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Coaches' Corner

Brychanus

* Ace Member *
Joined
Oct 25, 2021
Messages
4,115
Location
Philadelphia
Hey @sidewinder22 @OverthrowJosh @CoachChris @TrebuchetDiscGolf @Jaani @Sheep @BenjiHeywood @Nick481 @HyzerUniBomber @Clint Easterly (I left no one out on purpose, these were just recent ones that first came to mind. Let me know if I should @ anyone else). I know or have chatted or talked to many of you privately, and given recently new energy specifically about coaching, I thought it was time to make this a dedicated "coaching lounge."

I am creating this thread as a space people can use to discuss coaching craft. E.g. including but not limited to how you approach coaching whether online, in person, for pay or for free, for fun or for supplemental or primary income. Contents, theories, data, drills, strange ideas or observations are all encouraged and welcome. Feel vs. real, problems in language, the distance between knowledge and understanding and teaching, and related topics are welcome. How to deal with trouble areas, problems in your own execution vs. teaching.

"Anything goes" as long as you don't mind me bringing up "Rapoport's rules" sometimes.

There are other users on this form who coach in disc golf or otherwise that I also imagine could have valuable input. They should please feel free to join in as I believe there is a lot to learn from the broader space of coaching. Welcome to the Lounge!

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This looks fun.

Although I don't claim to be the most knowledgeable or most experienced coach on here I am an open book. If you have questions regarding anything involving process and logistics of private coaching please don't be shy. My goal is to help equip coaches (though I am still early in my journey).
 
I have a question for the people who actually have coached in person, and not just casually helped out when people ask (all I have ever done lol).

Have any of you systematically taught kids in around the 11-12 year old range, in a group setting? I really want to start an after school disc golf club at my kids' middle school, and have permission and bought a bunch of discs, but I want to go into this with an actual written out plan!

I want this to be fun for them as the primary goal, but I also want to be able to provide something of a structured path to learning how to throw well.

I have ideas about how to approach it, but if any of you have actually done this, I REALLY want to know how you went about it.

If this wasn't the intention of this thread I'm sorry! I will just leave the post vague for now in case you had another plan for this :)
 
I have a question for the people who actually have coached in person, and not just casually helped out when people ask (all I have ever done lol).

Have any of you systematically taught kids in around the 11-12 year old range, in a group setting? I really want to start an after school disc golf club at my kids' middle school, and have permission and bought a bunch of discs, but I want to go into this with an actual written out plan!

I want this to be fun for them as the primary goal, but I also want to be able to provide something of a structured path to learning how to throw well.

I have ideas about how to approach it, but if any of you have actually done this, I REALLY want to know how you went about it.

If this wasn't the intention of this thread I'm sorry! I will just leave the post vague for now in case you had another plan for this :)
I think this is a great use of this thread too dude.

So far I usually have worked live with adults (and especially people with injury histories) so hopefully someone else can chime in here.
 
I've done some stuff with ultimate, from ages 6ish to 16, nothing in disc golf directly.

I'd say 11-12 is an interesting age. They're probably just about at the age where they can start to understand coaching suggestions (below that it would be mostly 'have fun, try different things') but i probably wouldn't give them very many. They're probably old enough for paralysis by analysis too, at least for some of them.

I think kids that age will be able to solve their own problems much better than we could teach them anything technical. I'd focus on creating challenges that force them to solve problems (different hole shapes etc) so that the focus is always external ('i want the disc to do x') rather than internal ('i need to do this with my arm').

I think the biggest job, running a session for kids that age, is making sure everyone is engaged and enjoying it - even though that other guy seems to be learning faster than them etc etc. They can teach themselves to throw, particularly if they have someone to copy.

I don't claim to be an expert though. I just think kids are over-coached more often than under-coached.
 
I'll just drop this here I guess:


My niece and nephew are planning on doing this, this summer at our home course. They love disc golf, especially after their uncle sillybizz showed them FH rollers! Their parents are a little hard on them but I made it more fun which made them want to do it more. If you lecture kids they're going to associate a fun thing with a no fun thing and no longer want to do it.

Points for linking to DGCR, good job my city.
 
I have a question for the people who actually have coached in person, and not just casually helped out when people ask (all I have ever done lol).

Have any of you systematically taught kids in around the 11-12 year old range, in a group setting? I really want to start an after school disc golf club at my kids' middle school, and have permission and bought a bunch of discs, but I want to go into this with an actual written out plan!

I want this to be fun for them as the primary goal, but I also want to be able to provide something of a structured path to learning how to throw well.

I have ideas about how to approach it, but if any of you have actually done this, I REALLY want to know how you went about it.

If this wasn't the intention of this thread I'm sorry! I will just leave the post vague for now in case you had another plan for this :)

So I have coached kids in disc golf and I have run/grown tennis programs & clinics from ages 3-18yrs. I have not run big group clinics with kids in disc golf yet, so take this for what it's worth.

Most kids will leave a sport before they are 13. So the chances that the kids in the clinic are there with the goal of becoming professional disc golfers is extremely low. If you notice a kid that is chomping at the bit during a group session it's usually advised to have a conversation with the parents along the lines of "Hey, i notice that Sam is really into this. Like, more than his peers. Have you considered private lessons for him?"

Structure of the Clinic

I'd recommend having a base structure for the clinic where you cover something from each aspect of the game: driving, approach, and putting.

*Sample structure for driving portion of the clinic*
Driving: FH or BH HYZERS off the tee (15-20min)
  • Intro the concept of hyzers being high percentage with demo (1-2min)
  • Explain setup of drill (which baskets to throw to and teeing area) (1-2 min)
  • Students doing drill while coach floats and gives personal instruction to each student (Private In Group Setting / PIGS). Keep personal instruction short. (5-10 min)
  • Game/competition where students gain points based on proximity to basket. Could be best disc or best 3. (5-10 min)
    • Ex. Each student throws 3 hyzers and students are awarded points based on bullseye, C1Reg, and C2Reg. Most points wins
    • Ex.2 Each student throws 3 shots and you gain points based on who is closest to the pin. Player A threw the 1st, 4th, and 6th closest and gets 11 points while Player B threw 2nd, 3rd, and 5th closest and gets 10 points. Player B wins with a lower score
Repeat the same format for approach and putting for a 60min clinic.


Competition fuels juniors. The thing that often makes a kid go from "I just want to have fun" to "I want to win" is getting tired of losing to their friends so competitive games are indispensable in my book.

Private In Group Settings (PIGS) is also a critical value add and the best way to nudge people forward mechanically in the midst of a group of people with a variety of form issues.

Private lessons are usually the best place for intense form work imho.
Group lessons are for concepts, shot selection, and mental work.
Tournaments are for learning how to compete.
 
Have any of you systematically taught kids in around the 11-12 year old range, in a group setting? I really want to start an after school disc golf club at my kids' middle school, and have permission and bought a bunch of discs, but I want to go into this with an actual written out plan!

Having coached grade school to high school in both football and basketball 11 to 12 is one of the best places to start teach fundamentals. The absolute worst age to teach is 13 year old or more specifically 8th graders. By the time they reach 8th grade they have everything in the entire world figure out and their focus is less than desirable. Amazing how much more humble they are a year later once they have reach high school and realize their entire world is upside down. It even worst than any grade in high school, even seniors who are trying to figure out what after high school life is going to look like with a lot more responsibilities.

Of course there always exceptions to the rule.
 
I'll just drop this here I guess:


My niece and nephew are planning on doing this, this summer at our home course. They love disc golf, especially after their uncle sillybizz showed them FH rollers! Their parents are a little hard on them but I made it more fun which made them want to do it more. If you lecture kids they're going to associate a fun thing with a no fun thing and no longer want to do it.

Points for linking to DGCR, good job my city.
Oh my goodness! How could I forget one of the most important parts lol!

PARENT EDUCATION

One of the hardest parts of coaching kids is parents not understanding their role and having unrealistic expectations.

You have to educate the parents more than the kids. If you can create a healthy mindset among the parents you will attract the best kids (attitude wise). Entitled parents that expect you to turn their kid into Paul McBeth with 1 group session a week are going to find their way to your clinic. If you can set clear expectations and descriptions of the purpose for their kids you will save yourself a world of hurt.

It should be clear that the clinics primary goal is to have fun playing disc golf and to practice aspects of the game. If the student and their parent want the student to start training for the highest level of the game they need to be in private lessons and competing.

Role of the coach: to coach
Role of the parent: to encourage the student; to pay; to make sure the student listens to the coach
Role of the student: to be grateful to the parents for giving the opportunity; to listen to the coach; to practice
 
This looks fun.

Although I don't claim to be the most knowledgeable or most experienced coach on here I am an open book. If you have questions regarding anything involving process and logistics of private coaching please don't be shy. My goal is to help equip coaches (though I am still early in my journey).
My goal is definitely to learn stuff, but my ego will almost certainly enjoy sharing what knowledge i might have, which is probably different to most other folk. I never intended to coach, i just wanted to be at college forever and somehow ended up a full-time ultimate coach, so my background is more academic (not coaching-related academia, just random courses i thought i could get funding to study lol).

I like to apply random bits of info to problems in coaching (e.g. Stop playing badly! or SotG, Morality and Economics ) and i love the physics and biomechanics stuff.

Let's geek out.
 
I hope no one minds if I start chiming in on this thread too. I'm not a disc golf coach at the moment, but I do have a pretty good level of experience in track and field and weight room coaching, so I'm hopeful I can offer something of substance even if it's a little more abstract/indirect in nature. (I'm not about to accidentally dox myself online here, but happy to share verification privately should anyone want to make sure I'm not full of crap lol).
 
"Role of the student: to be grateful to the parents for giving the opportunity; to listen to the coach; to practice."

Oh my, i forgot we might be dealing with American attitudes to sport!

I don't mean this as any kind of criticism of you Josh, it's presumably true of the environment you guys live and work in, but an 11 year old in a niche recreational sport at an after school club has a duty to practice? Am i the only one who finds that incredible?

I can't imagine why most kids quit organised sport at about the age they're able to say no to their parents!
 
"Role of the student: to be grateful to the parents for giving the opportunity; to listen to the coach; to practice."

Oh my, i forgot we might be dealing with American attitudes to sport!

I don't mean this as any kind of criticism of you Josh, it's presumably true of the environment you guys live and work in, but an 11 year old in a niche recreational sport at an after school club has a duty to practice? Am i the only one who finds that incredible?

I can't imagine why most kids quit organised sport at about the age they're able to say no to their parents!
Sorry. I might be a little dense. I cannot tell if this is sarcasm or if you're saying the American expectation of practicing a sport is weird.

To clarify, do you mean that it is ridiculous that we have to verbalize the expectation of practice? Or that it is ridiculous that we have the expectation of practice?

Also, I should say that I'm coming from a private coaching background where parents are paying for their kids to show up to clinics not a background where kids show up for free afterschool before their parents pick them up. I would have much different expectations for a school program than a private program.
 
I have a question for the people who actually have coached in person, and not just casually helped out when people ask (all I have ever done lol).

Have any of you systematically taught kids in around the 11-12 year old range, in a group setting? I really want to start an after school disc golf club at my kids' middle school, and have permission and bought a bunch of discs, but I want to go into this with an actual written out plan!

I want this to be fun for them as the primary goal, but I also want to be able to provide something of a structured path to learning how to throw well.

I have ideas about how to approach it, but if any of you have actually done this, I REALLY want to know how you went about it.

If this wasn't the intention of this thread I'm sorry! I will just leave the post vague for now in case you had another plan for this :)

I recently did a couple clinics for middle school students in my hometown (through the school). It depends on how much time you have and how many children there are, but for the most part stick to absolute basics and make almost everything a game or a challenge. I had ~30 minutes with 10-14 kids, most of which had never heard of disc golf.

I started with grip—just making sure they're holding them in a way that's not absolutely wrong, but otherwise let them do what's comfortable and don't give much instruction. I then ask them to stand sideways to the target, and have them put most of their weight on the front leg. You can do this by having them stand on one leg and then put a toe down or something. It's a simple instruction and they naturally have a tendency to shift their weight back in their swing so it works out well. I show them what a good throw looks like (from a standstill) and then I just let them sling it towards a basket ~100 feet away a few times—they're usually desperate to throw. I also cover putting with a few simple directions, followed by a relay game where they group up into teams and each putt towards a basket in a race.

I always end with a CTP for a prize pack, and thanks to @OverthrowJosh and my sponsor Sweet Spot Disc Golf I've always had enough disc for each student to take at least one home with them.

They naturally want to throw from a standstill, so I wouldn't introduce a run-up or walk-up at that stage (absolute beginners). It's better suited for individual students who want to learn—you'll be dealing with a wide range in a group, so you have to suit your content to the lowest common denominator (within reason). I've shown my nephew a few things individually, and it makes it much easier to work on more complex things like power vs putting grips and x-step.

It's pretty enjoyable to see a wide range of kids just having fun with a disc in their hand, so make sure you're also taking it in. There's not one kid who isn't excited to bring a disc home after this type of clinic—and I always end by telling them about the closest kid-friendly disc golf course.
 
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Sorry. I might be a little dense. I cannot tell if this is sarcasm or if you're saying the American expectation of practicing a sport is weird.

To clarify, do you mean that it is ridiculous that we have to verbalize the expectation of practice? Or that it is ridiculous that we have the expectation of practice?

Also, I should say that I'm coming from a private coaching background where parents are paying for their kids to show up to clinics not a background where kids show up for free afterschool before their parents pick them up. I would have much different expectations for a school program than a private program.
Yeah, sorry, just saying that America is weird. (To me, anyway.)

I can't think of many sports in the uk that would have these expectations, even in private coaching environments. Things like gymnastics where the peak age is very young, or swimming, track and field etc where a very small number of kids will be working hard, and that's about it.

Obviously some kids are serious about soccer at a young age, and they might be affiliated with a professional club's youth program or whatever. But otherwise, there's really hardly any private sports coaching like you'd get with eg violin lessons or whatever.

It's really interesting to me that your default assumption about an after school club is that it would be a serious learning endeavour, and my default assumption is that a bunch of kids would be having fun.
 
Sorry, that last paragraph sounded much more judgemental than I intended. I really do find it interesting that there's such a different culture.
 
Sorry, that last paragraph sounded much more judgemental than I intended. I really do find it interesting that there's such a different culture.
I actually don't have experience with the after school club environment and if I did the expectation would be much different. If it were just an after school activity I'd try to make it as fun as possible and would not have an expectation for kids to practice. Once you start paying and are part of a club environment where most of these kids are going to be trying out for their school teams it's a bit different. Especially with tennis.

With that being said my goal with almost every group other than the advanced juniors (admitted via coach approval only) was to have fun and get a bit better at the sport. Obviously lots of kids showed up to hang out with their friends and from that environment you would filter the more intense ones into the advanced group.
 
Yeah, sorry, just saying that America is weird. (To me, anyway.)

I can't think of many sports in the uk that would have these expectations, even in private coaching environments. Things like gymnastics where the peak age is very young, or swimming, track and field etc where a very small number of kids will be working hard, and that's about it.

Obviously some kids are serious about soccer at a young age, and they might be affiliated with a professional club's youth program or whatever. But otherwise, there's really hardly any private sports coaching like you'd get with eg violin lessons or whatever.

It's really interesting to me that your default assumption about an after school club is that it would be a serious learning endeavour, and my default assumption is that a bunch of kids would be having fun.
The super serious parent, living vicariously through their kids' sporting achievements isn't a thing in the UK? If so, I'm glad for you. Way too much of that here in my opinion.
 
The super serious parent, living vicariously through their kids' sporting achievements isn't a thing in the UK? If so, I'm glad for you. Way too much of that here in my opinion.
It exists. It's definitely not normalised. Most parents would be embarrassed to be seen that way. Or maybe I'm just out in the sticks and this stuff is rife elsewhere!
 
The super serious parent, living vicariously through their kids' sporting achievements isn't a thing in the UK? If so, I'm glad for you. Way too much of that here in my opinion.
We definitely got some of those parents here in the northern Europe, primarily in soccer I reckon, but. This might just be a superficial view of the states, but it seems like there's at least a dozen that are way "too much" at every football game, even with very little kids lol.

I've played badminton on a very high level and I've experienced maybe 2-5 parents out of hundreds that were pacing their kids like maniacs.


Teaching kids should 100% be about them having fun, making friends, getting in shape/moving around and lastly, improve accordingly. As a coach, you'll notice the outliers and coach then thereafter.
 

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