I had a girlfriend once that didn’t let me have the TV remote when we watched TV. It wasn’t because I channel surfed. It wasn’t because I wanted to watch things she didn’t. It’s because I’m a tinkerer. Regardless of how good the picture actually was, I would constantly pull up the menu and fiddle with the settings. Always trying to get things just a little bit better. What was the result? Really hard to watch programs because there was always a menu over the screen and an angry girlfriend who eventually hid the remote from me.
For the longest time, I treated my disc golf bag the same way. I was never truly happy with it. I always felt like there were better discs out there than what I had. I always kept buying new molds in hopes that I would find that magic one that would be my savior. You know, the one where every time you pull it out of your bag a choir of angels sing? I wrote a story about that kind of behavior a couple of weeks ago.
I know I’m not alone in this. Go on any FaceBook page, disc golf forum, Twitter feed, Instagram page, or anywhere else on the inter-webs and you’ll see countless people trying to replace discs, add new ones, and otherwise tinker with their bag.
Hey, it’s fun, right? It’s one of the joys of this sport that for under $20, you can get a whole new piece of equipment. Going to a disc golf shop, for me, is like sending a coke addict on a vacation to Bolivia. I went just last week and came home $120 poorer. Did I need 4 more Fuse’s? Not really, but it sure makes field work easier. Did I need more Pure’s? No, but a stack of 15 makes putting practice easier than a stack of 10.
What I spent my money on, though, shows something that has changed and matured in my game over the years. If I had made that trip 5 years ago, I would have spent $250. All $250 would have been on discs that I hadn’t ever thrown, but “felt good in my hand”. I would have bought all the new discs that I didn’t yet have. Then I would have come home and spent 4 hours changing up my bag to include all the new discs.
We all know what came next. Several weeks of the worst golf ever. There are few things more frustrating than playing disc golf with a bag full of discs you know nothing about. How a disc is supposed to fly is rarely how it actually flies for you. Your distances are way off. Wind just destroys you. Nope, nothing good can come of playing with a bag full of all new discs.
That’s why a couple of years ago, I made a conscious decision to stop changing my discs of choice. I was inspired by some of my favorite pro disc golfers. Watch the in the bag videos from some of the all time greats. Barry and Climo and Avery and Doss. Those guys don’t have new stuff in their bags. They have the same thing they’ve carried for years.
Every once in a while, they’ll add a new mold. Climo, for example, carries a Tern. That disc is only a couple of years old. But the rest of his bag has been the same for an eternity. He carries a Sonic nested inside of a Condor! Who still plays with a Condor? I guess the Champ does, that’s who! Don’t believe me? Check out our in the bag pages here.
So, how do you stop changing your bag, but still have the fun of trying new discs? How do you balance the sheer awesomeness of new plastic with the smart playing decision of only playing with discs you know intimately (everyone get their mind out of the gutter, I don’t like my discs that much!)?
One answer, and the one that has really worked for me, is deciding on lockdown periods for your bag. I just entered one. It’s one month until the GBO. Now is not the time to be tinkering. Now is not the time to be messing with the tint and contrast on my TV. Now is not the time to put a disc in my bag that I have no idea what it really does, let alone in the wind.
Now is the time to make a commitment. Now is the time to put my bag on lockdown. The discs that will make up my bag for the GBO have been decided on. They are in my bag. I have backups for all of them. I will not be buying anything new until I’m at the GBO (and I’m terrified at how much money I’ll be tempted to spend there!). Even then, none of it gets thrown or put in the bag until after the tournament is over.
For the next 30 days, my job is to get as many throws in with the discs that I’ve chosen as possible. I cannot afford to dilute that experience with anything new or different. All the needed slots are filled. I’ve thrown these molds for a while. Other than my natural tendency to tinker, there’s no legit reason for me to change anything.
So that’s my challenge to you. Decide on a lockdown period for your bag. Make a solid commitment to stick with just what you’ve picked for a set period of time. Hopefully that period is a month or more. Make sure you pick a reasonable number of molds. Putting your bag on lock down with 45 discs in it really isn’t what we are looking for.
Once you do that, really learn the discs you’ve chosen. Get to know them intimately (again, mind out of the gutter please!). Don’t be tempted by the seductress that is the latest and greatest release from your favorite manufacturer. Don’t get swayed by the merch. table at your next tournament. Don’t get wooed by that shiny new disc your buddy just pulled out and bombed right in front of you. Make a commitment. Lock that bag down. You’ll be amazed at the result.
You will start to throw shots with more accuracy than you ever have before. You’ll dial in your distances. You’ll develop a level of control you never thought possible. Most importantly, you’ll develop confidence. You will be able to step up to any shot and know exactly what disc to throw and exactly how to throw it. There will be no more “throw and hope” shots for you. There will be no more discs that don’t do what you want them to.
Take a lesson from the top pros in our sport. Lock that bag down. Stop fiddling with the remote control of your game. Your game and your wallet will thank you.
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