Rules & Regulations
You’ll need a place to practice. Look for public ball fields for distance, and ponds to set up targets if you’re not near a casting club. A small DV video camera is helpful to evaluate your form and tape a champion’s form as an example to study.
When learning anything difficult, it pays to get the best instruction possible. Casting clubs are the best places to learn. There is a tradition in this sport of sharing and helping each other. Someone once said, it takes 1500 repetitions of good form to learn it but 10,000 to “un-learn” bad form. Practice a couple times a week and rest arm muscles for a day after performing the strenuous or repetitive casts.
Set realistic goals based on your physical condition and the amount of time you can practice. In a test between strength versus form in distance casting, form wins. In fly distance casting, backcast and forward cast alignment must be perfect or the forward cast loop will fall over and ruin a cast. The most efficient casting stroke leaves the least margin for misalignment, but it also takes the most explosive strength. Great casters extend the effective stroke length with weight transfer and body movement. Generally, beginning or weaker casters require a longer stroke to reach their longest casts. Accuracy is different.
Good form is more important in distance casting than muscle, but once you’ve got the form and timing perfected, the only way to increase your casting distance is by physical improvement. The main muscles used in casting are in the forearm, the triceps, deltoids and latisimus dorsi. Perform high resistance, low repetition exercises of these muscles with professional guidance. This should stimulate fast twitch muscle fiber. When you can’t reach the gym, use hand and forearm exercisers like the Powerball, Digiflex or various coil-spring grips. Don’t forget to rest a day between strenuous sessions. Instead you could get benefit from pantomime casting without a rod.
Tim Rajeff teaches you to pantomime a fly cast with your casting hand index finger touching a wall the whole time. It forces you to align your back and forward casts in the same plane. Once again, correctly repeating a stroke enters it into your muscle memory, making it second nature. Watching yourself cast in a big mirror can help you spot problems too. It’s in real time so you can correct in motion if you can identify a problem. Much of training requires concentration and winning requires the right mental attitude.
Besides having to set-up tackle, there other things you'll need to prepare and think about to practice our games. For accuracy, you’ll need targets. You can use 30” hula hoops as targets or make them from 3/4" ID irrigation tubing and couplers. Wrap the black tubing with colored electrical tape for visibility. Buy a 200’ measuring tape reel to measure distance casts. Once you've got everything, practice until casting is second nature.
If you want to start your own club, you can find out how: How to Hold an ACA Event- by John Field