Improving your disc golf throwing technique often requires smaller adjustments to see the biggest gains. As we’ve covered in the past, proper disc golf shot alignment is important, but additionally having a pre-shot routine in disc golf can make a big difference.
The pre-shot routine is defined as the sequence of thoughts and behaviors that occurs before every throw.
This is the moment where the player will typically clear their mind and focus on the shot at hand. This also when the player will go through the slight motions and body movements that will take place by reenacting the actual throw to get the feel.
Every disc golfer has a pre-shot routine if they like to admit it or not. For many disc golfers, this preemptive sequence is very pronounced, but for others it might be subtle and simple. Every disc golfer does certain alignments, adjustments, and movements that are similar to their actual throw in their pre-shot routine along with a few other things to put their mind and body at ease.
We previously talked about the idea of having a phrase or saying to tell yourself before every putt. This same idea can be applied to any disc golf throw.
Transition from Vision to Reality
The pre-shot routine is intended to transition from conscious thought to letting muscle memory take over. This allows your body to go into autopilot by clearing the mind of internal/external distractions and to calm the nerves.
There is the phrase “do your best to not let your head get in the way.” This refers to many disc golfers drastically overthinking the situation whether it be the drive, the approach, or the putt. By engaging your athletic subconscious mind, as opposed to not thinking about the actual movements of your body, this can help to reduce the complication.
Most top professional disc golfers have very calculated pre-shot routine that they have developed over the years involving focus, visualizing the shot, practice walk-ups, rehearsal arm swings, and deep breaths. Regardless of what steps you take, the overall goal of preparing the player to execute the shot to the best of their abilities is common to all.
Building Your Routine
There are four steps to take to develop your own pre-shot routine.
1. Clear Mind & Conscious Thought
Analyze the current situation, the weather conditions, the shot shape required, and envision the best result of the throw if executed perfectly. Predetermine what you’re trying to accomplish.
2. Physical Action
Turn the brain off and let muscle memory to take over. Take a few practice arm swings to gauge the speed, power, angle of release, and feel the rhythm of the throw. Since the optimal target and shot type have already been selected there is now additional thinking about what needs to be done.
3. Positive thoughts lead to positive actions
Keep the thoughts positive. Don’t think about “missing” the tree in the fairway. Instead, conceptualize “hitting” the open space down the middle of the fairway. You don’t visualize missing the shot, right? If you do… well, you know what happens.
4. Trust Yourself
Be confident, trust yourself, and show full commitment to the throw. Hard work will pay off. Believe in what you’re building and the birdies will come.
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- Avery Jenkins