I don’t know about other sports but in fly casting less is often more. Big open back cast loops? Try backing off the power and concentrating on the stop. Want to cast that little bit further, don’t hit the delivery so hard, just keep doing what you were doing while false casting and let the line shoot.
Pure distance is not about out and out brute strength. I bet those of you that practice distance find that your longest casts are often when you are just throwing a few to warm up or at the end of a practice session when you are a bit knackered. I also bet that the longest casts have seemed effortless.
The brain is a strange thing, instead of telling you to stop and have a think about why you are not casting as far as you did yesterday it tells you to try harder and harder, more effort will sort it out. It took me a few years and several painful injuries to finally figure that one out. Having a tape out is a good thing but it is also a bad thing because you get obsessed with casting as far as you can and technique can go out of the window as the red mist takes over and you push harder and harder to beat the bloody thing. If you are a 100′ caster it often helps to drop back to 90′ and work on getting there with less effort and good form, ingrain some proper muscle memory.
The problem is that now and then you manage to couple effort with good technique and blast out a good one which re-enforces the more effort syndrome.
Back off, concentrate on setting up a beautiful back cast that is under perfect control. Sort out your tracking so that you are casting a perfect 180 deg. Take control of your brain, don’t just leave it in neutral, think about what you are trying to achieve with this cast. If it doesn’t work try and figure out why it didn’t work. Break the cast down into manageable pieces. This can take a while because to begin with everything seems to happen so fast but with a bit of practice you can split the back cast and the forward cast. Now split the back or fore cast into two bits, right hand and left hand. Take the line out of the equation altogether and go through the motions using just the rod, do it slowly, work out where you want to be at all stages of the stroke. Look at your stance, where can you get the most leverage. Look at the way you shift your weight from back to front or front to back. Look at your shoulder, is it allowing the rod to track straight or is it making you curve your hand path. What is your hand path, is it a straight punch? Is the hand too high; never go above head height. Are you sure you’re doing what you think you are doing? I bet you’re not. Film yourself from the side and from head on. Stand by for a shock!
I had the chance to Watch Steve Rajeff cast last weekend and if you were lucky enough to be there you may think he puts a lot of effort into his casting but if you break it down all of his effort is in the delivery, the setup is very relaxed, but, beware, Steve is pretty unique in his delivery. He has figured a way of putting the whole of his body, from his toes to his pinky finger, into that delivery. Not something that is easy to replicate for us mere mortals.
This is by way of an apology, I may or may not be able to put up a post this weekend. I have done something nasty to my back. I can work or lie down, what I can’t do is sit for more than a few minutes because getting up is agony (gets up, walks around, comes back, where was I?). That’s the problem, I lose track of what I was writing. Being told I have the brain age of an eighty year old by a Nintendo DS doesn’t help, does it? I don’t so much need brain training as a complete brain transplant, anyone got one they can spare? Actually, I could do with a whole new body to go with it, this one’s getting very worn out. Funny thing is I can still cast, I went out yesterday evening and did some gentle accuracy stuff but there was something on ‘loops which had piqued my interest in a distance technique so I had a go, guess what?, not a twinge, I was even getting some reasonable distances ( hang on, I need a break, I’ll be back, this is quite interesting).
Over the years I have moved from a compact stroke to a much longer one, for distance, I just found it more comfortable to accelerate the line over a longer stroke rather than a short one. There are one or two notable ‘short strokers’, Steve Rajeff being the most famous and successful. Their short stroke (relative to the 170 stroke) means they have to use a much faster cadence than I am now used to, it’s a very explosive delivery. I have said somewhere before, that if I stopped my rod the way Steve does I am sure I would have body parts flying off, that’s what put me off trying it seriously. Anyway, it was a short stroke I was trying out last night. OK, I found it a bit harder on the arms but it turns out to be a lot easier on the body, no leaning back (as far), no moving the body as much at all really. If you use your whole body and a lot of lateral rod movement you are opening up yourself to a lot of potential errors, especially if, like me, you’re getting on a bit and aren’t as supple as you used to be. I found that less body movement reduced this possibility by quite a bit.
I have a lot to work on but because it is completely different from my 170 style I think I am going to enjoy working it out.
Damn, I have sat here too long, got to go.