in the game, besides the fact that i love it. I'm not perfect heck im barely good these days, but if I play to my ability and play my game without trying to keep up or catch up I do alright.

Whether you are playing against someone or your perceived ability you just need to play your game. There's no making up for the last shot. If you can't keep a strong mindset you can't compete effectively. A seasoned golfer has way less melt downs than a newer golfer.

I regret a round where I have a melt down or let the bad shots get in my head a lot more than an equally lousy round where I hold it together. It happens very occasionally now.

Smooth is far.
 
Anyone else experience this? It's like a total revelation.
Its in line with what I have been experiencing in regular play - when I started working on a few new things it helped me bust through a mental block I've had all summer with a lack of trust in what I'm doing. When I threw the shots I wasn't comfortable with (in this case: forehands with the low release and jump putting) I was just letting it fly and feeling the shot after the fact. Establishing that the disc will do what I want if I trust it and stop micromanaging it helped bring around the other pieces of my game in the past few days.
 
Someone on dgr had the sig line:
slow is smooth, smooth is fast, fast is far

I can both understand that conceptually and completely fail to implement it in my throw.
 
Someone on dgr had the sig line:
slow is smooth, smooth is fast, fast is far

I can both understand that conceptually and completely fail to implement it in my throw.
I still wrestle with this as well. I gather it's supposed to be elusive, a zen koan sort of thing (I mean really: if slow = smooth and smooth = fast, then slow = fast).

It also reminds me of the (in)famous project management triangle, the old saying "good, fast, cheap: pick two". For throwing, I think of it as: fluid, balanced, specific. Fluid is what this thread is about and contrasts with rigid, balanced is obvious and contrasts with wild or swaying, and specific refers to the details (nose angle, elbow out, pinned off-arm, etc.) and contrasts with thoughtless or random. I struggle to get all three. If I'm fluid and balanced, I get the specifics wrong and shots go too high/low, nose-up, or I round, etc. If I'm fluid and specific, I sway and throw myself past the brace. If I'm balanced and specific, I throw good lines but I'm stiff and can't tap into that loose bounce and redirection and thus I lose power/distance. Eh, it's one way to think about it, probably could use some improvement as a mental model.

Anyway, yeah: slow is far.
 
When I'm having a bad day I always think about these. It's not schadenfreude, but it's normalizing to see the top guns be human sometimes.

Yeah it's the same for me, but mostly with putts. Putts miss, pros shank them and it is okay to do the same during a round.

As to the saying slow is smooth, smooth is fast, fast is far: I tend to want immediate results in practice and get frustrated when throwing harder doesnt result in better shots. However this line of thinking never works out. You must not want to throw far to actually do it. Especially in shifting weight, gravity cant be accelerated (unless mvp invents a devicefor it) and one needs to wait for gravity to pull the body in the right positions
 
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Someone on dgr had the sig line:
slow is smooth, smooth is fast, fast is far

I can both understand that conceptually and completely fail to implement it in my throw.
It's because our brains dont associate fast with slow.

We want to go slow, to go smooth to drive leverage into the disc causing the disc to go fast.
Not "us" to go fast.

So, when we think in our brains fast, we think "go fast" not "drive leverage."

And when you start thinking about it in leverage and mechanical advantage and kinetic chains. Despite them being slightly over complicating the thing, but you wanna trick your brain into "swing leverage" not "throw hard/fast."
 
It's because our brains dont associate fast with slow.

We want to go slow, to go smooth to drive leverage into the disc causing the disc to go fast.
Not "us" to go fast.

So, when we think in our brains fast, we think "go fast" not "drive leverage."

And when you start thinking about it in leverage and mechanical advantage and kinetic chains. Despite them being slightly over complicating the thing, but you wanna trick your brain into "swing leverage" not "throw hard/fast."
Not disagreeing with any of that.

I think in my case, the failure to execute is really down to two things: learning backhand from experienced, local players in the mid 2000s who didn't know what good form was (ingrained muscle memory is still leading me to bad sequence and positions) and not fully committing to a ground up overhaul (I'm like a pro team who trys to stay competitive while rebuilding; can't do both).
 
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