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Postby Blake_T » Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:38 pm

there were a lot of questions asked...

i will try to answer them in one flowing post. if i don't answer it, ask again in a future post :P

my philosophy is based upon a variety of reasons stemming from disc design as well as fundamentals and most importantly, treating disc golf like a sport rather than just a game. i do realize some people just naturally "get it," but most don't. also, my posts are targeted at the games of developing players. top pros can already do everything with anything so it doesn't matter what they throw.

when someone buys a "beginner golf package" for ball golf, it usually consists of something along the lines of: 5-wood, 5-iron, 7-iron, putter for a very small package, and maybe a 5-wood, 3-iron, 5-iron, 7-iron, 9-iron, putter for a bigger package. what tends to happen in disc golf is the equivalent of handing someone a big bertha and a putter and telling them to go play well.

while people might figure it out.... as a person finally gets comfortable with the big bertha, they start wanting a bigger bertha rather than figuring out how to hit the big bertha farther.

i'm not old school, but i feel old school much of the time (i started in 2000). when the beast and wildcat came out, they were considered overstable (just as the cyclone, eagle, etc. were considered overstable when i got started). it's not that the discs are inherently flippier (assuming the molds haven't changed), but people's techniques have adjusted to compensate for the stability. i don't really consider this a good thing, as 90% of holes are short of the "big bertha" ideal range. you don't see golfers choking up on a big bertha to hit a 160 yard shot, it makes no sense to throw something well below it's ideal range.

speed and gyroscopics are the main things that have changed with discs. when i throw a cyclone, gazelle, eagle, etc. they do not turn unless i make them turn. let's say your first main driver was a max weight z crush and you developed a technique that throws the crush 350' straight. chances are you will flip a gazelle, cyclone, eagle, etc. nearly every time. not only that, but you'll likely unintentionally flip every disc that is less stable and a good chunk of discs simply because they are slow (polaris, cheetah, valk, beast, wildcat, eagle, xl, xs, jls, xpress, x2, orion, orc, flash, viking, etc.).

not only that... but it is also likely that the same player probably will not (intentionally) have the majority of the shots in the bag that require off axis torque over: max distance roller (lands > 300' away), roll curve, touch anhyzer, air bounce/reverse air bounce, anhyzer stall, etc. similarly, a good chunk of these players will not be able to throw a hyzer line that holds the same hyzer angle the entire flight.

let's zoom back in time and assume 2 buddies start playing together and play a lot. jimbo starts out with a 175g champ orc. billbob starts out with a lightning #2 flyer. this is a perfect world and discs replace themselves unless people want them aged.
end of week 1:
jimbo is throwing 225' and is all over the place.
billbob is throwing 180' and dead straight.

end of week 6:
jimbo is throwing his champ orc 260' and is all over the place.
billbob is throwing a dx gazelle 240' dead straight.

end of month 6:
jimbo is throwing is 310' and is getting more control but a champ orc is now too flippy and so he is throwing a 175g star wraith.
billbob is throwing a dx gazelle 280' dead straight.

end of month 12:
jimbo is throwing 360' with his star wraith straight half the time, turns it over badly the other half.
billbob is throwing a dx teebird 340' dead straight.

end of month 18 (their scores are relatively equal):
jimbo is throwing 400' but the star wraith is now too flippy so he is throwing a 175g teerex.
billbob is throwing a dx teebird 375' dead straight.

jimbo's bag:
175g star teerex (straight drives over 300')
175g champ firebird (hyzers and drives 250-325')
176g d drone (125-250')
175g champ rhyno (50-150')
jimbo's game:
headwinds are a nightmare for him, he turns over every midrange flippier than a max weight z wasp, and he cannot throw a putter over 150' without rolling it. every non-firebird shot is an s-curve. throws everything as hard as he can because his accuracy goes buh bye if he takes off power.

billbob's bag:
170g dx teebird (straight drives 300-360')
171g pro wraith (straight drives over 360')
172g star wraith (overstable drives)
180g dx roc (beat, straight drives 240-300')
175g kc aviar (under 260')
billbob's game:
can throw any disc. has an array of shots that happen when he wants them to happen. throws all of his shots 75% power. has pinpoint control over disc flight.

end of year 5:
take a guess as to who is a better player?

as for disc design:
faster, wider rimmed drivers mask torque, as does low friction plastic. they also require more power to throw and more nose down as well. with a disc like an orc or wraith that has tremendous amounts of fade if not turned over, people are forced to turn them. whether this happens naturally due to power or due to torque depends on the player. what i can say is that lower powered players will have to torque them to make them turn.

for someone learning to throw, they won't see technique flaws and/or will develop flaws to compensate for the disc. also, because these discs require more nose down and a lot of power, they will throw these discs very low and probably not develop a means of throwing them high and nose down.

learning with a slow disc in standard plastic will show flaws, but it also shows flight manipulation by making small adjustments. e.g. you will SEE what a slight wrist roll over does vs. a non-wrist roll shot in an applicable sense: why would you choose to do it? (there are many uses).

secondly, height. sure, someone can learn to throw a wraith 400' with a 12' high apex... but with a 12' high apex a roc peaks at around 270' after the skip/slide. a 330' roc shot needs at least 20' apex. throwing high is very different than throwing low :P

a 500' wraith shot requires an apex of at least ~40'. i've only witnessed two throws over 500' on flat land that apexed definitely below 40' (and i've seen hundreds of 500' throws).

so not only is height necessary for max D, but it also opens up new worlds by allowing you to throw over the top as well as a complete array of knife hyzers and sky rollers.

as for rim design... something has always caught my eye.
1a) a teebird flies stable for throws 250-600'
2a) a firebird flies stable/overstable for throws 1-700'
3a) a predator flies stable/overstable for throws 1-600'
4a) a roc flies stable for throws 150-350'+
5a) an x2 flies stable for throws 280-600'

1b) a wraith flies stable/overstable for throws ~1-410' and understable beyond that
2b) a flick flies stable/overstable for throws 1-480' and will flip beyond that (but still finish overstable)
3b) an orc flies overstable for throws under 250', stable for throws ~290-325', and high speed understable beyond 350'
etc.

i have pretty much mapped out a lot of the factors that make things happen this way. only a handful of discs designed after the firebird (2000) have the characteristics of true stability at any speed. predator, talon, starfire-x, etc. to name a few. in the 1990's, the discs designed that DID NOT have stabilizers: polaris ls, xl, sabre, leopard, polaris lf, sabre, jls, teebird-l. it's odd that the percentages have flipped. the number of drivers nowadays designed with stabilizers is approximately equal to the number of drivers designed in an entire decade that did not have them.

now... for overstable drivers, it is important to gauge fade incorporating high speed stability into the equation. a wraith will actually have more geographical fade than a firebird when thrown with equal height assuming neither disc turns over. when a disc fades from a turn, it is (usually) more nose down and will fade less (the trajectory will also dictate this).

there are two kinds of overstable as well, overstable by design, and overstable by gyroscopics. the way to tell the difference is to throw two shots flat and 20' high without turning the disc over, one with a disc like a wraith, starfire-l, flash etc. and another with something definitely overstable like a firebird, banshee, x-clone, etc.

the disc that is gyroscopic overstable will hold the same angle as it fades and cover a LOT of fade distance as it stays in the air.
the disc that is overstable by design will INCREASE in hyzer angle towards vertical as it falls off and actually carry less far to the left as it will accelerate towards the ground.

i guess the big thing is:
YOU CAN ALWAYS DISC UP AFTER YOU HAVE THE TECHNIQUE TO THROW ANYTHING BUT PEOPLE THAT LEARN ALREADY DISC'D UP CANNOT ALWAYS DISC DOWN.
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Postby Thatdirtykid » Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:58 pm

wow, that was alot to take in at once. I geuss Im one of the lucky ones who sucessfully "disced down" I started with an orc, then viking, then pro teebird, then z xl. It wasnt until I learned to throw the z xl that I started gaining confidence.
Then I worked back to orcs, and now dont seem me throwing anything faster than my avenger.

I accually have the most sound bag ive carried in a while. It also happens to be one of the simpliest. Check the my bag thread to see, I plan on updating it right now.
Z Pred-ESP Cyclone-Z Force-Z Aftershock-Z Comet-Ion-Pro Rhyno
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Postby roadkill » Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:18 pm

Wow! Blake you've put into words my thoughts for the last 5 years.

I liked your two golfer profile comparison. I've always been intrigued by how many 940 rated am players there are that can throw 425+. But your two golfer scenario makes it clear why so many so called big arms never seem to consistently score well.

Keep up the good work. Your insights are valued by many.
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Postby Solty » Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:08 pm

Blake,

great blurp. i agree..i usta buy the latest and greatest...however i'm VERY happy with my CH teebirds...i carry 4 of em..all differently seasoned. Some i can flip..others are for bullets or long hyzers. Great article nonetheless!

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disc golf 4 evah

Postby bluesmiley » Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:42 pm

Jill is an 11 year old quadriplegic. She grew up throwing Wizards like a granny shot. She threw them 500 feet, and made aces every time. We should try to emulate her as much as possible.

John Boy is a 25 year old golden boy. He was All-American in every sport ever, including field hockey. He threw Wraiths backwards for some reason, apparently even breaking windows.

The idea here is that we should master putters and perhaps embrace our own limitations, THEN worry about buying the pricier disks. I, for one, plan to play blindfolded with a straight jacket next weekend...think it will be a real breakthrough.

God bless all you guys...love you all!
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Postby Blake_T » Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:20 pm

haha, that was amusing.

while i wish people learned more with putters/mids, i've actually found it is a pretty rough transition for them to make from a putter/mid to a wide-rimmed driver (i push them towards easier drivers but few listen) as mids/putters generally do not have the nose angle dependence that drivers have. is similar to seeing an ultimate player going from lids to midranges.

i usually push them towards tweener discs, e.g. ones that were drivers ~1988-1992. cobra, eclipse, #2 flyer, #3 flyer, etc. and nowadays people call mids, but they are definitely different than true mids. most of these have been discontinued (typhoon, tracer, scorpion, moray, deuce, etc. come to mind). the idea behind it is that they are nose angle dependent while still somewhat forgiving. that is, they need to be thrown nose down to fly well, but don't completely crash and burn if thrown slightly nose up.

it's a hard sale to get people throwing putters out of the gate nowadays because they are under the impression that they cannot go far as relatively few newer players have seen them go far.

btw, i do throw a mean granny style reverse-spin roller with a predator.
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drivers

Postby twmccoy » Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:42 pm

I am wondering why people think beginners should all start out with really old, basic drivers like cyclones, leopards and XSs. Anybody who has the motivation to practice and skill will soon outgrow these discs as their long driver. I'm just wondering why you wouldn't recommend something like a beast to a beginner? I found that you can throw a cyclone as hard as you can and end up just as far as a shanked beast shot. Todays drivers don't even have to be thrown well to get the same yardage as older models. I started out throwing a DX eagle as my main driver and got frustrated quickly. Luckily I found an Orc in the lake and tried that. I instantly gained about 40 ft, and I was by no means a good thrower at the time. I guess I'm just saying that todays drivers are so superior to the old ones that I don't see how anyone with a half decent arm would want to throw one as a long driver on a long hole. With options like the 2X beast, spectra and sidewinder, the eagle/cheetah/leopard era may be over. Besides, todays drivers are more fun to throw than eagles and cheetahs. I don't mean to step on toes here, I'm just speaking from personal experience. I personally would never give up a champ orc in favor of an eagle or teebird.
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Postby Blake_T » Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:26 pm

a multitude of reasons.

1) newer discs that are easy to throw have some f'd up flight characteristics, often being too flippy at high speeds and not predictable enough at low speeds. while that may be desirable later on, early on it doesn't teach disc flight. people end up with unrealistic expectations. i often hear: "i want a disc that flies 9000' dead straight with no fade but that won't flip over and it has to be in champion/z plastic." they get teary-eyed when i tell them that doesn't exist.

2) people will outgrow slower discs, but that is the idea. learn to hit a 5-wood then try to hit a 1-wood. you learn a lot more about technique throwing discs that are at a speed which you can consistently generate. slower discs are less nose angle dependent which teaches you how to manipulate nose angles to manipulate flight. while this may not be all that applicable with wraiths and orcs, it IS with putters, midranges, etc. discs keep getting longer but holes stay the same. soon there will be a need for "fairway drivers" again.

3) you learn to throw more shots. i'm guessing your cyclone experiences are due to the elevation/air characteristics you play at. there are many discs since 1987 that have been thrown 600'+, but it is a different technique than the 10' high line drives people try to throw now. that wouldn't be important if every hole allowed for a 10' high flat line drive, but that isn't the case. learning to make a cyclone fly 380' is a very different shot than a 380' wraith line drive. the difference is, if you learned with slower drivers, you CAN choose to throw a wraith, whereas if you learned with something super fast, you probably can't choose to rip a clone far.

4) developing consistency during the learning curve. true, a shanked beast shot may go as far as a good cyclone shot, but the shanked beast shot will be off in the schule whereas the cyclone shot will be in the fairway. also, if you record distance trials, you will see that players throw the best consistent/average and accurate distance with discs that they can consistently generate enough speed on.

5) this is based upon teaching hundreds of players and working over a long period of time with many of them, tracing their progression. if the learning with a big bertha method worked well, i would teach that method. ask scott hoffman (if you know him, he's in denver) about what the gazelle did for his game and he will probably be able to give some first-person feedback from someone that disc'd down and then chose to disc up again later.

6) developing comparative advantage. being able to throw 450' with golf shots vs. 400' with golf shots doesn't change things that much when throwing drivers. the advantage is throwing mids. the 450' guy can likely throw a roc 350', whereas the 400' guy is probably throwing a roc more like 310'. if i had the choice between throwing a roc and throwing an orc i would usually choose a roc if i could reach the hole. however, throwing a roc 350' requires a technique that is not similar to throwing super fast drivers.

there's only a handful of discs that i really push from the older range. the leopard is not one of them as it doesn't teach people to love fade. personally i prefer to push discs that are versatile and generally are scaled up versions of a roc flight path.
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We are not worthy...

Postby Bradley Walker » Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:41 am

Blake we are not worthy... you are a true pioneer.

After a few lengthy e-mails, explaining my progress and testing, I decided to just go do what Blake said.

So... I have been doing some real HARDCORE testing.

I also bought a DX Eagle and a D Cyclone.

I took ALL my discs out last night. A storm was blowing in and I was throwing EVERYTHING into the and out of the wind (15-20 MPH) just to see the differences.

Holy crap... interesting predicting the results.

News flash...thrown on a line drive with my Ken Climo copy "baseball pitcher"backhand snap (this is flat plane with a low anheyser follow through (I like this for golf), the T-Bird and Eagle flew, nearly the same in every direction,

Read this again. These discs flew nearly the same no matter what direction I pointed. There were some distance anomylies of note, but the T-Bird and Eagle were in the middle of the pack at the extreme into and out of the wind.
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Postby TexasOutlaw » Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:58 am

Great stuff. That's enough reading material to keep me busy for a week (reading and re-readying).

I do disagree with one thing: I don't think you can out grow slower drivers.
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Postby Blake_T » Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:02 am

outgrow in a sense that you grow through them, opening up the next level of discs while still being able to throw them if you do so choose.
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Postby TexasOutlaw » Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:27 pm

Yeah, you hit it there. Also when I find myself in slumps, I put away the avengers and wraiths and go to slower drivers until I work myself out.
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Re: drivers

Postby presidio hills » Sat Apr 08, 2006 12:10 pm

twmccoy wrote:I personally would never give up a champ orc in favor of an eagle or teebird.


actually, i was throwing pro starfires for straight drives and champion orcs as my more overstable drives when one day i found a beat up DX eagle. first throw with it, it travelled a little over 300', which is how far i was throwing starfires... except it's flight path was VERY straight. it impressed me to the point i slowly crossed over from throwing starfires to my dx eagle. after reading some of blake's sermons, i decided to just buy 3 dx eagles and use them as my "go to" driver... after a handful of sessions i can say i'm throwing it MUCH better (straighter AND farther) than my starfires. then i was playing in a tourney (4 loooong rounds in two days) and noticed i was throwing my D XL even better than my eagle... i can now throw both of those discs 75% power on a number of lines and get them out close to 350' (no message board inflation for me) and with much more consistency than a pro starfire. i'm now relaxed and confident with my driving technique... which is something i've struggled with for two years of playing with stuff like the champion orc etc.
in addition; i took my S illusion (mine is quite flippy, btw) out to try my new improved technique on and noticed when i threw it nice and easy it was going farther than any shot i've thrown (easily reaching 350') every single time.
discin' down saved my life.
so there's one story of personal experience for the books.
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eagle

Postby twmccoy » Sat Apr 08, 2006 8:47 pm

Well, obviously an eagle is much straighter than a pro starfire. I mentioned orcs though. I think an orc will fly just as straight as an eagle but with more speed, distance and a bigger fade at the end. I also love the pro starfire, but agree that it is a little inconsistent. I'm not saying eagles are bad drivers, I just wouldn't throw one over an orc in any situation.
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Postby Weebl » Sat Apr 08, 2006 10:13 pm

My 166 pro starfire is 10x more predictable than my 171 Champ. Orc. Maybe I'm crazy.
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