Life Can Be Cruel
One of life’s cruel tricks is that the tools and perspective you need to make the most of life often don’t come to you until well after you need them. How many times have we said things like… “If I could go back to high school knowing what I know now.” or “If I could go back to college knowing what I know now.” or “I wish I could go back and date that person again knowing what I know now.” It seems like we are never fully equipped with the knowledge we need at the time we actually need it. This is especially true for me when it comes to disc golf advice.
I just realized that I have now been playing disc golf seriously for 12 years. Two of them I spent injured, but that’s still a long time to do anything. Especially considering how much of my life is dedicated to the sport that I love. If I’m not at work, eating, or sleeping, you can be pretty sure I’m doing something disc golf related.
As I look back, I realize just what an incredible community of people I’ve become involved with through disc golf. I’m filled with gratitude for finding something I truly love this much. Happiness fills me as I recall memory after memory from the past 12 years. Along with all the warm fuzzies I get, my human nature kicks in and throws in some regrets too. If I could only go back in time 12 years and start playing again knowing what I know now.
After playing for 12 years, I should be better than I am. A big part of that is that I’m a stubborn S.O.B. that really doesn’t like to listen. I’m a lot better at listening now than I was 12 years ago, but that quality has really held me back. I’m guessing some of you can relate.
I’ve had the good fortune to play with some very skilled players over the years. They have all been more than willing to help coach me and give me advice. Eventually, I’ve taken most of it. But again, if I could only go back in time and take it all in the first year I played. I could be so much better than I am right now.
It makes me sad when I see that same trait in younger players out on the course. They all know better. They’ve all spent hours on DGCR so they “know what they are doing”.
If they would only listen to a couple of basic things. If they would only try playing with the right discs for them. If they would only stop being so stubborn and unwilling to listen. I can’t really judge too badly, I was that person 12 years ago.
Flip the Switch
A big part of why I write this blog is to share the things I’ve learned (mostly the hard way) over time so that others can have an easier and more enjoyable time playing this incredible sport. As I look back over the last 11 years, I can think of at least 10 things that I was told right when I started playing that I ignored or failed to act on until much further on my path. If I had only listened!
So here, my dear readers, is that list. I’m sure it’s nothing you haven’t heard before, but my challenge to you is have you acted on these things? Have you made them habits? Have you admitted, like I needed to, that you don’t know a better way than the generations that came before you? Have you given them an honest try instead of brushing them off?
Disc Golf Advice I Wish I’d Listened To…
10. Putting is about confidence more than anything else. Your technique, form, putter, and style are almost insignificant compared to confidence when it comes to sinking putts. (More on this here, here, and here). And if you want to know what the best disc golf putter is, check out this article!
9. It’s the archer, not the arrow. “Ken Climo could beat you with a Pringles lid.” is something I’ve heard over and over. And it’s true. Spend your time honing your skill with the discs you have, not looking for the magic disc that doesn’t actually exist. (We address this in a full post here)
8. Practice how you play. Make your field work and putting practice as close as possible to what happens when you play. If you don’t, your practice is doing a lot less good than it could.
7. Actually spend time practicing in the first place. As fun as going out and playing rounds is, nothing will help you improve as much as field work. (Check here for more on this subject)
6. Throw discs that match your arm speed. Most of us have no business with high speed drivers in our bags. Going all the way down to speed 8 and 9 drivers would do wonders for most people’s games. (I wrote an entire post about this a few months ago.)
5. Sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward. Be willing to take a short term hit in your performance knowing that it will pay off with a long term gain.
4. Learn to throw from a stand still. Not just approach shots, full on drives. There’s no reason to add more moving parts if you can’t get the most important part down cold first. Most players destroy anything good about their form with their run up. (More on that here)
3. Start loose and slow, then accelerate and grip down late in the throw. Do it smoothly. Throwing “hard” is not the answer and will only frustrate you. (Being smooth should be a goal!)
2. Learn to throw a putter for distance. In fact, dedicate a month or more to playing only with putters. Yeah, that’s right, a month or more. Don’t believe me? Well, if you won’t take that advice from me, how about taking it from the current distance world record holder? (also check out this post for more)
1. The most important thing you can do on every shot, with every disc, in every situation, is to follow through. I can look back on 75%+ of my bad shots and the primary cause was lack of follow through. If you do nothing else on this list, do this religiously.
Well, there you have it. I’ve expanded on most of these points in other posts (see links above), but I think those bullet points drive the ideas home. Being great at something is almost never the result of complexity or hard to understand principles. Being great at something, including disc golf, is about doing the simple, boring basics better than anyone else and doing them more consistently.
What pieces of advice do you wish you had listened to? Let us know in the comments below. If it would have helped you, it might help someone else!
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