I think what one of the most important things is practice. That is what really makes people great. But not just throwing drives at a field but actually practicing putting and upshots. People can have great potential but what they do with that potential is what will make them great.
This sport is actually fairly easy. It takes a bit of physical talent but mainly it's smarts and working at it. Too many people just go out there and throw rounds and expect to get better doing that. Where the real improvement comes is in the putting practice and field work. This is not to say that you should stop playing rounds entirely. Duh. But really working on/experimenting on your form and getting a lock on your aim/power for putts is where you'll really see improvement.
I have only been playing for a few months but I believe that experience is what separates the fields. I started playing with 4 friends on the same day and I play 3-4 times more then what they do and it usually shows on the course
It starts with physical ability. But then to get to the next stage you need mental ability. Now last Sunday I didn't play well but I also did not feel well on that day. I have really been playing better because I believe in myself and I am letting the game come to me. And when I step up to take a putt I simply know that the putt is going in. It doesn't always go in but that confidence is what makes them go in a lot. I am simply playing better because I trust myself. Now I may not be a great player, but I am a good player.
I play with a guy at league who is stuck in a rut. He has been putting poorly and I told him that he has to stop thinking and start putting. You can practice all you want but when it's time to putt you just have to step up and make it. The same thing applies to drives as well. Trust yourself and let it rip!
I believe it starts with given physical ability. Second you have to have will/drive along with the mental ability to put deal with pressure, wind, weather, players, etc...
If somebody is preaching you can do "anything" you want then challenge them to set a new record in a marathon or 100 yard dash, (or both if they are that confident) etc...
The hard answer is knowing what ones achievable peak is. I know I would not win (I would need to add 100'+ consistently/accurately to my drives to start with) USDGC but I also believe I could cash there. I am not saying I would be able to do it tomorrow but I truly feel if I practiced and worked hard at it, it is a realistic goal.
I have seen a few with great potential. With the sport where it is financially, most choose to go the safer route with regular paycheck, especially if they have a family to care for.
Good vs Great
Good can do it
Great does it constantly
The first step, you have to admit that you suck because you are doing it wrong. You have to give up the things that worked for you when you began playing, and admit that they arent making you better anymore. You have to be sick and tired of missing your putts. Once done you need to focus on what the Pros are doing. Study hard. There are fundamentals in disc golf. There is a right way to do things. At the instant of impact, all the pros are doing the same things. This requires the willingness to learn and try new things. I believe we all have the potential to get better. We have the potential to learn what it takes to be great.
what's it take to be a good disc golfer? Lot's of practice. Practice till it's boring then practice some more....then go putt for an hour.
what defines the goods from the greats? The discipline to keep practicing when it gets boring and play one shot at a time.
I think raw arm speed is the one attribute you're either blessed with or not. You can make up for most of it with technique but pure distance is hard to learn.
Practice and desire will only get you so far. You also have to have "it". There are all kind of names for it. God given talent, a natural, flawless technique etc... There comes a point were some people rise to the top. That ability to hit that same line, the perfect putt, hitting that link you are aiming for. It's that ability to see the shot and accually do it. If you take two people and have them follow the same practice routine, but one has that ability to perform what they see and tell their body to do it and be able to repeat it 99 times out of 100. That's that "it' factor.
A golfer can become good with either a lot of talent and modest effort OR a lot of effort and modest talent OR some mix of the two.
To become great requires a lot of talent AND a lot of effort AND the ability to excel under pressure AND the ability to overcome adversity AND the luck to have the right opportunity at the right time. Greatness, by its very nature, is limited to a small group and is defined by comparison to the other greats and near greats.
None of us know our full potential, in golf or in anything.
The drawing of lines between great and near great and good is open to much debate and difference of opinions. In my opinion there is a huge gap between good and great. We could fill an arena with good disc golfers. We could fit the great ones around a table.