Don’t count chickens (before they hatch)!

Played Black Mouse yesterday, and I got off to a nice start. Birdied 1, 2, 3, and 4. To my credit, I didn’t once entertain the possibility of shooting -18. But I did think that double digits was a given, and it got me out of a disc-ipline that I’ve worked for years to establish. I actually kept track of my score the whole time after that, and when on the teepad calculated how many holes out how many remaining I’d have to birdie to shoot -10. (For the record, I shot a bogie-free -7, but that’s not the point).

This approach is quite the opposite of my overall disc golf philosophy, ‘disc golf in a vacuum‘. Click the preceding link if you’re interested in the minute details, but it basically means that I believe we can have the most fun – and perform best – when we allow ourselves to be completely immersed in our next shot. The key is to embrace the challenge of the shot purely for the challenge of executing it perfectly. Don’t get hung up with assigning values to the shot, like, for instance “if I can this putt for birdie I’m at -8 with three holes to go!” Instead, focus on the things that will actually help you do what you’re intending to do. Or nothing at all. But anything is better than letting external noise distract you from the task at hand.

I’ve been practicing this for more than five years now, and I’m proud to say I’ve gotten to the point where most rounds I don’t know my exact score until I add it up at the end. Aside from better scores through improved focus on what I’m actually doing, here are some other benefits:

  • I rarely ever have a bad round in terms of just having a crappy time out there (score-wise, yes). I’m able to appreciate even bad throws in a learning experience kind of way, and bad breaks rarely get under my skin.
  • When the round is over, it’s time to add up the score. It’s kinda fun to piece it all together ‘for the first time,’ in a sense. It also helps to recount each shot and allow the good and the bad to sink in.
  • If you’re in any kind of competition, and your rival keeps mentioning the score, it’s fun to watch his/her reaction when you admit you have no clue what your score is, then smile the same smile whether you’re + or -8.

So don’t count those chickens, or those strokes. The game will only get better.

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