The Alternative Method

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The Alternative Method

Postby Tao of Disc Golf » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:04 pm

The only rule of this method is to avoid technical instruction that invariably turns one into a contortionist and not someone concerned with throwing a disc. Please feel free to read and contribute.
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Re: The Alternative Method

Postby Tao of Disc Golf » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:04 pm

Below is golf instruction with the words changed around to disc golf for the convenience of the reader. I give due credit to Ernest Jones and Manuel de la Torre for these concepts:

Body-focused instruction is problematic because:
-no two discgolfers' bodies are exactly alike,
-it asks discgolfers to consciously control body motions that are by their nature unconsciously controlled,
-it asks the discgolfer to address too many things during the 2.5 seconds required for a throw, and
demands that all body motions be correct in order to achieve the desired result.

By contrast, disc-focused instruction teaches:
how the disc moves for an effective swing,
the disc's movement is universal for every player, and
a lesson simple enough to accomplish during those same 2.5 seconds

If the disc is moving correctly, there is nothing you can do with your body that will produce a poor shot. Conversely, if the disc is moving incorrectly, there is nothing you can do with your body that will correct the problem and avoid the poor shot.

This system emphasizes a true swinging motion, devoid of energy-robbing 
leverage. The body plays a passive role, moving in direct response to the movement 
of the disc.

The human brain need only experience a person's desire to perform a task. On its own the brain devises a means to create the muscular action to achieve the task. The individual is only aware of "what" they want to do. The brain's action in deciding "how" it will accomplish the task is completely unconscious. This explains how very proficient disc golfers often report that they have little understanding of "how" they throw and only understand that they can do so when they choose.
Last edited by Tao of Disc Golf on Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Alternative Method

Postby Roy » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:27 pm

The bodies dont need to be the same. Its angles and planes we're after.
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Re: The Alternative Method

Postby Tao of Disc Golf » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:33 pm

Suggested reading:

The Tao of Jeet Kun Do- especially "Zen" through "Formless Form" pg 7-23: http://www.scribd.com/doc/3987066/Bruce ... et-Kune-Do

Ernest Jones golf book- esp. forward and chapter 1: http://chestofbooks.com/sports/golf/Ern ... index.html

Golf in the Kingdom: It's a little far out there, but there are some great insights as well.

Jack Nicklaus said:

“I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head. First I see the ball where I want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes, and I see the ball going there; its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behavior on landing. Then there is a sort of fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality.”
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Re: The Alternative Method

Postby Tao of Disc Golf » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:00 pm

Roy wrote:The bodies dont need to be the same. Its angles and planes we're after.


I agree. This is from the wikipedia page for the same Ernest Jones:

Jones began to ask himself how it could be that he could yet score so effectively, with such a radical change needing to be made to how his body swung the club having only one leg. Jones himself as well as countless others proved to be able to play well with missing body parts or body parts that were limited in their functioned. Despite the prevalence of golf instruction that described these missing or misfunctioning parts as being essential, Jones and others demonstrated that a golfer's brain would devise compensating strategies to yet produce fine golf shots.

It's "how" we find those "angles and planes" that I'm after.
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Re: The Alternative Method

Postby Discoman » Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:51 pm

Hmm this is very intereting!

How does this implement need to be powered (velocity, accelaeration...are they different? Angle, nose angle, rotation etc) How does my body perform the motions to acheve this most efficeintly, consistently, accuratley etc....?

Who can tell me how rpm's effect the glide and flight path of a disc, how about rpm's relative to the release speed? On one extreme you could have all rotation with no velocity, and the disc would go nowhere...on the other end of the spectrum you could have zero rotaion and high velocity and I doubt the disc would fly well either.

Where is the optimum mix? With drives, putts, midrange shots?

is the hit we all talk about on drives, well is ther any attempt to spin the disc here, whould I be manipulating for more spin?


I am for sure going to have to record some of my shots for some ctitique, I have no idea if what I do is"good".

Off to a field somewhere to huck plastic ....
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Re: The Alternative Method

Postby Craig Smolin » Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:41 pm

I have always subscribed to this line of thought ... both with my own game and when others ask me for help with theirs (it does happen) ...

Simple concepts like:

reach back
body rotation (hips to shoulders to arm)
arm acceleration
wrist and disc position
footwork

getting into the minutia of the throwing motion is pointless but making simple corrections like changing the reach back point can have immediate results
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Re: The Alternative Method

Postby Blake_T » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:16 am

I have recommended the Tao of Jeet Kun Do to about 50 students. I think about 2 actually went and read it.

While perfecting technique is largely personal and based upon feel, there are some flaws with this when attempting to teach it. There's a few threads of replies between Mark Ellis and I that cover this same sort of topic.

I've worked with well over 600 disc golfers in person and more like 3k-4k if you count people that i've given repeated instruction to at the shop without actually seeing them throw and people i've talked with over the phone, via email, internet chat, etc.

What you are saying is completely true, but not always an effective way of teaching someone... or better put, "not always an effective way of getting someone to learn something."

Most people who throw far got there on their own using what you have described above. They usually make up the top 2-5% of pros (in almost any sport). The question goes to what do you do for the remaining 95% of pros (or 99% of the general population)? That is, how do you get someone who is lacking in body control/coordination, body awareness, and talent to be able to do something that they won't know if they're actually doing it correctly (nor do they know when they are doing incorrectly).

I've tried both methods of attempting to work with something that is based upon a visual/positional ideal (e.g. using key body positions to connect through) as well as keeping as conceptual as possible (e.g. the right pec drill) and trying to get people to come to conclusions on their own. Unfortunately neither of these really alleviated the giant hurdles of doing a crapload of reps and being coordinated enough to know when you're doing it right or wrong.

Basically, most people can't tell the difference between positive and negative acceleration (= generating positive or negative force) and in many cases their previous muscle memory has goobered up their throw to an almost irreparable level.

The (nearing completion) secret technique was something I had hoped would make this easier by giving a simple, intuitive motion based upon disc manipulation and going from there. This seems to have opened things up for about 20-25% of the people that have tried it... which means it still needs a lot of work.

Overall though, I think any teaching/learning method really comes down to the focused reps of the student. The generally accepted numbers are: 2,000 = gets comfortable. 20,000 = proficiency. 80,000 = mastery.

Whether or not this can be "cheated" at all is what I'm seeking.

So while I agree with what you are saying, be prepared for the 200 "I need to see it in a video" requests :)
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Re: The Alternative Method

Postby Whiz » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:23 am

I agree with Blake. Can you post a video of this method please?
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Re: The Alternative Method

Postby Tao of Disc Golf » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:55 pm

Blake_T wrote:The (nearing completion) secret technique was something I had hoped would make this easier by giving a simple, intuitive motion based upon disc manipulation and going from there. This seems to have opened things up for about 20-25% of the people that have tried it... which means it still needs a lot of work.


I look forward to what you come up with. Thanks for the comment. You've got a tremendous knowledge of the game, and I feel encouraged that you've taken an interest in this thread.
Last edited by Tao of Disc Golf on Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Alternative Method

Postby archimedesjs » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:13 pm

[quote="Blake_T"]I have recommended the Tao of Jeet Kun Do to about 50 students. I think about 2 actually went and read it.

quote]

I had downloaded the book to my e-book reader the night after we spoke on the phone, and got around to reading it the following weekend. Not sure if that ups your number or not.
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Re: The Alternative Method

Postby Tao of Disc Golf » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:38 pm

A strategy that bowlers and golfers often apply to improve their accuracy is called "spot" aiming. For example, a bowler will aim at one of the dots on the lane itself, as an intermediary point, instead of just aiming for one of the pins.
Disc golfers can easily incorporate this into their own games.

To determine the "spot" you will aim at, stand directly behind the place where you plan to throw from. LPGA Pro Debbie Vangellow recomends standing behind your intended line because, "This is the only way you can clearly establish the target line you are aiming on because you are using your "two-eyed" vision, the way we look at the world everyday. Binocular vision works best when you are looking straight ahead. This way your brain can clearly receive the intended message about alignment with depth perception and linear direction."

From here, picture the line you would like the disc to be on when you release it. Let's just say that you would like the disc to fly straight at the basket. Along this line from where you will throw from to the basket, find a spot on the ground about two or three feet from where you will throw from. The "spot" can be a leaf, twig, clump of grass, etc, just something that you'll be able to keep your eye on. Now, try to throw your disc over the spot. Because the spot is close to you, you should be able to keep focus on it throughout your throw, which is nice for BH especially, because you can keep your eye on your "spot" with a full should turn because your head will remain down. If you are trying to throw something like a big hyzer, pick a spot along the line you'll want the disc to start on.
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Re: The Alternative Method

Postby Tao of Disc Golf » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:42 pm

I pulled the below quote from http://37signals.com/svn/posts/104-all-about-flow This is a great site to learn about "flow" or "the zone" or whatever you might call that mental state people are in when they perform their best.

The fact that you were completely immersed in what you were doing, that the concentration was very high, that you knew what you had to do moment by moment, that you had very quick and precise feedback as to how well you were doing, and that you felt that your abilities were stretched but not overwhelmed by the opportunities for action. In other words, the challenges were in balance with the skills. And when those conditions were present, you began to forget all the things that bothered you in everyday life, forget the self as an entity separate from what was going on — you felt you were a part of something greater and you were just moving along with the logic of the activity.

Everyone said that it was like being carried by a current, spontaneous, effortless like a flow. You also forget time and are not afraid of being out of control. You think you can control the situation if you need to. But it’s hard because the challenges are hard. It feels effortless and yet it’s extremely dependent on concentration and skill. So it’s a paradoxical kind of condition where you feel that you are on a nice edge, between anxiety on the one hand and boredom on the other. You’re just operating on this fine line where you can barely do what needs to be done.
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Re: The Alternative Method

Postby Blake_T » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:38 am

I feel encouraged me to go further with this.


Something I'd strongly recommend is to get out there and teach a bunch of people. this not only helps you understand concepts better but also will quickly fill you in on what works and what doesn't. A lot of this is why I bounce new ideas off of people on the phone. If it works without me being there coaching, it works in general.

A lot of abstract things often get lost on people and even some that aren't so abstract. if you look at the numerous failures to understand the towel drill or properly understand the lawnmower analogy you start getting the idea on how difficult it is to convey something in a way that "most" people get it and not just the talented ones.


--------------------------------

i started typing the above reply before your newer posts but to comment on those...

when i am in the "zone" with any activity everything seems to be moving in slow motion and my body reacts naturally and faster than my mind can consciously control it. it was like that for me hitting a baseball. playing certain songs on the guitar. days when im throwing well in dg, etc.

imo, the zone requires some level of mastery and a huge level of body awareness and concentration. body awareness and mastery require lots of work to develop.

too often people try to attempt upper level technique without sufficient levels of those things and the result is usually failure and in most cases, people give up before they have given enough reps to build proficiency and feel what is supposed to be going on.

it took me upwards of 200 baseball swings with a hitting coach for it to feel natural when i made a significant change to my swing. it did take some physical direction (e.g. hard pivot dig on the back leg to start into a power stance to trigger the upper body... then flowing with the upper body thrusting the bottom of the handle to my belt buckle before releasing my wrists and the bat head) but then it was up to me to put together what i was supposed to be feeling. it only took 7500 hits off a pitching machine or short lob for me to gain a level of mastery and be able to get in the "zone" when hitting in games. :P
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Re: The Alternative Method

Postby JR » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:21 am

I wonder if flow state comes from not having to think about your mechanics and being totally calm and not thinking about anything in the throwing motion. When you let automation take over, your brain isn't wasting any processing time on timing the acceleration, pinching now etc. but operates at maximum speed to git 'er done. Which is the desire to throw into a specific spot and the right angle and speed.

If you have anxiety and need to think about execution of mechanical details of form, you are reducing the amount of processing power in the brain, that is left for controlling the muscles in the most explosive way they can operate at. I think, dunno for sure. I would hope, that each disc golfer has had the successful throws, where they surprised themselves by throwing farther and faster than they've ever done before and how effortless it felt. If you think back on the throw i would not wonder, if others share the same observation, i have made about myself, which is i didn't think of anything and i wasn't trying to push the speed or trying to force anything going stronger or more powerful. I just let her rip and was super smooth and mellow and compared to a normal gritting your teeth at the end of the throw at least, it felt like nothing and you could throw those sweet effortless shots all day without getting exhausted. Because you put nothing into it. If that is not a confidence booster, throwing farther with no apparent physical effort or mental strain from pushing it, i don't know what is.

Confidence in automation and that you can get the shot right without thinking in the throwing motion is at least one of the keys to best performance for me. I don't know how universal that is.
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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