If you haven't heard this phrase, then you either have some work to do or you aren't playing with the right people LOL.
When I started playing in Feb of 2006 I did a lot of watching and reading about the game so that I understood things well before really getting serious about it. I learned all the grips that interested me and started working on the throws that would bring my game to a place I was comfortable being. As anyone, I started in the novice catagory and by May I entered my first tournament and took 2nd place in my division. I had spent a lot of time working on shots but mostly played alone as I didn't know anyone at the park yet. Soon after my first tournament I joined the CDGC of Columbia and my game really started to take off. I took 1st in my second tournament and already I started hearing what would soon be a regular phrase to me, Move Up. I started playing league and was winning a good majority of my flights towards the end of my first year and through speaking with fellow players I decided to move up to advanced. Now entering my 3rd year of play the question enters my mind again. Should I move up to open or stay where I am and fine tune my game so that the transition is smoother for me and my game. I have to admit in the last year I've heard more than my share of the phrase and to some degree have even thought that I was cheating people by not doing so, but several members of our club seem to have a problem committing to moving up as we have some Super Arms out there that have been playing since the 80's.
Here recently without hearing the phrase I started thinking about it myself and started to ask myself some questions, like when is the right time to move up, what else would I need to know in order to feel the time was right, and how will this affect my game.
Well I have answers to most of my questions and they are as follows in my mind. When? well that is touch and go, but if you are destroying everyone you face in your division, you definately should move up. Even if you aren't detroying them you should know how comfortable you are and if you are to comfortable and not even worried about losing against anyone then it's also time. Now for the down to earth view. If you are playing good golf and feel you are not being tested by your own game then in my view the only way you are going to test yourself and get better is by moving up. As Mark Ellis said I'm sure more than just a few times, You are only as good as the people you play with, makes perfect sense. If you don't challenge yourself to be better it will never happen. You can beat up on the locals all you want and if that makes you feel good about yourself then I guess that is your choice. Being average has never been a win for me and striving to be the best is much more satisfying even if you do get your ass handed to you on more than one occasion. You don't know how good you can be until you try!!!
What else is needed? Most of all is Confidence. I don't know that this is something else that I need but more of it would surely help. You need to believe in your game and your shot. If you don't you are just setting yourself up to fail. Say you are looking at a putt of 20 ft. When you approach it what goes through your mind? Do you have a set Routine? How many putting styles do you know? Are your putt's Strong or Floaters. What goes through my mind is, "Okay 20 ft, focus, flat, and execute!" what shouldn't go through your mind is, what if I shank it, oh the wind is picking up, or I've missed these before. You have to believe you are going to make it, focus on a link and make a good release. If all is well all it will fall in line and your putter will lay in the bottom of the basket just as you wished. This is the same with any throw. You have to have confidence that you are going to execute the throw the way you know you are capable of. Any mixed thoughts about what could happen at this point only hamper your ability to make a solid toss. Routine is vital and great comfort food for the mind. If you have a set routine as you approach a shot you are less apt to misread it and make a mistake. I start my routine as soon as the prior shot leaves my hand. Automatically I start thinking about what shots are available to me as I walk up to my disc. By the time I get to it I've made my decision and whether it was the right one or not, I stick with my decision. this used to be tough for me but now I look at the entire field on my way to the disc and by the time I get there I know where my obstacles set and how they could affect me. Having several stances is very helpful as well. If you're one of those that is restricted to one throw, you are really making it hard on yourself. I agree the more you know the more chance of error but do I agree with that, No. Every thing you learn can help you lower your score so focusing on several different types of throws will make your game a lot more fun and much less of a headache.
How does moving up affect your game? Well that is up to the individual. First off don't expect to move up and still keep winning like you did. You are going to take some losses and some big ones but you are competing with the best of your club and eventually you are going to start playing like they do. You have to keep things in perspective though and not let the losses get into your head. Keep the field clear and focus on each shot. If you make a bad shot, give it 10 seconds of thought and move on. If you hold onto a bad shot it will destroy your round and you've not only lost to your competition but to yourself as well. Scores only mean something at the end so try not to focus on them until the end unless that in some ways drives you to play better. Many disc chuckers find it bad luck to carry the card, others to know their score or who is leading. Yeah I guess that falls into the superstition realm but every sport has that, and it all depends on how that affects you personally. I've found that the longer you play this game the more apt to superstition you are. It's not just the game but the players you throw with that put this in your head. The important thing is to set that aside and concentrate on execution. A card doesn't make your game bad if you carry it, knowing where you sit on the card doesn't either, what does is something else on your mind other than making the best of the throws you release. Many players try to get into other players heads to make them screw up. The stronger your mind is the less this will affect your game.
In Conclusion, do I feel I'm ready to move up? The Answer is simple, I won't know until I do, but this year it is going to happen. The greatest thing about moving up sometimes is the voices you silence but more so the confidence you gain.
Get out and Live Life, You only get One!!!!!!