JHern wrote:Golf-like games have a certain dynamic:
->The worse you shoot, the more throws you make, the more practice you get, the more you improve.
->On the flip side, the better you shoot, the fewer throws you make, the less practice you get, you don't improve as much.
So if all you did was play rounds, and nothing else, then you'd fall into an equilibrium between these two self-correcting dynamic responses, but your game will be in a rut and it stagnates or improves at an unacceptably slow rate.
The only way to move the bar higher and break out of this rut is to practice throwing and putting outside of playing rounds, so that you get a lot of practice even if you play well during rounds. The more you practice basic shots on their own (not in a round), the more you break out of this cycle and improve your game.
Interesting stuff here. I have never heard it described this way. Like most broad statements it has some limitations, perhaps.
I too am a big fan of practice. In my 20th year in the game, during which I have always practiced more (much more?, much much more?) than most of my peers, I still practice. While I see the benefits of practice I know that some very fine players don't practice at all and yet make improvements.
Most players play the game for fun. Since playing is more fun than practice some don't practice. But skill acquisition can happen during rounds, especially if the there are lots and lots of rounds being played. I remember asking one of my early teachers what he did to get so good. He told me he was unemployed for a time and played every day all day.
The more physically talented the player the more he can get away without practicing. Will a gifted player who doesn't practice ever be as good as if he had practiced? I would say "no" but of course we will never know for sure.
All practice is not equal. One thing that most forms of practice lack that a round does not is PERFORMANCE UNDER PRESSURE. Performance under pressure may be the most valuable of all the skills. But unless practice happens under pressure, practice does little to improve this skill. For this reason I like to practice with others and when I can lure others to join me I create practice games. Games have 2 advantages: they make practice more fun and make practice train the skill of performance under pressure.
So if you compare two players of relatively equal current skills who spend about the same amount of time with their frisbeee addiction, one who only plays rounds and one who plays AND practices, who will improve faster? The one who also practices will get in lots more throws, for sure. So his base potential should rise faster but unless that translates into better scores in actual competition it really doesn't matter.
For players without fabulous physical talents practice can elevate their games to places otherwise unobtainable. When I lost my backhand game to a bum knee as an Am 2 (Intermediate in today's terms) it never occurred to me I might rise to become a cashing Pro as a forehand dominant player. I thought forehand was a temporary diversion until my knee recovered. My early experience taught me that forehands into the wind were impossible. A thousand hours of practice later I know they are merely very difficult.