Technique tips and hints

Any chat about technique, training methods, requests for advice etc.
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Technique tips and hints

Post by rhatton1 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:18 am

There don't seem to be many good technique tips and tricks out there for disc golf.

There is a lot of do this, do that kind of information, and thats all well and good to know, but putting it into practice is not so easy.

One of the ways I improved my ball golf swing was through different techniques that didn't involve actually hitting the ball. They were techniques designed to get my body working properly. When I actually took the newly developed swing to the driving range the effect was immediate and dramatic.

What I am looking for is a repetitive action that can train your muscles into the correct motions without actually having to throw a disc, something that can be done indoors would be ideal. (The best device i used in ball golf was a 6 foot eliptical contraption that you stood inside of and swung a weighted metal pole around the inside. It completely replicated a perfect golf swing and I stepped straight from this on to the driving range and started hitting dead straight 250 yard drives uphill)

There are some techniques suggested on disgolfreview, but all of these do still involve throwing a disc, has anyone got any good techniques that can replicate an action? These are a much better way of developing a throw than telling someone to do this do that and then expect them to be able to put this in place mid throw.

This thought came about after Jesse and I were giving some tips to someone at Quarry Park the other days and there must have been about 10 different things we were saying he should try to do, there is no way he was going to be able to take it all in and use this information mid throw.

One of my first techniques which I try quite a lot at home to get my rotation going, and this has seemed to have helped, has been standing with my arms loosely by my side and twisting my upper body smoothly but powerfully and trying to get my arms to swing to horizontal. If I roatate through the hips upwards and try to keep the legs planted until the arms have raised then release this simulates a drive and gets mybody used to this motion. This came about after watching and posting video of my drive on dsicgolfreview and realising it was almost all arm and no upper body rotation as I thought it had been. My drive accuracy and consistent distance have both increased dramatically as a result.

What I ideally need is some techniques for improving the short game and midrange game. So...Hit me.
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Post by richard » Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:24 pm

Ok... here opening myself up to the world of contradiction!

This is how I teach players when asked about throwing mid range approach shots.

1 Shot selection.... On approaching your disc take time to look at all the lines of approach that you have. If you have 2 or 3 different approaches it is often wise to try and calculate the difficulty of each choice. I try to rate the different shots by judging how many times out of 10 that I would expect to get the shot right. I would then generally go for the shot that I expect to get right more often than the others. For me , as I don’t have much of a sidearm, I tend to look at the Hyser line … you, of course, may be completely different from me.

2. Disc selection. This sounds obvious but choosing the correct disc for the shot type is very important. Del and Bruce have both told me… If you can reach with a putter… throw a putter! How many of us Ams do that… not many from what I see day in, day out.
I usually teach players that they should choose a disc that they can throw with plenty of power to get to the target. If you try to throw a disc at 50 % power you can often get it really wrong because you don’t give the disc a chance to do what it was designed to do.

3. Set Up. We all have different set ups but this is how I advise newbies. Presuming that we are not using a run up for the approach, and using a back hand throw, I get them to stand side on to the target. Feet shoulder width apart. Now, if you draw an imaginary line that crosses your two big toes and then forward this is where your disc, thrown correctly, should start its flightpath. I see many players who set up aiming at the basket and wonder why it fades well left. You know that the disc will generally fade left so I get players to aim at about 2 O’Clock and therefore allow the disc to fade in towards the basket.

4 Throw. Once all the above is locked in all you need to do is throw the disc with the correct power and angle. You should be able to throw blindfolded and the disc should fly to the predetermined destination. Always follow through correctly to ensure that you “finish the shot”.

This is how I teach the approach and it has produced some very good results… a lot of it was taught to me by Bruce and Jester … If I have misrepresented their teaching, it is my fault and not theirs!!! Hope this gives a basic help as to what I do.
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Post by rhatton1 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:08 pm

All good but not quite what i'm looking for.

In most other sports you have some techniques that you can apply to create the correct muscle memory.

If I have a bad technique (IF!!!!) say for example all my discs flip to the right. I could try to change my thinking and say well yes I know where this disc will land so I will jsut aim to the left of the target and throw. a Parallel was bought up in a conversation with Jester about Ball golf. If I can slice a shot consistently 200 yards at a 45 degree angle then I could just line up my shots 45 degrees to the left (I did actually use to do this before getting lessons) It works but is surely not the way to improve.

I want techniques that can correct this "slice" not preshot routines etc. all of which are great once you've got the technique locked in and all of which will help a bad technique achieve a positive result. But they are not things I can practice away from the course whilst snow bound in winter! Its all well and good reading things from" Ken Climo saying get out on the course and practice 2 hours a day! I "work" from 8 - 6 ish, for 4 months of the year its not light during the times I can get out, so i need something I can do at home.

I've thought about just doing the action of my throw but feel this could be self defeating as without seeing the flight of the disc the action could be slightly off and damage rather than help technique.

There are drills out there that can be done at home that wil help, I just haven't found them yet and they may not even exist yet, so lets break down what makes a good drive and produce the drills that create them!
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Post by rhatton1 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:24 pm

Also Rich, i've been thinking about what you were saying with the putting the other day when we played.

You were suggesting that its better just before a putt to take two or three dummy putts with a disc in hand to feel the weight of the disc. The theory was similar to a baseball player swiinging a weighted bat before going to take the shot.

this makes perfect sense for the Baseballer as when he swings the real bat the technique has just been locked in and as its a lot lighter the swing will come through even quicker and home run here we come.

I tend to practice putt without a disc in hand, a technique stolen from Rick Rick (and I have had more success since switching) and your suggestion was that I was putting low a lot as a result as the weight of the disc was changing the position my hand was coming to on the release. The main thing I am now focussing on in my putting action is the finger spring, everything before this is pretty much to get your hand in position before the fingers spring open and launch the disc towards the target. My contention is you can't practice this spring with a disc in your hand as you would have to let go of the disc for it to happen properly.

What are others thoughts on preshot putting routines with or without discs? I think most players on tour practice putt with a disc in hand, but what is the relative merit of this for each of you? Logically I do feel that it is better to take the preshot without a disc as you will then be closer in action to what you are about to do, this is where in my opinion the baseball hitter analogy falls down as they would have exactly the same action just with a heavier bat. Thoughts?
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Post by richard » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:16 pm

the only way i can think of of is to attatch a 172 gram weight to your hand or wrist to simulate the putter weight ... this way your muscle memory would , presumably, account for the same weight as your putter. Its not going to be quite the same but close. that way you can practice the "spring" (whatever that is) without having to throw the disc.

i feel that if you practice your putt without the putter you muscle memory will be confused as as soon as you put a putter in your hand it will weigh down your putt and therefore your putt will release low and you will drop short... as you were at croydon. (dont forget that our baskets are a little higher than those at QP, so that maybe another answer!!!
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Post by bruce » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:34 pm

Some thoughts:

Driving
Personally I have worked on my timing at home, essentially by re-enacting the final foot plant and throw, starting really slowly trying to get the form right, then gradually speeding it up. This does require you to know what proper form *should* look like though...
Obviously eventually you will have to translate this to the field with a disc, and may have to make some minor adjustments to implement it into the real world (I was releasing everything a touch right to start with).

Putting
I'm don't have a dummy putt in the sense you talk of, I have a disc-in-hand swing of the arm to get the feel that everything is in line, but my hand never gets higher than my waist. On the rare occasions that I have felt the need to really do a dummy putt I agree with you Ratton, no disc means you can execute the whole putt including the vital finger spring, I couldn't do it with the disc in my hand. I still don't know how Jester doesn't fire prematurely sometimes (fnarr, fnarr).

At the end of the day, pre-shot routine, whether before driving, approaching or putting, is about getting your mind and body into the place where successful execution happens. In order to do that, yo uhave to go out and successfully execute whatever skill it is you're focussing on, then capture one or two elements of that feeling that you can focus on in your pre-shot routine.
For me when putting I: a) pick a link, b) swing the arm as above, c) find the feeling in my head of the finger spring and the post putt follow through (the two things I identified as corresponding to a successful putt).
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Post by rhatton1 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:37 pm

I think the main reason for me putting low is fear of missing high, I tend to miss on height rather than left or right these days and so tend to aim low to make sure of the two putt rather than sailing past and risking a three putt or four or 6 putt as i "achieved" up at Burnlaw. Most of my putting problems are mental, Bruce is lending me a book about overcoming this when he remembers....

Finger spring is the rapid opening of your fingers, almost like a flick which propels the disc towards the chains. Theres a lot about it on Discgolfreview which is well worth reading and watching the videos. As it such a small movement which generates a lot of motion it is very accurate. More and more with my putt i'm trying to take exagerrated movements out and make everything as simple as possible jsut focussing on this spring at the end and how to achieve this with as little as possible other movemnet around.
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Post by rhatton1 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:56 pm

bruce wrote:Some thoughts:

Driving
Personally I have worked on my timing at home, essentially by re-enacting the final foot plant and throw, starting really slowly trying to get the form right, then gradually speeding it up. This does require you to know what proper form *should* look like though...
Obviously eventually you will have to translate this to the field with a disc, and may have to make some minor adjustments to implement it into the real world (I was releasing everything a touch right to start with).

Putting
I'm don't have a dummy putt in the sense you talk of, I have a disc-in-hand swing of the arm to get the feel that everything is in line, but my hand never gets higher than my waist. On the rare occasions that I have felt the need to really do a dummy putt I agree with you Ratton, no disc means you can execute the whole putt including the vital finger spring, I couldn't do it with the disc in my hand. I still don't know how Jester doesn't fire prematurely sometimes (fnarr, fnarr).

At the end of the day, pre-shot routine, whether before driving, approaching or putting, is about getting your mind and body into the place where successful execution happens. In order to do that, yo uhave to go out and successfully execute whatever skill it is you're focussing on, then capture one or two elements of that feeling that you can focus on in your pre-shot routine.
For me when putting I: a) pick a link, b) swing the arm as above, c) find the feeling in my head of the finger spring and the post putt follow through (the two things I identified as corresponding to a successful putt).
I do this with the driving at home as well, but i do worry that I am learning bad technique as I have no way of seeing the results of what I am trying whilst at home. I am fairly confident with driving however so this isn't a major issue for me. I'm frustrated that I can't seem to translate a pretty solid driving technique into a controllable midrange/approach shot. All I try to do with these shots is a smaller version of the drive keeping all other elements the same, somewhere down the line I fail, I have a feeling its to do with my elbow position dropping and possibly tightness of the grip lessening on approach shots.

Putting - I'm still searching for the action that corresponds to a successful putt, I keep thinking i've found it then realise, nope thats not it. I'm almost there now though finally!

I also wonder how both Jester and Jesse are so accurate with the putts when what they acutally do in the putt is different to their pre shot routines. This is more noticeable I think with Jesse than Jester.

I do love watching both Chris Obrien and Rick Murphy go through their pre shot and actual putts as both seem to flow and the actual putt looks just like the preshot every time.

I'm trying to emulate Nicco Locastre in my putting action as he has a similar grace to the two above but uses a full straddle that I feel more comfortable with. This was a tip of Jesses, find a top player to emulate, and I do feel this is working, I just wish there was more video available of the putting actions of the top pros, most seems to focus on the drives.
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Post by bruce » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:07 pm

What's your issue with approaching? Distance control? Accuracy? Getting the turn/fade right?

Also, what are you throwing?
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Post by richard » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:28 pm

One way of practicing at home that has worked for some of my guys is y using a tea towel!... Bear with me...

If you practice your throwingaction with a tea towel in hand you can do 2 things... 1 you can see the plane of the "disc" through the action and 2 you use the resistance to gain muscle memory.

I use the technique to demonstate putting power in to the shot (particually good when teaching ladies, I find) If the towel snaps through you can feel it, if it doesnt you need to really whip the arm through.
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Post by rhatton1 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:39 pm

bruce wrote:What's your issue with approaching? Distance control? Accuracy? Getting the turn/fade right?

Also, what are you throwing?
accuracy all the way. I tend to flip them badly, or when I throw them flat and it feels good I overthrow, thats what makes me think the grip strength is the main problem, I think I try without realising, to release the disc rather than rip it out.

I'm pretty sure that I drop my elbow as I come to the hit as well, I've certainly found I get my straightest drives if I really concentrate on keeping this elbow up.

The approach shots are where my game is lost. It puts pressure on my putts and is generally rubbish.
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Post by bruce » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:11 pm

Without seeing what you mean, what kind of range you're talking about etc, pretty tricky to diagnose a particular fault.
All I'll say is that I did more or less nothing but hyzer approaches for my first couple of years playing, and still default to it. Best for distance control and the most predictable line with the lowest chance of error.
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Post by rhatton1 » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:17 pm

I try Hyzer approaches with overstable discs, release them sideways and they still flip, theres a problem in there somewhere :lol:

Edit: by that I mean they leave my hand almost on a knife and visibly flip to flat then some start turning right. a longer distance hyzer I can control which makes me think its a grip problem.

any range from about 30 meters - 60 meters is the danger zone for me.

I found chucking a buzz backwards and forwards with Westy on a field that I was more accurate at 90 meters than I was at 40, at the greater distance he hardly had to move, close up he got a lot of exercise! at further distance I could put it on a hyzer/anhyzer or straight flight as well and it would hold the path, closer up it wouldn't
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Post by Jester » Fri Jan 08, 2010 6:51 pm

richard wrote:dont forget that our baskets are a little higher than those at QP, so that maybe another answer!!!
General point to no one in particular about putting: wherever you play, whatever the height of the target, take each basket on as an individual challenge. There's no point getting comfortable putting to baskets a certain height if you go somewhere else and you're thrown off by variation.

If you find this difficult to get past, think of it this way: a higher basket is just the same as and 'normal' basket slightly uphill from you, and a lower basket is just the same as and 'normal' basket slightly downhill from you. We play on uneven ground all the time so in our minds this should be no different.

Ultimately, don't let trivial things psyche you out. Forget how high or low it is compared to what you're used to and putt at what's in front of you.
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Post by Jester » Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:42 pm

bruce wrote:Some thoughts:

Putting
I'm don't have a dummy putt in the sense you talk of, I have a disc-in-hand swing of the arm to get the feel that everything is in line, but my hand never gets higher than my waist. On the rare occasions that I have felt the need to really do a dummy putt I agree with you Ratton, no disc means you can execute the whole putt including the vital finger spring, I couldn't do it with the disc in my hand. I still don't know how Jester doesn't fire prematurely sometimes (fnarr, fnarr).
Experience, young padwan. Remeber the Old Bull. ;)

I don't think I've written the following down before so apologies if it goes on, but here are my thoughts on putting.

Pre shot routine
My pre-shot routine is automatic, from how I line up my marker (stamp pointing up) to where I hold my putter (2 o'clock). Because of how I grip, I can execute 2 or 3 full practice putts without letting go. I do everything I would do on a real putt, including transferring my weight, so I know how it'll feel underfoot when I actually let go. I find these practice putts essential, especially if the ground is uneven and maintaining balance will be tricky. It also lets me see where exactly I'll release the disc, very handy if putting past/through branches as I can see if I'm going to hit something as I release and adjust accordingly. With each practice putt I visualise the result which really helps build confidence.

Lofty vs Direct Line
I used to be a 'loft' style putter, but over the years have developed a much more 'direct' approach (less chance of being influenced by wind, or my own technique variation round to round which when I was lofting could be really hit and miss). I don't know if I have this 'finger spring' thingy, my putts are flat and firm.

Aiming point
Assuming it's a calm day, I aim everything on a vertical line a little right of the pole. If that's working well and putts are going straight and on line, then all that's left to worry about is the putt's vertical height. If I'm within 7y I'll be aiming a third of the way down the chains from the band. From 10y back I have to lift my aim a little so I go for the band (the outcome being the disc drops to chain height by the time it reaches the basket). From 15y I'm aiming way above the band at whatever is in the distance at the right height, be it a leaf, branch or cloud!

My thought is if I always putt at the same speed all I have to worry about is the hight of my aiming points depending on how far away I am. These points will differ between folk as the speed of putt varies, there is no right and wrong as regards where to aim. For example, I know that if I extend my arm straight and line up the top knuckle of my index finger with the top of the basket, the point above my finger tip is the aiming point for a 15y putt. Ok, so I look like a polisman ordering traffic to stop, but works a treat. :)


A note on learning
I don't know any player on the British Tour who isn't happy to talk to newer players about technique or offer advice if asked for it. If you see someone who has a style you like the look of, ask them about it. Don't worry if it doesn't work for you, it's best to try a variety of methods to see what fits you best so just ask another player with a different style. Keep in mind your own style will always be evolving and changing as you improve so don't be afraid to go back and try something that 6 months ago felt weird.

:D
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Post by Paul Holden » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:11 pm

rhatton1 wrote:I try Hyzer approaches with overstable discs, release them sideways and they still flip, theres a problem in there somewhere :lol:
Too much arm?
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Post by Jester » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:06 am

Paul Holden wrote:
rhatton1 wrote:I try Hyzer approaches with overstable discs, release them sideways and they still flip, theres a problem in there somewhere :lol:
Too much arm?
Maybe, but if the discs are overstable it would take a helluva lot of arm to flip them (made easier if the plastic is lightweight or there's a raging headwind).

Could be rolling the wrist forwards when releasing which is a common problem when players are looking to try and put more power in a shot.
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Post by rhatton1 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:17 am

Its on the shots with less power i get into trouble. The full drives are normally fine, or if not fine at least controllable.

I'm confused by the term too much arm. OBviously I don't have the pure power to flip the disc, i'm not throwing far enought to do this, there is a technique problem here somewhere.

I have heard the problem can be through pulling the arm through too quickly. Instead of pulling the arm with the shoulder led by the hips, I'm jerking the arm across the chest. This is also a problem you see in golf which leads to a slice, that the arms get in front of the body rotation. Thereby losing both power and control. I wonder if this is what you mean by too much arm?

Certainly on my best and longest drives the arm hardly does any work and the stroke looks effortless, its when I try to power it that it goes wrong. I wonder if I am using too much arm to propel the discs on the approach shots, in other words I'm trying to throw the disc to the chains instead of launch it towards them using my hips and shoulders as the main muscles.
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Post by Village » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:28 am

rhatton1 wrote: I found chucking a buzz backwards and forwards with Westy on a field that I was more accurate at 90 meters than I was at 40
1) are you really throwing a buzz 90m?

2) as Rich said in an earlier post, if you're within the distance that you can throw a putter (40-50m), throw a putter!
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Post by Paul Holden » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:35 am

Jester wrote:
Paul Holden wrote:
rhatton1 wrote:I try Hyzer approaches with overstable discs, release them sideways and they still flip, theres a problem in there somewhere :lol:
Too much arm?
Maybe, but if the discs are overstable it would take a helluva lot of arm to flip them (made easier if the plastic is lightweight or there's a raging headwind).

Could be rolling the wrist forwards when releasing which is a common problem when players are looking to try and put more power in a shot.
Agreed.
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