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I thought I'd just share views on the different things that help me improve at this game. I'd like to see more of this kind of thing from other players who are better than me (which is most of them.)

When I practice, which is once I week these days off the course, I don't simply go to an open field and see how far I can get the thing to fly anymore (just far enough for par, right). Instead, I find an uncrowded public park with lots of space and lots of trees, and practice executing what I consider to be realistic golf shots.

I carry with me a bin that contains 5 identical putters - same color, weight, and stamp - and 5 identical midrange discs - color weight and stamp. This way I am not thinking of any variable from one shot to another except those I am trying to correct or maintain.

I drop the stack, and from wherever I'm standing pick a target no more than 225'-250' away and I usually let the obstacles in between guide that decision. By that, I mean that I will always opt for the target that forces me to put the disc through a very realistic gap, or force me to really dial in the distance so as to not overshoot, or force me to control the ceiling and wing orientation really well. I do this because an open field shot, unobstructed, is rather idea but the practical reality is that during course play, most upshots aren't ideal and instead often feature one or more critical gaps, or a ceiling to manage. So, I pick a target that forms a realistic, challenging upshot...if the shot looks like something I'd rather NOT have to throw at, then THAT is my target - without question. Attacking gaps, attacking low ceiling shots, attacking park-or-die shots is what I am trying to get reps at executing, so that I'll be more comfortable doing that on the course.

Anyway, I fire away with the stack, doing the same pre-shot routine:

1.) Assume good posture
2.) Address the lie and conditions (wind, noise, etc.)
3.) Visualize the flight path, outcome....even the feel of the shot
4.) Execute

I try to also assume some confidence, and this grows the more I go through this type of practice routine. When I watch pro players do their thing, I'm always impressed by the confidence they exhibit on challenging par-saving upshots or tight-gap tee shots in the woods. The lesson I take away is that (A.) aggressiveness and confidence are two different things, with the license to be aggressive being a natural outgrowth of confidence, and (B.) confidence comes best from diligent and focused practice that exposes, attacks and shores up weakness in the game. So there's a logical order there. Practice yields confidence, and confidence allows you to be aggressive, and aggressive shots executed with confidence are rewarded with good outcomes.

I have all kinds of work to do on my game, as anyone who has played with me will agree, but at the very least I now look forward to those narrow-gap-200'-tricky-par-saver upshots, instead of dreading them, and my score on such holes is gradually improving.

More to come. Always interested in others' tips or routines.

Views: 3

Tags: course, executing, management, practice, routine, shots

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Comment by Calico Jack on October 9, 2008 at 3:07pm
That's an interesting topic of discussion. Sounds like we both got something from the book and videos. I wonder what other people think?
Comment by John McMullen on October 9, 2008 at 1:18pm
Jack, I have Scott's book, and IMO ... it's the only book about disc golf worth buying. It's too bad it can't be revised somewhat, or some other player doesn't write another! I have the videos too, but they are out on "loan" to discgofersr.us BILL.
Comment by Calico Jack on October 9, 2008 at 1:15pm
Excellent write up Luke! I do something similar in the back yard with my basket. Not as many obstacles as you'd find in a park but I get creative with it. I like the idea of your pre-shot routine. I'm developing mine as well. I have my putting routine down but my drive and upshot need work. I think whatever helps you get into that "focus zone" will do the trick.

I always weigh the probabilities. Like Stokely says, "If I throw this shot 10 times, what are the likely outcomes." Also, I like to find at least two different shots per lie. I have the bad habit of walking up to my disc and picking the first shot that appears to me. Often times if I stop and take a longer look at it, maybe straddle out left and right I'll see another angle. After that, it's like you said, visualize and execute.

I ask myself, "What is the optimal line? What disc will hold that line? Release? Power? Breath, Relax, Aim, Stop, Shoot!

P.S. John, you were asking about disc golf books?
I have read Scott Stokely's book and it was a great help when I was first starting to get serious about my game. http://www.discgolfbook.com/

Scott also has some videos for sale which I also own and have found helpful.

One caveat though, it doesn't appear that Scott maintains the website or the forum anymore and *some* of the info is out of date (mostly disc molds and discussion.) However, I believe the book and the videos are worth the investment for novice/intermediate players, maybe even a few pro tips.
Comment by John McMullen on October 9, 2008 at 12:04pm
Great post! I do something similar and I'll add that I play a short "push-putt" course in town often. Playing the [very] short and more technical shots, followed by good putting practice helps me with upshots and putting at the same time. I'll usually play the short course with 4-5 putters. Drive every hole, and putt out on all shots. Great practice.

When I practice long drives in the park, I use 4-5 of the same disc. I always pick targets. I try approaching the target with hyzer, anhyzer and straight on ... then move to a different position so the shots are totally different and require new lines.

I like to read posts like this, and agree ... it would be nice to read what other pro players do for practice. However, most of them are out touring and playing tourneys all summer ... and longer depending on where they live. I think if I played that much, I wouldn't have time to sit at a computer and write about it ... or feel like writing about it either, lol.

I would love to see a few disc golf books available. There are NONE. I'm sure some of the top pros could find a good ghost writer to help them put their words and experience in a nice book or two. KC, Feldberg, Schultz come to mind ... but there are a lot of other great disc golfers who could put together the information and publish a nice book. Question is ... do they want to share their experience?

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