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Byrdman recently posted a blog on this website labelled " A New Found Love of the Game". That blog induced my response below. Here at discgolfersR.us, for whatever reason, Forum discussions are more active than Blogs. Perhaps this topic is worthy of thought and comments. Byrdman's comments are worth reading. Maybe he will join us here, too.

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The thrill of competition is so intoxicating when we play well. Yet the disappointment of playing poorly is so intense when we play poorly.

There are some players, with far greater emotional control (and wisdom) than I possess, who can enjoy playing the game even when they play poorly. I am so impressed and envious of players who have that ability. I know I don't have it yet and perhaps never will.

I do NOT view a tournament round as a challenge pitting me versus the other players in my division. I also do NOT view a tournament as a challenge pitting me versus the course. The challenge is me versus myself. I have an expectation of how well I can and should perform. If I play well (based on my expectations) then I am happy and satisfied, even giddy-win, lose or draw. If I play poorly (based on my expectations) then I am disappointed or maybe even disgusted with myself-win, lose or draw.

Some people are good at hiding their emotions. I am not. When I play poorly, even in practice, I am not a happy boy. In that situation, as a matter of fairness and courtesy to others in my presence who are also striving to perform, it is my responsibility to try not to cause harm to them. The whole yelling, bag kicking, delaying the progress of the round with my emotional response is wrong and I try so hard to avoid it. Mostly I just retreat into a shell, say little or nothing and fight to overcome my own funk. There must be some way to break out of that shell. Any advice?

Is it a guarrantee that when we get mad our luck goes bad? Is it true that the madder we get the worse our luck turns out? Does every close putt bounce out when we are really pissed off?

I don't think a player has an obligation (ethically or otherwise) to be happy and jovial and fun to be around while playing. I think players have the right to be unhappy with themselves but not to overtly/purposely interfere with the others in their playing group. This is different for golf than other facets of life and other games. Some games ethically allow us to mess with our opposition ( Hey, batter, batter, batter swing! The pitcher has a rubber arm! Heckling is just part of some games and competitors have to learn to overcome it. Heckling is not accepted behavior in golf. The high standard of courtesy and ethics in golf is one of its true beauties that separates it from other endeavors.)

I had a great coach when I played racquetball tournaments (my sport prior to frisbee) and he had a very wise rule that I have adopted as my own. You have the right to be unhappy with yourself. Try not to be a jerk about it. You can be unhappy following a round, based on personal disappointment, for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes drop it and return to the human race. No more pouting, sulking, griping or beating yourself up after 20 minutes. Get ready for the next round.

The ability to compete absolutely requires the ability to overcome disappointment. Or one bad round will cripple you forever.

I played a doubles tournament with a friend as my partner. He is a good player and and a good guy and I have a lot of respect for him as a player and a person. He is especially good at the skill of putting. Putting is historically my biggest weakness. My goal going into the event was not to cause us to lose based on my putting. Or put another way, I hoped to putt well. ((I expect to drive well. I usually drive well. I did drive well. But driving doesn't matter much because driving does not equate to scoring well.)) As it turned out, I putted well (for me) and we did not even cash. I did not care that we didn't win. I didn't care that we didn't cash. I was a happy boy. I would be happy to play with this partner again. We didn't beat the other teams in our division. We didn't beat the course. But when I met my personal expectations and performed well under presssure, I was a happy boy. If I had sucked then I would have sulked and apologized to my partner for sucking and gotten over it 20 minutes after the round ended. Then I would have had a very cold beer.

That is another great thing about the game of golf. Even if you suck no one punishes you. Even if you suck you can still have a beer when you are done. I think the act of competing makes a person a better, stronger person: physically and emotionally.

Tags: ethics, for, game, love, the, tournament, tournaments

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u got it right about ...... even if u didn't win but you played well being the best for the head ........... it does hurt stinking out a second round after leading after the first .......... it's hard not melting down on the course ....... maybe i just need someone to crack me in the head to bring back ........... it sure is a pain ....... and it makes u feel like _-_-. ...... anyone got a brewski?
I'm in the same boat and was given some great advise which I will share for you to do with it what you like. Its a game, how well you do on the course doesn't define you as a man. Remember at the end of the day its only a piece of plastic. Easier to say than to live by.
...Moving!
It's that mental game that pro's always tell me about. You can be a rockstar at driving disc..go for it ! BUT .. if you don't have that mental game or learn to control your negatives on the course.. you're in for it. I have the same problem of If I played badly or .. lost a disc when I'm playing a round.. I sigh about it but need to learn to get over those bad rounds. I'm going to try that 20 minute idea.

Good Story.
One thing that I've tried doing when playing poorly is to focus that anger and frustration into concentration on the next shot. It takes a lot of practice to do this (especially with my temper) but it can be done. It's helps put the focus back on the game and not ripping yourself or your group to shreds.
Human actions involve both your level of effort and the results of that effort. Depending on the activity, effort and results can be directly connected or may be randomly connected, and most importantly for disc golf, anywhere in between. At the two extremes, we have something with a direct connection such as tying your shoes where most have mastered that process such that your full effort results in shoes that are tied. At the other extreme, we have actions that have results based on probabilities such as flipping a coin. Unless you’re cheating with a two-headed coin, no matter how well you flip the coin, the result is out of your control.

I think anger can result from a perception that your results should have been better than they were based on your perceived level of effort. So my premise is that, other than genetic or metabolic differences between people that make some more predisposed to anger, the reason some are more mellow about the results of their game than others has to do with how much they feel their efforts actually control the resulting score in the game.

Some know I’m involved with a lot of stats in the game. As such I tend to see players as statistical data elements in terms of their scoring performance. Even established players that are consistent in how they play have a variance in outcome (results) producing a range of scores on the same course. If you believe that the sport of disc golf allows a player to control their results strictly based on their effort, then wouldn’t you expect pretty much the exact same score every round from those who put out the same level of effort each round?

Yet, we know that’s not the case. How many times have you said something like, “I couldn’t have thrown that shot any better,” and yet the disc ends up hitting a root and rolling OB or the putt cut through the chains and out? So, we have statistical proof that there’s only so much control we have over the results produced based on the efforts we make. My premise would be that those who make the best efforts to play well (including practicing) and get the least angry about their results have the most realistic connection between their effort, natural abilities and the resulting outcomes they may experience in the game.

Even though Mark was satisfied that his putting didn’t pull down his doubles team in the example he described, I would say that he also should not have been angry if his putting was a problem that day. He still made the best effort he could muster and it could have just been a statistically good putting day instead of a bad day that were all within the range of his likely results on any day assuming he made a solid effort.

The one thing about anger or at least dissatisfaction with your performance is that I believe that’s what eventually produces champions. Having unrealistic expectations of your ability to control outcomes if you work hard enough is what I believe drives players to become the best they can be. Not everyone can be a champion because I believe there are natural limits. But those with the native ability that hasn’t yet been tapped will likely need this perception of their ability to control outcomes to drive them to work hard enough to get to the top.
Thanks for bringing that over Mark.
I agree 100%, it's me against me, not the course or my competitors.
Chuck Kennedy, That was freakin brilliant. I need to start paying more attention to what you write.
Stay as calm as possible, take it one shot at a time. Focus on the shot you are about to make instead of the shot you just blew....let it go. I think this is basically what you were saying, and is what I personally try to accomplish also. I would wholeheartdedly agree with just trying to do the best that you personally know you can. I cannot control the partner I choose randomly out of a hat, just as i cannot control how well that person shoots on that day. It's nice to read this stuff because it sometimes helps me to put a couple of my own thoughts together, if that makes any sense. Hearing the same thing from someone else in different terms can be eye opening. Thank you.
mark ellis said:
Chuck Kennedy, That was freakin brilliant. I need to start paying more attention to what you write.
Thanks Mark. Of course, I continue to put out the same effort producing posts and sometimes my results are perceived as really good. So I won't get mad if you think a future post of mine is less than stellar... ;-)
Yes Chuck, that was good...you could be the Dr. Phil of Disc Golf. lol!!
Jamie 'gr8rocshot' Ruane said:
Yes Chuck, that was good...you could be the Dr. Phil of Disc Golf. lol!!
Some around here refer to me as the "Professor" so that's close...

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