Teaching Clinic Ideas

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Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Mark Ellis » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:20 pm

Each one teach one. This is a pretty good motto except most of us far exceed this and help out lots of new players. We are a new game and raw beginners show up on courses every day carrying a beach Frisbee and looking for hole #1.

Most teaching happens one on one. A newbie says, "Hey, Dude how do you make it fly so far?" Then we say, "Well far is good but accurate is even better, show me how you throw and I might be able to help."

But this topic is about Clinics where a bunch of people show up to get tips and instruction in a more formal structure. The questions I pose to you, oh wise and insightful DGR members (and although we joke around and insult each other this website has some of the best analytical minds on the internet) is what you would like to learn or teach and what ideas you might have for structuring a Disc Golf Teaching Clinic.

At the start of this discussion (if it ever becomes a discussion) I would prefer not to describe my theories and practices (though I have hosted many Clinics with more in the hopper) as doing so may tend to taint or restrict the flow of ideas. You are starting with a blank slate. There is no absolute right or wrong here because if you are interested in learning (or teaching) a particular skill in a particular way it might also be what works for others. All of us learn in different ways and there is probably no universal set of best practices.

Assuming limited time and resources (although in my particular case I have a generous sponsor on board) what is your plan? Issues of location, scheduling, promotion, teaching staff, teaching topics, flexibility based on number of attending players and their skill sets, fun, time constraints, theoretical versus practical, free or attendance fees, budgeting for expenses and many others are relevant. If you are the person hosting the clinic the success or failure of the venture rests in your hands. So consider the whole process or any single aspect and give me your advice.

If you don't want to comment publicly feel free to send me a private message.
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Tao of Disc Golf » Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:48 pm

If this is a course for beginners, I would say etiquette and rules should be the starting point, along with some history of the game and safety tips. From there, disc selection, then the basics of throwing a "full" shot, with an explanation of grip, reach-back, etc. Some might say to start with putting and work your way back, but I think a decent drive is what hooks people to the game to start off with.
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby 7ontheline » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:47 pm

I wish someone had shown me how to grip the disc. I lurked around here for months before I stumbled upon some pics, specifically Climo's control grip.

I've taught a lot of Ultimate players to throw FH/BH and one on one catch from a short distance shows me what they have or don't have very quickly.

A guy attending a clinic might be bored with the very basics like rules when they're hoping to learn something else. Asking what they'd like to accomplish might be a good place to start, divide the group, or suggest/demonstrate practice drills.

Thanks Mark for the videos, they helped me, especially your putting confidence routine.
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Tao of Disc Golf » Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:47 am

I think you could definitely charge people. while still giving them great value. Imagine if one of the selling points of the clinic was that participants would receive a disc or two that was custom selected for them by an expert. Sort of like club-fitting in golf, an expert, for example, could decide a nice weight and type of disc for someone to take home. I suspect that it wouldn't cost your sponsor that much for the disc, but the person attending the class could easily assign a $20 value to something like that when they consider if the package is worth the price.
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby JR » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:12 am

The Finnish Frisbee Association is in the process of brain storming and building up a frame work of clinics. A single clinic and a series of clinics for new players. So far the rules, etiquette, frisbee spirit, technical content, theory and practical throwing etc. have not been finalized. And nothing more than the idea has been presented publicly. So there has not been any coach training program content planned to the extent of having been published so i don't know if anyone has attended courses on what it takes to be a good coach etc. The great thing is that things are afoot. Whether something comes out of it is another thing altogether. Perhaps with luck in time we get results and experiences to hone the process and content to easily absorbed and then we may be able to translate the stuff into English for others to try. Knock on wood. I'm not so sure about how many people would do this so i have no idea whatsoever if this would become practical. I won't mind giving it a shot but so far i've only gotten one experience of instructing a bunch of people. And they were passers by in a local university sports day with loads of other sports crammed up in the event. So the people weren't so interested in DG for the most part. Although some were :-) And we only had space for putting instruction and a putting competition with discs as prizes.

Looking at the Discraft clincs Mark hosted that are on Youtube have a lot of people per instructor and that will reduce the amount of feedback the instructor can give. Drives need even more space than the putts and approaches and safety becomes an issue with anything more than a few throwers at the same time so it means lining up. It is difficult for an instructor to look at the specifics of two drives at the same time. So maybe two three parallel driving places are the maximum with one for instruction and the rest for practice on the feedback of the instructor. It took quite a bit of time for Feldy with our group of err 20ish? people in his clinic here for personal instruction. So time and attention span are an issue. I've heard that the maximum time of perfect focus for a human is under 10 minutes with good focus up to 10 minutes and 20 is already seeing a drop. Some have such a short attention span that an instructor blabbing away for even 10 minutes at a time may be too much. So i wonder if it is a good idea to break up the yapping with actual throwing practice. That means a condensed bit about why you need to try this and showing how it should be done. I've also heard that if you show the right way and the wrong way much of the time people remember only the wrong way after a while so maybe avoiding showing the results of a messed up form should be avoided.

The Feldy clinic took i think two hours and it is certain that some facets would be forgotten. So i filmed it as a reminder. The wind fucked up the audio so it is up to lcgm8 to shoe horn fixing it to his schedule if it is even gonna happen. Even after then it takes the approval of Feldy. I was doing it as a post it for myself so i was training not filming really so the filming of other clinics already circulating has been better. Then there's the pesky thing of production etc. Now that Discmania is putting out vids with Avery who knows if there will even be need for for sale vids?
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Torg » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:21 am

Tao of Disc Golf wrote: Imagine if one of the selling points of the clinic was that participants would receive a disc or two that was custom selected for them by an expert. Sort of like club-fitting in golf, an expert, for example, could decide a nice weight and type of disc for someone to take home. I suspect that it wouldn't cost your sponsor that much for the disc, but the person attending the class could easily assign a $20 value to something like that when they consider if the package is worth the price.


I like that thought process. Disc companies know that people use what they know. I could see a company being thrilled about sponsoring a clinic like that.

When I teach people I try to remember what was important early in my learning curve for my enjoyment of the game. Getting the right disc is huge as is learning to drive reasonably well. Noone cares about putting in the beginning, other than knowing that there is a different disc used for it, and that is fine. You want them to enjoy their rounds. Charging for lessons is actually a good thing even if it is minimal. People try harder when they pay for something even if the cost isn't high. You have to make sure individual attention is included. If profit is the overriding concern charge by skill level. Remember that new players you help improve will very likely come back for advanced lessons later.

What I have never understood about current clinics is how the bad setup was started. 2 or 3 pros and 15-25 students, really? When my son was getting big into baseball we paid for lessons. The worst setup I ever had was a group of 3 with one teaching Pro, the cheapest of those was $45 an hour. I think you could have a 4 to 1 ratio in golf, but not as part of a larger group. Personally I think the way to do it is to charge $20 a head, have 4 students in 20 minute blocks for an hour. So in an hour you would have 8 students per teacher. Work with the first 4 for 20 mins, getting them started. As they step to the side for 20 mins and practice a bit you get the next group in and do the same. After 20 mins you get the origonal group back to refine. You would stagger like this all day. Each group would get an hour total time. Since it is so individual you wouldn't have to worry about skill level. For that matter if you want to have it broken up by putter/midrange/driving you could. In fact having one group working on driving and the other on putting would be awesome.

Location isn't that hard. You use what is available locally. Hopefully a feild with some trees in it. A dream scenario would be to have 2 teepads with the practice one not too far from the teaching one but pointing at least 60 degrees apart from each other.
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby JR » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:38 am

There is a booklet about the basics of form in Finnish so i suggested using it as a base and memory aid for the instructees to remind them of the issues handled in the clinic. A video or pamphlet would be great for refreshing the memory about the need to do any single part of form and getting the exact details right. Wasn't there supposed to be more stuff from masterbeato later as a video? Sign him and Blake on to Discraft to do vid reminders and instruction program. Seriously. There aren't that many people around that have taught more people than Blake...
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 Clinic Ideas

Postby Ironhide » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:43 am

General Clinic Ideas:
  • Make sure the clinic doesn't turn into a class. Sitting and just going over information is good, but people don't see the value in it when they can simply look at it on the internet. On top of that, don't have all the talking in the beginning, then go throwing, they'll forget!
  • If there's enough people, have them work in teams and have them critique each other. Get them to recognize the error and what needs to be done to fix it.
  • Make sure there's some one on one time! During this time make sure notes are written down that pertain to the individual.
  • Encourage local parks to offer a basket for practicing. I know in my area, out of about 8 close by courses, only 1 offers an extra basket, and of course it's the furthest course from me out of those 8.
  • Time permitted, like you said Mark, play with someone really good. So have them play a round with their pro in there group and maybe do something like a worst disc scramble, that way everyone throws from the same spot and the pro can offer suggestions for all of them.
  • Make sure people walk out with something in their hands after the clinic. Trying to memorize everything doesn't work. I did a golf clinic with Nike, and they had a whole binder for me and I was able to take it out on the driving range with me and when I started doing something wrong, I could look it up as it pertained to me, and was able to fix it.

Disc Related Questions (Most of this information can be pre-typed and ready to hand out):
  • I have "X" discs, What should I get next?
    Discussion between selection different disc, different plastic, different weight, etc...
  • How to pick your discs based on course and weather.
    'Core Discs' + Discs for.... Hills, woods, open area, windy, rain, etc..
  • 5-Steps to the Nuke.
    Signs of when you 'master' a certain disc and what would be the next disc to 'master'.
    Example: Magnet to Buzzz to Avenger SS to Viking to Nuke

  • Go through people's bags.
    Have the 'pro' go through people's bag and critique it and offer suggestions. Maybe even have 1 or 2 discs for free as part of the entrance fee and offer other discs at a discounted value. Similar idea to the "5-Steps to the Nuke" but more personalize.

Putting:
  • Different form for different distances/situations. Similar to your putting video, but more detailed. Up/Down/Side hill putts.
  • Hard Vs. Soft Putters
    Certain distances/throws better for one than the other?

General Throwing:
  • Common Throwing Errors
    If you throw this average disc (a mid), and it does this flight shape, possible mistakes and how to fix it.

  • Go Over Form
    Make sure they are able to practice it after you explain it. Maybe offer pictures of them doing it.

  • Grips
    Just have a sheet w/ clear pictures and description and uses. That way you can go through it relatively quick.

DG Strength and Conditioning:
  • I'm actually working on a 'booklet' for this, so don't want to give too much a way. Too much information out there is 'bro-mance' and only focuses on certain aspects, not the whole picture.


*** As a 'beginner' myself, the underlined information is what I would see 'value' in and worth paying for. ***


*** I'll be updating as I think about this topic, this is the first stuff off the top of my head ***
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Timko » Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:25 pm

I have a lot of friends who play Ultimate that are interested in disc golf, and I've been trying to figure out how to teach them to quit throwing swooping hyzers nose up. I think a class geared for those who come from an ultimate background would be useful.
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Mark Ellis » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:14 pm

I would like to be able to quote multiple responses in a single reply. I know it can be done because I have seen it. Can someone explain it to me?

Subtopics:
DEALING WITH GROUPS WITH VARYING SKILL AND EXPERIENCE:

Once a Clinic is announced there is no way to control how many players show up or what their skill level is. So one guy wants to know what disc golf is and the next guy wants to know how to anyhyzer into a headwind when he is down one stroke on the final hole and he has lost his go-to flip disc . Whoever shows up shows up and it is the duty of the host to deal with it and adapt to it.

Personally, I don't care how many people show up. If there is a horde then it was popular and a rousing success. If there are a few then each person got more one on one attention, which is great for each attendee. A clinic must be flexible to the circumstances. For anyone who wants to chart out with exactitude how the clinic will progress this will be maddening.

The solution here revolves around the knowledge and skill of the teaching staff. A good staff can teach at any level and give at least the basics of any shot or situation. Heck, I have taught backhand driving for distance, not because I can do it well but because I understand it.

Another important concept is that golfers who show up to learn are usually happy to teach as well (and honored to be recognized for their skills). So if someone wants to learn a thumber (not my forte though I understand it conceptually) I first look in the crowd to find someone good at that skill to demonstrate it.

If the Clinic breaks down to field work (which mine always do), then the newest players can be helped by the advanced players even if those advanced players were not originally on the teaching staff. So say I have a group out in the field throwing forehands, I first start with the most skilled players. The lesser players watch them throw and I talk about what they did well and what areas they should work on. After a good player is done throwing I have them watch the weaker players and maybe take one aside to work on a particular skill.


PAYING FOR CLINICS:

I have never charged for lessons or Clinics. There is both good and bad to this and if I really needed the money I would be happy to charge for my services (as my legal clients know well. Btw, I am a lawyer). I figure by charging I would lose some players who could not or would not pay the fee. On the other hand, if I did charge, it would make players respect the lesson much more. Sure it is psychological but it is real nonetheless. People respect advice more if they pay for it. The advice may not be any better but a player will seek to gain value from something which is paid for and in the process be more open to trying it my way.

Charging a fake fee is also an option (ie... $20 fee but 2 free discs included. So there is a fee but the value of the players pack by itself justifies the fee making the instruction merely an added bonus). But basically I have never charged for teaching Frizzzbe because whatever I could get would not approach what I easily command in the business world and I do not choose to view myself as a minimum wage professor. I would never hold it against anyone to charge for their time and skills.

TEACHING RULES and/or COURTESY:

This I have never done in the context of a Clinic. I totally agree that attention span is limited and I don't want to use up that limited resource on dry stuff like rules/courtesy. I fully appreciate that these are important areas but I usually teach these things during rounds-even if the dunderheaded newbies do not want to hear it (just because I insult them doesn't mean I don't love them). I am a cranky old Pro and woe to the newbie who wants to tell his best joke while I am putting. :lol:

Oh, and teaching stance rules to a total newbie is misguided. The kid doesn't know how to hold a disc so he for sure doesn't care what a foot fault is.

If asked in a Clinic I will deal with darn near any question but I want my audience paying attention so it is my job to keep it fun and interesting and fast moving so my mini lectures never last for more than a few minutes without audience interaction.


QUESTION BACK AT YA: WHAT IS THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF THE CLINIC YOU WANT TO HOST OR ATTEND?
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby A buzzz and a beer » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:02 pm

I think one of the most important thing when it comes to teaching people is to break them down into groups of similar skill. So you start off with a general start to the clinic with everyone in a group and do your normal opening fun speech or whatever. Then after a couple basic things that everyone can learn from you, break people into smaller groups of similar skill. Once you have people broke down in seperate groups of similar skills you could either have one instructor for each group or you could set up stations for the groups to travel around to(like putting, driving, upshots, and whatever you want). Then after each groups goes through all the different stations you get to bring the group back together for a final speech and fun game like ring of fire.

The reason I think that breaking people down in skill groups is the best is because then you can teach each group things that they can find helpful. If you have groups of 800 or lower, 800-850 , 850-900, 900-950, 950-1000 they are going to be around the same skill level. For example the new people are going to want to know about how to hold a disc and what type of disc they should be using at the driving station. The people in the 900-950 range would probably already know this and would want more information about pull through and hip rotation and stuff.

You need to optimize what people get from a lesson or clinic and if you have people with drastic different levels of skill in the same group what you teach some people will mean nothing to some, or be too advanced for others. So only about half the information might mean something for them.

I also want to say that I like the idea of paid clinics. I think there are a ton of people out there that would be willing to pay to learn how to get better. People will be serious about learning if they go to a paid clinic, and it would be easier to get more instructors if they were going to get paid for their time(although not all care about getting paid, some do). I wouldn't mind paying for a lesson or clinic if I thought I would learn something.
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Ironhide » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:26 pm

Mark Ellis wrote:I would like to be able to quote multiple responses in a single reply. I know it can be done because I have seen it. Can someone explain it to me?


Below the reply window( PostReply, not Quick Reply), you will see the previous comments in reverse order (most recent). All you have to do is highlight what you want to quote, and then in the upper right hand of that particular window, press "Quote". And it will quote that person's text. You can do this multiple times and with different people and what ever text you want.
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Mark Ellis » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:29 pm

Ironhide wrote:General Clinic Ideas:
  • Make sure the clinic doesn't turn into a class. Sitting and just going over information is good, but people don't see the value in it when they can simply look at it on the internet. On top of that, don't have all the talking in the beginning, then go throwing, they'll forget!
  • If there's enough people, have them work in teams and have them critique each other. Get them to recognize the error and what needs to be done to fix it.
  • Make sure there's some one on one time! During this time make sure notes are written down that pertain to the individual.
  • Encourage local parks to offer a basket for practicing. I know in my area, out of about 8 close by courses, only 1 offers an extra basket, and of course it's the furthest course from me out of those 8.
  • Time permitted, like you said Mark, play with someone really good. So have them play a round with their pro in there group and maybe do something like a worst disc scramble, that way everyone throws from the same spot and the pro can offer suggestions for all of them.
  • Make sure people walk out with something in their hands after the clinic. Trying to memorize everything doesn't work. I did a golf clinic with Nike, and they had a whole binder for me and I was able to take it out on the driving range with me and when I started doing something wrong, I could look it up as it pertained to me, and was able to fix it.

Disc Related Questions (Most of this information can be pre-typed and ready to hand out):
  • I have "X" discs, What should I get next?
    Discussion between selection different disc, different plastic, different weight, etc...
  • How to pick your discs based on course and weather.
    'Core Discs' + Discs for.... Hills, woods, open area, windy, rain, etc..
  • 5-Steps to the Nuke.
    Signs of when you 'master' a certain disc and what would be the next disc to 'master'.
    Example: Magnet to Buzzz to Avenger SS to Viking to Nuke

  • Go through people's bags.
    Have the 'pro' go through people's bag and critique it and offer suggestions. Maybe even have 1 or 2 discs for free as part of the entrance fee and offer other discs at a discounted value. Similar idea to the "5-Steps to the Nuke" but more personalize.

Putting:
  • Different form for different distances/situations. Similar to your putting video, but more detailed. Up/Down/Side hill putts.
  • Hard Vs. Soft Putters
    Certain distances/throws better for one than the other?

General Throwing:
  • Common Throwing Errors
    If you throw this average disc (a mid), and it does this flight shape, possible mistakes and how to fix it.

  • Go Over Form
    Make sure they are able to practice it after you explain it. Maybe offer pictures of them doing it.

  • Grips
    Just have a sheet w/ clear pictures and description and uses. That way you can go through it relatively quick.

DG Strength and Conditioning:
  • I'm actually working on a 'booklet' for this, so don't want to give too much a way. Too much information out there is 'bro-mance' and only focuses on certain aspects, not the whole picture.


*** As a 'beginner' myself, the underlined information is what I would see 'value' in and worth paying for. ***


*** I'll be updating as I think about this topic, this is the first stuff off the top of my head ***


Wow, a lot of stuff here. I appreciate the ideas even when I may not agree with them. I acknowledge that my opinions may be wrong. So starting at the top:

A class is exactly what IS needed, so long as it is an interesting, fast paced class, of course. Class need not be boring. Few disc golfers learn by internet. Even those who do get huge amounts of often conflicting and unintelligible information. My job is tell the group what they need to know, even if they have heard some or all of it before. Hopefully they give it more credence than from other sources and actually try what I suggest.

I break my Clinics into a Lecture section and a Field Work section. I do the Lecture first for basic principles. The Field Work is where the students try out particular skills and get personal feedback. I have always thought that the only chance I have to keep the group's attention on basic principles is before all the distraction of throwing starts.

As far as taking notes or pass out materials:
I understand that each player may only absorb a small percent of what is taught. I am ok with that. It takes a base level of understanding and experience to follow some of the more advanced instruction. Let each player take away what they can. If everyone only gets a few things which help their game this is still a success.

Disc golfers are not going to take notes. If I passed out paper and pencils and threatened demerits they would not take notes.

Disc golfers are not going to read pass out materials. Ok, maybe 5% would. Maybe. They might watch a video a few times but video is much more consumer friendly. If I could make more videos I wouldn't spend my time on Clinics (except to publish them on video). The videos I have published so far have over 2 million hits. The Clinic I will teach this Saturday may get 30 to 50 players.

If I can't teach something clearly enough that disc golfers can follow it then the fault is mine.


On Disc Selection:

Disc Selection is too personal to be taught to a group. Just because a Crush is the perfect hyzer disc for me at 300 feet means absolutely nothing to the group I am teaching, unless their throwing style and power level is the same as mine-which it ain't. Attending my Clinic are 10 year old kids who throw 100 feet and big. strong, athletic players who throw 500 feet but can't hit the forest in front of them.

Once I see a player throw a few shots and know what spot they want to fill in their bag I can hand him the disc to do it (and teach him the form to do it). This is a one on one thing, not a general topic.

Topics which are universal are good for clinics. Throwing form is universal. No matter your skill, experience or power you need to know the various ways to throw an anhyzer (for example). Throwing a Magnet is not universal. For any given disc there are some players who will love it and others who will hate it. Neither player is wrong. I am never going to put an Optimizer or an Extreme or an Epic or an 86 Mold in my bag but each is a disc which may work well, even brilliantly, for particular players.

It would take an audience of only Pros and top Tournament Ams before I would consider Disc Selection Issues. The risk/reward of Wide Rimmed Drivers would be fun for very good players.

I don't personally believe in learning discs in order of speed (start with putters and only throw them until you master them then move to mids then move to narrow rimmed drivers and only last start using high speed drivers), so I don't plan to teach that approach. It makes no sense to me and I know of no examples where it was effective. Others may teach it and more power to them. I don't even buy starting all beginners on light weight, flippy discs. Some beginners are strong athletes with good snap developed in other sports.

As much as I have had differing opinions with Ironhide, I know that some teachers/students would totally agree with him. This is why there is no right or wrong. Indeed I mostly agree with his comments on Putting, Common Throwing Errors, Form, Grips and Conditioning.
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Tao of Disc Golf » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:48 pm

Image
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Ironhide » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:30 pm

Tao of Disc Golf wrote:Image

Over-react much?

What I'm getting at is if you can't control/place the Nuke, why use it while playing? Yes you can practice with it, an eventually get good at it, but I'm sure there's a better disc to use. Much like when people learn to play Golf. People can't control their drivers so they either get a higher loft or use their 3-wood, and then use their driver at the driving range to get better.
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