Re: Yard Practice ?
I would recommend that you use a target. I use a paper plate with a rock on it to hold it down.
Practice casting at various rod angles including off shoulder casts, and practice different slack line casts. As long as you can cast 40 feet, accuracy is what new anglers need the most. But most practice adding distance.
Most casters think the reach mend is simple, but that is because they do not use targets. For a right hander casting to the left bank, get the right reach mend down first. It is not as simple as getting the distance right on a straight line false cast and then reaching the cast over to the right. Fly fishers think that the reach mend is making the same cast as a straight line cast and then reaching the rod, but this not true when you have a target that you want to hit.
If you do that, the fly will get pulled back toward you, and your cast will end up short. When you reach mend left or right, the distance from the rod tip to the target lengthens depending on the amount of the reach. To demonstrate this, cast a straight line to the target. Then do a reach mend with the same amount of line. You will fall short.
So you now you know that you need to add more line for a reach mend. You can lengthen the cast in two ways. You can add more line before the reach so the fly gets pulled back to the target with the reach mend OR you can shoot line into the cast and then reach mend. Adding the exact amount of extra line to place the fly on target takes practice. But you would never know that if you practiced without targets.
You will find that all the casts that place slack into the cast to counter drag will require adding line to the cast over a straight line cast. Anyone can wiggle the rod after the stop for an S cast, but can you do that and hit the target? Practice the S cast, pile cast, puddle casts, and side arm curve casts with targets so you know how do these casts accurately.
"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy