Putting follow-through problem?

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Putting follow-through problem?

Postby bents » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:05 pm

Hi everybody. I'm a very bad putter, missing left/right a lot. I've been playing a couple of years, and I practice putting in my backyard for 10-20 minutes per day. My putting style is basically a spin putt. I start with my right shoulder slightly closer to the target than my left. I get a little extra power from rotating my right shoulder closer to the target as I putt. The technique I'm aiming for is basically like this guy's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh3PbSTyGaI.

The thing that seems strange is that my hand ends up to the left of the target during the follow-through. All the putting instruction videos I've seen show a follow-through straight at the target. I can focus on following through straight at the target, but then I miss to the right, and try to compensate some other way to get the disc left. This straight follow-through with compensation has been very inaccurate for me. So I usually just let the follow through be on the left side. Is following through to the left bad technique that I should fix?

And more generally: How do you know when to change a technique? The problem is that changing techniques means you lose the benefit of practicing the old technique, and have to start over practicing a new one. I've messed with my putting motion several times, and it usually has been more disruptive than helpful; I haven't improved much at putting in the last year. Thoughts?
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Re: Putting follow-through problem?

Postby bents » Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:48 pm

I made this cheesy video with my phone to help advice givers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAa_8xuoqBc. This is the first time I've seen myself putt!

It looks like I'm rotating my body too much and it's putting me off-balance. It doesn't feel off-balance, but it just looks like that compared to videos of good players. It doesn't seem right that my back foot is moving sideways during the follow-through. I'm gonna try keeping my shoulder more still. Thanks ahead for any additional advice!
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Re: Putting follow-through problem?

Postby Stringbean » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:27 pm

Yeah, your shoulder shouldn't rotate at all. Everything should be moving in a straight line towards the basket, except your left leg which will be doing the exact opposite to keep you on balance. If you need more power, it should come from the weight shift from your back foot to your front foot. Will Schusterick has a pretty good putting video on You Tube that may help. The Disc Golf Guy has a good video with Steve Rico as well.
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Re: Putting follow-through problem?

Postby Stringbean » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:32 pm

Also, your shoulders should be square to the basket from the start. Don't over extend your wrist, the disc should pop out in a quick motion.
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Re: Putting follow-through problem?

Postby bents » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:35 pm

Stringbean wrote:Also, your shoulders should be square to the basket from the start. Don't over extend your wrist, the disc should pop out in a quick motion.


I heard other people say that the shoulders should start square to the basket, and I made sure to do that for a while. But then recently I noticed that pros in videos don't actually start square at all.

Will Shusterick starts with his shoulder way towards the basket and doesn't rotate at all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_RCws799LQ
Steve Rico starts almost square but then rotates a lot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEfjeUvy_ic

Also, it looks like everyone's back legs rotate sideways, to the right. It sort of makes sense that this will counter-balance the rotation of the body to prevent the arm from moving left, which is my problem. Maybe I should try doing this more.
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Re: Putting follow-through problem?

Postby Stringbean » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:04 pm

Maybe try to focus on extending your arm straight towards the basket in a quick explosive motion while shifting your weight forward on your front foot. Your shoulders and legs will follow suit as you extend your arm towards the basket.
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Re: Putting follow-through problem?

Postby soupdeluxe » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:45 pm

Hey Bents
I usually do not dispense advice but I just recieved a one on one informal lesson/critique on my form and I feel it might apply. I have issues with putting to the right and missing metal. The local pro took a look at my putt and said your shoulder opens when you putt. Keep it pointed at the post. This seemed to help quite a bit but then he gave me another little gem. He said instead of just raising your back leg, raise it and move it so it swings in back of your plant foot. This movement keeps that shoulder pointed at the pole. In the last 3 weeks I have become a much more confident putter. I don't miss left or right nearly as often and I am going for the basket much more aggressivly. If you can watch a video on ytube called "putting is important" it features Eric Mccabe and is filmed directly in back of him so you can see the leg swing I am referring to. Hope this helps
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Re: Putting follow-through problem?

Postby JR » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:18 pm

Welcome. As long as you are not attempting long putts try to keep power generation everywhere under 100 %. You lose out in your power generation big time in a few ways. Your hips stay tilted forward. Pushing the pelvis at the pole adds a good deal of zip to the throw. You start out with too little knee bending and weight too far forward. Watch badminton players serving and you'll notice that their front foot is on the heel only and they lean back a lot. Combined with the extra power from the added knee bend you'll gain a lot. Lifting the arm a little adds tremendous distance every inch counts so you can still stay within spin putting form. The big deal is to accelerate the arm quick enough to get the disc out before the elbow is straight. If the elbow straightens out the wrist will wag to the right each time. Another big Newtonian physics issue is kicking the left leg back in a mirror of the arm extension.
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Re: Putting follow-through problem?

Postby bents » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:15 pm

Thanks guys. That Eric McCabe video is pretty great, Mr Deluxe. You can see how much his legs get used in a long putt. It's definitely making sense that the back leg should rotate counterclockwise a little bit to counteract the slight clockwise motion of the body. (everybody seems to do some clockwise body rotation even if they say they don't.)

JR, I'm not sure what you mean about my pelvis. When you say "my hips stay tilted forward" do you mean that mine twist too much to the left, and they shouldn't rotate like that? If so, that makes sense.

I also think that I've been releasing too late, which was making the disc go right of where my hand was.

Here's my game plan: 1. Bend knees more. 2. Start further back and finish further forward. 3. Follow through straight at target. 4. Release earlier, more like Blake T's short arm technique. 5. Cut way down on torso rotation.
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Re: Putting follow-through problem?

Postby JHern » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:16 am

bents wrote:That Eric McCabe video is pretty great, Mr Deluxe. You can see how much his legs get used in a long putt. It's definitely making sense that the back leg should rotate counterclockwise a little bit to counteract the slight clockwise motion of the body. (everybody seems to do some clockwise body rotation even if they say they don't.)


Eric is a great putter, I love watching him play golf. This is also a very fun tip, I'm going to try it out myself. This is a good video, worth embedding it. Notice how Eric's shoulders begin at 45˚ to the basket, but when he releases, his shoulders are at 90˚. This is the opposite of what your body wants to do if trying to harness shoulder rotation.

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Re: Putting follow-through problem?

Postby Mark Ellis » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:25 am

As a former terrible putter I played with and studied great putters. I took lessons from some great putters and discussed technique with many more. These efforts taught me one simple truth: I couldn't do what they did. They all had great backhand wrists (that magical, effortless snap which sends a disc out of your fingertips on a controlled laser beam) and I did not.

Here is what I found which improved my putting: practice. Years of practice.

There are no style points on the scorecard. Your putt either goes in or you pick it out of the dirt and putt again. Form doesn't matter if your putt goes in. Even God-awful ugly form doesn't matter if the putt goes in. The putts which matter most are inside 30 feet. It doesn't take great form to make a disc fly 30 feet.

Practice has slightly improved my wrist snap. Mostly practice has improved my confidence and consistency. Now on a good day my putts go in. On a bad day my putts come close and I pick them out of the dirt.

The OP seems to assume that bad putting is caused by bad form and can therefore be cured with good form. I am skeptical of this reasoning. I know great putters who have what appears to be terrible form. Their putts fly with all the grace of wounded, drunken ducks. But they go in.

For a player blessed WITH a good wrist I suspect the best way to improve is: practice. Practice gives confidence and consistency.
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Re: Putting follow-through problem?

Postby bents » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:34 am

Mark Ellis wrote:Practice has slightly improved my wrist snap. Mostly practice has improved my confidence and consistency. Now on a good day my putts go in. On a bad day my putts come close and I pick them out of the dirt.

The OP seems to assume that bad putting is caused by bad form and can therefore be cured with good form. I am skeptical of this reasoning. I know great putters who have what appears to be terrible form. Their putts fly with all the grace of wounded, drunken ducks. But they go in.


You're getting at what I should have the main point of my original post: how do you know when to change your form? Some peoples' forms are really really bad, and they're just not going to get any good practicing it. For example, I have a friend who drives by lunging forward onto her right leg, with her left knee almost touching the ground. It's ridiculous, she can only throw about 150 feet, but she refuses advice. She shouldn't keep practicing that. On the other hand, there's your drunken duck putters.

For people in between like me, with mediocre scores and mediocre form, how harmful do you think it is to change form? Does it erase months of practice with the old form? This is the question that's been bothering me for a year or so. Sometimes I think I should just not read forums or watch videos, because it will convince me to change something which shouldn't be changed.

Anyway, I'm a long time forum lurker, and it's great to finally be talking to all these disc golf theorists I've been reading for so long!
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Re: Putting follow-through problem?

Postby bents » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:53 am

JHern wrote:
bents wrote:That Eric McCabe video is pretty great, Mr Deluxe. You can see how much his legs get used in a long putt. It's definitely making sense that the back leg should rotate counterclockwise a little bit to counteract the slight clockwise motion of the body. (everybody seems to do some clockwise body rotation even if they say they don't.)


Eric is a great putter, I love watching him play golf. This is also a very fun tip, I'm going to try it out myself. This is a good video, worth embedding it. Notice how Eric's shoulders begin at 45˚ to the basket, but when he releases, his shoulders are at 90˚. This is the opposite of what your body wants to do if trying to harness shoulder rotation.

Oops, I got counterclockwise and clockwise mixed up in the above. What I meant to say: Everybody seems do rotate their body COUNTERclockwise, moving their right shoulder towards the target (the opposite rotation of driving). If you just moved your back leg straight back, the rotational momentum from your body would push the throwing arm to the left. Kicking the left leg counterclockwise seems to absorb the rotational momentum, allowing the throwing arm to go straight.

I'm not positive about the physics here but I just did a little experiment: I stood on my right leg with my left leg straight behind me in the air, leaning forward with my right arm in front of me. I jerked my back leg right (counterclockwise) and my arm swayed right (clockwise) as a result. I think this helps keep good putters' arms straight instead of swaying left like me.
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Re: Putting follow-through problem?

Postby Stringbean » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:29 am

I think you have it backwards. They aren't moving their legs to make their arms react a certain way. They are moving their arm which in turn is making their leg react a certain way. If you focus on leading your upper arm in a straight line towards the basket with a quick snap of the wrist at the end, everything else will follow suit. Your left leg will do what it needs to do to keep you balanced.
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Re: Putting follow-through problem?

Postby Mark Ellis » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:35 pm

bents wrote:
Mark Ellis wrote:Practice has slightly improved my wrist snap. Mostly practice has improved my confidence and consistency. Now on a good day my putts go in. On a bad day my putts come close and I pick them out of the dirt.

The OP seems to assume that bad putting is caused by bad form and can therefore be cured with good form. I am skeptical of this reasoning. I know great putters who have what appears to be terrible form. Their putts fly with all the grace of wounded, drunken ducks. But they go in.


You're getting at what I should have the main point of my original post: how do you know when to change your form? Some peoples' forms are really really bad, and they're just not going to get any good practicing it. For example, I have a friend who drives by lunging forward onto her right leg, with her left knee almost touching the ground. It's ridiculous, she can only throw about 150 feet, but she refuses advice. She shouldn't keep practicing that. On the other hand, there's your drunken duck putters.

For people in between like me, with mediocre scores and mediocre form, how harmful do you think it is to change form? Does it erase months of practice with the old form? This is the question that's been bothering me for a year or so. Sometimes I think I should just not read forums or watch videos, because it will convince me to change something which shouldn't be changed.

Anyway, I'm a long time forum lurker, and it's great to finally be talking to all these disc golf theorists I've been reading for so long!


Changing putting form is probably not harmful if 1) you don't putt well with your current form and 2) it is not rght before a big tournament. If you try a new form you don't lose your old form. It is still there to go back to if you need it.

We don't have one putting form. We have multiple putting forms. Sometimes you must straddle, or loft or anhyzer or adjust for wind, etc. Golf is about making constant adjustments. Since you already adjust your putts for the situation there is little harm to experiment with new forms. It may or may not work but the effort of finding out is not wasted.

While form is not all that important in putting it is more important in upshots and much more important in drives. The farther you need to throw and the more difficult the line the more that form matters. Both for short term (whether you throw a good shot) and long term (whether you injure yourself). There are lots of ugly yet effective putts. There are few ugly yet effective drives. Btw, good form for maximum distance may not be the form which works best for maximum accuracy for any given golfer.

What matters is that each golfer finds something that works for them. Feel free to borrow (or steal) anything you see in anyone else's game. But give it back if it proves not to work for you.

Putting practice takes patience. It is not a short term fix. It is a long term benefit. Keep at it and it pays off. But putting practice today is zero guarantee you will putt better tomorrow. Months and years from now you will putt better overall but nothing protects against bad days. Practice makes the bad days not as bad and allows you to recover from bad days.
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