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.
Pro's don't know as much about disc golf as they think they do. This is just a fact of discgolf life. Almost all the information on this forum is smoke being blown up your butt. THE KEY IS YOU GOTTA LOVE THROWING PLASTIC.
You gotta love manipulating the flight of discs, love watching discs go in the basket from all over the place. What's the point of being great and beating people at disc golf if you don't get off on making shots.
Is the point to gain respect from peirs or make a bunch of money? No, it's disc golf, theres not a lot of money in it and it's not like a bunch of rich business men go out in fanci pants and collared shirts to say,"oh, if I could drive another 100ft I would give up my high paying job and I could play in the pro's." That's not disc golf.
There is little more satisfying in the game of disc golf than simply discovering/learning and improving a particlular shot. Thats true for sidearm, turbo, approaches, wind shots, etc. Your game goes through growth sperts and your game gets funner and more satisfying. You see the fruits of your labors and naturally you're driven to want to learn and discover more.
It helps to play with and learn from experienced players, but the idea that a player needs this all the time is just weak. Players that think they can't improve there game or shoot there best when playing with lesser players are just plain slackin.
So don't limit your game to the what the pros think works. Just work on your runnup and figure out how to grip and disc. The rest is love baby.
I strongly agree that it all starts with the love of throwing discs, but I guess the answere depends on how you measure weather or not you are getting better, or "good". For some, its distance off the tee or beating your course record. For me its my PDGA rating, its making the cut, its throwing rounds that are rating above my average. My head is totally stuck in tournament discgolf. These days, I would give up the casual round to play the tournament round. Its just more fun for me, the pressure, the hype, the prep. I love it. The love of throwing has got me here, but the competition is what gives me the confidence to know that I can get even better. I feel like I have some momentum going and it all comes form exposure through PDGA events. Playing with the pros will show you how much you still have to learn.
Guys like Climo, Feldberg, and Nikko KNOW what works and they share eachothers secrets.
You don't have to listen to the Pros, you just have to watch.
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.