For nearly every sport in existence, to play at a competitive level you will spend far more time practicing your skills than you will actually competing.
Sure, practice rounds are fun, but they prevent you from truly focusing on what you need to work on the most.
It would be the equivalent of only playing exhibition football, basketball, or baseball games, and never actually practicing any one skill individually.
I'm talking the nitty gritty stuff: form improvement, putting consistency, learning your bag, disc testing, scramble shots, up shots, awkward stances and so forth and so on.
Disc golf is no exception, and it's not surprising that pro disc golfers take no time off in practicing their craft.
If they aren't practicing individual skills, their opponents are, and to play at a top level, you need to take your practice and training as seriously as you do your officially scored rounds.
This means practicing with intention, and working on the little things that will add up the most on the course.
By all means, playing practice rounds are what we look forward to the most, but playing for 2 hours is not the same as practicing your putting for 2 hours, see what I'm getting at?
So some questions remains,
What should I practice in disc golf?
How should I practice disc golf?
What drills should I be doing?
And these are all great questions that will vary greatly from player to player.
The short, easy answer would be to practice everything from driving form to putting and all skills in between, but the truth is while you should practice everything, you shouldn't practice everything equally.
The Pareto Principle that is commonly used in the business world states that 80% of all consequences or outcomes come from just 20% of causes.
"That's great guys, but what does this have to do with disc golf?"
It means that if you were to look at all your score sheets, you would likely find that 80% of the extra strokes you're taking that result in a par or worse are likely caused by 20% of your game.
Driving (distance and accuracy)
Mid-range approach shots (distance and accuracy)
Shot/disc selection (the strategy aspect)
If you were to pick 1 of these 5 categories as your weakest, it would result in 20%, and that 20% is probably adding more strokes to your rounds than all the other categories combined.
It's not an exact science, but I think you'd be surprised how closely it applies.
For me, when I look at the holes I par, bogey, double bogey, or worse, I find that putting is by far my weakest area and need for improvement, and where I give the most strokes.
For you, your putting may be great, but you add way too many strokes before getting to the basket to be in a putting situation.
This is where practice comes into play.
First and foremost, you need to evaluate where you're giving strokes and gaining strokes.
What are your strongest areas and what are your weakest?
I see many players spend hours practicing their throwing form to improve distance and accuracy, trying to squeeze 50-100 more feet out of their throws, but spend minimal time putting, even though it's a weakness.
Be honest with yourself, ask the tough questions.
Why did I bogey these holes? Why did I double bogey these holes? Why did I par this hole instead of a birdie?
The more stats you take, the easier these questions will be to answer, but the answer for many of us will be fairly obvious once we look carefully at our own scorecards.
You can't focus your training sessions if you aren't sure what you need to be practicing. Otherwise you end up practicing the things you're good at and neglecting the things holding you back.
Once you identify your weakness, don't spend an equal amount of time practicing all your skills.
Instead, practice intentionally on your weaknesses.
Don't spend 2 hours practicing your throwing form and 20 minutes on putting if putting is your biggest problem.
Don't practice putting if you're constantly being out driven by your competitors or are always finding yourself off the fairway due to below average accuracy.
You get the idea.
We often get asked how to practice certain skills, but really it is as simple as replicating situations we commonly find ourselves in out on the course.
If you struggle putting around obstacles, spend an hour doing nothing but practicing putting around obstacles.
If your upshot accuracy is less than desired because of awkward stances, practice those awkward stances with as many discs as you can.
If your form is keeping your from throwing 400' instead of 350', work on your form.
The list is truly endless and entirely different from player to player.
I spent a lot of time last year practicing my throwing form, more so than actually playing, and my distance and accuracy significantly improved because of it.
Despite playing the least amount of actual disc golf rounds as usual, my game became better than ever, because I practiced intentionally on what I was bad at.
My current weakness, as mentioned, is putting.
So what did I do?
I researched the BEST PORTABLE BASKETS FOR THE MONEY and got myself one so that I could spend more time working on that and less time on my driving form.
You can and should do the same!
Whenever you get the chance, sit down and figure out what part of your game is struggling, and go practice those weaknesses with intention and see those strokes get shaved off your game.
Additionally, don't neglect the things you're good at, but practice them proportionately as you see fit.
By practicing more than you play, you'll see your game get taken to the next level, we promise!
Disc golf should be fun whether you're practicing or playing, so make practice sessions fun, throw the best rounds as ever this summer, and have fun doing so!
Happy Disc Golfing!
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