When it comes to the sport of disc golf, most can agree that a huge part of the game is assuredly mental. No matter how fit you are physically or how far you can throw the disc, your mindset plays a major role in whether you play well or not. Today, we look at the 7 best mental disc golf tips for how to dominate your round. Those tips are as follows:
• Make sure you’re mentally prepared to play
• Don’t rush yourself
• Focus on your throws
• Play against someone else to make yourself better
The 7 best mental disc golf tips
1. Make sure that you’re mentally prepared to play
So this tip is probably about as general as I can get. But it is hands down the most important tip in this list. You need to make 100% percent sure that you’re mentally prepared to play your rounds. I’m not talking about how you feel physically, but your state of mind before you set out on the course. You could physically feel great and be running from hole to hole, but it’s really all about the mindset. It’s also all about whether or not your brain is ready to crush each hole on the course. If you aren’t mentally prepared to play, you won’t do well.
How do you get mentally ready to play for every round?
First, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Sleep is extremely important and is part of the brain’s daily recovery process. Good sleep may be the most important thing you can do for yourself when it comes to complete mental preparation. Lack of sleep can lead to being fatigued and less reactive.
You need to treat your body right in order to feel mentally prepared. Exercising and eating right aren’t only great for you physically. They play a major factor in brain health which can ultimately lead to how you feel that day mentally.
Also, look at your stress levels and make absolutely sure that you aren’t completely stressed out from everything leading up to your disc golf rounds. Yes, disc golf can help relieve some stress. But if you’re a complete wreck because of things happening in your life, you’re not going to be able to play the game with complete mental preparation and be able to dominate like you want to.
There are simple things that can keep you mentally out of sync and this can really pull you away from playing a good round. If you’re not all ready that day you can just go out and throw, play for fun, or skip that day altogether. There’s always going to be more free days of disc golf so don’t sweat a day or two of not being mentally ready to go.
2. Don’t rush yourself
Oh, we all know what it feels like when we step up to throw and absolutely crush a long drive. And then there’s that other feeling. You know, the one where you throw too quick, without thinking too much about what you needed to do, and your shot just sucks. Yep, I’ve done it. You know why? Because you rushed the shot.
When you throw too quickly, this forces you to rush the shot, and can then cause you to be unprepared for each and every throw. This can lead to poor throws, bad (or lack of) strategy, loss of rounds to better players (bad tournament play), or crappy overall technique. None of that sounds good to me.
Instead, take time before every single throw to scope out the shot and see what you need to do to crush it. It doesn’t take a lot of time to get yourself together with a plan to approach the individual shot attempt. Play everything shot by shot. You can do this and plan while other players are throwing. And you can even get an idea of what you’re going to do from the other throws before you.
Taking your time can hugely affect the outcome of your rounds, so make sure you implement this concept into your play. You need this because you have to be able to strategize and plan. It’s okay to take just a little bit of time to do this as it doesn’t really lengthen a round too much (maybe a few minutes total). This doesn’t make you a slow player. It just means that you take enough time to perfect each and every shot. That makes you a good player.
Overall, I know you just want to get out there and throw. Be sure you give yourself enough time to at least think about the shot. Take a moment to see how you will play it. But on the flip side, if you do take your time, you have to not hold up play for too long. Make sure you don’t take too much time and start to hold people up. Just take a minute, collect your thoughts, play the shot in your mind, get the strategy, and make your shot count.
No matter how you play, or who you may be, disc golf is a game of focus. We just talked about not rushing your game in the last section. If you rush through your throws, you won’t be able to give your throws enough of that focus that you need to really step up your game. In disc golf, your ability to focus on each and every shot can potentially be the deciding factor on winning or losing that round. “I will crush this drive,” or “I’m going to nail this putt,” should be your driving statements whenever you seek to find the point of concentration for each shot.
Your focus should be directed at each individual shot. You need hardcore dedicated attention on where the basket is and/or the direction that the disc needs to be thrown. And while we always recommend playing with family and friends, be careful of how well you can maintain that shot concentration while playing with others. Playing with family and friends is awesome, but it can hurt your score of you’re not careful.
But if you can perfect your focus while playing with others, you can actually do better than if you were to play alone. I do like to think that I’m a very focused player (sometimes). When you’re super focused, playing with or against others in a competitive manner can definitely help your game. This competitive play makes you want to be better and do better. This, in turn, can ramp up your ability to concentrate and dedicate your attention to each and every throw.
If you aren’t a focused player, or have trouble with this, don’t get upset. It takes a lot of time to perfect. Continue to play and practice, keeping yourself on one task: focusing on the shot. You can do that with something simple like telling yourself, “concentrate on the shot,” or “focus.” Your ability to get better at this will expand over time, especially if you work on it. And if you become a master of concentration, you will dominate on the course.
4. Be confident
Confidence on the disc golf course can play a huge role in whether you play well or get better. Confidence in yourself is one of those things that is extremely hard to develop if you don’t have any. I know this because I was that person, just like you may be that person now. If you have confidence in yourself and your abilities, that’s awesome. If not, that’s okay. I’m here to tell you that over time, especially while playing and improving on the disc golf course, you can improve your confidence and become a fantastic player. It took me awhile, but my confidence on the course grew along with my skills.
If you can be confident while you play, you will be undoubtedly and automatically better at the game. The great thing about the disc golf is that as you play and as you improve, your confidence in your skills and your overall self confidence will improve. But if you need a little bit more help, here are three quick tips to improve your confidence on the course.
• Make sure you throw with the right discs: The correct disc selection can mean the difference between improving your game and never wanting to play again.
• Shake off bad throws/putts: you don’t want the last shot to haunt you forever. So shake off the last throw right into that tree.
• Don’t worry about who’s watching you throw: this was big for me, as I was horrible when I first started. I didn’t want anyone to watch me throw. Then one day I just let all of that go. Who cares if anyone sees? Practice and improvement is all that matters. If you worry about people watching you throw, it will take you a long time to become confident in yourself on the course. Just get out and throw!
5. Keep a positive mindset
Without me going into too much b.s. about being happy and smiling and butterflies, I’ll keep this one short and sweet. It’s important in life to have a generally positive mindset, which can come in quite handy on the disc golf course. Now for those who think I mean that everything has to be happy all the time, that’s not what I’m saying. A generally positive mindset is all I’m talking about. Thinking positively and knowing you can do well and win is the right attitude. Here’s what it means to have a positive mindset in three quick bullets:
• You try to make the best out of all situations including bad shots, poor strategizing, and those situations that may be negative.
• Some situations suck, but you still don’t let anything bad bother you. You continue playing and try to do better on the next hole.
• You are an overall positive person, you expect to do well, and you’re fun to be around because you cheer others on to do their best.
Positivity doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time, but being a positive person can have a huge affect on your disc golf game.
6. Playing against someone else can make you better…mentally
Though your physical score may be better with some competition, I’ve always felt that playing against someone makes me better from a mental standpoint. At first, as a beginner, I definitely do not recommend going up against someone competitively. You don’t need the distraction of trying to win or the worry of too much strategy muddying up the waters as a beginner player. You need to learn the proper technique and the simple fundamentals of the game of disc golf. Once you get all that down, then you can start trying to crush your friends.
After four or five rounds, you should have the basics down. It’s time to use it or lose it. Head to head can start to significantly improve your game, especially if you play a couple of times per week. For those who are super competitive, playing against someone else can do a couple of things for your mental fortitude:
• Good competition can strengthen your mental toughness
• Some competition can make you think harder in many different scenarios.
• Tough courses mixed in with your competition can force you to think smarter in order to figure out obstacles and not ruin or sacrifice your pars.
• Some people you play with can help you have more fun which normally leads to better play (at least for me out on the course).
• Almost all competition helps both your mental and physical game.
So why not get out with some friends and family and start improving your game today. Think about how much better you’ll be in just a few short months. Now don’t forget about our last tip in this article…
7. Be patient
Some say patience is a virtue. I say patience is one of the mental keys to the game of disc golf. Patience, or your capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset, stands as one of the determining factors between you winning and you getting crushed on the course. Patience is another skill that is extremely hard to develop. But if you can develop it, you have the ability to become a great disc golfer. Before we close up this article, let’s talk about short-term and long-term patience.
Short-term patience refers to each shot and each round. You need to be patient with every single shot (as we talked a little bit about not rushing earlier in this article). Being patient gives you the opportunity to see every shot possibility and every angle. This allows others who don’t have enough patience to make mistakes that can benefit you.
Long-term patience refers more to your overall skills as a lot of people don’t continue playing disc golf because of the difficulty. It’s really tough to throw a small discs hundreds of feet accurately. And if you let a few bad rounds affect you when you first start, you will most definitely get fed up and quit. Have patience with the game of disc golf and allow your skills to get better over time.
Your mental game can heavily shape how well you do on the disc golf course. The crazy thing is, a lot of people really neglect their own mind and don’t bother with developing good thought or proper strategy for when they play. It’s extremely important to be physically fit and be able to crush any throw at any time. But your mental game will determine who wins and who loses. If you win the mental battle on the course, you’ll be strides ahead of your opponent while you play.
If you want to get physically better, check out these posts
It’s not always about the mental game. Sometimes you need to focus on your health, your athletic ability, and how you treat your body.
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