THE UP AND DOWN: BE CONFIDENT
With four holes to go in your round, you find yourself pinned behind a tree with 100-foot upshot to the basket. You are rifling through your bag searching for the perfect disc to help you out of this mess. You have changed your stance three times and you are starting to get nervous that you are going to get a bogey. When you have exhausted your resources and looked at all the possible outcomes, you finally decide on a shot and throw.
This is the upshot. Whether you are trying to get out of a tough circumstance like the previously mentioned incident, or the routine approach layup to the basket for your birdie or par. It is the crucial part of long courses with long fairways or guarded greens in the forest. Similar to putting, there are so many ways to get to the basket; it comes down to disc selection and the athletes’ preference on what is the most comfortable style for you.
DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS
The standstill, x-step, compact approach, or an over-the-head approach are just to name a few of the ways you could get to the basket. The Scooby, tomahawk, forehand roller, and flick would be the style in which you throw. With the wide variety of stances and styles in how you could get to the basket, it comes down to practicing in a field (or place where you feel comfortable) and realizing which throw could improve your short game during a round. Here is a pretty comprehensive list of disc golf vocabulary where you can find more types of throws and putts: http://www.drivendiscgolf.com/pages/Disc-Golf-Dictionary.html
WHERE TO WATCH OTHERS THROWING WHO ARE BETTER THAN I AM:
When it comes to upshots, professional disc golfers for the past decade have been putting videos online about how to increase your efficiency out on the course. Here are some of the best resources on YouTube:
-Practice sessions through muscle memory (Avery Jenkins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiKZVw_zVdA)
-Variety in the reach back and compact throws (Philo Brathwaite https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SQnSUtQbcE)
-Clinic on approaches (Paul Ulibarri https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzGm8L7O4qM)
-Which approach is right for you (Scott Papa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E4qyvYL-xs)
-2-minute Approaches (Eric McCabe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5qDvqFj194)
-Professional Instructor Dictorial: Upshots (Merle Witvoet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2OEZU9WYb0)
Do what is comfortable for you when you are throwing your upshot. Keeping your routine consistent, practice a variety of situations to help lower your score during a round. When I coached a high school disc golf team for a few years, I would take the students and parents into the middle of the course, find a basket, and ask them, “What is the highest percentage shot to get to the basket?” Sometimes you will need to swallow your pride and just pitch out to the fairway. But before you do that, look at all your angles, any available open gaps, and then confidently throw your shot. Your brain and muscles will respond to prior memories and that is why it is crucial to practice a variety of stances and throws before you find yourself stuck with only four holes from winning your round.
HOW DO I GET BETTER NOW?
Clinics are great, private lessons are fun, and playing a course many times is helpful. In my experience, field work and playing catch are some of the most beneficial things to help improve your upshots. Grip your putters, midranges, or fairway drivers with a fan grip, power grip, or modified power grip (Paul McBeth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCKeBjXMJb8) and see which one is more comfortable for your release. Practice from 100 feet to 300 feet. Breathe out and be relaxed when you practice your upshots because when it comes time for the test, you are going to want to finish strong on the course. Be confident, be focused, be your best.
Author: Rick Saffeels