17 January 2007
Measuring a good pull
How do can you tell if you have improved?
Sometimes it seems obvious to you.
But other times you need to measure that skill or aspect of your game.
Here is how I measure the quality of a pull. It is a useful system for pullers to compete against other pullers, or to compare their own pulls over time. This follows on from my 7 Postulates of Pulling.
Alpha pull - disc lands in the endzone, more than 5 metres away from a sideline.
Beta pull - disc lands in the field, but not in the alpha zone.
Brick pull - disc lands out of bounds.
Alpha (green) is better than beta (yellow) is better than a brick (white).
Take 10 pulls, and see how many alphas, betas and bricks you get. Maybe 6-3-1. Which is better than say, 4-2-4.
"But hang on a tick!" you say. "Why is it less valuable to land the disc near the back of the endzone? Isn't a disc that lands 1 metre from the back left cone a fantastic pull?"
The problem with such a pull is that you can't do it regularly. If you aim there 10 times, a bunch of pulls are going to land out, giving your opponents bricks. (Unless you are the most accurate thrower ever, in which case you are earning money playing disc golf in the US, not reading this blog.)
Aiming well within the bounds of the endzone should mean that almost no pulls land out. And that is far more valuable than 5 pulls in the corner and 5 bricks.
This is why I don't congratulate pulls that do land 1 inch from the back left cone. The puller is lucky the risk didn't backfire that time - they're not worthy of "Wow! Great pull!"
Addendum: Tao calls alpha pulls with lots of yummy hangtime "Alpha pluses". Making it a 4-tier scoring system.