Teaching Clinic Ideas

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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Ironhide » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:34 pm

And no worries on if I'm right or wrong Mark, they're ideas, they don't hurt anyone. (Unless you get a headache from reading them) :lol:

Mark Ellis wrote: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.

Totally understandable. When I put on clinics/classes I often ask myself, "Why bother?" when I see people recycle them/throw them afterwards. But there are those few that do hang on and do use them that thank me for them. And they don't need to be huge elaborate notes. They could be just some key summaries based on your videos, few detail pictures and they can write their notes on that. Just an option to those who want that kind of detail.

Mark Ellis wrote: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.

I agree with you that this is a one-on-one topic, but at the same time, certain aspects can easily be touched up on in a group setting. Plus my suggestions were under the assumption that you were targeting the 'true beginners'. People that don't understand physics, didn't really play sports, and relatively "uncoordinated".

When I first started playing DG after the first 2-3 weeks I could easily throw Leopard/Buzzz/Comet/etc... So one of my buddies let me use his Nuke SS and it just made me frustrated cause I felt like like I was stuck or I was weak, etc... But I didn't understand the discs 'make up'. Then he suggested I go to GGGT and talk to the guys there. I remember the first time I went into Gotta Go Gotta Throw, I was completely overwhelmed. Then I talked to one of the workers there and they gave me the 'low down' and kind of a progression based on where I was at. Not to mention there's quite a few people out there that play disc golf and don't really understand what the discs really are capable of. One of the guys I play DG with, when I first met him, almost any disc he had and threw, would just go straight and fade left, and he though that was it. Discs are our tools, we need to understand them to make the best use of them.

As an Athletic Trainer dealing with college injuries can get very frustrating cause they don't feel like they're improving. One way we help them over come this frustration is to build a program based on progression. It's a blast to see someone be able to jog again after an ACL tear, it's like the best day of their life, and they tell the world. When people struggle with something, they go to clinics/class/seek help to get better, but too many clinics don't 'paint the big picture'.
My Bag: DX - Aviar Putter - 170g & 175g | DX - Shark - 168g | DX - Roc - 168g & 175g | Pro-D Buzz - 170g | Champion - Leopard - 171g | Star - Teebird(TL) - 171g | DX/Star - Sidewinder - 168g/171g | DX - Beast - 170g
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Tao of Disc Golf » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:20 pm

Ironhide wrote:
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.


It was just a joke. Never saw The Wall?
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Ironhide » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:38 pm

It was just a joke. Never saw The Wall?


Nope!

Sorry, little cranky at 1 AM. :P
My Bag: DX - Aviar Putter - 170g & 175g | DX - Shark - 168g | DX - Roc - 168g & 175g | Pro-D Buzz - 170g | Champion - Leopard - 171g | Star - Teebird(TL) - 171g | DX/Star - Sidewinder - 168g/171g | DX - Beast - 170g
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Mark Ellis » Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:40 pm

A buzzz and a beer wrote: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.



Field Practice With Subgroups

If we have any raw beginners then I make them a subgroup because basic skills are a topic by themselves. With newbies there is no way to guess whether a player is forehand, backhand or overhead dominant naturally. I btw believe that everyone is naturally more effective at one of these 3 styles and the fastest improvement happens by figuring it out which it is and learning the basics of it.

Aside from beginners, the subgroup breakdowns I have used have been based on learning/improving Particular Skills. At the last clinic we had 3 instructors. One taught long distance driving. One taught control driving (hitting tunnels) and I did Form Analysis. These choices were made based on the interest of the instructors and the students who attended. I have found Long Distance Driving is always the most popular topic and attracts the most players. It is great to have a big arm instructor who can throw it into orbit and wow the crowd, then, of course, teach it.


The idea of using skill levels to divide groups doesn't do much to guide an instructor. If I have the 900-950 handicap rating group, some may want to work on putting, some may want to learn a forehand, some may want anhyzers, etc. The other issue is that a handicap rating doesn't differentiate between particular skills. So a 950 player may have a forehand roller which is 800 level but a putt which is worthy of 1000.


Dealing With Questions

Questions are the best and potentially the worst use of time, depending on the questions themselves and the ability of the instructors to handle them. We know why questions can be valuable. They can directly deal with concerns important to the player and the Clinic should be about the players not the Instructors.

The problem is that time is a limited resource and some players don't really want a question answered, they want to show off their knowledge and hear themselves talk. Some instructors are not good at giving precise answers and ramble on, not knowing how to conclude. And some topics are better left for another time ( Calling foot faults on Jump Putts? Should the 2 meter Rule be abolished? Dress Codes and Cigarette Smoking in tournaments?) When it is my Clinic it is my job to keep things moving and I do.

If a question is asked during a lecture, I hope my instructors are willing to give different perspectives, even if we disagree with each other. If there was only one right answer then I wouldn't have multiple instructors. One of the difficulties that some top Pros have is they don't understand how their exceptional athletic gifts make the game easy for them but very hard-or impossible-for others.
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Mark Ellis » Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:01 pm

Ironhide wrote: As an Athletic Trainer dealing with college injuries can get very frustrating cause they don't feel like they're improving. One way we help them over come this frustration is to build a program based on progression. It's a blast to see someone be able to jog again after an ACL tear, it's like the best day of their life, and they tell the world. When people struggle with something, they go to clinics/class/seek help to get better, but too many clinics don't 'paint the big picture'.


Most teachers don't paint the big picture because they have never figured out the big picture and/or they can't make a concise summary of what they know. Take any complex issue. There exists an clear answer but few of us know it. What is the best route to improve the American economy? How can peace in the Middle East be accomplished? What is the meaning of life?

So asking a Clinic to clearly and efficiently explain the best route to improvement is asking a lot. The reason I took special note of Ironhide's comment is I try to teach big picture topics. I also try to write new mini lectures for each clinic (my last topic was "Purity"-making it a goal to throw PURE shots). A topic I have started dabbling with is a top 10 list of the things you must do to become really good.

So for anyone willing to take the challenge, what are the 10 Things You Must Do to Become Really Good?

Keep in mind this must be compressed into a 10 minute lecture.
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Torg » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:26 am

This always seemed the best order to me assuming you aren't dealing with advanced players already. In ten minutes? no-
1. Grip and pull- No matter what type of throw you are teaching you must go over a grip and the path the disc travels in front of you. Stop throwing from under your off arm. I don't care about 3 or 4 fingers.

2. Weight transfer. You must have your weight on the appropriate foot. I take the time to tie this into back pain also. Doing the pull and weight transfer the right way avoids back pain.

3. Shoulder aiming - Going over stand and deliver shots makes this clear.

4. Visualization- Picking the window you are trying to hit. If you are throwing across a pond the window is well past the mythical danger zone. Rip/release point can be introduced here. Picking a link in the chain etc

5. The hit, rip and hip turn. Most people will be around 300' to 375' by now. Refining these adds real power.

6. Shot shaping - pretty obvious to most but not all.

7. Putting - Now that they are driving pretty well it is time to get them under par at most courses consistently. Most kids I have seen improve rapidly get into driving first. After the blush of that is off that rose putting locks them in.

8. Forehand instruction- I am physically unable to throw these so I don't go over it personally.

9. Different techiniques - Thumbers, skips, elevator shots etc. They must be practiced but since you rarely throw these anywhere near full power getting consistent is much faster.

10. Mental game- One shot at a time etc


What is the best route to improve the American economy?

New business, innovation and churning money makes money and improves the economy. Almost anything that hurts this harms the economy. For example, having the copyright laws at lifetime plus 70 is crazy bad for the economy. The current state of patent law is a joke and harms innovation. You need bloated companies to fail and new ones to come up without having to deal with endless legal issues. The best way to improve the ecomony is the slow path of reforms like these and drastic educational reforms. I would totally scrap the system of grades and grades for a progress based system...but I digress.
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby cfair » Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:08 am

Hey Mark!
I've been to a few of your clinics. And it would seem I missed one which I am super bummed about (why in the world would you do a clinic over easter weekend?). Don't actually answer that, answer this. Is there going to be another PIAS clinic at Black Lotus again soon? I love seeing you Eric and Jamie there every year. You all have helped a whole lot and this year my wife is planning on coming along for whenever that clinic is. So I'm pumped!

I think you do the PIAS clinic is a great format for a non video clinic. The ones that go on youtube I think should be more detailed and less personal as anyone can watch them and learn. But with the non video clinic Pros can explain their personal style and it is that much more interesting. Also for the PIAS one it seems that the best parts of it are after the group teaching. One on one is awesome and I loved getting Sarah Demar all to myself (because everyone either went with you or Jamie). Not just because she is pretty but because she can bomb!

The other reason I like the PIAS model is because you offer the round afterwards. The free clinic and one on one is great but I like the option of the pay round because that is where the money can go to the teachers.

I guess my idea of that would go something like this. The clinic is free unless you want to play a full round afterward. The instructors could each take a different group of people and continue to teach during the round instead of only teaching their workshop topic. This would also filter some people out and give people the ability to have a whole game developed. They would then also be able to see how the instructors handle a whole round and let some of the information they learned in the one on one sink in. My experience last year was great during the round because I actually got to see the fellow who talked about specialty shots, specifically the tomahawk, use them in game. And really see just how effective the shot is on course. As well as seeing his putting, disc, and shot selection.

So that's my .02 I suppose. Not sure if that is what you were looking for. But yeah, I would love to know when that clinic is.

(EDIT: I also noticed you brought up a Q&A time. I think Q&A's are best handled during the one on one times. Yes it can be valuable for everyone to hear a question but usually they are misguided questions that don't get anyone anywhere or just have the instructor repeating something they already said.)
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Mark Ellis » Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:27 pm

Hey cfair,

There will be a Clinic this year at Kensington in the near future. I am looking forward to seeing your progression and seeing if you can throw that nice Rattler you snatched out of my collection.

You are so right that a Clinic which is going to video has to consider the broader audience. Who knows, it could turn out to be a Youtube staple for years to come. But do you target the tournament players or the Nooby Hyzers? Both need a little love.
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Mark Ellis » Thu May 24, 2012 10:13 am

For the Discraft Clinic I ran last weekend I tried a bunch of different approaches.

TIMING/ LOCATION:
I ran this Clinic in conjunction with and directly following a popular Sunday League at Kensington Metropark. This provided a ready made audience and resulted in the best attended Clinic to date.

There really is no perfect spot on or adjacent to the course to host a clinic, especially one which needs lots of space for the topic: long distance driving. In the past I have used a manicured field across the street from the course. This area is bordered by the park road and a walking path. Checking the park schedule, there was a Charity Walk-a-Thon that same day for Alzheimer's which expected 500-1000 participants. Although the field is big (roughly a rectangle 300' by 500') because I expected a good crowd and many instructors the risk was just too high. I could just imagine the headlines, "Alzheimers Patient Beheaded by Flying Disc".

So I wanted a huge area but needed it mowed to ease the finding of wayward shots. I also had been contacted by two groups interested in videotaping the clinic. One of the problems with long shots is that it is hard to follow it on video: they just don't translate well without multiple high quality cameras and angles. So I moved the Clinic 3 miles away from the disc golf course to the Toboggan Run in the park. Throwing up a hill it is much easier to follow a shot and compare one shot to another.

INSTRUCTORS/TOPIC/FORMAT

Usually I use a few instructors. This time I had 15. I generally plan for a clinic to last about 2 hours, divided by instruction, field work (one on one instruction) and awarding prizes. So if the Instruction Segment lasts roughly an hour, this divides into about 4 minutes per instructor. There is also the issue of keeping attention of the audience as an hour without breaks is well beyond even an intensely interested audience.

So I set up a long distance driving contest amongst the instructors. My Play It Again Sports sponsor gave me gift certificates for the instructors and rather than making them in 15 equal amounts I had them issued as one for $100 and two for $50 (prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd). Now the instructors had a real incentive to throw well and the contest format created more interest and anticipation for the crowd.

I asked each instructor to spend a minute describing their throwing form and strategy, then each had 3 throws for the contest.

The contest was not all-out driving distance as that skill is not of much importance. I set up the contest for power driving GOLF SHOTS (so control is as important as power). For this I started with a somewhat tricky tee pad, which sat on a raised, narrow ridge ( improved viewing spot for the audience) and created I OB lines. The drives were from the bottom of the actual Toboggan Runs going straight up the hill. The Toboggan Run has two separate lanes of wooden slats bordered by rows of posts with rope connectors. The post rows defined In Bounds. Anything outside the posts was OB. The OB lines mattered as only about half of all shots landed In Bounds and several contestants failed to put even one shot in play.

For my Instructors I wanted players who threw far but also had different styles. I had Pros and Amateurs, a lefty and a couple forehanders. After the contest I set up 5 different throwing stations, each manned (or womaned) by several instructors. That way after a player threw shots they could be taken aside by an instructor without delaying the next player stepping up to throw. It also gave different feedback (at least potentially) for each thrower.

My instructors were: Dave Dirmeyer, Mitch Winters, Jamie Mosier, Jeremy Swan, Andrew Przytulski,Jon, Kind, John McAskin, Peter Wyngaard, Mike Rohloff, Brennan Billow, Bob Julio, Sarah, DeMar, Andrew Kaluk and Grant Ward. As you sit at your computer reading this, please give them a hand. Thanks folks, especially to the Standing O from Australia (or was that Iowa?).

The longest drive was won by Grant Ward but upon appeal has been awarded to Chris Fair (Cfair from this site) and his wife (Christy, Christie?), who drove up to attend the clinic from Ohio, besting Grant by roughly 100 miles.

At the prize giveaways the entertainment was supplied by Peach. This line may not make sense now but it will when the video gets published.

As always I do not write this post to suggest that my way of doing anything is the preferred or best approach, only to further the quest for good teaching ideas.
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Re: Teaching Clinic Ideas

Postby Disc Golf Live » Fri May 25, 2012 4:28 am

Hi, Mark. Had to bail when not much was happening by 2:30 pm after a long, hot wait. Family stuff had my leash shorter than would be ideal. Who was there with a camera? Still interested in having the Clinic part of a future show. Please refer other crew my way if you get a chance.

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