There’s a lot of great feelings in disc golf, one of my favorites is seeing my disc lay 3 feet away from the basket after my upshot. While I work on my putting and I’m confident in it, I don’t mind not having to hit a big putt. So this week let’s look at some ways to practice upshots effectively so that you can learn to park them and take the easy tap in.
First things first we have to change our mindset. It’s very tempting to want to give your disc a chance to go in, but that often leads to a comebacker putt that’s longer than you want. So the first thing you have to accept is that you’re not trying to throw this disc into the basket. Your goal is to get it close. I’m comfortable jump putting at about 75 feet, anything outside of that I’m usually throwing an upshot.
All of them! Practice them all because you’re going to need all of them. Unless you’re playing on a flat ball golf course with no OB or trees, you’ll probably have to throw these at some point. Remember you’re not trying to throw the disc in but get close enough to have a good putt.
How do I practice?
This is the fun part. I genuinely enjoy upshot practice, maybe as much as I love playing. We have a short 9 hole course at SDG called the owl where I practice all sorts of upshots. Now if you don’t have that, I suggest a basket or some kind of object to aim at and read the drill below.
A great drill I think you'll enjoy is to set up a small area with cones or extra discs about 10 feet by 10 feet. Put the square in front of, to the right, the left, or behind the basket. When you can land 4 upshots in a row in that square move the square to another location around the basket.
Make sure that you don’t just throw, throw, throw, throw, pick up your discs. You’re not going to get better if you don’t treat each throw as its own. Take a step away and reset your feet, roll your shoulders, treat each time you step up to practice that upshot as if you’re not getting the same shot over and over.
If you’re getting frustrated with this drill (I do too) I suggest either making it fewer in a row, or moving closer. I want you to succeed when you do this drill. If you’re not getting any in, move closer. The point of this drill is to challenge you, not for you to fail. I’ve been a soccer coach and now I give lessons in disc golf. Every time someone succeeds in a drill, or in a round/game it brings a big smile to my face. If you’re not succeeding in a drill it’s time to adapt the drill. Last week I went up in weights, weightlifting and clearly wasn’t ready. So I went back to the same weight I used previously and added two extra reps in each set. Now in a few weeks I may go up again, and you may find that you’re crushing this drill at 50 feet and you can move back to 60 or 75.
So now you’ve got some techniques to practice, some disc suggestions, and a drill that you can modify to your skill level. Let’s get out there and get some practice in.
Let me know if you have any questions or a drill that you like to practice when you’re throwing.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397
A little side note, this marks my 54th blog, so now I’ve been doing this for over a year. We made it through 2020 together! I just want to let you all know I appreciate the constructive criticism, entertaining conversations, and when people come in saying they’ve tried the tips I’ve written. I’ll keep writing as long as you keep reading, thank you.
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I’m a sports management student at USM and for the most part I don’t like pay-to-play sports. I’d argue that they’re detrimental to the growth of the sport, target rich people, and ruin the fun nature of sports.
But disc golf is different.