How many times has any of the following happened to you?
* You miss badly on a tricky and/or risky putt, and almost immediately after it leaves your hand you realize that although you thought you had decided to go for it, the disc comes out weak and unsure- maybe wobbling more than usual and way too low.
* You hit a tree right after you made not hitting the tree your primary focus
* You catch yourself thinking about your overall score, and the impact your last throw had or your next throw will have on your score, even as it's your turn and you're seconds away from executing that next throw
I've been guilty of all three. Many, many times.
And there are plenty other similar scenarios that play out over the course of any given round of disc golf, but they all have as their root cause one of two basic deficiencies - and usually a combination of both.
1. An inability to step outside ourselves and think about what we're thinking about. Huh?! Consider the first bullet point above. Often when that happens to me I'll say something like this to no one in particular: "I tried to go for that, but my body didn't agree," or "my body didn't let me". And that's really what it feels like; like my body - knowing better than my brain - refused to obey the command. In reality though, I was doubting the decision to go for it the entire time, but didn't consciously recognize those thoughts because I wanted to go for it, 'cuz I wanted to make it.
2. Lack of a full appreciation of how much of an impact #1 has on a competitive round of disc golf, or lack of a plan to develop that type of mental focus.
Here's the deal: We constantly have thoughts floating through our brains, and unless we train ourselves to monitor those thoughts most of them sneak under the radar of our self awareness. It's like when one of your shoes comes untied as you step onto the teepad. If you don't notice it, you'll go right on with the scissor-step run-up to your drive and possibly trip over the errant shoelace, providing comic relief for your group and likely a disastrous result for you. Errant thoughts are just like errant shoelaces, and the trick is to learn how to be aware of them. Because once you're aware of them, you can deal with them. Being aware of one's shoelaces is easy- just look down at your feet before stepping on the pad (or wear Velcro shoes). Being aware of errant thoughts, though, requires a little (lot!) more effort and practice.
Just like the rest of your game, developing this awareness requires consistent practice. You will see results over time, but you must keep up the practice to keep seeing the results. So how do you practice something so vague and difficult to define? To find out, please go to frisbeebrain.blogspot.com. Sorry about not providing a hyperlink directly to the post, but the Discgolfers Are Us blog tool no longer includes that ability.