What can I tell you that you don’t already know? You were practicing putting for years before I even started playing. You can throw farther than I can, yet I believe I can still provide you with these 7 suggestions for improving your disc golf game.
1. “Empty your cup”. This is an old saying that says that you should be willing to accept advice with an open mind. You have 2 ears and one mouth so that means you should listen more than you speak. If someone offers you a suggestion or constructive criticism then listen and evaluate. Don’t think you already know everything there is to know because you have been playing for [fill in the blank] years. I don’t care if you are a beginner or a pro, this is an important concept. Learn it, know it, live it.
2. Play the way you practice and practice the way you play. Do you use a mini-disc when you play disc golf? Then make sure you use it when you practice. Try to use good form always! DO NOT walk up to the basket and just drop in the disc when playing or practicing. PUTT the darn thing. Perfect form always makes perfection and also limits injuries.
3. Develop a practice routine, but don’t get stuck in a rut. Grab a bag or a cart and take some time to practice and have a practice routine that incorporates all of your techniques. Learn a new throw. Practice your putting, then your upshots, and then your drives. and then mix it up and try a trick or two. I love skip hyzer shots so I try those now and again. Pick a routine and stick to it for a period of time and then mix it up only after you evaluate your progress. Mixing up and changing your routine in this way keeps things fresh.
4. Participate in your local leagues and when possible participate in tournaments. These activities are a logical extension or “progression” of your disc golf game. You always play better when you play disc golf with others in a competitive environment. There is a lot to learn when you observe the local disc golfer nailing that route using a throw you haven’t tried on that one fairway that has always challenged you. I recently participated in a local mini-tournament and improved my second round score by 14 because I saw different routes that I did not utilize the first round. I am instantly a better disc golfer and I will play better on that course from now on.
5. You can learn a lot from your mistakes, but whenever possible try to learn from the mistakes of others. This is true with whatever you do. In South Florida we have a disc golf expression: “Wind Dummy”. That is the first person on the pad and they are the one we use to test the current throwing conditions. See if the Wind Dummy makes a mistake. Observe what The Wind Dummy does and try to avoid duplicating any mistakes made. Look at how the wind aids or abuses his drive. Check out his route. Adapt your style based on what you observed. The idea here is to learn from any mistakes made by others as you observe them so you avoid making the same mistakes later. I have had several epiphanies lately and it was because I learned from others’ mistakes.
6. Cross train and exercise. I do pushups and chin-ups so my arms and shoulders can better avoid injury. I take the stairs instead of the elevator. Cross training in other sports develops your muscles differently than if you were to just play disc golf. The more your muscles are developed the better you will play. The better you play the more fun you have – which segues to my next suggestion.
7. Have fun! Your mind is more open when you are in a good mood. Your brain rewards you with endorphins when you accomplish new things. Your good attitude is conducive to learning and better performance. If you are not having fun find out what is wrong with your disc golf picture and change it and for pete’s sake don’t bring everyone down with you if you are not “in the disc golfing mood”.
There you have it. My 7 suggestions for improving your play. I also think you can utilize these suggestion in other areas of your life as well. Got any more suggestions? Let us know!