Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Long and Short with Brody Miller

Brody Miller putting the disc in the basket.
There was a video that caught my eye a couple months back from the Oregon DGC (what up Alex!?) that highlighted some truly amazing putts and throw-ins from Portland's Brody Miller. I wanted to hunt this fella down and pick his brain for thoughts on his short game. A little cyber-stalking later and he'd agreed to share some knowledge with us. Of course my work schedule (and his) slowed things down a bit, so I had HeavyDisc corespondent / bird lawyer / disc golf buddy Kyle O'Neill step in to ask some questions.

So thanks to Kyle and Brody for the following interview. First though, check out this insanity.

What do your putting practices consist of? Do you have a specific routine you follow, or just go out and start tossing your putters?
Typically when I practice putt I will have a handful of putters all exactly the same. I like to practice different styles from different distances. I straddle putt from 10, 15, 20 feet, etc; and putt standard stance from 10, 15, 20 feet, etc. I usually like to putt from one spot until I make 30 without missing.

Do you practice up shots as much as your putting (or even driving), and if so do you have a routine for that as well?
I'm glad you asked. My approach game is pretty strong. My home courses are very short, I will often "disc down" rather than throw a driver soft. I will throw a midrange or a putter, doing so gives me better control and accuracy. They typically have better control in windy conditions over drivers on short throws.

What types of discs are you using for both shorter approach shots and for putting? Do you change those discs based on the situation you find yourself in, or do you stick with the same few discs regardless? 
Playing for Latitude 64 I have great options for putters. I have a great relationship with my zero hard Pure for the majority of my putting needs inside of 50 feet. Outside of that I will typically use a zero medium Pure. Anytime I am outside of 40 feet I will use a modified jump putt for which a zero medium Pure allows me to apply extra spin. When throwing approaches or putter tee shots I use a zero medium Pure or opto Pure. These are not only very controllable but very durable as well. They all have the exact same feel in the hand, which I find to be very helpful with consistency. To compensate for wind I will typically change the angle of release rather than the disc.

Ridiculous things happening.
In the video I referenced above, you hit some long putts using some very interesting lines. What influences the lines you take during a jump putt? Do you always jump putt, and if not, inside what range are you comfortable with?
The wind, gaps in the trees, trouble or ob around greens, and distance all influence the lines and angles I use during a jump putt. On uphill or longer putts I tend to use a jump putt. On a downhill putt I won’t usually jump at all. On flat ground outside of 40 feet I will use a modified jump putt.

We know that the mental aspect of disc golf, like in all sports, is a huge part of the game. After a missed putt that you feel you should have made, or an errant up shot, how do you go about putting that unsavory shot out of your mind in order to execute the next? What goes through your mind during those instances?
We all miss. It is a game of minimizing our mistakes. If you go into a round knowing you will have misses, hopefully, when you do miss it will not affect your next shot. We would all love to make every shot, but the reality is even the best players in the world miss. Typically it's the recovery of that miss that makes them great. In my mind, when I miss, making the next shot is the most important thing.

What's the best piece of advice about the short game that you've received during your career? While learning the game, was there someone that you tried to emulate in order to improve your skills?
The best advice someone once gave me was about staying positive. If you can stay positive in the worst of situations or bad rounds then you cannot be defeated. You might not win the round or the event but you will have a better chance than the people hanging their heads in defeat. During the Ken Climo era I think everyone wanted to putt the way he did. I would watch videos and try to emulate his style. Growing up with a father that played great disc golf, as well, I certainly picked up some of his style. More than anything I have always tried to do what's most comfortable.

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