Sep 30 2006, 11:18 AM
Through much thought and reflection about the game and my game, I have come to the conclusion that a flaw in my mental game is being too focused on the (short-term) results. I see that there is 2 steps into creating a good golf shot. The first is planning. This involves disc selection, reading the wind, figuring out the distance, and envisioning the shot. If we are successful in the planning aspect, we should have a precise target (not the basket but an imaginary spot that we will throw the disc at so it will finish at the basket). The second is execution. This is merely doing our best to throw the disc at our imaginary spot.

I have seen it time and time again (from others and myself). A golfer plans out the shot and executes it correctly. In flight, it takes a wind bounce or hits a rock when it was supposed to skip off the dirt, etc... Another variation of this is throwing a putt in the center of the basket and having it spit out.

When that happens, we should be pleased that we did everything we could and move on. Easy right? I am sure we have all heard this before. The only problem I have with this line of thought is that we DO care about the results. We want to hit the gap, park the hole, make the putt. And a lot of people don't care how it happens. I have seen people throw horrid shots, hit a tree, get very lucky and land under the basket. Then I see them smiling and pleased with how they threw the shot.

I think almost every golfer out there (maybe 100%) has some amount of results-oriented thinking inside him. I hear so many people say things before tournaments start like, "I just want to cash," or "I need to shoot -2 or -3 every round and I think I can win." The list could go on for days.

In my opinion, thinking anything like this will only hurt your game. I am sure most of you have heard this before. Only worry about 1 shot at a time. I would take it a step farther and say that you should only be concerned with your next shot you throw but as soon as you release the disc, you shouldn't care what happens next. I have always heard, "Don't worry about the things we cannot control." Once the disc leaves your hand, there is nothing you can do for it.

Now, I do think we should observe the results of the shot. After execution, I immediately ask myself if I think I threw the disc how I planned. If not, I want to know why and how I can improve later. If I executed correctly, then I watch what happens to the disc. Does the wind flip it or push it way left? If so, was that bad luck or did I not plan out the shot correctly?

Shot planning comes with experience but it isn't learned automatically. You have to see the result and objectively apply it to how you could have adjusted your plan. This is the most difficult part because you have to use the results to improve the next shot but you can't be emotionally involved in the result of the shot.

This was kind of a ramble but I just wanted to get some of your thoughts on this subject. I have played a few rounds of casual golf this week and have been trying to incorporate these ideas into my game and I think it is helping. Not an immediate fix but my game is moving in the right direction.

Sep 30 2006, 11:42 AM
thanks for the interesting post. i remember hearing that very young kids -- preschoolers -- will just have joy in the process if given magic markers. However, when they start getting "stars" for their work, they begin to shift their focus from the process to the stars and the process loses its magic and joy.

all of this applies a lot more than i'd like it to to my disc golf game :eek: i feel our culture is far too result$-oriented, yet i want to win... there is an interesting conflict between:

the one who has the most wins wins
the one who has the most fun wins

thanks for reminding me to watch those sweet babies soar :D

Sep 30 2006, 04:08 PM
What is funny is that if we can focus more on the process, the results will come on their own.

Sep 30 2006, 07:24 PM
You had this revelation at some point in your poker career I assume?

Sep 30 2006, 09:35 PM
read zen golf to reaffirm this kind of thinking and elaborate on how to react to results. It's hard not to get #$*&$! about a chain through, but this book helped me with it.

Sep 30 2006, 10:53 PM
You had this revelation at some point in your poker career I assume?

It all relates. /msgboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

Oct 01 2006, 09:00 AM
I think what you point out is the difference between practice and competition. In competition, a player should be interested primarily in results. While practicing, results should be secondary to execution and understanding.

The more you practice and learn to execute a planned shot, the better the chances that you will have favorable results in competition.

Personally, I am not happy with a shot that misses my intended line by a large margin and ends up parked, neither am I happy with a shot that leaves my hand exactly as planned yet does not perform as expected enroute. The types of shots that I am satisfied with are shots that the disc performs as expected enroute. I am happier when those shots start on the line I plan for them, but enjoy a disc that flies with the characteristics that I expect.

Oct 02 2006, 09:57 AM
Train your swing in practice then trust it during competition. IMO try not to care too much or get overly invested in results, that will tend to have you think about the future or what you "need" to do rather than staying in the present and respecting the process.