Saturday, January 2, 2016

Fallout from the Nuclear Option

By TAFL Hols

It's been half a year since I last posted. In that time, much of my free time was eaten up by varied concerns, including my mother's battle with cancer (and her passing). I have been able to get out and play, using what rounds I could for mainly practice, because getting time just for field work wasn't much of an option. I can say that I've not gotten anywhere near as much time in practice as I anticipated and wanted. That said, it's proven immensely interesting.

For those who've not been exposed to the phrase, "the nuclear option" - when it comes to rebuilding technique,  it refers to starting over from scratch when it comes to throwing the disc. One becomes a beginner all over, working to develop every aspect of a throw anew, building good habits and scouring oneself of every scrap of bad habit. In my case, I've become a beginner with thirty years' experience.

It's been interesting, to say the least. It's been discouraging and rewarding, by turns. I can say that I'm happier now with my game than I have been in quite some years, despite it just seeming to be on the cusp of breaking out in serious goodness. There have been so many improvements that I can identify.

That's not to say that everything I did before was bad, mind you. My short game was always good. It was the long game that was my bane--I was never a long thrower. When I did field work a couple decades back, I consistently threw many of my shorter drivers--discs that are now considered midrange discs-- 280' to 290' feet. My primary driver, though--still considered a fairway driver even now--would only carry 300' to 320'.

Part of the early process of nuclear destruction and then rebuilding of my form involved evaluating what I did when throwing from the tee and throwing off the tee (from the fairway) and comparing that to what I was learning about how to drive effectively. It was easy to figure out the many things I was doing wrong on the tee. What took longer to figure out was what I was doing off the tee that contributed to my driving issues.

My short game was good, so how could that lead to bad driving? Well...there were lots of things I did, in terms of technique, when throwing from the fairway that helped me use a lot of finesse that are absolutely dysfunctional when it comes to throwing with power. Issues with grip, foot placement, hip movement...habits that I'd developed that helped with the short game and hurt the long game.

So I've changed things up wholesale. Those changes have rippled through my entire game, as teaching the muscles to do thing differently affects so much. My putting deteriorated noticeably, which was extremely disconcerting. Once I began working on changing my grip for driving, it felt weird to pick up a disc and hold it the way I long had for putting, for example...and the changes engendered resulted in changing the technique I use for putting. (I still have the same philosophy as I outlined previously, just a whole new technique.)

I hope to be able to speak cogently to many of the changes in my game over the next few weeks and see if it helps somebody else go through the process.


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