It seems like every time I play in a tournament, I do something that is totally out of character. Something so dumb that I look back and can’t believe I actually did what I just did. I’m not sure why this happens, but it does. Here’s a short list:
- Telling my group we were playing the wrong hole so confidently that we almost really did play the wrong hole.
- Taking a disc out of my bag based on color alone, throwing it, and then realizing I threw the completely wrong disc…. out of bounds.
- Picking up my disc from right under the basket and not putting it in the basket to officially finish out the hole.
- Grip locking a 100 foot approach shot 90 degrees to my right to end up 200 feet from the basket.
- Throwing at a basket that was for a completely different hole.
- Hitting the same tree three times consecutively.
- 3 putting from 15 feet.
- 3 putting from 10 feet.
- Missing a 3 foot putt (I’ve done that more than once).
- Throwing my drive directly into the ground 15 feet in front of me.
I could go on like this for quite a while. It’s crazy how I manage to find a way to do things like this so often. And always in tournament play!
Here in the “Just the Tip” feature, we’ve talked about a lot of different tips to help you play better. Unfortunately, there just isn’t a “don’t be a bonehead” tip that I can give. I don’t have some secret technique to help you avoid doing dumb things that really should never happen in the first place.
The trick is to limit the damage done from doing erratic and goofball things. The key is in our reaction to it. We can rarely control the things that happen to us. We can always control our response.
So this week’s tip is to learn to laugh…. at yourself. Laugh loud and laugh long. Be honest with yourself. In the grand scheme of things, what you just did was funny. You might want to get upset. You might want to scream and yell and hit small animals with a fork. You shouldn’t. What you should do is laugh at yourself.
It’s not only good for you, it’s good for your group. Everyone in the group you are playing with holds their breath when you do something unexpectedly bad. Everyone all of a sudden finds a cloud or a leaf or a bug they are super interested in. Everyone is waiting to see what your response is. Everyone expects to see an outburst.
Disappoint them. Laugh at yourself instead. Encourage them to laugh along. I’ve even looked at people and said, “It’s OK to laugh, that sh*t was funny!”. Everyone will have a better time including you. The world loves people who can laugh at themselves.
So remember. You ARE going to do dumb things. Both in disc golf and in life. When they happen you’ll have two choices. Get angry and beat yourself up. Or laugh. I promise you the latter is always the better choice.
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