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Team Discraft's Barrett White

Barrett White / Team Discraft NAME: Barrett White  
HOMETOWN: Forest Park, IL
PDGA #: 16737
BORN: 1968
day gig: Operations Manager, PBS, LLC
  • 2X Master Women's Pro World Champion (2013, 2010)
  • 08, 09 USWDGC Master Women's Champion
  • 1st, 2011 IL State Championships
  • Mad City Open - mutiple wins
  • St. Louis Open - mutiple wins
  • Wisconsin Tour Champion - multiple years
  • many other pro wins
  • Working to promote women's disc golf
  • 2nd, Am Worlds 2000
  • co-Rookie of the Year 2001
    Worlds 2013: being neck and neck with Anni Kreml for six days only to end up tied going into the finals, then the amazing final nine we played. Both Anni [Kreml] and Elaine [King] are enormously talented, smart competitors.

    Still pretty giddy from Worlds 2010. Became the Master Women's World Champion in 2010, shooting past a super-talented (legendary) field that included 5-time Women's Open champ Elaine King and Discraft teammate Sheila Kirkham. Unbelievable event. Gorgeous park complex. Wonderful group of competitors. Volunteers were unbelievable. And I got my Worlds Crystal Buzzz autographed by the lead singer for Bad Religion at his book signing. Finishing 2011 by shooting -8 in a tournament round at Dretzka winter layout.

    Being part of the Disc'n for Dogs event in Milan, IL for the past several years has been wonderful - it is amazing to be part of a group that comes together so wholeheartedly to support a great cause.
    Barrett's Disc Golf Tips
    Look At Your Options:
    Take the time to look at all the shot options you have, instead of over-focusing on one choice when looking at a hole. This means exploring and playing with your discs off the course, too. A disc will fly in almost any position, which is useful when you have thrown yourself into a sticky situation. Experiment, play. Also, play catch as much as you can. Get to the point where throwing discs is fun and feels natural, so you don't put so much pressure on yourself and get into your head so much in pressure situations.

    Check Your Stance:
    So many players throw from an awkward position to keep their 'front' foot behind their marker. I'm always surprised by how many experienced golfers I will see throwing from the rough, with their center mass less than three feet from clearer throwing zones. I have worked with players to explain the 'pivot foot' concept (carryover from Ultimate), which allows for more reach when an initial shot does not land in a clear area. If you use the pivot foot as a starting point and step out from there, without feeling obligated to keep your toe pointing directly towards your mini, you have the full 180 degree rotation available to you behind the line of your mini, which opens up your options a lot.

    Barrett White / Team Discraft

    Isolate and Hone:
    The big jump in my distance came with my first reconstructive ankle surgery. It forced me to stand up on my release rather than stepping down and around my marker, as I was accustomed to doing from Ultimate. While I don't recommend surgery as a distance-adding strategy (playing 18-54 holes on crutches is a bit tiring), it does reinforce the need to occasionally slow down and evaluate the components of your approach. Work on driving from a standstill and really focus on your arm and trunk motion; this will allow you to isolate and hone the motions that really work for you. Do the same with your footwork, slow down your steps and see if your footwork is helping or hurting your throw. If you can learn to isolate the different components of your drive, it will be easier to tune up your throws, if you find something is working or not working for you. A fabulous takeaway from playing multiple times on crutches is that I can drive with little to no approach as conditions dictate. Don't be too over reliant on a high-speed, high-power approach; sometimes one or two steps and a bit more control will do just fine.

    Experiment (Just Not During The Tourney):
    Often you hear players say from the rough that they don't have the throw they need to get out of where they are. Even more, they'll find themselves in an awkward lie and try a throw they have never tried to get out of where they are. A tourney round is the worst place to practice new throws--you're nowhere near as relaxed as you should be while you're learning. In non-tourney time, learn all the throws you can. Grab a buddy and a putter or an UltraStar and go to an open field and play catch. Try different throws. Try odd throws that might not work--you could be surprised when it is a better idea than you thought. If someone in your group has a really great forehand, and you can't quite get yours down, ask them about theirs when the round is over. Then take what they tell you to that open field and practice it until it feels natural. Learn your new throws in low-pressure, fun situations so that when you break them out in a tourney, it's just more fun for you and your disc.

    Remove Your Distractions
    Early on in the season a couple of years ago, I realized that I was exceptionally distracted at tournaments, especially towards the end of the day, and it was not just the glacial pace of tournament play. I was asking to see the scorecard multiple times, and spending a lot of mental energy wondering where I was in relation to the group--then speculating where I was in the division. I changed a couple things, and have seen a major improvement in my tourney play. First, I got an iPod. The shuffle has really cut down on my negative mental chatter, kept me on the hole I was playing, and helped me keep my mood consistent and upbeat. Second, I realized it doesn't matter how other people throw--it's my play that I can affect; in everyone else's game I am a spectator. Once I got out of my head, off the scorecard, and into the moment, I found my distractibility had dropped nicely, and my scores improved.

    Putting is fun. Repeat. Putting is fun.
    Until you are just outside your comfort zone in a close, every-stroke-counts match and you are staring uphill and upwind at a basket that couldn't look less receptive. Then, putting can be less fun. Unless you have developed a routine and made it become more fun in your mind. Here's how: play putting games with yourself and with others. I play horse and point putting games against friends when we want to play, but don't want to play a full 18 holes. It helps make putting more fun and gamelike, while making it competitive. When I am by myself, I leapfrog my putters -- I spray a bunch of shots and then line up groups of putters. Starting with the close ones, I shoot from each close shot, then bring the discs to each next shot and putt from there, etc. Not woo hoo fun, but add in an iPod, and I find myself spending 20 minutes putting and getting in rhythm pretty nicely. I also play 'Darwin' with my putters to keep them hungry. Before a tournament, I will take a bunch of the putter out to the course (again, this is where an iPod shuffle is fantastic--I find that most things don't distract me since I have been putting to the Ramones) and progressively putt all the putters, see which ones made it into the basket, eliminate those that didn't, add 3-5 feet of distance from the basket and repeat. Keep repeating and eliminating until you have the number of putters you need for the tournament. When the weaker putters have eliminated themselves, the strongest few get to be in the bag for the tournament. Survival of the fittest. Plus, it lets all the putters have a chance to be in the rotation, which keeps them fresh and happy.

    Adapting to Negative Weather Conditions
    If you are going to play in less than perfect weather, you cannot possibly be too prepared. Start with cold. I cannot tell you how many times I see people in jeans and flannel shirts playing in sub-freezing weather, then saying how cold they are. Duh. Layers are the key to cold weather golf, and if it is cold and wet, you'll need extra sets of all layers. Inner layer should be something heat-conserving and wicking. Underarmor is great for that. Second layer, light cotton, heat-retaining. Third layer, another light cotton layer. Fourth layer, light fleece, possibly wind-lined. Fifth layer, Gore-Tex. Liner socks under waterproof socks, waterproof boots, gloves, and head/ neck covering. And multiple extras for all layers if there is any hint of precipitation. I have seen many golfers dress perfectly for the weather, but suffer through round two because the first round was rainy--it's surprising how little heat you retain when you are soaked to the skin. Discomfort, let alone frostbite, are huge mental drains to your tourney game. Dress appropriately, and bring loads of towels (or chamois, they last longer), and you'll be able to keep your mental energy where it belongs, on your game.

    Play Catch
    Play catch whenever you can--the more you can do this the better. If you are new to throwing discs, grab a soft putter (I recommend the Banger or Challenger) and a friend and play catch. If you are just starting, get 20-30 feet of distance between you and toss the disc back and forth. You can gradually increase your distance as you become more comfortable. When I was learning Ultimate, our captain gave us 'homework' of making and catching 100 throws a day. Our throws got better, and we became more comfortable making the throws in pressure situations. If you can practice throwing and catching with your putter, it becomes a natural, comfortable motion, a fun activity, and something you can do by muscle memory. It is also a great way to warm up before a tournament.

    Course Comments
    McNaughton Park
    Peoria, IL
    The course is mentally and physically challenging, and is set in a lovely county park; rewards a well-played mental and physical game.
    Sioux Passage
    St. Louis, MO
    The course is beautiful at any time of year, well-maintained by an active club, and a supportive county park system, and requires every mental and physical skill you have, as well as most of the discs in your bag.
    Madison, WI
    The course was created with money raised from the 1993 WFDF Ultimate World Championships and would have a special place in my heart even if it were not as beautiful and challenging as it is.
    Camden II
    Milan, IL
    Incredibly well-designed course that gets better every year; no two holes are the same, and many of the holes are uniquely beautiful.
    Lemon Lake Silver
    Cedar Lake, IN
    The Silver course is a beautiful, challenging course that makes excellent use of the terrain, and is scenically, a cross between Fangorn and Lothlorien (Lord of the Rings), in addition to being dog-friendly.
    In The Disc Golf Bag: Drivers
    Disc Comments
    Z Flick
    (150 class)
    Because it is reliably overstable, at a light weight, this disc consistently delivers an enormous bang for one's buck. My Flick threaded the pines for me at Ox Bow for my only tournament ace, and naturally, it was a skip ace. One has to allow for a lot of skippiness with this disc, under all but the muddiest of circumstances. Many of the aces I have gotten have been with Flicks. They are great uphill because you can torque them like crazy in an anhyzer, and it will fight back to finish hard hyzer.
    ESP Crank
    The disc has worked its way into my key disc category quickly. It has bigger distance for me than any disc, and a similar flight pattern to the Nuke, with less stability in the finish and a beautiful glide. It consistently comes out of the hand smoothly, and still cranks on distance.
    ESP Avenger
    (150 class)
    This is my precision, straight-line, low ceiling tunnel shot rock star. If I need to throw a line that is true and reliable, this disc is my first choice. While it can be understable in a headwind, it is terrific for a long anhyzer, straight tunnel shot or line drive longer approach. Because this is another disc that gives a lot of bang for the buck, I tend to give this one to newer players I encounter.
    (150, 160 - 169)
    The ESP version of this disc is a solid performer that has had a key place in my bag since the Nuke came out. The disc added distance to my game as soon as I added it to the bag. The 150 version of this disc goes forever in a tailwind, and I use the heavier ones when there is a big wind, but I still need Nuke-lear distance and a surgical strike.
    Z Crank
    This disc became a go to in the bag quickly. It has all the delightful glide of its ESP companion, but is more stable, which helps in a headwind. I throw this lighter than the ESP, because the plastic gives it a lot more stability.
    D Force
    (150 class)
    Finally, a disc that is perfect for my [retired] Ultimate player forehand. I can launch this little guy with a forehand, even upwind, and it will finish with a nice hyzer, getting a little extra distance from the skip. Whenever I need a forehand shot, I use the Force.
    ESP Flick
    (150 class)
    This is one of the fastest discs I have ever thrown. with the same very overstable flight pattern as the Z Flick, but even faster. Because it is so light and stable, it is another solid choice for uphill shots, where you need a lot of bang out of your disc. It lands on a dime (as long as the dime is at the end of the skip you allow for), and is useful if I need to torque a disc over into an anhyzer shot with a stable finish.
    In The Disc Golf Bag: Midrange
    Disc Comments
    X Wasp
    (167 - 172)
    This disc is one of the best utility players in my bag. It has great range, and is versatile enough to be useful in any situation. It is stable enough to be very good with an upshot forehand, and steerable enough that I can flip it into an anhyzer with a stable finish as well. This disc does its job well, especially in landing my upshots well enough to give my putter an easier job.
    Cryztal and
    Glo Z Buzzz
    (167 - 177)
    I love my Buzzes! For a line drive tunnel upshot, or a shot that needs to glide in the direction you steer it, the Glo Buzzz is the disc. It has all the glide and steerability one expects from a Buzzz, with a super tendency to stay on target (like Luke Skywalker, making the last run to destroy the Death Star), with a scaleability that will expand your game. I have given the Glo Buzzz to players who were sworn fanatics of other discs, and the Globie has in many cases replaced their other discs, mainly because of the consistency it brings to their bags. The CryZtal Buzzz is a bit more understable than the Glo Buzzz, but has a softer, gentler landing which is useful. It also is amazing for a big, glidey anhyzer upshot.
    X Comet
    (160 - 169)
    This is the primary disc I have on hand to give to newer women players. It is straightforward, and can be trusted to go where you throw it. I often see women players out with their guy friends throwing 175 Predators or Venoms, or whatever their friends are throwing. These discs are fabulous discs if you have the power and experience to control them, but are not beginner-friendly unless you are built for them. I love seeing the players immediately get the straight, directed distance that the wicked overstable discs were not giving them.
    In The Disc Golf Bag: Putt and Approach
    Disc Comments
    D and X Soft Banger-GT
    The reliability of this putting combination is the main reason my putting game has seen such significant improvements, largely because I have such confidence in the consistency of their flights. Unless there is thrower error, the Banger tends to hang onto the chains and settle nicely into the basket. It knows where its home is and definitely wants to go to its home. The D version is a hair more stable, and better for a headwind putt. The Soft Banger has nice, soft landings and is a little gentler with the chains, which is useful to anyone who throws in winter weather. The plastic is velvety smooth, and delightful to throw.

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