Sports Psychology...and Putting...

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Sports Psychology...and Putting...

Postby JHern » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:34 pm

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/28/the-psychology-of-sports-performance/

I've also noticed that, when I'm putting well, the basket seems HUGE! I see chains dangling out of the sky, I can't possibly miss, just tossing my putter into the sunset, hits a sky full of chains. I think this study is really onto something important, but not sure yet how to manipulate it, myself, or turn it around when things are not going well. I hate how I start missing putts in tournaments, I need to get over that (it's all psychology, I'm certain of that fact). In good rounds, you just get into a groove, and you feel it, you get that GRRR! feeling and just execute good putts, good drives, and play smarter all around. That's the difference between 900 and 1000 rated.
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Re: Sports Psychology...and Putting...

Postby Frank Delicious » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:55 pm

For me confidence lets my body relax and my brain turn off. When I'm not putting well or driving well, I spend a lot of time trying to think about my shot or putt, analyzing small things. When I'm playing well, I spend very little time over the shot, giving me no time to second guess.
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Re: Sports Psychology...and Putting...

Postby veganray » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:03 pm

Frank Delicious wrote:For me confidence lets my body relax and my brain turn off. When I'm not putting well or driving well, I spend a lot of time trying to think about my shot or putt, analyzing small things. When I'm playing well, I spend very little time over the shot, giving me no time to second guess.

^^
This

I also find that getting out of a mini-funk (especially in putting) can be accomplished with the same technique. Step up to the lie & throw - no fidgeting, thinking, testing, visualizing, nothing.
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Re: Sports Psychology...and Putting...

Postby JHern » Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:42 pm

veganray wrote:
Frank Delicious wrote:For me confidence lets my body relax and my brain turn off. When I'm not putting well or driving well, I spend a lot of time trying to think about my shot or putt, analyzing small things. When I'm playing well, I spend very little time over the shot, giving me no time to second guess.

^^
This

I also find that getting out of a mini-funk (especially in putting) can be accomplished with the same technique. Step up to the lie & throw - no fidgeting, thinking, testing, visualizing, nothing.


I agree, but what if that doesn't work, either?
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Re: Sports Psychology...and Putting...

Postby Frank Delicious » Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:05 am

Well then you gotta find what works for you.
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Re: Sports Psychology...and Putting...

Postby Itchy » Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:11 pm

I'll be damned.

Been sort of in a funk lately and today all I did was throw the first line I saw with the first disc that came to mind with as little thinking as possible. I finished 18 holes in about a 1/3 the time and took off 6 strokes from 3 weekends ago when I played this course last. Also went 17 for 18 in the circle.

There were two disc golfers taking a break in a gazebo between holes 15 and 16. They watched me drive on 15; it was a pretty good drive at the basket, but nicked a tree and went WAY left behind two rows of trees, I threw a crazy shot around both rows of trees and tapped in a 6' putt. They all clapped for me. Then I threw a pretty good drive on 16 and was 20-ish feet out. Went right up to my lie and just tossed my putter in. One of the guys came over and asked how I putted so calm, like it wasn't any big deal. Said I looked like I just put the disc in the air and expected the disc to put itself in the basket. I thought that was funny because last weekend I played a tournament and made one putt out of 18.

Not sure how I'm going to take this and translate it to league play where I'm forced to slow down... maybe I was just taking pressure off myself by going faster? Not sure why it worked or if it'll work again, but today was the first time in a long time I had fun on the course.
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Re: Sports Psychology...and Putting...

Postby 7ontheline » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:11 pm

Isn't this the theory behind Gateway's Bullseye target. The target is smaller than the standard so that when you actually play on a regulation basket, it looks huge and your confidence increases. In the study compared to the small surrounding dark circles projections the hole seemed bigger, same thing.

I recall Michael Jordan talking about one of his great games saying that he was in "the zone" and the basket looked huge.


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Re: Sports Psychology...and Putting...

Postby JR » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:25 pm

Itchy with such results i'd train more like that and see if the new level stays. If it does you should try to simulate what you did in leagues. Perhaps also think of what it is about your new way that made you score better and try to bring that to your competition. Do you think you lose out so far with wrong discs and wrong lines in league play? Are you trying out fancy stuff instead of the simplest possible idea, line and the highest success rate shot? Or is it the other way around in that you tired out riskier shots and you have the skills for that and you got better results from pushing harder? Both ways may improve scores if your regular routine has holes in it.

The regular league routine may have holes in it so that you may cool down physically and you know that your muscles don't fire as explosively as in quick singles training play. Which influences shot planning, disc selection and lines getting. That in turn introduces an uncertainty factor in the head because you have to estimate where you are at now and if you have deviations from the norm how much there is and to which direction it gets. You may over or under power even when you are colder. Do you exercise or warm up during league rounds to keep you closer to peak efficiency? Disc familiarity makes a world of difference here and these things are a major factor in recommending people to start out with a minimalistic bag building approach.

Age comes to play too. I need almost an hour of warming up time and in competition slow play i cool off quickly. In cold weather cooling off is even faster. Usually local leagues have been timed so that i'm at work or have not recuperated from work so that does not help. Can you time your body taxing activities so that you get to the competitions physically 100 %?

Yeah the Gateway basket does the same as putting to a lamp post or any other thin object while being more portable than a regular basket.
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Re: Sports Psychology...and Putting...

Postby Itchy » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:23 pm

I think my biggest problem is my attitude... I'm fighting myself plus the course. I really think the only difference between today and the past month is today I just didn't care and was literally doing the first thing my body wanted to do rather than think about it and stewing over mistakes.

I've changed one disc in the past year and carry eleven discs total. If I'm playing well, I really only use six of those discs and the other five are for getting me out of trouble (they see a lot of practice use).

Not sure if body conditioning is an issue. You guys are going to cringe at this, but I play one hole and that's my warp up. Just kind of loosen up my shoulder and whip around my rubber arm a little bit and I'm good to go.
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Re: Sports Psychology...and Putting...

Postby JR » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:57 pm

Stewing over mistakes can be good and bad both in practice and competition. It is an attitude thing and learning/shot planning issue. If you kick your bag and yourself it won't help but will make the next throws worse. If you actively try to find out problems and account for them in the next shots by realizing what your body is capable of doing right now it can help in avoiding previous problems. If you're tired and get wrist rolls focusing on stiffening the wrist early and a little harder should reduce rolls until you're so tired that your body is not functioning at all. Then you gotta disc up and power down until the rolls go away. Or lower distance expectations with regular discs powered down.

You will be helped if you know how your discs perform powered down and know which discs can take fatigue induced form flaws. Those are the discs you must resort to when you're off. You need all the safety margin you can get when your body fails. I would think the same is true for the mental game. Using high security discs alone as often as possible will reduce the amount of botched shots so it will prevent the stewing. Why put yourself into situations where you will boil up mentally? Sure a miracle shot may give you a stroke less but it can give you an extra stroke or two on that hole and if your mental game goes down the drain it can cost many more extra strokes for the rest of the round or event. So that should be accounted for in risk reward analysis. I don't think many do that.

Would you say the first thing that came to mind was also the simplest shot? Was it the best shot statistics wise for you? Were you playing relying on your strengths? Or the normal shots you take on the holes relying on tried and true practices? Knowing the answers to these questions is crucial in order to find out what brought the improvements. So that you can try the same exact things again and see if the new level holds. If it does that should be the way you practice. When you practice right and get comfy with the new way of doing things it may carry over to competition play. Especially when you are conscious of what you need to change from previous league play and why and what the risks and rewards are. It is the same in form. The better you know the requirements and what you are actually doing the higher the chance of performing right is because you are using a better form that you've practiced to be permanent.
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Re: Sports Psychology...and Putting...

Postby JHern » Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:20 am

Itchy wrote:I think my biggest problem is my attitude... I'm fighting myself plus the course. I really think the only difference between today and the past month is today I just didn't care and was literally doing the first thing my body wanted to do rather than think about it and stewing over mistakes.


Yeah, sounds like we're in the same boat. My wife proposed I just needed a break, and I'll come back fresh. Which is what I'm doing, since I've been in France the past 3 weeks, with no putting. Just focusing on my work and career for a bit, and maybe everything else will fall into place. I know it is all connected.

------------------

I did have another thought, also psychologically oriented, which is that maybe I don't want my disc to hit/impact something, so I miss the target by somehow subconsciously cringing from the impact aspect of the pole hole target. The implication is that if I instead had to throw the disc through a ring or something like that, where the goal is to not hit anything but still get the putter on a narrow trajectory, then I would putt extremely well. I suppose this theory is easy enough to test.
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Re: Sports Psychology...and Putting...

Postby A buzzz and a beer » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:25 am

The mental game is one of the things that I am working on right now. Recently I have been killing myself mentally on the course. For putting my confindence just isnt there, and I keep getting really frustrated which then effects the end of my round. To deal with this I am currently just working on staying calm and taking my normal amount of time on every shot (rather than rushing cause of being frustrated). The other thing I am doing is just practicing the 20-25ft putts in my back yard. I have been working on a new form since last fall and finally now have made a decision on which form to go with. Now I just need to build my confindence and so I'm just working on the putts that I need to make.
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Re: Sports Psychology...and Putting...

Postby JHern » Sun Apr 01, 2012 1:32 am

A buzzz and a beer wrote:The mental game is one of the things that I am working on right now. Recently I have been killing myself mentally on the course. For putting my confindence just isnt there, and I keep getting really frustrated which then effects the end of my round.


Right, I do the same thing. I go to that place, which is a terrible place to be and takes all the joy out of playing disc golf.

A buzzz and a beer wrote:To deal with this I am currently just working on staying calm and taking my normal amount of time on every shot (rather than rushing cause of being frustrated). The other thing I am doing is just practicing the 20-25ft putts in my back yard.


I often try to practice at the distance where my putting percentage falls off dramatically over a few feet.

My usual practice putting level inside the circle is:
0-12 ft: 100%
12-18 ft: 90%
18-22 ft: 80%
22-26 ft: 40%
26-34 ft: 25%
You can see that my usual falloff is at around 22 ft. So I practice that distance a lot.

My tournament putting level inside the circle is:
0-8 ft: 100%
8-12 ft: 60%
12-18 ft: 40%
18-24 ft: 20%
24-34 ft: 5%
In this case, my falloff begins at around 10 ft. So I thought I would go back to practice putting at 10 ft. I've found that, incredibly, there are times when I can't hit a single putt from 10 ft even during practice, except by sloppy luck! So I stop practicing immediately, and come back later. Then there are times when I hit everything from 10 ft, and consider it a good confidence building exercise, a la Mark Ellis.

I also keep a running statistic on my putting percentages (both on paper and mentally), and of course I can compare what my round score would be like if I could putt in tournaments as well as I putt in practice. I estimate that I would be at least 970-980 rated if my tournament putting were as good as my practice putting, keeping everything else (drives+upshots) the same. Instead I'm at 914, and even shot some rounds under 900 recently, where I was missing 10 ft putts all day.

A buzzz and a beer wrote:I have been working on a new form since last fall...


Yeah, me too, and I often wonder if this is the source of my troubles. I was a very solid putter before I started tweaking things. It probably got me out of my comfort zone. And then when things don't work I tweak them again, and again, and never settle down. This is where I can probably gain a lot of improvement, and as others said, develop my routine and get into the rhythm.
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Re: Sports Psychology...and Putting...

Postby 7ontheline » Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:16 am

I recognize that I'm missing several strokes a round by not putting well. Early this year I tried Mark's putt everyday for a month, two 15 minute sessions a day, and it helped a lot. I try to ask every good putter I play with how they do it; what they focus on at the time they're over a putt but I try not to influence their response by keeping my how question short and simple. Most say practice but I've also hear they don't think about anything or not much like one little key word or link in a chain and the rest is muscle memory. Recording all your shots, distances, percentages, etc (think too much) seems the opposite of their approach.
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Re: Sports Psychology...and Putting...

Postby 7ontheline » Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:17 am

Oops. Damn smart phone.
Last edited by 7ontheline on Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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