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The Importance of Being Earnest
(About Practicing)
Part II

In Part I of this article, I spoke of several rather obvious issues, Mental and Physical Preparation, Attire, Grips and Nerves in respect to practicing your throw.  In addition, The Mad Professor has also written several great articles on practice recently, called Getting The Most Out of Your Practice Sessions.  Click here to check them out.  

For now, I'm going to cover a few more issues.... Tweaking Your Throw, a few words on Stance and Uniqueness.

Tweaking Your Throw:

I have yet to find a shooter, who permanently adopted the first set, grip, and throw that they tried.   Much of what we do is based on trial and error on the practice table.  We try different sets, different grips, more arc, less arc, more backspin, no backspin, closer to the wall, further from the wall, stick left or right or maybe straight out..... the list is LOOOOONG.  

Especially for new shooters, this process is important.   It's how you will find the grip and throw you're most comfortable with.  It's just as important to the journeyman dice influencer.  The more skilled you become, the more tweaking you'll do.  Why?  As your skills increase, you'll come to understand more fully the nuances of a consistent throw....making the slightest of changes to continue your growth as a shooter.

O.K.  So I've established how important the process of tweaking is.  It's also a process that can have you chasing your tail.  On the message board, I've seen threads where a shooter has said something like,

"Two nights ago, I hit the practice table for a few hours.  My throw has been really inconsistent lately so I decided I'd try a three fingered front grip.  Shooting from stick left (I usually throw from stick right), I was throwing backhanded with more arc than normal and I could do no wrong!  Then last night, I tried the same thing and I threw seven after seven!   I think I'll just go back to my old grip and throw..."

I'm hoping you can see where this shooter went wrong.  If you're going to make adjustments to your throw (grip, set, etc.).  You must do it SLOWLY, isolating specific aspects.   Otherwise you'll never know which adjustment caused the success or failure.   In addition, it's DIFFICULT to make changes. 

You've trained your body to throw a certain way, and now you're changing it.  By isolating and concentrating on small changes, you can begin to retrain your body.  Sometimes a change will cause an immediate positive effect, most often though, initially your SRR will deteriorate before making progress.

Think of it this way.  When a racing car is not running as it should in a race and the driver brings the car into the pit, the crew will make slight alterations.  They may increase air pressure in the outside tires a bit or adjust the trim by a small amount.  By making modest changes, they can determine the success or failure of the modification more easily.

The same should hold true when you're ready to tweak your throw.  Make small changes, and give the change a reasonable amount of time to truly judge whether it has a positive effect or not.

Stance:

Stance is one of the most overlooked items when a shooter takes up dice influencing.  I'm not going to tell you exactly HOW to stand, only that you need to develop a consistent stance.  I have 3 stances, one for each position, stick left, stick right and straight out.  Originally, when I started out, I drew chalk marks around my feet on the garage floor to ensure that my feet were in the same position each throw.  After being concious of my foot position for a period of time, my stance then became second nature.

The only other point I'll make about stance is to make sure that you are sturdy and comfortable on your feet.  In the middle of a long hand, the last thing you want is to become fatigued because of an awkward stance.

Uniqueness:

No two shooters are alike.  You may be tall or short, have long arms, or chubby fingers.  In all likelihood, you could never throw exactly like me, and be successful....nor could I throw like you.  You can certainly imitate the throw of a successful shooter, but to be successful yourself, will probably require you to modify it to some extent. 

There is no one "best" throwing technique, nor is there one "best" grip, or throwing position, or a plethora of other items related to a controlled throw.  I firmly believe that you will have more success as a shooter by discovering your own unique throw versus replicating the throw of another shooter.  That's not to say you have to reinvent the wheel, only that you should not continue throwing in a manner that is not producing a positive outcome just because you've seen that throwing style work for someone else.  Naturally, when you began your dice influencing journey, you probably imitated someone elses throw.  Of course, that's perfectly logical.  What I'm suggesting though is to take the time to find out what's comfortable and successful for you.   Use your time on the practice table to really discover what feels right, what feels comfortable, and what produces results.

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! The players I've seen who have had the most difficulty finding success in the dice influencing arena are those who have chosen imitation over discovery.

So get out there and discover your uniqueness!

I'm sure there will be a part III in this series.... so keep an eye out!

Back to IrishSetter's "My Life As A Dog..." Page

 

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