Eight Practice Shots
You are allowed Two Rounds of Practice at the start of the first and second Game of a Match. No practice is permitted for the third Game. Therefore, to get the vital information you need, you must use your Practice Shots wisely.
You know how to get information from Spreading the Beads or Smoothing the Wax, and you can gain a bit more knowledge of the Court and discs when you shoot Two Discs for Speed.
Two for Speed
Before you practice for the first Game, the rules allow you to shoot Two discs for Speed, to allow you to decide if the Speed of the Court, and the discs, are satisfactory.
If the Speed is not satisfactory (all players must agree it is not), permission may be granted by the Tournament Director (or his representative) to have a sprinkle of beads added, to have the Court swept and re-beaded if the beads are worn out, or are in windrows from the preceding Matches, or to have the discs re-waxed (if wax is used), or to try a different set of discs.
When used properly, these Two discs for Speed will serve as two more Practice Shots, and will give you clues that will allow you to make your practice rounds more informative.
You may assume that dedicated workers at the host club have painstakingly weighed the individual discs, and tested them for equal Speed, and discs #3 and #4 (#3 is usually 3 dots, #4 is usually blank), will run the best. This assumption may, or may not, be correct.
However, when you are Playing the Head, use discs #3 and #4 for your Two for Speed. Only because Your Partner will be happier shooting two discs he may assume are the best of the set. A happy partner is a better partner.
You must shoot from the same two places every Match to get accurate information. It is best to use these two Shots in the same way you use two of the Shots in your Practice Rounds. The Practice Rounds will give you an opportunity to confirm your initial evaluation of your Speed Shots.
The first Speed Shot should be from the Outside Front Corner of the Starting Area, across the Board for an 8 (the same Shot you will always use to Score a Open Board Hammer). This follows the same path as a Sneak Behind a St. Pete and gives you information about the Drift and Speed for an 8.
The second Speed Shot should be from the Separation Triangle, and about halfway back in the Starting Area. This compensates for the shorter distance this disc has to travel over a normally faster path. This should be Shot straight down on your side, parallel to the Centerline — for an 8.
A disc is suspect when it goes further than (or not as far as) you expected.
Both discs. if they are Shot at the same Speed (and run at about the same Speed) should travel about the same distance into the Scoring Diagram. This gives you information about Drift and also lets you compare the Speed of these two discs on the most used area of the Court.
You will expect the second Shot to go about the same distance into the 8 as the first. The distance to this Straight Down 8 is slightly shorter and this area of the Board may be slightly faster because it gets the most use.
The 8 area is nearly midway into the Scoring Area. These two Shots to the 8 area will give you a feel for this part of the Court. If these Shots do not go where you expect, you can adjust for your Practice Shots. You will also observe the Drift. Proper use of your Two for Speed will give you considerable information.
Having this additional information, your systematic Practice Shots, will allow you to more accurately determine the Drift and Speed of the Court.
You need to know the Drift, and whether, or not, the discs run at different Speeds. It may require several Shots to determine exactly which discs are fast (or slow), but you may be able to confirm any differences you found when Spreading the Beads or Smoothing the Wax. Having this information, you can use subsequent Shots to confirm your suspicion.
As said before, the Speed of a disc is suspect when it goes further than you expected (or not as far).
If it did not follow the line you Shot it on, it probably Drifted.
Look also for Fast Spots, or Slow Sticky Spots on the Court (you can use a Sticky Spot to help you make Your Hammer)
Remember too, the rules provide these Practice Rounds for your benefit. They are not inconvenient “Waste of Time, Throw-away Shots,” as some players think.
Inspect the discs for nicks and gouges before you practice. These defects may affect Speed and Drift. Mentally note any defects you find that may have an adverse effect on the outcome of a Shot. A nick may pick up beads or other foreign material) and cause the disc to deviate off course, or stop too quickly.
Some players mark the discs with an arrow showing the location of the nick, so they can shoot the disc with the nick (and arrow) to the rear, where it is less likely to adversely affect the Shot. However, it is best not to mark a nick this way.
If you are playing the first Game of a Match, and mark the nicks with arrows, Your Opponent will benefit from the arrow in the second Game. If you mark a nick with an arrow, when playing the second Game, you may benefit him — when a third Game is necessary.
If you need to mark the nick, place your Disc Number marking opposite the nick, and shoot the disc with the number forward. Your Opponent may not relate the Disc Number to a nick. Do not make it easy for him to Play the disc properly.
Make him solve his own problems.
To learn the most from the limited number of Practice Shots you must make a habit of using the same sequence of Shots every Match. This helps you remember where you Shot from.
The sequence you use is not important, but it must always be the same.