Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The DD Women's Series - Part 1: Learning Form With Paige Pierce

When you watch multiple time World Champion Paige Pierce throw a disc off the tee box, it tends to make your jaw drop. Not only is she incredibly accurate and does she get an immense amount of distance despite her small frame, but her form and timing is immaculate. It’s one of the most common topics she gets asked about during clinics, and for good reason - hers is on point!

This DD Women’s Series obviously focuses on Paige Pierce, and over the next four weeks, we’re going to talk about a variety of elements that she finds valuable for any female disc golfer to consider. From mental to physical aspects of the game, we’ll get an idea of how Paige has found so much success and what tips might help ladies who are looking to improve upon their skills.

Let’s Go To The 90’s

Paige has had a lot of years to work on dialing in her form, as she started disc golfing with her dad at the young age of 4. Back then, she tried to mirror everything he and his friends did when it came to throwing discs, and she did a pretty good job holding her own out there. Once she started getting old enough to really put a more concentrated focus on her game, she did start to notice that things needed to change.

“A lot of it I learned from my dad and I kind of tweaked it on my own over time. Women move a little bit differently, so I couldn’t exactly replicate my dad’s form - it wouldn’t work for me,” says Pierce. While her dad gave her the basics, she modified several things, especially how long her runup is on the tee box.

Another point of focus for her as she developed her form? “Keeping my arm as flat as possible in every aspect of the throw,” she described. For Paige, her success revolves around two main components: timing and keeping everything as flat as possible. By honing in on these elements, she eventually found a technique that worked just right for her.

How did she do it? “Practice makes perfect! Once you’re in the field practicing and you throw one exactly the right way, you just feel it and it clicks. I relied on fieldwork and tweaking little aspects slowly and surely until it felt like a machine, making it easier to replicate every time.”

Extending Beyond The Body

So many players, men and women alike, focus on their form and try to get their body movements perfect in order to execute consistently. However, Pierce notes that having proper form is only part of the story because knowing what you’re throwing is equally important. Going from a good player to a great player, in her eyes, is being confident with disc and shot selection.

Her take on discs? “Once you think you’ve learned them, keep learning. You can never be perfect, and the more you know your discs the better you’re going to be.” The confidence this knowledge imparts to your game can be especially helpful during the middle of a round. If Paige says her throw feels a bit off, she amps up her confidence level to make a noticeable difference.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we go even deeper with Paige into tips specifically geared toward women when they’re executing a distance drive.
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Watch As Danny Lindahl Breaks Down The Form Of Top Players

Many of you might recognize Danny from the disc golf videos he's been producing on YouTube, and he's once again bestowed upon us a gift of content that's valuable for nearly every player out there. In two separate videos, he analyzes and breaks down the form of both Eric Oakley and Paige Pierce. Here's what he had to say!

Watch Eric's form here!

Danny, like most, couldn't talk about Eric's form without commenting on how unique it is. Despite being unconventional, it's proven to work well for him time and time again. When you get down to it, the mechanics of his throw are spot on, allowing him to get tons of distance. Eric is able to get maximum reach back with his arm placement and has his timing down perfectly to execute the hop in his step.

One thing that Danny notes is that pulling your disc higher up through your neck like Eric does might result in a loss of power for some, but that's obviously not the case here. Also, pay attention to your footwork and make sure you're lining up your feet correctly based on the shot you're throwing.

Check out Paige's drive here!

Paige does a lot of things right with her form, which pays off with maximum distance and earning her multiple World Championships. Danny notes that she has a great way of utilizing her whole body to create a ton of power based off of rotation alone. If you take a look at her reach back, you'll see that her shoulders are both pointed completely away from her target. Paige holds on to her disc as long as possible to create the most leverage and get max distance.

Be careful to really pay attention to how you shift your weight when you throw. While Paige tends to keep some of her weight on her back foot when releasing, you might find you can throw farther when you fully transfer your weight to your front foot.

We love being able to break down the pro's form with Danny, as it helps amateur and professional players alike get a better understanding of the mechanics of the game.
Monday, January 29, 2018

Course Etiquette - How Much Do You Think About It?

It’s a common consensus in the disc golf community that any fellow golfer you meet, no matter how or where, is generally a cool human being. Maybe you don’t have the same taste in music and perhaps you throw different brands of plastic, but overall, you have mutual respect for one another.

While this is typically true when individuals interact with each other, what often doesn’t carry the same weight is how we treat the courses we play on. Yes, most of us will do what we can to leave a disc golf course in the same condition as when we arrived, and an exceptional few volunteer long hours to improve and beautify the land we play on.

Yet sadly some disc golfers don’t have quite the understanding of course etiquette that perhaps they should, so let’s review some of the more well-known rules that players of our sport hold dear to their hearts.

The Basics

It doesn’t matter if you’re playing in a public park, on private land, or in a secluded area away from most - any disc golf course you play on should show no trace that you were even there. Things like disposing of trash properly are a given, and those who go the extra mile sometimes bring trash bags with them and help clean up the mess left by others as they play.

Most disc golf players carry a Sharpie in their bag, but that doesn’t mean you have to use it during a casual round to deface property. All too often you’ll see a bench at each tee box that has “disc charger” written on it with an outline of someone’s disc. There’s nothing more discouraging than having a deep respect for the game and seeing this out on a course.

The same idea goes for drawing on tee signs and baskets. We know it’s exciting to get an ace, but all too often baskets are scribbled and written on with names and PDGA numbers when it, in fact, detracts from the course’s natural beauty.

Your Effect On The Course

Sometimes we don’t quite realize the impact we can have on our local disc golf course. Even smaller actions like trampling through the rough will, over time, change the nature and layout of each hole. While that’s a small example that happens after years of wear and tear, other players tend to take matters into their own hands in a more serious way.

If you’ve ever seen someone breaking branches or in some cases literally cutting down trees with a handsaw, then you’ve been privy to some of the worst course etiquette imaginable. Unless you are tasked with maintaining a course or are helping out with a work party, there is no reason to alter a hole just because you don’t like the trees in the way.

Etiquette Helps To #GrowTheSport

At the end of the day, there’s something to be said for the disc golf karma that’s in all of our lives. As long as we’re respectful and good to the courses we play on, the game keeps on giving back to us in countless ways. If you see someone exhibiting poor course etiquette, do you call them out? Let us know how you’d handle it in the comments below!
Thursday, January 18, 2018

Testing Out The Maverick Prototype With Eric, Tina, And Zach

Bringing a new disc out into the field always puts a bit of butterflies in our stomach, as it's super exciting to see how our new creation will fly. Despite it being a rather windy day, we headed out with Eric Oakley, Tina Stanaitis, and Zach Melton to give the Maverick a run for its money.

As a new understable fairway driver, we wanted to see how each of these players would react to it. All three of them found really notable points about the Maverick that will surely make it a go-to disc for many.

When Zach first held the Maverick, he was surprised at how nice it felt in his hand. He described it as a "shallow and compact feel" which made it super comfortable. Throwing it on a hyzer, even in wind, allowed the disc to pop up and go straight before fading out a bit, giving him some nice distance and a trustworthy line.

Tina also loved the way the Maverick felt, commenting that it has a bit of a dome to it. She loves throwing her Fury and had heard that this disc was similar, so she was especially anxious to give it a shot. Tina's throws went exceptionally straight and had a lot more glide than her beloved Fury. She said the Maverick will be great for fighting the wind and she sees it working well for those with slower arm speeds.

Eric did some fancy things with his Maverick, including throwing a roller and a sidearm shot. He said this disc's profile makes it great for low ceiling shots, tightly wooded fairways, and for staying underneath the wind with a low throw.

You can check out all three players testing the Maverick in our latest video!
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The DD Women's Series - Part 4: Tina's Tips For Going On Tour

It seems like this segment of the DD Women’s Series is over too soon, but in the last three weeks, we’ve learned a ton from Tina Stanaitis. Those of you who have the entrepreneurial bug got to gain some inspiration, as we learned how WhaleSacs grew from a hobby to a profitable endeavor.

We also got to see the more challenging side of things, as being a female disc golfer on tour can bring up some roadblocks along the way. However, it’s worth it as we learned last week when Tina shared with us how being on the road has really improved her game. Now, we’re wrapping the series up with some words of wisdom and tips from Tina about how going on tour just might be the best decision you can make.

Effort Is Overrated

Now we’re not saying that Tina doesn’t try, and she’s not saying to skimp on the effort, but her big takeaway from 2017 might surprise you. “What I learned most this year is to not try too hard. Anyone who’s up and coming in any sport is trying really hard, but there’s something about trying too hard and not allowing your body to work for you,” she explained.

What she says really is true - when you place so much emphasis and energy on getting your shot just right or pressuring yourself to sink a putt, you usually don’t have the same results as if you were more relaxed. There’s a fine line between trying and psyching yourself out!

Learning Through Watching

While going on tour can be expensive and stressful, the things you gain are priceless. Tina described one of the notable positives of being on the road so much:

“Getting to watch the best players throw smooth precise lines is way more important than throwing 500’ or trying to play outside of your comfort zone. You gain a sense of confidence because that’s what everyone else is doing - you see how they approach each shot and approach each putt. You absorb the fact that they’re not afraid to do it, [and see] the way they carry themselves and the attitude they have toward each shot.”

Watching disc golf on YouTube or playing with local friends can certainly help to grow your game too, but for Tina, actually watching the top female players hit lines with ease helped her with her own skill set.

Taking The Leap

If you’ve been itching to go on tour and you feel like Tina is speaking directly to you, that’s awesome! But before you throw all caution to the wind, try taking a step back and looking at full-time touring from another angle.

“A really good place to start if you’re scared or intimidated is to find a way while you’re at your job to do it for a month or so,” she says about making the big commitment to live on the road. “Go live the dream for a bit. See if you like it. See if you need it. That will help make it so much easier if you really want it.”

After going on several smaller tours before quitting her day job, Tina found she did like and need it. And she’s doing a darn good job at it! Thanks for joining us for this DD Women’s Series, and stay on the lookout for another upcoming conversation with one of Dynamic Discs’ female players.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

In Need Of Training Help? You Can Be Disc Golf Strong

How you train during the off-season is quite a varied topic when it comes to professional disc golfers. Some literally put their bag in a closet and don't touch a disc for months, while others take their time at home to engage in a rigorous workout schedule to prepare them for the next season.

But you don't have to be a touring pro to practice exercises that will help improve your game, as our partner Seth Munsey at Disc Golf Strong demonstrates. He's working with DD and the Disc Golf Answer Man to provide tips and information that will help disc golfers of any skill level to maintain their health and avoid injury.

In his first video, Seth talks about core strength and how it is foundational for helping your game. With the dead bug move, you can help to build a strong center and eventually generate more power when you throw from a well-developed set of core muscles. This exercise works well for any player regardless of athletic ability and will get you on your way to a more stable core.

Seth expands upon his core strength series with his second instructional piece where he shows us another beginning move called the bird dog. This type of exercise helps to maintain the integrity of our spine while engaging our ab muscles.

Check out both of his videos to incorporate some of these awesome moves into your workout routine, and be sure to keep your eyes out for more from Seth!
Monday, January 15, 2018

When Disc Golf Really Is Life - All About DD Team Member Brian Miller

It’s tough to strike a balance when the disc golf bug hits - we become obsessed with playing and often have to find creative ways to fit our new passion in between the other facets of our life. For DD team member Brian Miller, he’s found success in that delicate dance of competing, volunteering, and taking care of life’s other responsibilities.

We got a chance to chat with Brian recently to learn more about the impact he’s had on the Indiana disc golf scene and find out what makes him such a dedicated player.

Hard Work Doesn’t Go Unnoticed

Believe it or not, Brian didn’t instantly become obsessed with disc golf the first time he played. While he was certainly attracted to the sport, it was years before he took it seriously. “I just wanted to be the guy that would go out to the park with 1 disc and play as quickly as possible. Then a couple friends started getting serious about it. They were starting to get pretty good so I decided to get a bag and start trying to get better,” he explains.

This competitive spirit has been with Miller long before joining the DD team, as his athletic background includes experience in wrestling, football, pole vaulting, and seeing success within several traveling softball teams. Once he decided to take the leap into tournament play, Brian was able to bring home multiple career wins and consistently performs very well on the course.

The Indiana Disc Golf Scene

While he may not be traveling and competing as much as he’d like, Brian is involved with disc golf as much as his work schedule allows. Among his accomplishments on the course in 2017, he notes a few other proud moments, including running a disc golf camp, acting as the TD for several large events, volunteering his time to improve local courses, and securing the 2nd place win at the Indiana State Championships.

Perhaps it’s his friendly Midwest demeanor or the appreciation he feels toward the DD family that fuels his desire to make disc golf more prevalent in his hometown, but Brian knows what representing the sport truly means.

“Have fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be classy. Get to know people,” he says when asked what he would tell anyone going on tour for the first time, or really any player who is getting into the sport in general. His attitude aligns perfectly with the DD mission, and he recognizes that how you treat people and the atmosphere you create around disc golf are paramount to growing its numbers.

2018 And Beyond

Touring proves to be a challenge for Brian, as returning home to work prohibits him from traveling for extended periods of time. However, you’ll find him at some of the major events in 2018, including the Glass Blown Open. When he’s not playing, Miller spends time with his family and continues to work on local courses and host great events.

He notes that his best friend, Jason Smith, has been an integral part of not only enjoying the sport but in making a major impact in Indiana: “He and I have worked very hard over the years to promote disc golf, improve our courses, improve relations with the parks department, and grow our club.”

It’s this diligence and motivation that makes Miller such a great ambassador for DD and for the sport of disc golf. We hope you have an awesome 2018 season Brian!
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!
Thursday, January 4, 2018

Check Out This Disc Golf Answer Man Special Episode!

If you ask us, every episode of the Disc Golf Answer Man is special, but on this particular occasion, we had some pretty awesome people join us. Both Jeremy Rusco, CEO of Dynamic Discs, and Tyler Searle, long-time DD employee and RV driver, stopped by to share some info about upcoming events, RV changes, and more.

While you can watch the entire episode here or listen here, we figured we could clue you into a few tips from Jeremy and Tyler:

  • Look for glow events coming soon in addition to the other DD events like C-tiers, dubs, and disc challenges.
  • If you’re running a tournament or local work party, you can’t use social media enough! Share from your club page, personal Facebook page, or do a live video. The more you’re out there, the better the odds that people will see it.
  • Keep your eyes out for the DD RVs in a more regional setup, with our awesome drivers putting on events and having a presence at major 2018 events. We’re aiming for a better work-life balance for these guys while still being out there for all of you!
  • Jeremy talks about the 2018 Trilogy Challenge discs - what are they? Watch the video and find out!

More info about adding players to the team and info about new Westside products can be found in this short and sweet one hour video.
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

How Will You Change Your Game In 2018?

If you’re the kind of person who actually sticks to their New Year’s resolutions, there’s a good chance you’ve been planning yours out for months. For others, it may tend to be a more last minute type of thought process, where you quickly scan the events of your life over the previous 12 months and figure out what you would’ve liked to have been different.

Either way you go, 2018 is here and it offers a nice starting point to commit yourself to something new with your disc golf game. Whether your resolution is one that’s focused on more practice or a mental matter, there are ways you can help yourself to see success with your new commitment.

Shoot For The Stars… Or Not

One common mistake that we all tend to make when setting goals for our disc golf game is to place super high expectations on ourselves, creating an undue amount of pressure and subsequent disappointment if things don’t work out. Instead of aiming to raise your rating by 150 points or to hit an ace a month, why not set out clear and measurable steps?

For example, let’s say you do want to raise your rating by a significant amount in 2018. It might help to think about the smaller actions that will contribute to your goal. You could sit down with a calendar and commit to playing 10 more events than last year, as well as playing two more practice rounds per week than you used to.

By laying the foundational building blocks to reach your goal, instead of just a hope and a wish that you’ll perform better, you set yourself up for success.

Be Realistic

After your careful planning, you might be really jazzed about this year’s resolution, far more excited than any other year even. However, one of the most important aspects of setting a goal for yourself is to be gentle and understanding if you don’t reach it. Setbacks may happen along the way and it’s all part of the process.

Let’s say you do play in more events this year than last, but your first few tournaments don’t result in round ratings that help you to achieve your goal. Some might get frustrated, throw their resolution out the window, and tell themselves it was a silly idea to begin with.

Yet with the proper mindset and attitude, you’ll realize that even if you may not have performed as well as you’d like, you still have the rest of the year to work hard and get where you want to be.

What’s Your Goal?

Ultimately, setting a disc golf New Year’s resolution comes down to discipline and desire. If you want it badly enough, you’ll figure out a way to make it happen. And in all honesty, if you have so much passion for a specific outcome, you probably aren’t waiting until January 1st to put it into action.

What’s your resolution for 2018 and your disc golf game? Share with us how you’d like to personally improve in the comments below.
Monday, January 1, 2018

The DD Women's Series - Part 2: How Tina Overcame Challenges As A Touring Female

If you’re just tuning in to this installment of the DD Women’s Series, you’re in for a treat. Last week we talked with Tina Stanaitis and learned about how she started her successful company, WhaleSacs, and turned her dream of touring professionally into a reality. Take a moment to check it out for some great tips and motivational words of wisdom.

In Part 2, we get a little deeper into what life is like for a disc golfer who’s on the road more often than at home and gain some insight into what challenges can come up for a woman who does it on her own. Buckle up, because this blog is about to get real!

Going Against The Grain

“I can’t tell you how many times people were skeptical that I bought an RV and lived in it alone,” Tina said with a laugh. Not one to dance around a topic, Stanaitis was very straightforward and honest when we talked with her about how she went on tour by herself. Although we now see her as one half of the WhalePants team, during the beginning of her professional career she was on the road solo.

While Eric and Tina's RV seems to be a staple everywhere you look, the first leg of Tina’s journey was actually done in something a bit smaller. “I did half a year in a Prius on tour by myself,” she shared and noted that others were constantly surprised when they heard about what she was doing it. A former banker, Tina wasn’t quite used to living out of a car but said it became the norm after a little while.

Upgrading to an RV was certainly a luxury, yet that didn’t mean the road ahead was all smooth sailing. A mere two weeks after moving into her new digs, Tina was robbed. Despite some hesitation about how others viewed her reaction to the event, she stands firm that her personal safety is far more important than trying to confront an intruder.

Does Gender Really Play A Role?

You might be asking yourself how any of this is related to being a woman, and without stepping on anyone’s toes, it might be something to decide for yourself. However one thing’s for certain: far fewer men encounter skepticism, extreme concern, and weird looks when they talk about going on tour than women do.

Ultimately, Tina’s words of wisdom when it comes to touring don’t apply to women only, although they sure are encouraging for those ladies who do want to take on a new challenge:

“The biggest and best advice I could ever give is to stop saying you can’t do it and just do it. We can all come up with so many excuses to not do something; it applies to pretty much anything in life. I can still find a million reasons to not do what I’m doing. If you hide behind that what’s the point of living years and years not doing what you want to do? Just find a way to figure it out and work hard to do it.”

Truer words were never spoken! Next week we’ll talk with Tina about her strategies for practicing with other women and how being on the road has helped her game.