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5 tips to be a consistent high level player

5 Tips to Be a Consistent High Level Player – #3 May Shock You!

The game of cornhole has blown up since the pandemic. The number of people playing and the number of places to play has grown exponentially and most players are looking for the secret to being consistent in putting all 4 bags in the hole. Many players are satisfied with being a casual player and that is fine for backyard family picnics or playing one night at the local spot. But if you are a player that is ready to advance your game to a higher level, this article is for you.  Are you wondering how you can get better?  How can you stay consistent? Well read on, and you’ll get some hints that are proven to have worked for me and can work for you too!

#1 Being Consistent Takes Perfect Practice!

Quality over Quantity

Legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi once said “Practice does not make perfect, only Perfect practice makes perfect….”  This means quality over quantity.  While the game’s best players at the Professional Level will all tell you that they practice a minimum of 2-4 hours a day in addition to playing nearly every night, 2 hours of practice does not improve your game if the majority of the bags are not making it into the hole.  Have a consistent plan for what you want to accomplish each time you practice, no matter how much time you have. 

Develop your Go-To shots

Airmail, Airmail Drag, Push, Block, Cut, Step Out, Flop and Roll are all examples of shots that one may see during a cornhole game or at a cornhole tournament.  Very few of the world’s best can say that they can confidently throw all of those shots without hesitation on a consistent basis. As you practice, you’ll learn which shots fit your game best. Example: most fast bag throwers find the roll, flop, and block shots challenging so they build their game around the airmail, push and cut shots and practice those the most. Having confidence that you can make your shot is sometimes more important than the mechanics needed to throw it.

Muscle Memory

Anytime physical activity is repeated enough muscle memory is built.  What this means is that your body knows what to do without having to think about it.  In cornhole this often results in greater accuracy in the shots you throw.   It can also decrease the amount of time needed to warm up before a tournament.  It contributes to your consistent go-to shots as well, as you have successfully made the shot in practice enough times that you do not hesitate to throw the shot you want.

Muscle memory helps with consistent shots

Simulate Game Situations

Being able to set up or stage blockers, push or replace shots, or airmail drags are all advantages that you have in practice putting you in a no pressure, stress free environment. In order to be more consistent, you need to focus on the mechanics and technique needed for the shot at hand.  This also serves as a great refresher, if you haven’t seen many blocker bags but know you still need to be able to execute your cut, airmail or back block.  

#2 Find Competitive Games or Tournaments

Playing in the local Monday night switch tournament that you know you can get a podium finish in is fun, but is it really helping you to get better as a player?  While it is a game and you should enjoy yourself while playing, if you are not challenged it is extremely difficult to advance in skill level.  This can be a tough one for some, as most times it does require some travel to find tournaments with consistent higher skill players. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean every time you play, but there should be a good balance of tournaments that you know are going to have hard-to-beat opponents as well as the tournaments you feel you’ll be able to be win more times than not.  Using the ACL or Scoreholio App can help you find different tournaments, sometimes you can even find contact info, a website or social media page where you can ask about the level of play their events offer.  

Consistent players player higher level events

#3 Be Prepared to Lose

Iconic UCLA coach John Wooden said “Losing is only temporary….you must study and learn from it….then have the self-control to forget about it…”  Seeking out better competition as mentioned in Tip #2 means that eventually you will find players that you are outmatched against.  Whether it’s game strategy, higher consistent skill level or performance, you will lose games….sometimes badly.  This is only detrimental if you cannot find anything positive to take from it. 

Several players at the professional level will tell you that when they first began playing competitively and as they progressed through the ranks at every level they have experienced losing.  Often times, sports coaches will tell you there is more to gain from a loss than there is from a win.  Losing a game exposes the areas in which we need to improve the most like game strategy, shot selection or execution.  This sets us up do either one of two things:  work to improve and become more consistent in those areas or remain at the same level.  

#4 Stats Aren’t the Be-All End-All

It happens at almost every competitive tournament, every regional, every open, every conference.  Players finish a game and the first thing they do is look to see what their Points Per Round (PPR) or Scoreholio Player Rating (SPR) is.   Call it human nature?  If we win we want to see how successful we were, if we lose we want to see how badly we performed.   However useful those stats can be, there are times when looking at stats doesn’t tell the entire story of the game. 

Not too long ago a player posted a photo of their PPR after a game, an outstanding 10.83 for game. Further, the stat line for the game was 41 bags in the hole, 7 on the board and 0 off the board with 6 four-baggers in a 12 round game.  Amazing right?  This player probably blew the opponent away right?  Wrong.  This player lost.  The winning player had a PPR of 11.  His stat line was 44 bags in the hole, 4 on the board, 0 off the board with 10 four-baggers.  

So while stats are important, the most important stat of the tournament is who got to the score of 21 first.  As with everything we are mentioning here, in order to be consistent, finding balance is necessary. When you are more worried about what your ending PPR will be, it can force you to take shots that aren’t always needed to score points in a round or even win the game.  It can also create a feeling of you didn’t do well enough even though you won the game.  Try to remain focused on winning the game first, your PPR will thank you later.  

consistency raises the stats

#5 It Won’t Happen Overnight

This may be the most useful tip in the entire article.  Maybe it is cliché, but understand that good things take time.  Following this advice will however improve where you are in all areas of your cornhole game, making you more consistent and allowing yourself a chance to advance your game. Will this make you a pro if you follow these tips religiously?  If I knew that I’d bottle and sell it.  But I can tell you that many of the games best players will tell you much of the same advice, and will also tell you they still do these things regularly.  

I hope this gave you some motivation, inspiration and perhaps some useful information to help you be more consistent.  This is my first but not my last article I plan to write so please check back often for many more topics and information on all things cornhole. If you need help working on your airmail so you can be more consistent or just need some gear, check out our selection of Airmail Trainers, Cornhole Bags and Boards.

Tyler Thompson @ Big Wolf Cornhole
Cornhole Addict
Advanced Player
Mid-East Conference

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