Learn to approach

Any chat about technique, training methods, requests for advice etc.
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West
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Learn to approach

Post by West » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:36 am

This, by far, is the worse part of my game due to the fact unless I'm powering my Buzzz hard and flat right at the pin I can't do it (and the Buzzz isn't 100% accurate all the time :() so please post pracing routines etc. and ways to learn how to approach.

Many thanks! :D
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Re: Learn to approach

Post by Jester » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:40 am

West wrote:This, by far, is the worse part of my game due to the fact unless I'm powering my Buzzz hard and flat right at the pin I can't do it (and the Buzzz isn't 100% accurate all the time :() so please post pracing routines etc. and ways to learn how to approach.

Many thanks! :D
Is your problem line, length or both?
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Post by West » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:55 am

Everything ...

Straight, usually too much power or I grip lock it into the bushes, or it catches on my little finger and goes into the bushed when using a putter.

Hyzering; just straightens up too much or curls too far, and is usually short.

Anhyzering; better than hyzering, but can't judge power and is usually too long.

Man when you put it like that, I'm hopeless :(
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Post by rhatton1 » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:28 am

Bruce gave me some great little pointers saturday lunch time, we can work on the same things together, it felt a really natural and repeatable action so as soon as it gets a bit lighter we can start with some of those. Not sure that your problems are the same as mine but still.
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Post by Jester » Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:28 am

Ok, learning to approach, aka ‘The Short Game’. When I started playing DG I’d been playing Ultimate for about a year so was confident off the tee (when my only objective back then was ‘get distance’!) but my short game was rubbish. I had a lot of problems making approaches stop flying when they reached the basket. Ultimate had taught me to throw flat backhand passes with a fair amount of speed, great when the target has arms and legs that move to make a catch, not good when it’s stationary!

The turning point was losing at my first tournament to Jonnie Burden (thanks Jonnie!). Our putting range was roughly the same, and I was out-driving him, but he was killing me on round scores and I couldn’t work out why. It was all to do with his approaching style. Rather than trying to throw a flat shot that would die by the basket he’d throw a deliberate ‘pendulum swing’ hyzer line knowing it had finite distance.

In addition always throwing on a Hyzer line means you have addition insurance for which way the disc will turn as it’s already on a line when it leaves your hand, you just have to pick the right spot away from the target to aim at so the net result is an accurate throw. Flat throws with the right speed to just drop by the basket look great but are more easily effected by hand wobble or wind conditions and can come off line right pretty quick.

Throwing on a hyzer line is obviously not anything revolutionary, but it’s very often the simple things that make the difference. When I started approaching this way it made a huge impact on my game. For several years after this each time I stood up to take an approach shot I would visualise the Hyzer line I needed to throw to get to the target and more often than not make it. Obviously when I had to go anhyzer I sucked (learning to throw a roll curve approach was a completely different task for me!) but because I KNEW I could rely on a Hyzer approach I’d try and position drives to leave me an approach shot perhaps from further out but one I knew I could make.

Why not try and play a round of hyzer golf, consciously thinking about where to drive to based on that and see how it goes? It won’t work in every situation but every play needs a go-to shot they can rely on.
Last edited by Jester on Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by LostMeow » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:41 am

This is really useful, coming from a similar ultimate starting point. I've got to start trying this - as you say the 'flat' approach is good for hitting a piece of mid-air (sadly not the basket from 50m away though...!), but not for getting the disc to stop on a particular spot on the ground (something you never really think about in ultimate).

Two other things I'm finding difficult to make the transition from ultimate:

1. To stop myself from thinking about roll-curve (i.e. 'anhyzer') routes on every shot - which is the predominant throw in ultimate, because disc golf discs don't make that shape very easy. This should be remedied by the above.

2. And this is the main thing: that disc golf discs seem very 'all or nothing': I can throw an ultrastar at pretty much any power and expect the behaviour to be the same (except very high power, but even that is very predictable), whereas disc golf discs will fly nicely if you throw them hard on exactly the right angle, but awfully if you do anything else. I miss the versatility of throws with the ultrastar, where you can do everything with the one disc! (But realise that it doesn't give as much distance, is very poor in the wind and won't stick to chains...)

Not trying to hijack the thread, so in the context of approach play, any pearls of wisdom...?
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Post by West » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:45 am

Thanks Jester for the tips. I think I need a Happy Gilmore "Short game" practice on a crazy disc golf course. I'm thinking a Buzzz or a Roc and only use that for the entire round and use it for every shot to practice? Would that work? So it forces me to think more about the shot than the choice of disc.

Thoughts?
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Post by Jester » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:51 am

What approach discs are you throwing, Tom? There are some like the Condor, Lynx and Zepher (all Innova I think) that are all huge bin-lid type things that fly more like an Ultrastar ie slow but with control. This could be a stepping stone to something like an Omega Supersoft which I really like as an approach disc.
Last edited by Jester on Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by LostMeow » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:46 am

I have a Comet which is quite nice but has a tendency to carry on gliding or turn over and die, a Spider which is also good but I can't yet work out how much it is going to hyzer at the end of its flight (particularly forehand).

I have tried Buzzz and Roc and couldn't get either to do anything reliably, forehand or backhand.

Stratus is nice but won't fly straight and often rolls annoyingly!

I'm pretty sure it's the way I throw, rather than the discs I'm using...
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Post by LostMeow » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:19 pm

Jester wrote:When I started playing DG I’d been playing Ultimate for about a year so was confident off the tee (when my only objective back then was ‘get distance’!) but my short game was rubbish.
Actually this is weird, because I would have said almost the complete opposite! I reckon ultimate has given me a reasonable array of short/approach throws (getting them to stop on the ground notwithstanding), but trying to throw with any distance in disc golf (esp. backhand) feels like a completely different art. So probably that is more where my problem is.

And by 'distance' I'm talking e.g. Hole 1 at Lloyd Park. I cannot reliably throw that distance with any accuracy at all (backhand). A lot of people seem to be able to gently waft a midrange at it!
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Post by rhatton1 » Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:43 pm

I've always noticed the complete opposite of this with former ultimate players as well, so many of them have incredible midrange games, which I can only attribute to the improved touch created by constantly throwing to another player, i'm thinking here of people like Paul Holden, but are often let down by their driving games as it seems to me a distance drive requires a different technique.

With many of them Birdies are not frequent visitors as a result, but on the flip side neither are double bogeys. Most (and I'm thinking here of Del,Ivan, Paul, Dunc Butcher etc.) throw these approach shots hard, but nose up which stalls them out and drops them under the basket. Del (and less so Ivan)seems to use a very different looking technique when driving and when approaching, he has obviously mastered all aspects of the game.

However watching Jester throw a Roc 100 meters or more does belie this as he doesn't seem to power it, more stroke it towards the target. But then even the world champs were impressed by that (hole 15 Croydon) :wink: so what can us mere mortals do?
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Post by Jester » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:10 pm

West wrote:Thanks Jester for the tips. I think I need a Happy Gilmore "Short game" practice on a crazy disc golf course. I'm thinking a Buzzz or a Roc and only use that for the entire round and use it for every shot to practice? Would that work? So it forces me to think more about the shot than the choice of disc.

Thoughts?
Absoultely play a full 18 at QP with just a Roc and see how it behaves at different speeds and throwing angles. If the wind is low like last weekend, I will bet that you will get a better score than with one disc than the average of your full-bag four rounds at the Chilly Chuck! Plus after the round you'll have a go-to disc you'll know better than you know your missus. :wink:
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Post by West » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:13 pm

Jester wrote:
West wrote:Thanks Jester for the tips. I think I need a Happy Gilmore "Short game" practice on a crazy disc golf course. I'm thinking a Buzzz or a Roc and only use that for the entire round and use it for every shot to practice? Would that work? So it forces me to think more about the shot than the choice of disc.

Thoughts?
Absoultely play a full 18 at QP with just a Roc and see how it behaves at different speeds and throwing angles. If the wind is low like last weekend, I will bet that you will get a better score than with one disc than the average of your full-bag four rounds at the Chilly Chuck! Plus after the round you'll have a go-to disc you'll know better than you know your missus. :wink:
LOL. Will try it out at the weekend then. Also you'll be on hand to give me tips ;-)
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Post by Steve » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:45 pm

Oooer ;), That's your weekend sorted then Jester. :lol:
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Post by Del » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:12 pm

Some of the techniques thread is relevant here
3. For approach between 25m and say 55m tuck the fingers in the rim, except for the middle finger, which forms a cross with the thumb.
4. Above 55m tuck all but the middle finger into the rim, so that finger tips are touching rim, then nestle the middle finger against the ring finger.

Re 3: Having the middle finger on the flight plate gives me more control over the attitude of the disc and the timing of release. In that 25-55m range I will typically be putting a slight "air-bounce" on the disc, i.e. the leading edge will be tilted up pointing above the basket, although my arm is probably pulling the disc in line with the basket, the effect being to stall the disc so that it has very low speed by the time it reaches the basket. The bounce involves pushing down with the thumb, and that helps with releasing at the right time.

Re 4: I feel that this gives me a little bit more control over attitude and release than having all finger tips in the rim. Unlike 3 where I tilt the front edge up to give a slight air bounce, I feel this grip actually gives me a very slight negative air bounce.
Contrary to Jester's suggestion of hyzering your approaches, I favour throwing straight. It may depend on what you are throwing of course, if you have a disc which tends to hyzer out (eg new Roc), then maybe it makes sense to play the hyzer.
The more important thing is to have good balance and weight transfer and practise so that you can throw consistently and understand the flight of your discs.
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Post by Del » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:23 pm

I think we need to get the video cameras out too. There is something about Westy's style that looks a bit stilted. The top players mostly have a style that looks smooth and languid.
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Post by West » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:23 am

Del wrote:I think we need to get the video cameras out too. There is something about Westy's style that looks a bit stilted. The top players mostly have a style that looks smooth and languid.
This would be really useful! Have you got one Del?
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Post by BOF » Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:17 pm

Don't forget that the wind direction can affect your choice of shot greatly.
What might be a simple hyzer approach one day may well require a straighter shot another, or even a controlled roll-curve the next.
Furthermore, the elevation of the target with respect to your lie will also be a factor that determines your choice of shot.

I play a lot of roll-curve approaches because I like the way the disc flattens out towards the target and 'sits down' next to the basket (or goes in!). I've tended to throw flat approaches or gentle roll-curves with my Omega SuperSoft putter for many years, with reasonable success (this may be because of my years of playing Ultimate?)

I find the flat or roll-curve shot more comfortable, whilst the hyzer 'swing' feels a little more cramped - particularly for the shorter approaches.

My mental approach is along the lines of...

Distance
Wind direction and strength
Basket elevation
Obstacles

Having considered the above I 'program' it all into my internal 'shot-selection-algorithm' and decide which of the options I'm most comfortable with.

The key to being able to reproduce these shots is a relaxed body - no tightness or tension. The throw should be one smooth movement - no jerkiness. The transition between arm speed/power and wrist flick/spin should also be smooth - a controlled 'unwinding' of arm and wrist.
You should also try to remain balanced throughout the shot, just as Del pointed out - weight transfer and timing are key.

If it feels right, it usually is!


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Post by rhatton1 » Wed May 05, 2010 2:54 pm

So we finally decided a few weeks ago to put some of this into practice. Started firstly with a good little practice for those who know QP of short hyzer and anhyzer shots maybe 40 meters round an obstacle.

The game for any that want to play it it to stand by the basket of two and play round to the basket of three. Putt out and try to lower your scores. This pretty much necessitates a hyzer approach.

You then line back up by the basket of three and throw back to the basket of two, which forces the anhyzer shot.

We generally use 4 discs, a mix of putters and approach, whichever we feel more comfortable with - I use Rhynos and Rpro aviars.

I generally play until I get all in both ways in 16 shots. So 2 shots per disc.

This has worked really well in improving confidence of these silly little shots that should be so easy but often defeated us.

The next step for me was throwing a lot of putters in the field to try to develop different lines and work out what they would do. I was alos trying to impart a lot more spin to get over the problem I have had since first starting this sport of flipping discs, especially putters by having a quick pull but no rip so no spin and no stability on the disc.

I've then started playing putter only rounds. Generally taking the aviar and Rhyno. I've managed to get the rounds down to averaging in the mid 60's, and on a couple of holes have been getting up there for birdies (not been hitting them though ;-0)(2, 5, 7, 8 and 10), which is meaning putter throws of around 70 - 80 meters, which I am delighted with. Westy has been doing this as well.

With the Hyzer cup looming I went back to playing with drivers last week as I had found it had affected my driving game to an extent, but having now clicked back into my driving routine (which seems to also now have benefited) my rounds are consistently sub 60. Which for me is superb.

I would certainly recommend hanging up the drivers for a while to anyone that is seriously struggling with s midrange game. (the one problem is when you have a load of newbies out on the course it is always nice to show off by ripping out a big Guns drive, but hey ho!)
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Post by bruce » Thu May 06, 2010 8:19 am

rhatton1 wrote:I would certainly recommend hanging up the drivers for a while to anyone that is seriously struggling with s midrange game. (the one problem is when you have a load of newbies out on the course it is always nice to show off by ripping out a big Guns drive, but hey ho!)
Personally I've found that newbies are equally impressed by a dead straight 80m throw with a putter landing under the basket...

Glad to hear the practice is working out for you!
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