Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

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Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

Postby Blake_T » Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:26 pm

in lieu of natural talent... progress is really a balance between how determined you are to get better and how coordinated you are.

if you think of coordination as a mix of body control and body awareness, it can be improved with practice, so while if you are determined to improve your coordination determination might seem more important, but without training it CORRECTLY it won't do much.

(bear with this story, it does lead to a point)
i just rewatched an anime series called "slam dunk" (it's quite long at 101 23 minute episodes). its basic premise is about a freshman in high school (this would be 10th grade in Japan) who wants to impress a girl who thinks he should play basketball since he's tall. he's never played ever before and while he's naturally athletic, he pretty much sucks and develops the easier skills first before tackling the more difficult things.

the main character is also sort of a cocky jackass that doesn't realize that he does in fact suck until he's humiliated by it. there's two segments where he's in a position where he realizes he has to improve at a particular type of a skill and he gets put through some rather intense training regimens.

the first of which is after losing a key game in their version of a state tournament, he realizes that all he can make are layups and dunks so they try to teach him how to shoot short-range jump shots and have 3 days to do it. He manages to shoot ~2000+ short range shots and becomes proficient at shooting from short range. (this happens ~episodes 65-66 or so if you are interested in watching it).

the second time happens as the team is preparing for an upcoming tournament. his team realizes that his inability to shoot from further than 5' away will allow other teams to double-team their key players and while the rest of the team goes on a training camp he stays back and works with the coach. the coach's plan is to have him shoot 20,000 mid to long range jump shots in 7 days. that's like 2800+ shots per day, and if you have ever trained in basketball, that would likely take in the 10-14 hour range and be extremely tiring. (this is episodes ~93-95).

i consider these rep counts to be pretty accurate for what it actually takes to develop basic and advanced "skills." it took beto 8000+ right pec drills to really nail down snap and another 20,000+ throws to solidify it.

it seems like a lot of people make comments on drills when they are mentioned or posted and it makes me wonder just how much of a chance people are actually giving them before giving up or feeling that they don't yield any benefit. i have a feeling most quit before executing them correctly more than a handful of times. i also feel that a lot of people don't experiment until it works with the expected result.

i always get wary of imitation, which is why i rarely pull video footage of someone executing a technique and then try to diagram out the key parts. people tend to want to imitate video rather than find their "own way" that yields a positive result. i know there's a number of people on here that have given guitar lessons. guitar is a similar mix of determination and coordination, and is equally dependent upon "good" physical characteristics. would it be useful for me to try to imitate stevie ray vaughan who's index finger is the size of 4 (2x wide, 2x long) of my index fingers? would it be useful for me to try to imitate steve vai who's index finger is pretty much 2.5x as long as my index finger? the answer is no. there's things they can do that are physically impossible for me to do and there are other things that they do easily that i can only do with great difficulty (more effort, more strain).

with that in mind, is it wise for someone to imitate pro disc golfers exact positions? no. it's good to use video footage to see "important trends" in throwing motions, but that is only to give you an idea of what should be happening. "be weight forward" will mean slightly different body positions for everyone that is getting weight forward. it is the idea of weight forward that trumps one player's version of weight forward. the same goes for elbow forward, tight pull line, etc.
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Re: Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

Postby A buzzz and a beer » Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:17 pm

Good read. And I think more people need to listen to this advice. It takes practice to get good at something. This is especially true when it comes to form. I am currently working on a new putting form and even my friend today on the first round of the year was saying I should go back to my normal style. There is no way I will though. It is going to take a month or so of practice before I can make that decision.

This type of thought is true for everything. I have friends that ask me to play in ultimate tournaments all the time because I am one of the best handlers they know. I keep telling them that the reason I am better than the others that play is because I played catch every day for an hour or two for a couple years. They are the people that show up to prac, start to play a game right away, and then leave the second the game ends. You are not going to get better this way. You have to put the reps in. The same goes for people that play disc golf at local leagues, but don't practice outside of rounds. If you really want to improve you have to go to the field and practice basket and put in the time. Plus don't give up right away when you change something. It is going to take time for the new style, drill, or whatever to be comfortable and be done correctly.

I do however like imitating pros. I have always tried to imitate the best at whatever I am trying to do. Whether it is basketball, ball golf, ultimate, disc golf, snowboarding, or even bowling. Most of the time you are trying to imitate someone that knows what they are doing. The one thing that I think is important is to put your own spin on it. You might start imitating them, but you will probably end up putting your on little style into it.
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Re: Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

Postby Blake_T » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:28 am

building coordination is one of those things that very few will endure the work it takes to do so. if you were to go and write with your opposite hand, how long would it take to get proficient? It might seem like forever but people tend to ignore kindergarten through 3rd grade or so when you'd have handwriting assignments, tests, etc. with your primary hand spread over years. A couple of weeks of practicing and it would probably catch up fairly quickly.

something i had planned to mention in the first post but ended up getting pulled away to do some other things halfway through and forgot is... developing coordination and muscle memory requires tons of repetition to get the brain to fire its signals faster and more easily along the neural pathways. the more you do it, the easier it becomes, but it may take hundreds/thousands/millions of times to get it completely ingrained.

I do however like imitating pros. I have always tried to imitate the best at whatever I am trying to do. Whether it is basketball, ball golf, ultimate, disc golf, snowboarding, or even bowling. Most of the time you are trying to imitate someone that knows what they are doing. The one thing that I think is important is to put your own spin on it. You might start imitating them, but you will probably end up putting your on little style into it.


if everyone put their own spin on it i wouldn't have spoken out against it. i would rather have people learn to imitate 10 pros than just 1. too often people try to mimic one player's motions and don't achieve a strong result. however, if they were to try to imitate 10 pros, i'm sure they would pick up on many of the things i was talking about.
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Re: Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

Postby A buzzz and a beer » Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:53 am

Since it kind of has to do with this topic I am interested if you think what I am planning will work. I am working on a new putting form, and I am planning on doing the right pec drill for the next two months. I believe I have solid form on driving with a good reach back, and pull through, but my timing needs to improve and I need to be getting more snap. So while practicing, casual rounds, and even my weekly league I will be following these new forms. However, when it comes to tournaments (2 this month) I am thinking I should go back to my old forms so I still have a chance at winning. Atleast until I am completely comfortable and confident in the new forms. Do you think this will hurt my progress?
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Re: Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

Postby Blake_T » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:30 am

yes and no.

there's no reason to do the right pec drill for 2 months. it's meant to facilitate a feeling and then you adjust your throw (or build from scratch a new throw) based around said feeling. doing the right pec drill for 2 months will basically turn your primary throw into the right pec drill.

drills are drills. going back to a guitar analogy, it's like spending 2 months practicing scales. while yes, that will build dexterity and coordination, if the end goal is to play music, it only helps in 1 regard. learning to incorporate said scale practice into an applicable musical skill is a different beast altogether.

if you don't get any result from say, 200 right pec drills you likely won't get it. result = throwing surprisingly far with the right pec drill. surprising being like 75% or more of your normal full throwing power when doing the right pec drill from a stand still. if you want to train the hell out of it you can wait until you do something abnormal with it. the day i invented the right pec drill i was using it with an x-step to throw rocs 390'+. that was how i discovered its usefulness and that was indeed a shocking outcome.

if you're going to do it, spend as much time (if not more time) incorporating what you learn from it into your throw. this will help your actual golf game.

if you want to do it until you're throwing rocs 390', it may take you upwards of 5000+ throws and there's still only a slim chance you'll get that outcome even if you do that many.

honestly, if you're going to make changes, you're best off avoiding tournaments until the changes are made. reverting back to the old form negates the work you've done and sucking with the new form wastes your time/money/pride. the point of the making changes/drills are to help you do better in tournaments, not be faced with decisions like these, right?

btw, most of why my rating sucked balls is because i played tournaments while using techniques i was "working on".
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Re: Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

Postby CatPredator » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:50 am

So while practicing, casual rounds, and even my weekly league I will be following these new forms.


The problem I've had with trying to work on my technique while playing with others is that I take a lot longer to think about what I'm doing than my disc golf buddies are used to. To really change your muscle memory you have to out-think what your brain has trained your body to do, particularly when you play courses that you're really familiar with, where you normally don't have to think at all.

During casual rounds or weekly leagues with my buddies we are bullshitting and most of them are just stepping up and ripping discs right away. When I take a full 30 seconds to think about what I'm doing it can slow down the pace of play. It can be particularly annoying to friends that you are already stomping all over.

If you plan on making dedicated changes, doing field work solo, or with a buddy who shares similar goals is the way to go. Then stick with it during your rounds. It's a difficult thing to do, because your disc selection will end up changing on almost every hole you play. I'm used to grabbing a disc and throwing a certain distance and line with it on most holes. It takes time to develop confidence and trust in your ability to throw different discs in different situations. If you keep falling back on what you're used to, you won't ever get to where you want to be.

I guess I'll also say I never really thought of myself as having "two forms". It's an evolving thing, and once it changes, it can't really go back. It either feels right, or it feels wrong. There are never two ways that feel right for me. You have to just give up on your old way of thinking and take the plunge. Maybe other people experience the change differently.
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Re: Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

Postby masterbeato » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:30 pm

i will chime in a bit since i am a psychology major and talk about the importance of what Blake is talking about; practice.

what Blake was saying about repetition when your brain fires correctly is true. there is a natural chemical in your brain called "Myelin". it is a tissue substance. whenever certain neurons in the brain fire correctly, they get wrapped with a material called Myelin. which insulates the neurons and enhances their ability to fire better. The more wraps of myelin, the better the neurons fire, the more clearly the message gets to the body, and the more exact the results.

you have to dedicate to perfect practice. the average joe can do it as well as the most athletic person alive. of course just practicing and flinging plastic around a field is not going to do it otherwise everyone would be at Ken Climo, Feldberg and all of them top guys level. 3 things that are absolutely essential. YOU CAN NOT BE LAZY ABOUT THESE, you have to suck it up and just do it:

* Your Practice must be highly focused.
* Practice must pay attention to every detail.
* Mistakes must constantly be caught and immediately corrected.

IMPORTANT
if you play once a week or a couple times a week, you can still get good with your friends, but once or twice a week will not bring you top pro level. you will not get expected results overnight, so take your time with it and focus on important things one at a time and when you give it a fair chance you will be surprised by how good you get in a week of working and working and working.
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Re: Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

Postby Beable » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:59 pm

I have no illusions about getting to top pro level...ever. But I'd like to get better, and I can go to a field 2-3 times a week and practice for 30 minutes to an hour. What would be a good use of that time? I'm not really asking for specific advice for myself, more of a generic plan that anyone could use. Maybe spend half the time on a drill that addresses a weakness in your current drive and then the rest on trying to apply that to actual drives? Or pick 2-3 drills and rotate them? Try to develop late acceleration for the first half, then work on different lines after?

When I go to the gym, I know exactly what I want to accomplish for the day, before I set foot inside. Now, of course, you have to adapt to whatever your capabilities are on that particular day, but I am completely the opposite when I go to the field to practice. I just kinda do stuff. And while I think any kind of practice is good, I can't help but think more focused practice would be better.
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Re: Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

Postby Blake_T » Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:06 am

depends on what you want to accomplish.

i find most advanced techniques require some understanding of the power zone, both point of contact and drive parts of it.

it's kind of a progression. there's almost always things that can use refining. improving on weaknesses, smoothing out OAT, learning how to utilize OAT to your advantage, line shaping, wind-play, etc.

for the most part what this post was targeted at was mainly power. people want it but don't want to work to get it.
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Re: Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

Postby Beable » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:44 am

I don't need anything advanced. I don't "hit it" at all at the moment (I throw 300-330 feet with Teebirds and Rivers). So my practice would be focused on trying to feel your power zone and build awareness towards that. Do you have a suggestion for how to structure driving practice for a beginner? I realize there are a lot of threads, but honestly that's a problem IMO....information overload.

To go back to the guitar analogy...I never got very good at guitar because I self taught myself as an adult. I bought books on whatever I was interested in at the moment and my practice was fragmented. Contrast that to when I learned to play clarinet from a private teacher when I was a kid...I spent hours on scales, learning from Klose (hardcore method book), sight reading, and only really played pieces during ensemble practice and a fraction of my personal practice time.

I found a good garublador thread, maybe this would be a starting point? I have monkeyed around with many of the drills on this site and I think they have helped me, I'm just looking for a way to pare down what I'm looking at so I can focus and progress at a better pace.
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Re: Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

Postby garublador » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:00 am

Beable wrote:I found a good garublador thread, maybe this would be a starting point? I have monkeyed around with many of the drills on this site and I think they have helped me, I'm just looking for a way to pare down what I'm looking at so I can focus and progress at a better pace.
I found that doing the hammer pound drill and then building your throw from the hit back, like I talked about in that thread, will be the most efficient way to improve. With those two combined you'll be able to build your fundamentals relatively easily.

If anyone's looking for more resolution on what happened, I did end up fixing my grip and got my putters to fly well. It's still a bit of a struggle to do it right, but they're flying well more often than not. At the end of last summer I was even getting near 300' with my putters on my good throws.

The hammer pound drills should make the first part of that exercise a lot easier. I found the "limp arm" drill difficult to do but the hammer pounds were easy for me to incorporate. I don't think I can emphasize enough how much the drills from that post helped my weight shift. It's also worth saying that it destroyed my game for a couple of months, including the one time I played with co-workers over the summer (at the time I ironically could only get good flights out of putters). Being able to throw from a standstill like that has been extremely helpful in both understanding the technique and in adding shots to my arsenal. Early last summer I was playing on a new course and came to a flat open hole marked at 310' (I'll assume it was relatively accurate.) I was able to get within 20' with a putter drive, park it with my mids and then use a one step throwing on a hyzer to get close with my Gazelles and Teebirds. There's no way I could have done that before doing those drills.

FWIW, what I've found with trying to improve (I'm spent all my DG career trying to improve skills and technique and have never focused on score) is that once you get to that ~350' plateau, most of what you'll learn will just make you better at throwing at that plateau. All that work I did with building my throw from the hit back did little to improve my max golf D. They made it easier to throw as far as I was an I had more control and could hit the top end of my golf D more often, but they rarely improved my max golf D.

Since getting to that plateau in 2004-2005 the only thing that's improved my max golf D are the hammer pound drills. My guess is that the reason I saw the results so quickly (I did the drills for a few minutes before a round and saw immediate results) was because of the work I put in with building the rest of my throw. Had I done the hammer pound drills first my guess is that the drill from the aforementioned thread would have taken about the same amount of time, I just would have been half hitting instead of no hitting by the time I got it figured out. Optimistically, I suspect my entire 2011 season will be spent gaining consistency with "half hitting" it.

To tie it all in to the theme of the thread, on a scale from 1 to 10 I'm about at a 7 for coordination, a 6 for determination and a 3 on time to commit. Unless I do something huge like build my throw from the hit back or "get" the hammer pound, I measure my improvements on the order of years, not months.
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Re: Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

Postby Beable » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:16 am

Thanks for the reply. I'm with you in that, although I play rounds, for me the feat of dexterity is the more fun part. I like chucking discs. I also like juggling, yoyos, etc. I'm fine with destroying my game while I work on technique. I throw 350 feet from time to time, but it's not a common occurrence yet.

I've been doing the hammer pound drills, although I agree with jenb that they're hard on your hands. And I'll start working on that working from the hit back stuff and see how it goes.
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Re: Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

Postby masterbeato » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:35 pm

Blake_T wrote:if you're going to do it, spend as much time (if not more time) incorporating what you learn from it into your throw. this will help your actual golf game.


this was essential to my success. throw a few hundred and try replicating the feel you learned from the drill by experimentation. too many people do not want to screw up or achieve imperfections in their throw. those kinds of failures are necessary. i know a person that does not want to work on what needs to be done because he wants his form to look pretty. he/she kind of puts off the difficult stuff necessary to learn to clean up their throw after important stuff is done.

if your clumsy, your armspeed looks like a$$, and you basically just look like your torquing the monkey off your shoulders altogether if you have perfect timing...then who cares. that is the goal isnt it?
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Re: Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

Postby Iman522 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:57 pm

This is why teaching disc golf is such a pain. In the information age where we can get anything we want in a moments time, people think the same should be with their golf game. They expect to just get it or otherwise its crap.

The local scene in my town is REALLY weak. We got a nice course put in coming up on 3 years ago and there are probably less than 20 people who play... period. I have always been so called "naturally" athletic and that kinda pisses my off because that is what most people attribute to my disc golf success. In the local scene I am the best player but in the long run I'm currently only a mid level advanced player when playing in bigger tournies. I am, however, improving drastically and I think that is due to my determination. For those 3 years since I have started playing I would say i have spent an average of 4 times a week throwing an hour and a half. (Not including putting) Granted that is just a rough number, but since I have started playing I have been so determined to be the best that I am not satisfied with myself till I am. It has taken me longer to advance than most because I do not have access to local pros who can help me with my form. Forming bad muscle memories has slowed down but I am really close to being on the verge of breaking the last of Blake's distance plateau. Its that drive to succeed that keeps pushing me and I know my determination will push me untill I am playing at a professional level.

So basically what I am trying to say is coordination helps when it comes to good form, and especially in making both big and small changes in the throw, even with muscle memory. Too many people though don't give enough credit to great players determination.
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Re: Progress... 50% determination and 50% coordination

Postby Torg » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:35 pm

Also, never forget that even after things are starting to come together and you have a good technique down, your body will backslide slowly. That is why pro hitters and golfers have coaches. Keeping good form is a constant struggle. Now, if I can just get good form to start with.
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