(Although usually the discs are already distinctly marked, I have retained this examination to emphasize the important details that are associated with the Discs.) W.L.E.
What number was that?
Use your markings to select the correct disc for your purpose, and so you will know, positively, which disc you are shooting. If a disc does not go as far as, or goes further, than you intended, you will not need to ask, “What number was that?”
Many players ask this question, which may be a legitimate request for information, or a subterfuge to alert their partner to a problem disc. Whatever their intent, it alerts their partner — and their opponent. Alerting Your Opponent not what you want to do..
Know which disc you are shooting, so you do not have to ask. If you do not alert Your Opponent, he may not detect a Problem Disc until it causes a costly error. Make him learn as you did — by Missing a Shot.
Often you will not detect a fast (or slow) disc, but Your Partner will. Watch the sequence he uses. You may learn the possible cause of your Missed Hammer, or some other Missed Shot).
Although most players may not realize it, they have a good feel for the Court.
When a disc goes farther than they intended, or not as far, many players think they Shot Poorly. This thought is the residual effect of their early Play, when a Shot rarely went the intended distance.
When you review any of the many instances when your disc went farther than you intended, or not as far, you will remember that often you felt the failure. You knew, immediately after release, and before the disc came to rest, that your Shot had failed.
It is difficult to shoot a good running disc accurately, but it is even more difficult to shoot a poorly running disc accurately.
Many players believe they can adjust their stroke to compensate for any differences they detect. Perhaps some exceptional players can, but the majority who refuse to get rid of a bad disc, are fooling themselves — and losing Games they could Win.
If your Shot feels right, even though it fails to do as you intended, your execution is probably quite precise. It is not always your execution that fails. Therefore, the Speed of the disc is suspect.
If you do not feel the failure, do not try to correct your execution. If you are not certain of the disc’s Speed — try it again. If it runs the same way, or if it is still questionable, use it first — “Get rid of it.”
Your Partner should watch your first disc closely to see which you are getting rid of. You should watch his First Disc closely, to see which disc he is getting rid of. The success of your partnership depends upon the quick detection of problem discs. If you think Your Partner is having a problem with a disc (even though you are not) use that disc first, to try to alert him.
Of course, if you are having no problem and Your Partner is successful with a different sequence, do not change your sequence to conform to his.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Change only when you are certain you have a Problem Disc.
Shuffleboard requires concentration. Deliberately forcing yourself to concentrate on the adjustment for the Speed of the different discs, adds an unnecessary burden to an already burdensome task, and diverts your attention from other procedures.
Refusing to use a bad disc first is simply not smart.
Learn the Speed of each disc and group them together by Speed.
If three discs are slow, use the fast one first. This will permit you to adjust your stroke with those remaining, so you will have better control of your Last Disc.
If two discs are slow, use them first. Save your better running discs for setting up, and executing, your Play. The faster discs usually run more smoothly and Drift less. You will have better control.
If all discs run at different Speeds use them in a progressive rotation from slowest to fastest, or vice versa. Learn what works and stay with that sequence.
When you do not “get rid of” the fast (or slow) discs by setting Blocks, or by clearing, you are constantly adjusting your stroke (of course, there will be circumstances when you will want to keep a problem disc for strategic use. More about this later).
For example, if you do not know #3 is slow you will shoot harder with number #4.
This often causes Missed Hammers (and frequently a Kitchen).
Trying to adjust your stroke, to accommodate the differences, destroys your confidence. The discs do not go where you want them to — and you cannot set up a Play. You become frustrated as you make greater and greater adjustments, none of which corrects the situation.
Of course, when you change Color for the second Game, you must learn the Speeds of the discs on the new Color.
Discreet observation of Your Opponent’s Play in the first Game will help you determine which of these discs is questionable. If you have reached a tentative conclusion about which discs are suspect, use your practice Shots to confirm your suspicion.
You must also mark these discs before you practice (if they are not already clearly marked). Do not make a big deal of the marking — it might cause Your Opponent to think. A thinking Opponent is a dangerous opponent.
If you change the markings be sure to tell Your Partner of the change. Tell him that Two is now #1, and One is now #3, if that is the case. You must alert your partner to the changes you made, because he may have carefully watched his opponent’s Play and has already reached tentative conclusions about how the individual discs run.
Of course, you will have to watch Your Opponent, and note what changes (if any) he has made to the markings of the first Game. If you Play that Color in the third Game you will need to alter your recorded rotation to conform to what you know about the Speeds of these discs and the new markings.
(This is only one reason why I think it will be a mistake to reduce the “Two Rounds of Practice. “It will take a little skill out of the Game”).
W.L.E. (The Guy Who Wrote The Book.)