help with the mental game.....

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help with the mental game.....

Postby mzoro » Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:37 pm

Here's the problem: the one thing that i feel most confident in is my putting...during casual rounds, pre-tournament and practice sessions i can drain it at any distance. however when the tournament starts my putting disappears, and i start shanking ten footers. i know that its mental. it's my first season of tournament play and i'm still making a couple driving errors during the rounds. lately i can't shake images of how i got there instead of focusing on what i'm doing.

Example: last tournament, hodges village dam, MA
first hole, teeing off of hole 10, worried about OB on the right, shot ends up a little nose up in the shule to the left, my flick upshot rolls up the riprap OB. end with a (5)
second hole (3)
third hole, grip lock my putter off the tee, OB, approach goes loooong, leaving a 40'+ uphill for the bogey, miss it.(5)
fourth hole, park it within 12'. very happy, cuz the fairway was 25' wide with OB water right, OB road left. here's where i'm thinking i can get back on track..........nope miss the putt low!!! (3)

this is what kills me. needed that duece. How do you shake off those bad holes during the tournament?
Last edited by mzoro on Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: help with the mental game.....

Postby Planeman93 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:21 pm

Play hole by hole. Go for the best score on every hole you play, and completely forget about your total score, you can figure that out after the round. To improve in tournaments you have to play more tournaments.
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Re: help with the mental game.....

Postby masterbeato » Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:51 pm

play shot by shot
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Re: help with the mental game.....

Postby Star Shark » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:49 pm

I also find it really hard to relax in any kind of pressure situation. About all you can do is focus on the shot and pull the trigger fairly quickly. The more time you stand there and stare at it the more you second guess yourself and probably work yourself into missing it.
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Re: help with the mental game.....

Postby zj1002 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:06 pm

Practicing pressure situations helps(if you can't play tournaments every weekend). Try playing a round against a team of 2-3 other people. In casual rounds make yourself make two putts for it to count. Mark Ellis has written a lot on here about fun games that help deal with these situations.

One mental change that helped me when I walked up to the tee was to stop focusing on "not missing" but rather "this is how I make this shot"
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Re: help with the mental game.....

Postby JohnnyB » Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:50 pm

Somehow make the tournament less important to you. In playing poker the one sure way for me to lose is to need the money. Take away the need and my a game comes out.
Same for disc golf. I've had as much as a 10 stroke average difference between casual and tournament rounds. My current challenge in my mental game is figuring out what that need is for me and eliminating it.
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Re: help with the mental game.....

Postby mzoro » Sun Sep 26, 2010 7:26 pm

JohnnyB wrote:Somehow make the tournament less important to you. In playing poker the one sure way for me to lose is to need the money. Take away the need and my a game comes out.
Same for disc golf. I've had as much as a 10 stroke average difference between casual and tournament rounds. My current challenge in my mental game is figuring out what that need is for me and eliminating it.



That's good advice! never thought about it that way, casual rounds, team challenges even leagues i don't "need" anything. i'm there just to have fun.
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Re: help with the mental game.....

Postby pg043 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:31 am

also don't underestimate the power of positive self-talk in these situations. walking up to a tester saying "I am going to make this" will put you in a better place than thinking "oh my god why didn't i put it closer"
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Re: help with the mental game.....

Postby Mark Ellis » Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:07 am

JohnnyB wrote:Somehow make the tournament less important to you. In playing poker the one sure way for me to lose is to need the money. Take away the need and my a game comes out.
Same for disc golf. I've had as much as a 10 stroke average difference between casual and tournament rounds. My current challenge in my mental game is figuring out what that need is for me and eliminating it.


Different techniques work better or worse for different players. Also players react differently as their game, experience and mental toughness improve or diminish. Of course, that which works best for someone else may not be the best for us at our current level and situation.

What JohnnyB describes is avoidance of pressure, ie... try to convince yourself there is no pressure or try not to think about or acknowledge the pressure. This may the starting point for mental toughness but I don't view it as the long term optimal solution. Eventually you must be able to acknowledge the pressure and use it to your advantage. Why? Because your most competent competitors do.

Pressure creates a fear of failure. That fear creates adrenaline. By using that adrenaline we can become more successful than without it. Over time and experience we can learn to channel and morph that pressure into, not a fear of failure but a level of excitement which better allows us to use that adrenaline.
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Re: help with the mental game.....

Postby Thatdirtykid » Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:27 pm

I have been working on the putting confidence system in marks video. I have not been able to do it every day, but I do every day that I pick up a disc. Its been helping my confidence get back to where it was 3 years ago when I was last playing competitively. Played my first "tournament" (one day not sanctioned smaller town) since 2007. Placed 3rd in open (I finished 3rd or 7th in every AM1 toruney I ever played in CO). My mental game was my strong point. Threw my best driver OB an a dumb rip and prey shot in the second round of 4 nine hole rounds and took a 7. Missed another putt or two after that, then got back into it and only missed 2 more putts inside 30' the rest of the day. Even at my best in AM1 I was never that comfortable putting.

It was mentioned above that you should play hole by hole and shoot for the best score you are capable of. This would be bad advice for me. I have a big arm, and often that big arm gets me in trouble trying to pick up strokes on the long holes. I can birdie every hole at most the courses I play (I want some true par 4/5 holes in NOCO) and playing some of them for bird in tourneys gets me more 4s than 2s. Playing for the 3 is usually the best decision on those holes.

I would say play shot by shot, and do not take risks that won't benefit you consistently unless you really only need 1 stroke to make a big lead change. (IE you are in a play off and your competitor played the safe drive for 3 and you are up. and he has a better chance at beating you match play on the next hole. and you are feeling lucky.)
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