Teaching kids to play

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Teaching kids to play

Postby Timko » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:23 pm

So I volunteered today to teach some cub scouts how to play a round of disc golf for an award. I was curious if anyone had any advice for teaching them. I have a bunch of 150 sharks I'm going to give them, but in terms of technique, what should I go with?
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Re: Teaching kids to play

Postby eky8 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:27 am

I've taken quite a few kids out to play. My experience has been that if you give them basic courtesy rules. Basic throwing instructions. And just make sure they have fun they will want to play more. Making sure they have fun is the most important. If you see someone getting frustrated or struggling give them a little more personal help and encouragement.
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Re: Teaching kids to play

Postby ashley » Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:31 pm

I agree with eky8 here. Try not to bog them down in too much instruction. Kids just want to go and throw, as long as they are having fun, that's what you want. Just make sure they aren't throwing at each other, and good luck. Tell us how it goes.
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Re: Teaching kids to play

Postby Timko » Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:46 pm

What would you define as "basic throwing instructions?" It's not like I'm going to talk about mechanics; I'm trying to find simple analogies to describe what we're doing.
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Re: Teaching kids to play

Postby keltik » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:48 pm

I would say just show them how to grip and just how to make a basic smooth throw.
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Re: Teaching kids to play

Postby JR » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:18 pm

I train in a field that is close to some schools so there are kids around often and they ask to throw my discs. Hundreds have and some have more than on one occasion. They often proceed to stiff arm, weight back, knees collapsed after a full speed run up, arm straight, low reach back to high release and strong armed throw. They rarely listen to not take run up steps. Trying to tell them to keep the disc at the same height from the ground sinks in easily mentally seemingly, but so few are able to totally rectify the situation. Wrist down? Forgetaboutit. Stiffer knees and pushing harder with the left leg to stay upright or lean forward? Some get the idea and few can contain themselves from running at full speed, because it looks cool, when i do it. It does not help to tell them that it takes most a long time and thousands of throws to learn it. Elbow forward seems difficult to pull off at least, when the disc is close the the right pec.

Kids try to emulate naturally and when they see a more complex form than stand still or slow x step first it is difficult to curb the enthusiasm. After all most have never seen anything thrown nearly as far. So it would be best to first show and then have the kids emulate a stand still throw. Then a one step and then a shuffle step. X step is probably beyond some that haven't got a good coordination. It all depends on the background of the kids. If they have previous throwing experience it's easier to convey advanced ideas and modify their form with instruction. You have to have patience, when they don't do what they are told. Often it is not because of a lack of trying, but a lack of concentration, curbing of enthusiasm and motor skills that prevent them from following instruction. I've never pushed the kids some form or discipline type of stuff, if they haven't shown real interest and capability in changing form first. After all these are just passers by and not in PE class or taking a green card exam.
Flat shots need running on the center line of the tee and planting each step on the center line. Anhyzer needs running from rear right to front left with the plant step hitting the ground to the left of the line you're running on. Hyzer is the mirror of that.
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Re: Teaching kids to play

Postby phisherman77 » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:51 am

Timko wrote:What would you define as "basic throwing instructions?" It's not like I'm going to talk about mechanics; I'm trying to find simple analogies to describe what we're doing.

just let CD do the technique teaching chris. these kids will get glassy eyed after listening to you talk about throwing for more than 30 seconds.

no offense timko, you know a lot of stuff about throwing, but the level of your candor is way above what most disc golf enthusiasts, let alone kids, really can or want to digest. i enjoy our technique talks, but you and i are cut from the same sort of analytical cloth.
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Re: Teaching kids to play

Postby Timko » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:28 am

I know, and that's why I'm asking. I need some help in being able to break it down to something they can understand. I would like to try to make an impact with this sport in 90 minutes on a bunch of 10 year olds, which I know isn't the easiest thing to do.
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Re: Teaching kids to play

Postby Dogma » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:31 pm

Proper grip. Don't lean back and aim for the sky. That's about it. Do your demo throws from a standstill so they don't try to copy you with some weird contortions when they throw. MAYBE show them the difference between a drive and a putt. Putting at that age = inside ten feet. You're done. Their brains can't hold any more.

Most of all let them have fun so they want to play again.
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Re: Teaching kids to play

Postby JR » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:38 pm

90 minutes is way too long unless you arrange a competition, where they play by themselves after a brief instruction. Look at the EDGE DVD for how to convey ideas and make it only a few points. Adults lose the best level of concentration in 10 minutes, 10 year olds lose loose all concentration in 10 minutes and most in three. So three minutes of showing and telling is the most in one go. I would break it down to smaller pieces and have them throw with that one idea first so that they get a break from listening and go to doing. That keeps up the interest and keeps it real for them. Once they realize you're not talking outta your heinie, they still mostly need your help in performing even the simplest motions. So personal tutoring is also needed after a few first attempts for even those few basic things.

We had 20+ year old women practice putting with terrible self doubts and stiffened arm muscles despite my telling and showing why and how to relax the muscles and what the difference is between stiff and loose muscles. Then they proceeded to flex muscles like a body builder and putt... Imagine a 10 year old. Well maybe they don't have overriding need to appear feminine or whatever was holding those gals back.
Flat shots need running on the center line of the tee and planting each step on the center line. Anhyzer needs running from rear right to front left with the plant step hitting the ground to the left of the line you're running on. Hyzer is the mirror of that.
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Re: Teaching kids to play

Postby phisherman77 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:48 am

Timko wrote:I know, and that's why I'm asking. I need some help in being able to break it down to something they can understand. I would like to try to make an impact with this sport in 90 minutes on a bunch of 10 year olds, which I know isn't the easiest thing to do.


remember, CD is also size-appropriate for the little ones! :)

nah, just show the kids some long bombs. they'll ooooh and ahhhhh and that should get them a bit interested.
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Re: Teaching kids to play

Postby Mark Ellis » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:09 pm

I have taught groups of 30 to 60 kids a few times. Never younger than late elementary school (10 yrs or so) and up into high school. I am skeptical how well disc golf would work for groups under 10 yrs of age. I'm not sure they have the patience or interest for the game.

This was the format I used with 2 or 3 instructors and a few teachers tagging along (the teachers were non-players but I invited them to join in the lessons).

My priorities were, in order, safety, fun then technique.

I started with the group together in a big, open, mowed field next to a course. Every kid was allowed to choose a disc and mark their name on it, which was theirs to keep. Since I had stacks of Cyclones I used these. Then I explained the most important rule, never walk in front of any player who has not thrown. I then threw one shot hard (away from them) to demonstrate the danger. Then I explained a backhand and a forehand grip and motion and had them try each-without throwing. This took a only a few minutes then we were on to throwing.

I dropped minis in a line as throwing locations and had the first group of kids try a shot, warning them not to retrieve the shot yet or forget where it went. Then the subsequent groups shot until the group was done. They picked up their discs (eventually) and went back to the start and threw the opposite shot ( forehand/backhand) and collected theirs. The most proficient players were put into a playing group(s) with a teacher (for safety and navigating the course) and sent off to play.

The weaker players went back for more practice shots, with individual instruction until a kid threw a competent shot then he/she was placed into a group to play the course with a teacher. Eventually the poorest throwers kept trying until they were placed in the last group and sent out to play.

The instructors then took a short cut out to join the first starting group ( maybe around hole #9 because kids play so fast) to join them and give tips for a hole or so, then moved backwards to join the next group, in sequence. Some kids lost discs so I brought a few extras.

I thought this process worked reasonably well. There are always a few kids who are naturals and not necessarily the ones you might guess. Some slight girls have a heck of a snap.
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Re: Teaching kids to play

Postby A buzzz and a beer » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:09 am

I would recommend following mark's advice and flow. I taught skiing and snowboarding to kids for around 5 years. From that experience my best advice is to just try to have a lot of fun. Nothing else really matters in the end. The kids are there to have fun, and hopefully they learn something in the process. Also not all kids learn at the same pace, but if they all have fun, they will all be happy at the end.

Other then that keep everything as simple as possible. They will not be paying much attention to you because they will be so excited about throwing the disc in their hands, so use the easiest possible terms and demostrations you can. Things like for putting just to get into a comfortable athletic position(have them do the jump thing like in the feldberg camm todd video). Other simple things like trying to keep their arm high up (they will naturally bring it in a low swooping motion) for driving. Use those opportunities to make it funny (like do a big swooping throw and show how bad it is, then show how bringing the disc higher and throwing on a straighter line works really well).

90 minutes is a really long time. I would recommend not spending any more then 5-10 minutes talking about a certain thing without getting them involved. So like 5-10 showing a driving form and talking about it, then have them do like mark said and throw. Then after a bit talk about putting for 5-10 and then start getting them involved.

Oh and one other thing. I know you and many others on this site know a rediculous amount of technical things about the throw and form and stuff. Think about how if you taught disc golf for a job each day you would have to break down the kids into different skill levels and experience. The advanced kids would be working on nose angle, when to excellerate their arm the most, and that stuff. The middle kids would be working on an x-step and the difference between a hyzer and an anhyzer. You will be teaching the beginner kids. All the stuff you would teach a kid after 3-4 lessons will not be important to these kids.
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Re: Teaching kids to play

Postby RS39 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:29 am

Timko wrote:What would you define as "basic throwing instructions?" It's not like I'm going to talk about mechanics; I'm trying to find simple analogies to describe what we're doing.



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I've handed out a few Vibram minis to kids since they are prob too soft to break windows and small enough to play with in the average yard. Show them a few adult 150ft+ mini bombs and they won't think the discs are just wimpy kid models.
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Re: Teaching kids to play

Postby Disc Golf Live » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:37 am

Be sure to show both forehand and backhand technique. Smaller hands work better for a forehand throw, from my experience and from seeing how many successful little folks are throwing forehands. Otherwise, I'd say emphasize safety and proper etiquette.
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