While disc golfing is fun, it is not the easiest sport to master; Although, there are ways to accelerate the process. For each individual, however, it is also important to note that there are different steps that should be taken to ensure progress is being made. To begin, a few of the best ways to help increase a players abilities are in specific physical and mental training techniques.
No matter what sport you are talking about, technique will make the difference between a good player and a great one. Even after years of practice, a person will not be able to reach their potential without a technique that will maximize their abilities. This is why, one of the first training techniques I recommend to anyone is to watch people who are excelling at what you are wanting to do. Study what benefits each individual, then what makes each person different. Your goal here is to find a technique, or techniques, that you would like to adopt.
Now you may be asking, how will I know what technique is best? There are a few answers to this question. The first will always be, to find technique that cuts out any unnecessary action that is not beneficial to the overall goal. While watching professionals, you will see very few who do anything out of the ordinary; Most will have shared techniques with some minor adjustments. The professionals seen who have any large differences, in any sport, tend to group lower than the higher ranked players. Another important aspect in choosing a technique is knowing your own body. Know your strengths, use them to benefit your gameplay. Also know your weaknesses, then find a way to make your weaknesses inhibit your game the least.
Out of the Ordinary
Now I am sure many of you are thinking, having a technique that is different then the rest of the crowd is not always a weakness. In this case, you are right. This is why knowing your body is extremely important while trying to become the best you can be at anything. The players who know their body may find a different way to do the task as the rest of the crowd. In some cases, it may even be better simply due to that person’s abilities; and it is important to note, There is nothing wrong with this! One may even find a new technique that is better for the majority of people as well.
In the end, however, there is a reason why the majority of professionals flock to the same styles. We are all human, we are all made by the same materials with very similar capabilities. Therefore, a proven technique that is effective for the majority of masters, will have a substantially high chance of working well for others.
Where to Look
If you are still unsure of what you want your technique to be, there are plenty of places to look. Asking for help, or getting another perspective, can be a huge benefit because it allows yourself to process the positives and negatives of technique: what is important, what is beneficial, what can cause pain, what can be hard, etc. Maybe, search up a quick video. For example, many new players have a hard time deciding between push or spin putting: both have their benefits. Watching some videos to understand the differences will only help build your knowledge to make an educated decision. Finally, do not be afraid to try something new or experiment. Find what will bring out the best results.
During the searching process, my highest recommendations are to keep it as simple as possible, only add another step if its’ outcomes are worth the costs, and Make sure the steps you already have do not contain any unnecessary movement.
Know your Objectives
Another quick thing to be aware of is are you looking to get good fast, or become the best possible? Some techniques take much longer to learn than others, however, the fastest is not always the best. While looking for technique, make sure to keep your overall intentions in mind.
On to the literal physical training. When learning a new technique, it is important you are comfortable with the intended technique. Do not train a specific technique until you know you are comfortable with it. Go out and try a few shots or a few rounds, while trying to do the technique to the best of your abilities. While practicing, make sure you do not feel any pain or unexpected side effects, do not be afraid to take it slow.
Once you know you are happy and feel you are ready to take it to the next step, work on one part of the technique at a time. Prioritize what would be most beneficial to learn first, then use a drill to isolate that part as much as possible. This way you are able to work on it consistently. While creating the drill, make sure you also have some way of ensuring you are doing the technique correctly. This system could be as simple as a friend or a mirror, whatever works for you. Then do that drill as many times as you can, or till you have that technique in your muscle memory. You really want to ensure you will be able to do the technique properly without even thinking about it.
Mental training may not be as complicated as the physical, but this is because there is only so much the mind can do. Yes, many will argue the mind is capable of much more than the body, but the mind’s influences on your performance, specifically, are numbered. Although numbered, the influences from the mind have large capabilities. Without the right mindset, it will be difficult, at the least, to master the sport.
While learning how you want to play, it is crucial to enjoy what you are doing. People will tend to bring things they enjoy in, and spit out the rest. While working, make sure your overall experience is a good one. Now, that does not mean you will always, or should always, be having a good experience. In some cases, you may just need to get angry at yourself, or how the game is playing out. Why, because these experiences will give you a reason to work to become what you were wanting at that time. Just do not let these times take over your experience. The disc does not control you, you control the disc.
The next few things I will recommend are while you are in the position to make your next shot: Your pre-routine, while you are shooting, and post-routine.
Before you get set to throw your shot, make sure you know what your shot is going to be. Maybe, even decide before you grab a disc. Once you have made a decision, stick with it. If you decide you do not like it after this, go back to your pre-routine and try again. You want to know your shot, not be making changes to it; this will support the confidence of that shot, and stop any “over-thinking”. One technique I use is I envision myself as a coach before I am ready to throw the shot; then, imagine myself as the athlete during. As the athlete, I am not allowed to swap what the coach told me to do, unless I go back and talk with him. Of course, not everything I do will work for everyone else; or even continue to be the best option for me.
What to Say
Next, right before making your throw, make sure to understand what you are telling yourself. You do not want to make it complicated, because this will take away your focus. You also do not want to say anything negative that could take away your confidence. Say something simple that will reinforce your shot making.
“I’m going to hit my line”.
“I can do this”.
“I.A.G”. (I am good)
Saying something like these phrases will make your pre-routine stronger. You can say whatever will help you the most. Then try to keep it the same every time, but mean it. If you tell yourself that the shot is not going to work, don’t do it. Go back to the beginning and try again. After all, you tend to be correct more often than not.
There are many things you can try during your pre-routine to benefit your upcoming shot. Then once decided on a pre-routine, do it every single time. This will benefit all of your shots; and, for shots of high importance, it will give a “business like usual” feel, lowering the chance of the idea of making the shot taking precedence in your mind over your hard worked technique. Finally, do not be afraid to change this routine. Just make sure that when you change it, you are then doing the new routine every single time.
During your Shot
When making your shot, there is nothing else that should be worrying you. Do not let the past bad shots get in your head, or even allow your mind to think about your last great shot. Those throws cannot be changed, but this one is what is currently in your control: focus.
After making the shot, learn from it. Whether or not the shot is good or bad, take every bit of data that shot offers. Then use it to help you make a better shot the next time. Of course, the shot will not always be better. However, don’t let that control your experience. Use it for what the shot can give you, and prepare for your next move. After all, the shot cannot be changed now.
It is paramount while learning anything to understand what your objectives are before trying to reach them. Then with those objectives, you can find what will work best for you, and how you can enjoy the process. Do not let bad habits get in your way. In the end, mental and physical training techniques are the start to anything new; and using good ones, will ensure you can reach your objectives.