Training routines ( putting and approaching)

So in the first lesson I gave advice on “Getting to know” your discs and asked players to reduce the number of discs in your bag to closer to 15 discs than 24. While I know most probably didn’t take the advice or at least haven’t yet,,, hopefully some of you got out to the field to throw your discs and get to know them. By throwing shots in a field as opposed to on the course you get a chance to really try things you have never tried before and get a the back-to-back reps needed to hone in on ALL the different shots needed to have a well rounded game. Confidence in your discs and the shots required during a tournament is something that will certainly improve your game. If you’ve taken the advice and are working towards reducing the number of discs to a more manageable amount , your on your way to lower scores and having more fun.

Today I want to give a offer a quick routine for putting practice.

Even though putting is a lot less physical than driving I recommend a good stretching routine before every workout or round and we will get to a stretching routine soon, for now use what you know and just try and get all of your muscles loose.

For the serious disc golfer getting ready for a tournament, I suggest ONLY training with a basket that catches very well. Throwing too many putts into a poor catching target could actually hurt your game and your confidence in making putts.

Ok here we go putting routine 1.0 !

Take all of your putters and start by throwing 20 shots ( not your putting stroke, but a backhanded toss) into the basket from 5-10 feet. I know this may seem silly but the reason is simple, I want you to see how well the chains catch the discs and seeing 20 or so throws hit chains and stick will help you develop confidence it a good firm chain hit.

Ok start from about 12 feet and do a little rapid fire without going through your routine, but with a close resemblance to your stroke. This is an important part of the practice routines that helps with technique and should be incorporated into your practice sessions religiously.
Whether that is spin putting from your between your legs or from your chest or a pendulum swing push putt, do this in a more athletic nature at first as opposed to the slowed down version of your actual putting routine, get a total of 40 -50 throws in ranging from 12-24′ in sets of 5 from 12′,15′,18′ and 24′ to get the muscle memory going.

ok go back to about 12′ from the basket and go through your putting routine with each disc ( 20 shots) hopefully you have at least 10 putters which will make this a lot easier and more time efficient.

Step back to 15, 18 and 24 with 20 putts from each going through each shot with your full routine.

ok so now you’ve thrown about 120-150 putts and your feeling pretty good about your putting inside 24 feet and you want to start hitting some monster putts.
Too often I see players practicing mostly 30-50 footers and hitting a low percentage right before the round. I’d prefer you hit 90% form inside 24 right before you start taking that kind of confidence into the round.

At this point I know you cant help it and you want to hit some big putts, so spend 10-20 minutes in the 24-50 range and get it out of your system. I suggest waiting but my expereince tells me most are not going to just practice 12-24′ putts WITHOUT putting the 24-50.
Before you start throwing the longer putts i want you to try something, step back up to 15 feet and throw ( not your putting stroke but a back hand throw) about 20 shots into the chains, now step back to 24 and throw 20 again,, what did you notice, was the backhand throwing motion just as effective as your putting stroke?

If your not successful with this backhand toss from 15-24 feet i suggest working on this a bit and then we will move to 24′ – 50′ and then on to approaching and laying up from 50′-150′. You should limit the time spent on the 30-50 foot putts until you really have the under 24′ putts success rate at 80-90%..


I want to help new players with developing a practice routine — so here’s lesson number one.

There are many shots in disc golf and they all require practice in order to improve on them.

Today I want to help you “get to know the discs in your bag”!

Lots of newer players to the game will typically have about 25 discs in their bag.
Try as I may, I have had a hard time convincing players to reduce the number of discs in their line up. In my opinion it is extremely difficult to really know the flight characteristics of 25 different discs and have the confidence throw every one of them with accuracy.

With that said … i suggest you start by reducing the number of discs you use for tournament play to 12-15. Chances are no one will do this. After all, you invested hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars in your discs and you feel compelled to use all of them.

So … take your big bag of discs out to a soccer or football field (that hopefully has short grass so you don’t spend your time looking for the discs) and start with a little stretching and loosening up.
If you have a partner, passing a catch disc or softer putter, back and forth, from about 50-100 feet is perfect.

Ok … your loosened up and ready to get to really know your big-bag-o-discs.
I suggest starting by throwing putters at 50% power — which should equal about 150-foot shots. Work your way to mid-ranges and then drivers for the first set of throws.

Start by trying to throw mostly straight or flat shots. Repeat the same style of throws for all of the discs in your bag, down and back or 2 reps.

On the next set of throws start imagining shots that you would use each disc for, whether that’s a turnover, hyzer, sidearm tomahawk etc.
Repeat this for at least 4 reps.
Ok, so now you have 150 or so throws in and your getting some good feedback.

Now try and see what other shots you can do with your discs that you typically do not do.
Like try hyzering your turnover discs and turnover your hyzer discs. Maybe work on throwing different heights or trajectories with your putters and mid-ranges … see what they are capable of in terms of glide and carry. Practice outside of the box.

Wind down this practice session by picking out your top 10 favorite discs — or the ones you have the most confidence. Give them 4 more reps (40 more throws), simulating the shots you would use those particular discs for during a round.

It is important that this practice session take place on a field and not on the course.

Give this routine a week or two and you will notice that by having a smaller lineup, you will reduce your errors, increase your confidence and give yourself more chances to score. In the next lesson I’ll ask if you reduced the number of discs in your starting lineup. With a manageable lineup, we can get to some more in depth training routines.

The preferred lineup for most top pros will look like this:

  • 1 putter strictly forputting (but have a backup)
  • 3 putters/approach discs – mainly for laying up and shots up to 250 feet – one for turnover, fade, and straight
  • 3 mid-ranges – ideally you would want the same rim depth and wing length – one for turnover, fade, and straight
  • The same thing goes for fairway drivers and long-winged, high speed drivers
  • The last 2 disc are specialty discs — I suggest one roller and one tomahawk
  • There is not one shot in the game that cannot be completed with these discs. To know all fifteen discs requires a lot of off-the-course training and practice.

    Having much more than fifteen discs in your starting lineup will most likely compromise your ability to have the utmost confidence with each disc.


    PRACTICE? Are we talking about practice?? PRACTICE???

    The Famous quote ( press conference) from Allen Iverson was in reference to the coach saying Iverson was dogging it in practice. While “some” highly skilled professional basketball players may think practice isn’t important and they have their skills honed in as an individual, practicing as a team is a very important part of winning championships. Last timeI checked Allen did NOT win a ring as a pro. Team sports are much different than individual sports and certainly require game plans and executing them in order to be the best, but without a serious training regiment and the willingness to get the most out of practice, you can only go so far.

    Disc golf like all other individual sports requires spending time practicing to improve or maintain a high level of play. You wanna get better at throwing a roller? Well,,,throwing 1 or 2 during your afternoon bag tag challenge a few times a week is better than nothing, but pales in comparison to throwing 30 rollers in 10 minutes in a field.

    Practice and training takes time and commitment and you have to understand the importance of working things out in practice and then bringing them to the game once you have developed the confidence.

    So you heard about a grip different than yours, or a longer run up, a longer back swing, more follow through??? You saw a guy throw over the trees on a hole at your home course that you always try to thread the needle. You want to improve you game?? Really?? How long do you want it to take to get better??
    You think you can do it while playing for score in your monday night league? Sure, you can get a little better, slowly but surely,,,,, but guys that are really good at disc golf train like true professionals. They are constantly trying new things, a new disc, honing down a hole on thursday for the upcoming event. Working these things out on the practice field and then implementing changes into your game day, require developing lots of confidence in the changes. The worst thing a player can do is lack confidence in a shot or a disc.

    In this blog today I want to be clear,,, if you play disc golf for fun and just don’t have the time to practice, than have fun at your league night, have fun in your round with your friends and have fun when you get the chance to play a tourney on the weekend. For players that want to get the most of their skills and challenge themselves to be the best they can be, its practicing and working hard that will get the best and fastest results.

    When I first started traveling out of town to compete at disc golf in 1983,, I realized a few things:
    1) I had as much disc golf skill as anyone.
    2) My 18 years of playing sports had me in as good of shape as any disc golfer I had met.
    3) my years of team sports and being a part of lots of winning teams and knowing what it took to get there all started with combining DESIRE with practice and being prepared!
    So, my desire to win was also up there with the likes of Dave Greenwell, Johnny Sias and Steve Wisecup. Seeing these guys compete at the highest level and their determination to win and be the best,,,, immediately inspired me to do what was necessary in order to “HANG” with them,,,which was,,,,practice more, train harder and be more prepared than anyone else.

    I started setting goals for my training regiment which included number of reps per week for putting,laying up and drives. I set a goal to improve my game and be able to “BEAT” these guys.
    While my natural abilities had gotten me close, I had a long way to go and i knew right away that it wasn’t possible without practice and training.

    Over the next few weeks I’m going to cover many areas of training and practice routines,, from 10 foot putts, to monster rollers and even diet and cross training exercises.

    I’ll close this blogpost out by mentioning the fact that starting at about 16 years old I saw Nikko put in more time practice putting in my backyard then anyone could have possibly put in (sure may have been grounded to the yard, but he sure made use of his time there). He eventually combined his off course training which included lots of practice shots in an open field with after schools rounds of disc golf at Endicott park,,, often playing by himself and throwing 4 or 5 drives and lay ups on every hole, often 2 or 3 rounds a day. Of course Nikko started with a ton of skill but it was the hours of practice that catapulted him from a decent amateur to one of the best players to have ever played this game.

    Of course there’s always one or two guys that seem to do well without training, but most likely this isn’t you. While in Florida back in winter of 1998/99 we were at Ken Climo’s playing cards,, every time ken folded a hand, he ran outside and threw a few dozen putts. After 4 hours of card playing Ken had about 300 putts thrown. So even with 9 consecutive pdga world championships Ken was still very at adamant about his training,,,that’s why he’s the champ!

    Check back soon for some of the training methods that I have used as well as many of the other top players in the sport today..

    Disc Golf = Life Sport

    Disc Golf is now more popular than even with no signs of it slowing down.
    The PDGA has done such a great job of providing an outlet for the competitive adult disc golfer. The collegiate championships will certainly grow the sport at the college level, but not much has been done nationally to create more play among kids under 16.

    A few years back myself and other members of our club here in ST Louis, wanted to run more events geared for kids, but the board at the time wasn’t quite sure if bringing kids out to our events was a good idea. Disc golf has been long known for its counter culture side and ” extra curricular activities” that have become the norm. We actually had a vote about trying to attract kids under 16 to play at our events. At the time, the consensus was that our members didn’t want to give up their behavior in favor of more kids playing at our events. There was an effort made to run JR only events, but unfortunately after a few low turnouts the direction was abandoned.

    Over the last 10 years there has been a 30% drop in JR play in Ball golf, but more recently the number of kids playing golf has risen and is now on a huge increase as high school and jr golf is more popular than ever,, especially amongst girls.
    The PGA has several programs including First TEE and the Drive, Chip and putt competition ( based on the NFL’s punt, pass and kick) and these programs are churning out the young golfers of the future.

    Yes we ( disc golf) does have the E.D.G.E. program, but after a closer look this program appears to be more of a marketing program for one particular company. Ive tried on several occasions to donate 500 discs to the program, but my efforts were not welcome.

    I feel its time for the pdga or maybe a new group of promoters to spend the time energy and money that is necessary to establish JR disc golf as part of the sport.

    I’m writing this blog to start the discussion as whether or not the current organized entities in the sport are ready to do whats necessary to allow kids to play WITH us or is a separate JR disc golf the only way this will work?

    Please repost this article on your local club message board or share with your friends on Facebook and twitter and go to our website and vote on what you think is the best direction to head today.