Friday, January 12, 2018

The DD Women's Series - Part 3: How Touring Has Improved Tina's Game


It’s no small feat to make a living at disc golf, and if you’ve been following our latest DD Women’s Series, you know that Tina Stanaitis has achieved amazing things. From starting her own business and leaving her career to play and tour full-time, she’s an incredible example of hard work and determination paying off.

After tapping into her entrepreneurial spirit and overcoming challenges as a female touring player, what else could possibly stand in her way? As we all know, one of the goals of going on tour is to become a better player, and Tina’s found a way to get this down to a science.

Let’s take a look at how going on tour, and sticking with the ladies, increased her confidence while taking strokes off her score.

You Can’t Have Too Much Support

In a way, you could say that seeing other touring women is what really put the spark inside of Tina to get out there and live her dreams. Competing in her local women’s group in Portland, the Ladies’ League, she started to meet others who shared her passion, but an event in 2014 is what really turned the tables for her.

“I saw the ladies competing and I just freaked out about it,” Tina shared when talking about the year that Worlds came to her hometown of Portland, Oregon. It was this moment that she decided that she too could be out there on the course vying for one of the top positions at one of the most prestigious tournaments of the year.

She connected with locals Zoe Andyke and Kira Alexander and developed strong bonds with both of them as well as Seattle player Erika Stinchcomb. Together, the four of them shared tips about going on tour and accompanied each other to various events during the season. Before embarking on a full-time tour, Tina received a lot of support from Kira, noting “without her, I don’t know if I would’ve done it in such a big way.”

Buddies On The Road

How does practicing on tour differ from local events, and in what ways do fellow touring women make a difference? Tina has found a ton of success by always becoming a student of the game and working with others who can help to develop and improve her skill set.

“I really focused on playing and practicing with the right people, so I wasn’t changing my shots and trying to do things that weren’t outside of my realm,” Stanaitis says of her 2017 season. Although it’s great to practice with soon-to-be husband Eric Oakley, the differences in their game can create more questions than answers. “I try not to practice with him because his game plan is so different than mine. I don’t even want to think about what he’s going to throw,” she said.

Practicing with top-ranking women like Paige Pierce or Catrina Allen can bring both benefits and challenges as well, as she describes: “[If] they’re outdriving me it’s intimidating. I’ve learned to not do that and keep my own confidence up. With that being said, getting to watch Paige or Cat play and hit perfect lines - you can gather all of this information by being around some of the best players. It’s stuff you wouldn’t think to ask in a clinic or a lesson.”

Sticking with players who are often more similarly matched, like Erika or Madison Walker, has been one of the keys that Tina attributes to her success. Be sure to check out the conclusion of our DD Women’s Series with Tina next week as well glean insider secrets and tips for women who want to tour!
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