How do I get better?
It’s at the heart of almost every disc golf question asked on forums, blogs, campfire conversations, and FaceBook groups. There’s a million ways the question gets asked.
“What discs should I throw?”
“How can I add distance to my throw?”
“What disc would you throw on this hole?”
“Here’s a video of my form, don’t be nice!”
In the end, though, all of those questions are the same.
Every single person is asking, “How do I get better?”
I’ve realized over the time that I’ve played this incredible sport that one of the enemies to improvement is complexity. Simplicity and sustainability have to be part of every plan for improving your disc golf game. Unfortunately, asking questions on line will get you anything but simple, straight forward, sustainable answers.
Take, for example, the video critiques. My God!!! How many different things can you work on at once?!?!? A simple video elicits 84 different technique changes that “need” to be made. Pull through your body, keep your weight forward, maintain your balance, keep your non throwing arm closer to your body, look at the target, look away from the target, accelerate more, blah, blah, blah, blah.
It’s no wonder newer players sometimes have an awful time improving! While a lot of those tips are accurate, and will help, trying to focus on all of them is a lesson in failure. So what the heck is a disc golfer to do? It’s simple. There is one thing that will help every disc golfer regardless of skill level. It’s the one thing that helps all athletes the most…
In other words, throw plastic, with a purpose, every day.
That’s it. That’s all you need. Forget all the rest. If you do this one thing, you will get better. And you will get better fast. So let’s break that down, simply.
First, throw plastic. In the end, you have to have a disc in your hand. You have to throw it. You have to get in reps.
Second, do it with a purpose. Whether it’s putting, driving, upshots, stand still throws, control, line shaping, whatever your skill level has you working on. Just mindlessly hucking plastic with no idea of what you want to improve is pointless. Whenever you have a disc in your hand, also have in your mind what you are trying to improve on. Here’s the key, in your mind there should only be ONE thing you are trying to improve on. That is your purpose for that day of throwing plastic.
Third, do it every day. If you follow an elaborate putting practice routine, but you only do it once a week, you won’t get better at putting very fast. If you only do field work once a week, you won’t get better very fast. Our sport relies on muscle memory. It relies on us being in the groove. It relies on our bodies knowing what to do without thinking about it too much.
Even if you don’t know how to throw with perfect form, this will help you. I am not saying correcting form issues isn’t important. I am not saying you don’t need to know how to throw properly. I am not saying don’t get feedback from people who actually know what they are doing (so, not from 90% of the people on forums).
What I am saying is that if you only focus on throwing plastic, with a purpose, every day, you will improve. I know this because the biggest jumps in performance from myself, the people I play with, and the people I’ve taught to play have all come with daily practice.
Here’s the good news, I just recommended that to get better, you should go throw discs every day. If that doesn’t sound exciting and doable, maybe ask yourself how badly do you really want to improve? For most of us, that’s our dream any way. To throw discs every day? Hmmm, other than eating, sleeping, and breathing, I personally can’t think of anything I’d rather do more every day anyway.
Happy throwing everyone, get out there and get your reps in!