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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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Excellent post Chuck, as a newer player still trying to find my game, your post makes a lot of sence and really making me think about the mental part of my game. Thanks
I read this whole post at least 3 time in the last few days, I thought about it on and off all day today as I went about my day at work. I got lucky today and got free about 3PM so of course I went straight to my closest course ( Park Circle DGC ) and the entire time I played today (with 2 other peeps), I thought about this post when I would miss a putt or shank a drive into a giant Azalea bush I would walk through the shot in my head and as I would walk to next tee pad I would put it behind me and concentrate on my NEXT shot. I shot the most consistent game of golf that I have ever shot. I shot my personal best (which isnt all that great) but I shot with no anger, no shots missed to having a pissy mood or dwelling on what I had messed up but put that energy toward the NEXT shot and it made a world of difference. I recommend that everyone who plays the wonderful game of disc golf read this post and think hard about it the next time you play. I sent a link to this post to everyone in my club and I hope they at least read it.

Mark, Chuck, Byrdman...you guys please do not stop thinking and writing about your passion, you two bring a angle to this game that not a whole lot of people get much less think about on a regular basis. And once again let me thank you for being a part of this sport, and this web site and sharing your unique looks at this game.

Your Friend
Jack Davis
Chuck,

You were spot on. Whether a player knows it or not, their goals should be to:

1) Minimize the standard deviation of their stroke, be it a drive, approach, or putt. That is, increase the probability of the same action producing the same result in the same environment.

2) Increase the mean result, while focusing on the above. That is, to improve one's average game/throw without experiencing wild fluctuations.

3) Evaluate fluctuations in results to see if there were assignable causes that the player can input to a feedback loop to improve future performance. For instance, was there a crosswind that you were not aware of before you threw (an assignable cause, which would teach the player to be more aware of conditions away from the throwing area), or was the release angle of the disc different than what you thought it would be when you threw, telling you that need to work on #1 above some more?

4) Realize that there are random factors (thank you, Herr Heisenberg [sp?]) involved in alll actions, and that if you are satisfied with your technique on a particular throw, but not the outcome, and that you would take the exact same action again (like a "perfect" putt slicing through the chains, or bouncing out), and you could not identify any assignable causes, then there is nothing to be learned for future performance improvement from the result, so move on. Easier said than done, I know!

I'm sure this will read a little dry to most, but I'll try to summarize:

1) Practice to get your shots down. Not Dave Feldberg's shots, not King Kenny’s shots - your shots. It’s my opinion that this is the most important area to work on for one’s satisfaction with ones game. I would be more satisfied with a -6 where all my shots did what I wanted them to do, then a -10 that had shots sneak through trees, and had a fairway ace that I was actually trying to park. I would be more satisfied with the -6, because I knew I could do it again and I knew there would be no way I could duplicate those crazy shots in my -10 round.

2) Once your shots are down, try minor changes to see if they improve performance, and if so, practice with those changes, until you get them down, then try additional minor changes, etc.

3) Learn from your mistakes. If you mess up a shot, your next shot will probably not have the same condtions that you previously did, so you cannot use what you learned to help your next shot, so do not dwell on it

4) If you did what you wanted to do (you did not make a mistake, either in your technique, or identiying environmental factors that could alter your shot) and did not get the result you wanted, let it go, because you cannot use it to improve your game.
Mark sure does love to type

But its great that he has a place where he can post his feelings.

Good post Mark, very interesting. Made me think about the stupid things I do when I get mad.
when i get stressed/frustrated i try to imagine waters solution to blockage....simply go around. Be like water, flow like water. All problems can be washed away if you are willing to let go.
Now there is a good way to look at it!

I swear I thank the DISC GODS that I found this site there is always something to be read and learned here.


Craig said:
when i get stressed/frustrated i try to imagine waters solution to blockage....simply go around. Be like water, flow like water. All problems can be washed away if you are willing to let go.
Chuck you are right statistics play an important role and like Scott Stokley says some times its just gonna happen(bad luck) and you just have to say oh well. However like mark this is much easier for some and not so for me. When I know that I can throw -5 and I wind up with +1 It gust gets under my skin. Sometimes its hard to shake. I will try the 20 minute rule and I usually shake it off quick but to act like it doesn't even bother me well I am not there and not sure if I will ever get there. I try to hold it in but some outward expression is inevitable. I think high expectations is what drives us on to achieve the higher level. If I didn't get down about a bad round whats my motivation to do better? However a good beer will always help with getting over poor play. I chalk up bad rounds to experience. Just keep on hucking.
don said:
Chuck you are right statistics play an important role and like Scott Stokley says some times its just gonna happen(bad luck) and you just have to say oh well. However like mark this is much easier for some and not so for me. When I know that I can throw -5 and I wind up with +1 It gust gets under my skin. Sometimes its hard to shake. I will try the 20 minute rule and I usually shake it off quick but to act like it doesn't even bother me well I am not there and not sure if I will ever get there. I try to hold it in but some outward expression is inevitable. I think high expectations is what drives us on to achieve the higher level. If I didn't get down about a bad round whats my motivation to do better? However a good beer will always help with getting over poor play. I chalk up bad rounds to experience. Just keep on hucking.

Well said, Don Mac.

If I don't get upset when I suck then what is my motivation not to suck next time? If I had a coach who watched me suck, shouldn't he ream me out for sucking? Doesn't there have to be a penalty for pitifulness?
Mark: If I don't get upset when I suck then what is my motivation not to suck next time? If I had a coach who watched me suck, shouldn't he ream me out for sucking? Doesn't there have to be a penalty for pitifulness?

Chuck: Note I never said you shouldn't get upset at your effort, just your outcome. If the reason for the poor result is based on your mental, physical or practice lapses, versus what happens after the disc leaves your hand that's out of your control, get upset because it's something you can fix. The trick is separating what results were due to your lack of effort versus the more random results that can still occur from a high level of effort.
Try to stay positive !!!!
Chuck Kennedy said:
Mark: If I don't get upset when I suck then what is my motivation not to suck next time? If I had a coach who watched me suck, shouldn't he ream me out for sucking? Doesn't there have to be a penalty for pitifulness?

Chuck: Note I never said you shouldn't get upset at your effort, just your outcome. If the reason for the poor result is based on your mental, physical or practice lapses, versus what happens after the disc leaves your hand that's out of your control, get upset because it's something you can fix. The trick is separating what results were due to your lack of effort versus the more random results that can still occur from a high level of effort.

Chuck, I hear what you are saying but golf is not just about effort. If the task were weight lifting or running or a task where the only real question is how much effort I put out then that would be different. Say I am lifting weights. There is no doubt a form component to my maximum possible performance. But anything within my realistic weight range is just effort. Making a putt is not effort, it is control. Golf is not effort so much as it is a game of control.

Some days in golf your timing is a hair off. Some days in golf your luck sucks and your timing is a hair off. You tried hard. You prepared well. You were close to being effective. But you sucked. In this situation, if you are as as cool as a cucumber and as happy as a clam (or other equally inane cliches) will you perform better and recover sooner?

I have witnessed great athletes under pressure via the magic of TV. Jordan, Tiger, etc. They didn't look to me like they were happy when playing bad or getting unluckily. They looked freakin intense. Did their attitude lead to their greatness?
Reread my original post near the end regarding elite performers and their expectation that they CAN control the results being a driving force for getting as good as they can be. But once you get to that point, the outcomes on any given day are more related to the statistical aspects of the game than your own effort presuming you are giving a good effort. You can still get upset over poor outcomes. On the other hand, stewing about it doesn't make any sense if it was more due to normal stat variance than your effort.

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