Disc golf is hard. It only takes one or two rounds to firmly establish that fact deep down into your soul. Sometimes the game is so hard that it hurts to know how much practice it’s really going to take to get better. But even when you might think the challenge of disc golf starts to lighten up a bit, another blown throw or missed putt crushes your hopes and dreams of ever becoming the next coveted PDGA superstar.
And we know it takes practice, dedication, discipline, and effort to get better. That’s in every single tips list and blog post about disc golf on the web. But In this article, we’re looking deeper. Looking at those hands-on, highly practical approaches that can help you improve your game at a higher level. Some tips that can help you become a truly elite player if you have the right mindset and are willing to put the time in.
In this article, these tips will help you win. Because that’s what it’s all about.
Always have a goal in mind (before you start and while you play)
No matter what you plan on doing in the disc golf world, always try to have some kind of goal in mind. I’ve got a 24-month goal to thoroughly learn this sport, grow my website, and possibly build a disc golf business in the future. I would love to go pro, but that takes a ton of time and effort that I’m not sure if I want to put into the sport. But this tip is all about what you want. So make sure you think about that and make a plan of action for yourself. You have to set specific short-term and long-term goals for the most success.
Start with short-term
You’ll notice a goals concept throughout my #DGN blog posts that consists of both short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals are the goals that help you achieve your long-term goals by hitting quick achievements over the course of days, weeks, or months. Short-term goals are essentially the foundational goals that all come together to help you achieve your long-term dreams.
Your long-term goals are those that you hope to achieve over the course of months, years, your career, and even your life. These are your dreams and everything that you hope to accomplish. These goals are hard to achieve, but if you can, they may be life altering.
Now we’re talking about disc golf, so your life goals and your goals pertaining to this sport may be significantly different. But they can be one in the same depending on what you want to accomplish with disc golf. If you want to become a pro, that’s a long-term goal and will require some extreme effort. Let’s just keep using this as an easy example.
Your specific long-term goal is to become a pro. You may look at that and say, “Oh, man…how do I get there? Practice?” Well, it will take a lot of play and practice to get to that goal, yes, but it’s also a matter of your ability to achieve a multitude of short-term goals along the way. So a couple of specific short-term goals may be to master your putts and drives, be able to throw the disc a tremendous distance, and to win a local tournament. Those are all relatively attainable short-term goals. If you can continue to achieve these short-term goals, you will work toward, and eventually achieve, your long-term goal of becoming a pro (or at least get closer to it).
The last piece of advice for the disc golfer in this section is to make sure and not zigzag through your goals. What I mean by this is you need to focus on individual goals and not jump from one goal to another. Don’t try and achieve multiple goals at the same time because this can cause you to not achieve any of them. Focus on one goal and crush it. Then hit the next one, and the next one, and the next. These quick wins will lead to motivation and that will make you want to keep achieving. So take some time and write down some of your short-term and some of your long-term goals. It’s been studied and proven that writing down your specific goals can help you become much more successful. Check out this blog post on goal setting for more information.
Think about how you’ve been playing and evaluate yourself and your game
Sometimes you need to just slow down and think. A lot of times we get frustrated and don’t know how to get better or get out of a funk. This leads to disappointment and sometimes quitting the sport. If you’re trying to improve, and you just can’t seem to get over a certain hump, try the thinking man’s approach. Stop, sit down and think for at least a few minutes at a time in detail about your game. Now ask yourself some questions.
Where can disc golf take me?
What skill level am I at? What do I want to get to? Am I really serious about disc golf or is this just a hobby? This may show you the level of dedication needed from here on out. A pro player doesn’t become professional from one round per week and no other practice. A true pro plays at least two to three times per week and practices putting, driving, and all other aspects of the game separately. Disc golf as a hobby needs very little effort or practice. Show up and throw some. If you get good, more power to you because the game will always be fun.
Am I doing everything right?
What parts of my game am I happy with? What parts am I not happy with? Now practice those that you aren’t happy with. It’s a very simple way to improve. So simple, though, that some people don’t even think about looking back and finding parts of their game that aren’t up to par (pun intended). You can think about each individual part of your game that needs attention and then address it with individual practice and drills.
Can I do better?
What do I think I can do to get better? Is there anything like a negative person, poor quality disc, or bad habit that’s holding me back from getting better? Now try to keep those people, things or bad habits out of your life so that you can start getting better. I always try to eliminate anything negative or bad from my life. And if you can do this with disc golf, at any level, you will experience more success. Sometimes the negative or the bad will just pull you down and hold you back from being good (or even great). So think about your life and find the bad so you can get rid of it.
A solid and thorough evaluation of yourself is crucial to performing better in disc golf. If you can sit and think about what you need to improve on, you’re already taking a Step in the right direction. If there are any other questions you can think of that may help you improve, ask yourself. And if you can do all of this, along with setting those short-term and long-term goals we talked about in the first section of this chapter, you will be a step ahead of other players.
When I was younger, back in my high school sports heyday, I played a very competitive level of baseball. And one of the tricks I used to improve on different aspects of my game was to record myself for evaluation. So this tip is special to me, not just because I’ve used it a lot, but because it works.
Expose those flaws
When you record yourself in disc golf, you capture your throws and expose flaws that you may have in your technique. Hopefully, up to this point in your disc golf career, you understand why technique is important and have tried to work on it. It’s okay if you’re not perfect. There are very few disc golfers that have perfect form.
We’ve got a great blog post on technique that you can check out here called, “The Best Disc Golf Technique Blog Post Ever Written.”
Let others critique you
This recording allows you to look in depth at how you throw and find what you need to work on to get better and throw better. A nice recording can also allow your friends to look at the video and give you advice. The best way to get advice on this, though, is to upload your video to forums and community groups online.
By this, you let the awesome, unbiased disc golf community take a look at your overall technique and really pick it apart. These players have no obligation to be nice or dishonest so you normally will get a good bit of feedback. The really cool thing about recording today is that you can use your phone to quickly capture a few throws and upload it to your computer in just a few minutes. Then have it up on a forum feed a few minutes after that.
And once you practice your form and fix technical issues in your game, you should continue to record yourself. After you see your throws improving, you can look back from your old videos and see what’s working for you. You will also see the progress throughout your training, which can help with just a little bit of motivation when you need it. So pull out your phones and get recording.
Join a local disc golf club
If you really want to start improving your game and crushing it out on the course, consider joining a local disc golf league in your area. There are plenty of players in almost every city in America (and lots of other countries) that want to get together with other like-minded people to play a round or two per week.
These leagues are usually paid, so a small amount of dues have to be paid to join (normally in the $5 dollar to $25 dollar range). These dues are almost always worth it, though, because leagues provide a more fun, way more competitive atmosphere that can carry over to competition and more.
But improvement on the course isn’t the only perk of a disc golf league. You can also meet a lot of good players who hang around leagues. This can help you with your game and can possibly net you the ability to have a mentor in your corner. Some of these players can also end up as friends if you play your cards right. These friendships, while awesome on the course, can go way above and beyond the course. I’ve met a couple of people on the course that have become good friends of mine.
So how can I join a local league?
If you’re really interested in this, try going out to your local course and asking around. I’m sure some players there will know when the next league night is. You may even be able to find a flyer or two if there is a community board. If you’re lucky, you’ll run into the league one day or night when you go out to play. That happened to me at my local course.
If you can’t seem to find anyone who knows or any flyers, hop onto the internet. Search the phrase, “disc golf leagues near me,” or, “disc golf leagues (your city and state).” These searches are bound to turn up something. If you’re still not having any luck, try searching other terms or hop onto the forums to look for leagues near you. Who knows, it may be time for you to start one at your local course. Why not do it and #growthesport a little bit more?
Watch better players play at the local course
It’s always a good idea to observe better players when you’re trying to improve your own disc golf game. It’s almost a fact that if you observe correctly, and recognize what you’re doing incorrectly, you can improve ten-fold.
Now as a quick side note: when you’re out on the course observing players, don’t be that really weird and creepy guy that lurks around and stares for too long. You know, that guy. Be cool out on the course. Stop and watch a throw or two and then keep it moving.
As you play, you’re not going to be able to continue stopping to watch people all the time. Try continuing to meet better players so that you can go out with them. This way, you can make some cool friends, observe their game, and ask them for some quick tips to help you get better.
Go to a professional disc golf tournament
If you’ve never been to a professional or semi-professional disc golf tournament, now is the time to go and check one out. Aside from the fact that you can meet some of the best professional players, the atmosphere at a live tournament and with live tournament play is completely different than with regular tournament play or regular course play. The atmosphere is just very oddly and undeniably electric. The players are always pumped up, which makes watching each hole more and more exciting.
And the really cool thing about tournaments is your ability to score some really cool gear for close to nothing. Most large disc golf manufacturers are present at these events and they sell discs and other gear for cheap. A lot of companies even come out to give away free stuff to promote their brand. Now tell me you don’t like free swag! So add this to your list of stuff to do if you’ve never seen one of these tournaments because they are so much fun.
Watch professional disc golf on YouTube
We’ve already established that watching professional disc golf is pretty awesome and it can improve your disc golf game. If you can swing going to a live professional tournament, do it. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience. But a lot of people can’t get to these tournaments because of distance, money, or the ability to drive. And that’s okay because you have another fantastic option: watching these tournaments online.
Some might even say it’s the better option and here’s why
• It’s easy mental practice: you can sit back, relax, and watch how the pros compete. This doesn’t require a lot of brainpower, just a little bit of observation.
• From the recliner: kick out the recliner in your pajamas. Now all you need is a phone or computer and you can watch unlimited tournament video from the comfort of your home.
• Live: a lot of tournaments are now streamed live on YouTube or Instagram. So it’s almost like being there while the pros play. Plus, you can go back and rewatch these videos whenever you want.
Pay for personal coaching
One of the best ways to improve your disc golf game is to pay someone better than you to teach you the game. While I don’t recommend this at first, if you’re truly serious about the game, this is always a very viable option. Again, newer players should stay away from this option as simply practicing and learning technique is generally better when you start out playing. But if you want to head directly to this option, I won’t fault you. You will still learn a good bit of information.
As you advance and get better, you will start to fine tune your game. At this point, you need to start working on specifics if you want to be an elite disc golfer. Specifics are best taught on a more personal level. That’s where personal coaching comes in.
The cons of personal coaching
• Personal coaching costs: because time is valuable, this is your most expensive practice option. One on one coaching can be around $20 to $100 per hour or more depending on who you get to teach you.
• The best cost more: if you really want to learn from the best in the game, you’ll probably spend even more than the above amounts of money for a session. Watching their videos online might be a better investment option.
• You can’t hire some players: there are pros out there that don’t normally do personal training sessions because of how famous they are and what they make.
• You might not have good players near you: most players have a lot of people around them. If you can just find one or two good players to show you stuff, that could work.
The pros: why pay for personal coaching?
• You can hire professional disc golfers: a lot of disc golfers don’t make enough money so they supplement their income with personal coaching and clinics.
• Personal coaching is personal: it’s just you and the coach. One on one teaching is fantastic because the instructor only has to teach one person and any questions, comments, or concerns can be handled right then and there. This teaching is directly for you and only you.
So I highly recommend personal coaching because it can be extremely beneficial to you in so many ways. And it can help out those pros who are financially struggling during the year. Personal coaching is definitely one of the best ways to get closer to being the elite disc golfer you want to be. Now it’s up to you to find some good players to teach you.
Attend a disc golf clinic
A great way to gain some really fantastic knowledge about the sport of disc golf is through a local disc golf clinic. A clinic is basically a short conference or course on a subject like disc golf. Normally there are one or more instructors that will teach a group of people on the specifics of disc golf like how to throw, how to putt, or other techniques to get better. If you have the opportunity to go to a local clinic, do that.
Clinics allow a person to learn disc golf from a skilled player and they offer something even better: affordability. Clinics are much cheaper than personal coaching, often running a player anywhere from $20 to $100 bucks for a full day-long clinic (with personal coaching still at about $30 bucks an hour). The reason is because there will be a group of people with you all paying the same price. This allows everybody to get some good quality coaching time in for a cheaper price than one on one coaching.
Why go for clinics over personal coaching?
Well, for a couple of reasons:
1. The teacher is generally more content: this may sound strange, but the more people are in the clinic, they more money the instructor is usually making. Now money isn’t everything, but it’s always nice to make a little bit more of it. It’s great to make double the money for the same effort as it would take to teach one person. This makes an instructor more content with the clinic and usually correlates into a cooler, more awesome clinic with better information from the man in charge.
2. You can still get one on one teaching: you’re learning straight from the instructor, you have the ability to talk with them and ask questions, and there’s usually a little bit of one on one time for players.
3. You can attend clinics with friends: instead of just you and the teacher, you can bring your friends along and everyone can have a blast while learning some great stuff in the clinic.
4. Diversity: a disc golf clinic is usually full of like-minded people who love disc golf and have great opinions and some knowledge of the sport. It’s interesting to hear what some have to say in these small sessions.
5. Online clinics: if you’re cheap like me, you may not want to spend money to go to these clinics. Even though I do agree that they are a great deal, sometimes cash is limited. If you’re in this position, there are hundreds of online disc golf clinics that can teach you anything and everything about the game of disc golf. Just go online on the internet or on Youtube and search for disc golf clinics.
So check them out
Clinics are fantastic if you’re serious about disc golf. You have the ability to learn a lot in a short period of time for a small amount of money. Also, you might meet some cool people there who want to go out and play disc golf with you. The making friends thing is just a huge bonus! So hop on Google and find one of these near you today.
Enter and play a local tournament to test what you’ve learned
Up to this point in your disc golf career, you’ve probably practiced a fair amount and have gotten better on your drives, approaches, and your putts. What you need to do before the final step in this article is to put all it your effort into action. It’s time to sign yourself up for a tournament.
I know some of you may be like, “I don’t want to play in front of other people! I’ve got stage fright! I’m not good enough yet.” I know, I don’t really like it either. But if you really want to get better, and make this thing more of a lifestyle than a hobby, you have to enter and get experience in some tournaments. This is a big step in the improvement process.
You have to crush any fears you have, especially if they limit you in any way.
Teach others about what you learned
This final tip in this article is something that I’ve taken for granted so many times in my life. I was always told as I grew up about the power of teaching, what it takes to teach, and that you can truly learn a certain subject if you teach that subject’s material to others who want to learn it. And I found out the power of teaching as I started working on my site DiscgolfNOW.com, the site you are currently on right now.
Teaching has the power to not just teach the student, but to teach the teacher. Teaching can be a prolific learning tool. This tip also has the ability to significantly improve your disc golf skills. So, with that being said, now you need to turn your attention away from learning new things and information about disc golf and start teaching other people about the game. Take everything you’ve learned in this article and use it to develop and expand your game by teaching it. If you take this tip seriously, it has the power to truly expand your disc golf knowledge and make you an elite player.
So how can I teach others about disc golf?
There are many ways you can do this and the best part is is that you can teach the game however you want to.
1. In person: standard teaching is done in person and involves a teacher or instructor relaying information to a student. This can be formal or informal and can still be the best way to learn the game of disc golf. Clinics and personal coaching can be great ways to not just teach others, but can help you make some money, too! I personally don’t like teaching in person so I focus on the next couple of teaching strategies.
2. Youtube/videos: videos are easy to make and are probably the best way to transport your knowledge to the masses. Posting your videos to sites like YouTube can teach people about disc golf for years. You just have to make sure you provide the best, most thorough information available.
3. Online courses: once you set up a good online course, you have the ability to teach thousands of people and make some money while doing it. Courses are usually pretty cool and a lot of them are very well-made so best bring your A game if you’re going to make one of these.
4. Books: books have been around for thousands of years and have been teaching people since people were able to read and write. The goal with my disc golf book is to teach as many people as I could by providing the absolute best disc golf content available. Try writing a book about disc golf. You’d be surprised what you can teach people.
You can grab a copy of, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual,” today by either scrolling to the bottom of this page on your phone or checking the sidebar on your computer!
5. Blogs: sites like DiscgolfNOW.com, Mindbodydisc.com, dgputtheads.com, and discgolf.ultiworld.com are all really great resources for disc golf information. It’s with this medium and some of the others above that I’m able to teach players about disc golf. A blog is a great way to learn a lot all while helping others learn and understand the game better.
Don’t forget about…
6. Forums: this “teaching method” is last because there are pros and cons on forums. Forums can be a wealth of knowledge and also a pit of crappy opinions. But if you know a lot about disc golf, get onto the forums and share what you know. We always need more people like this. People who want to share the game, teach the game, and improve their own knowledge and skills.
Teaching helps grow the sport of disc golf. The more you can do to grow the sport, the better the game will get and the better the information will become. If you can teach this sport, you will steadily continue to improve and start crushing it on the disc golf course.
So what have we learned?
We already knew the game was hard and that the one thing everybody wants to do is improve. But boring tips like practicing are way overused in almost every tips list on the web. Today, you got the more hands-on look into how you can go from beginner to good to elite player. Things like getting a personal coach, attending clinics, going to watch professional disc golfers play, and entering your own tournament are great ways to improve your game ten-fold through tips that are actually interesting. Yes, practice and practical tips are important. But it’s all about having fun and finding creative ways to get better that actually help you take your game to that next level.
Check out some of our awesome related content below.