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chrome-magnon man
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Discussion Starter #1
You are faced with a client who is struggling with clean turnover of the line at range (let's say 80ft). You've tried several things but no progress is being made, and the client is getting frustrated. The client really wants to learn to cast distance cleanly but you can tell that his style is getting in the way. Would you continue to work with refining what he already does or completley shift gears and try something new?

(No right or wrong answers, I'm just curious how other instructors would approach this situation?)
 

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One of the other activities that I do is archery. I was able to get to the point where I was competitive locally. (12th in New England Mens Freestyle NFAA indoor.) But I found myself stuck at a plateau. In order to get to the next level I needed to make some significant changes to how I was shooting. I got some coaching from a top professional archer and was able to significantly refine my style. (And then I sold off all my compound equipment and started over with an olympic recurve. :chuckle: )

In any sport you will hit a plateau that you just can't get over with your current style. You must be willing to take a few steps back and tear apart your style in order to get past that plateau. How many times have we heard of golfers who were winning who took some time off to rework their swing because they felt like they were stuck at a plateau? Even Tiger Woods reworked his swing.

Definitely alter the client's style.
 

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a/k/a loophitech
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That is a tough situation.

As Baldmountain said, take a few steps back and re-evaluate. I know how frustation can add to a difficult day of casting and it definitely does not make it easier.

By this point I would imagine his/her grip on the cork is probably pretty tight and forcing the casts adds to the ingredients. I would start there and work on hand spacing and make sure the anchor placement is not too far away, which for me is something I really need to keep an eye on as this is where my turnover encounters problems.

I would also try different casts like a double or snake.

Is the fly too big? How about the leader, too short or too long? Feet placement? Wind??? Jeez, who knows... There are probably many things to be done, I guess I would have to be there. I know I have been in that situation and the above remedied my problems.

How about just casting for him/her? :saevilw:

Vinnie
 

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Junkyard Spey
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I'm leaving tackle out of it because a good instructor will have already made sure the tackle was set up right.

A good instructor would/should be able to shift the clients style, maybe without the client even noticing the subtle changes that have taken place to make them a successful.
 

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Jack Cook
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Subtle but effective

It is always a challenge to decide you have to bust up someones personal style to take them to the next level. Ever since Derek started me on the path to optimize a casters own style rather than rebulding them in my own image I have been very wary of myself. It is too easy for me to change everything. On the other hand if a person is stuck due to style they have a right to know and I explain it to them in no uncertain terms. I also spend some time showing them the style point fails them when I do it. This way they can see it is nothing personal. It is simply a mechanical problem which has to be addressed.

Then there is also the issue of learning styles. Some folks never get anything you explain to them. Some have to touch it, some have to see it. This is where it pays to have the experience to be able to replicate a students faults consistently so they can see what they are doing and the effect it has on the big picture.

I had a guy one day who just could not cast anything no matter what. Finally we went fishing for the rest of the day and he insisted to fish behind me. About an hour later something clicked while he was watching from behind and he started casting like a champ.
 

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speyman said:
Ever since Derek started me on the path to optimize a casters own style rather than rebulding them in my own image I have been very wary of myself.
It is up to the instructor to be able to distinguish between their own style and "correct" style.

The pro archer that I mentioned above did not try to rebuild my shot sequence to match his own. If fact he told me NOT to try an imitate him. He took me back to basics and rebuilt my shot sequence with proper basics.

I'm a strong believer in NOT giving people band-aids to fix problems. Take them back to basics and fix those. Then move on.
 

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a/k/a loophitech
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speyman said: I had a guy one day who just could not cast anything no matter what. Finally we went fishing for the rest of the day and he insisted to fish behind me. About an hour later something clicked while he was watching from behind and he started casting like a champ.
Great point, the same thing happened to me as I followed a buddy on the Skagit. It is amazing how, when you mimic, the Ahaaa experiences seem to make understanding the casting easier.

Vinnie
 

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Jack Cook
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Video yes!

I agree. Looking at yourself on video is a real eye opening experience.

Another thing that is helping folks a lot lately. I give people specific practice excercises. I make sure before they leave that they can repeat the exercise precisely and I make sure they understand what the point of the excercise is. Rarely is a practice exercise intended to result in a perfect cast. Rather I am trying to modify or reinforce something about the cast which in turn will make it better and/or more consistent.

The best thing about teaching is that it makes you better.
I learned this in Aikido when I was getting my black belt and got to teach classes.
 

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Hi Dana
The question of when to "alter" is a tuff one, if you go ahead and start a new style and he/she doesn't get it, you've got a very frustrated student. I might suggest explaining to the student in order to cast 80 ft. you need to first learn to cast clean at a much shorter distance. I would start short and watch, identify at what point the cast is having the problem. Then start from there, a video is a great idea. Sometimes if you leave the problem for the moment and go to something the student is capable of accomplishing , it builds confidence, then return to the casting problem with a fresh out-look. I found this works. Great question

Rick
 

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I am having a hard time picturing a "style" that if being applied properly would not cast 80+ feet. Underhand, top hand, both hands, Skagit, long-belly... they all will work.

With that in mind I would be loathe to change styles on someone who is having trouble casting 80'. I would think that a clean-up of technique would be in order. It may mean some deconstruction of his default style, but I think the approach should be find out what it is with his style that is holding him back and fix that.

Once you go messing with his style you will also commence messing with his muscle memory and then you have real problems. I think it is possible that changing someone's style is a lot like hoping a new line/rod system will make you a better caster...there are no magic bullets.
 

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Great question Dana,

Though I don't have a lot of experience teaching double handers, I have plenty when teaching someone how to double haul or add extra distance with a single hander. As we know, there is no such thing as a bad style of casting so long as the principle elements (substance) are obeyed. Styles can be limiting though. Given your scenario, I really couldn't say what would need to be done without actually seeing the cast, loop shape, etc.

But, if style is the limiting factor, and the student/client is willing to take a few steps back and is physically capable, then I might change the style. If its something more basic such as application of power, stroke length, slack or timing, I might not. Again, its a tough call and I think it mostly depends on the clients attitude and expectations.

Bob
 

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Mr. Mom
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kush said:
I am having a hard time picturing a "style" that if being applied properly would not cast 80+ feet. Underhand, top hand, both hands, Skagit, long-belly... they all will work.
I am not an instructor, and don't aspire to be. Nor do I aspire to be certified cuz it would be cool even though I have no burning desire to teach. I do however have 15 yrs experience in the training field and a MS in it.

I'm having trouble with the word style. For some folks I realize it is only possible to reach them with a "big picture" holistic approach, but I prefer a "critical incidents" training approach where things are broken down into smaller components.

With little effort I can think of three seperate areas, which the pros could probably break down into a number of smaller areas. The lift, the D/V loop sweep, and forward stroke. I would think seperating the three would make a lot of sense. There are different styles of these maneuvers and they can be considered independent and taught/tweeked as seperate components.

Simon's "flat is good" vs Dec Hogan (only using these as examples due to videos available to the public from each) who swings through at almost a 45 degree rod angle on the sweep are good examples. Both work, both can be used with all line styles, but only one may be comfortable and consistent for an individual.

Those who have seen speybum cast might consider him "jerky" on his lift compared to Steve Choate. Speybum is not jerky if you watch carefully. He is precise, and sharp in his movements and controls the energy with a sharp snappy transition from the lift to the sweep. Where's the slack? He is smooth in a different way and I wish I could control a lift the way he does because it is so powerful, but it doesn't work for me.

Forward strokes... Let's not get started with forward strokes other than to say this is probably the area where if I was teaching I would let the technique picks the caster not the other way around. Having someone try the various major schools and watching which one is most effective and physically comfortable rather than which one they like, or the one their hero does.

In conclusion (how pedantic is that :chuckle: ) rather than saying something like "I use a traditional style" or "I use a skagit style" I think it may be more appropriate to say I use a Steve Choate lift, a Dec sweep, and a Simon forward stroke. Attaching the names to it does sound a tad silly, but without a vocabulary to describe them better, it is the only way I have to communicate them. Good thing I'm not a teacher :hihi:

Here's to embarassing yourself in front of folks who know more than you do :eek:
 

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Speyshop's Speybum
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80ft Cast ! Hummmmmmmmm


No one wants to cast short.

Dose the caster want to change Style?
If so where dose he want to go?
Top hand, bottom hand or 50/50
What is he now?
If the caster dose not want to change his style.
Here are a few places you could look to help lengthen casts.

His lift is it constant: how slow can he go and maintain tension.
You can never catch up to a bad lift.
Second what is doing with his hands?
Does he have busy hands?
Is his backstroke even and flat?
Dose his anchor feather into the water?
Is he drifting to the firing position or powering to it?
Is he creeping from the firing position before applying power.
How much volume doses his V/D loops have?
How much depth doses his V/D loops have?
Is he transferring his body weight?

15 to 20 minutes of high speed Video will usually unwrap a lot of mysteries.

The Chances are very good in looking at these factors you will find one out of balance and correcting it will put the player on the mark.

:smokin:
 

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Substance over style.

It doesn't matter which style if the sustance is there, all of the elements are correct, then 80' is a chip shot.

I think that instructors sometimes are so familiar with their style that they are better at teaching it. They know they can help this person by making style changes insted of identifying the real problems with the cast.

An exception would be if the intructor could tell by the way the student was comfortable casting they would naturally do better with a different style.

Good question. Fun stuff.

Greg
 

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Junkyard Spey
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Well I can tell you that "Speybum" is a great instructor. I have only met him once and talked with him on the phone a few times, and never about casting. His "Casting Karma" has made it across the mountains where he has made subtle changes to my casting style that made great improvements in my casting ability. These changes were so subtle that he doesn't even know about them, but I can tell they worked wonders. :) :) :)
 

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Speyshop's Speybum
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Greg you are right about the Substance over style.

The reason that I ask which style the man cast I have ran into a few people who were underhand caster caught in top hand body and visa versa.

In my Instructing I work to let the individual levitate to the style suit him the best.
First I do not want to make clone (the world is not ready for another Speybum) this is advice that the Late Jimmy Green gave me many years ago and Al Buhr reinforced over the years.
In doing so I evaluate how the cast use his arms and his body as which style that they will be best for.

Let me say that the student may choose any style he wants and I teach that sytle.

Here again the greatest part of being a Instructor is ability to alter the structure of the lesson to fit the individuals needs. I take a look at where the my client wants to be and that is where I will lead him

For on the river fishing I will use different styles for different casting situation, lines and rods.

:smokin:
 

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Speyladdie
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Good question Dana.
I believe most of the more experiences casters on the forum would agree that 80' isn't that big a deal to cast.
So is it style or mechanics we should be looking at.
I would have to say its mechanics.
There are a number of different styles that we all see,which can effectively cast 80',which points back to mechanics again.
Reading through the other answers most members mention back to basics.
That would be my thoughts also.
Dana,while I have your attention can you please contact me regarding the Oct Clave here in Ontario.
Speyladdie. :smokin:
 

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Substance over style

Hi Dana,

I'd agree with the others above. If his substance is there, then style is not usually an issue.

There are some limitations to a single handed traditional pushing style (book under the arm, elbown on the shelf) in that it can sometimes limit stroke length for longer casting. And if this limit is extended then tracking problems can be next but this is generally only for distances over 80 ft.

Transfering someone over to a pulling style (no extension at the elbow) changes the muscle group used for the cast from the tricep to the Lat, which is a larger, stronger muscle. Becasue there is no extension at the elbow, tracking is generally a lot easier and becasue the Lat is a larger muscle, it can be used all day without fatigue (not to add more power by the way.)

There are some rods out there that canot be cast with a pulling style but generally as rods get stiffer and stiffer (thanks to the marketing guys) then pulling is the easier way to go.

Soft bamboo is a difficult one to cast poulling style becasue of its natural tendency to recoil and the slowness of the material in comparison to graphite.

This also applies well to DH casting (the DH equivalient of pulling with a single handed rod) in that it is less easy to underhand cast a soft rod than a stiff, fast recovery rod as in underhand casting the rod cation is more dominant in making the cast. Softer rods prefer to be pushed than pulled and a more traditional top hand prominent style helps.

So, getting back to whether I would change the style would depend on whether the casters limitations were the cause of the faults. If the caster had reached the limits of what is possible due to a style and had good substance, then I would consider it. But generally this is advanced stuff and for serious distances. And I wouldn't impose it on the pupil, I'd ask him if it would be something he'd like to consider. Changing styles can sometimes be a long, hard road, especially if there is a lot of residual muscle memory from years of that particular style.

Cheers,
Carl
 

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I'd be the last one to try 'teaching an old dog new tricks' vis a vis changing a casting style when a 'newbie' hits a wall. What I've found that works (most of the time is 'backing up' and going back to something (cast, whatever) that's actually working reasonably well.

This gives the fellow renewed confidence .. and reinforces mus. memory on something that's going right. Back in the grove, move forward, or even better yet?, move to another cast. Nothing builds confidence like success.

As mentioned above, NOTHING beats having a hand held video camera in hand. Telling someone what may be 'going wrong' is one thing ... actually showing them is quite a different thing.
 

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From A Self Taught Perspective

Just an observer here. My hat's off to those of you who have not only acheived some mastery in a complex sport, but would tackle instructing others. As a self taught caster, my only instruction has been seeing, ( not really observing w/ intent ), other spey fishers. Change has happened for me when I intentionally try a casting experiment that seems/feels unorthadox. On rare occaisions these experiments result in a better or even good cast and with time I've learned to repeatedly duplicate the successful experiment. A neanderthal approach to learning, but a real delight when some improvement is accomplished. Were I instructing, I would look for ways to trick the client into this self discovery feeling.

Garry
 
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