Disc Golf in a Vacuum(TM) is the catchy phrase I’ve come up with to describe the bundle of ideas about the mental side of golf that make up my disc golf philosophy. It means many different things in different situations, but in general is all about embracing, appreciating, and learning from each shot we attempt. Before, during, and after. In a vacuum, there are no ‘pars,’ or ’rounds’ or even ‘holes.’ There are only shots. Today, the discussion focuses on the word ‘focus’.
What does it mean, to focus in golf? For me, when I’m able to use my logical brain to pick a shot strategy, then keep my thought sequence exactly as I wanted according to my strategy, I feel I ‘focused well’ on that shot. But it was one thing to realize that focusing on my shot would be a good thing, and another thing to actually do it. It took time; conditioning if you will. I had to train myself to monitor my thought process and weed out those either non-essential to executing the shot, or downright detrimental. And it requires constant vigilance. I still have many instances where a second after releasing the disc I know Here is a quick breakdown of what I think should be going through your head as you set up and throw, and what definitely should not:
Should go through your head
First of all before the thought process of the shot begins, you must already have decided and be committed to your shot. After that, all your thoughts should be limited to those that help you execute the shot at hand. Simple, huh? But I think this discussion is defined better by the next category: what you should Definitely Not think about.
- Don’t think about bad things. Negative thoughts have a proven track record of failure in athletic endeavors. In golf terms this means don’t think about possible consequences – once you’ve made up your mind on how to execute a shot, think not a second longer about the why’s and where-for’s. Also, don’t think about past missed shots.
- Don’t think about the shot before you in any historical content whatsoever- unless it involves positive affirmation (along the lines of ‘I’ve made this shot before and I can make it again’). Don’t think about how long it’s been since you hit a birdie putt. Don’t think about the fact that you haven’t gotten a par on hole 13 for two years.
- In short, when it comes time to execute the shot, strip it of all external value. It’s just you, and the basket, and the slope(if any), and the wind(if any). There is no context but the present context.
That in my estimation is focus, and it’s also one element of Playing Disc Golf in a Vacuum.