Wow, Christmas has come and gone. New years is right around the corner. The 2015 GBO will be here before you know it. I’ve had more than a few people look at me funny when I tell them I’m training for a tournament that’s 4 months away. At the rate time is passing lately, that 4 months is going to seem like 4 days.
Last week, I talked about keeping practice fun. This week, I had a valuable lesson driven home in relation to that. While having fun is a priority, I still need to keep my purpose at the forefront of my mind. I didn’t start this whole process just to be out on the course throwing discs more often. That’s a really nice side benefit. I started this Road to the 2015 GBO training plan because I want to kick ass at the GBO. I want to bring a higher level of competition to everyone there.
In order to do that, I need to do something that I’ve talked about before. I need to throw plastic, every day, with a purpose. While the 20 hours a week I’ve cleared in my schedule might seem like a lot, it’s not a lot at all if I don’t actually improve because of it. In fact, if I don’t consistently improve because of my practice, I’m just wasting 20 hours of my life each week.
This week I want to talk a bit about setting your intentions for practice before you ever hit the course or practice field. This is a good week to talk about that for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a foundational principle. Any good practice in any sport starts with a plan. Any good practice starts with a goal for what is to be achieved during that session. This is something that needs to be nailed down early in any training plan. Whether you are training for the GBO, AM Worlds, your next doubles match, or your next putting league, great practice starts with a clear plan as to what you will be practicing. You need to know before you start what, exactly, you are aiming to improve on.
Without that you aren’t practicing. Without a clear plan, you are simply out there huking and hoping. Hoping you will get better in some way. Hoping that a lesson will appear to you out of thin air. Hoping to be struck by an aha moment. Hoping that out of sheer randomness, you’ll mysteriously improve just because you are throwing a disc. I hate to have to say it, but that just doesn’t work. Go to any professional sport’s practice and you will see a well laid out plan and goal for each and every day.
The second reason to talk about this now is that this week I got to experience both ends of the spectrum. This week started off with probably the best practice session I’ve ever had. I made more improvement in my game this Saturday than I have in the last 6 months combined. For specifics on what I did that day, see my Facebook updates here. In the end, though, I went out with a very detailed plan and over the course of about 5 hours I executed that plan with total focus. Because of that, I had several major breakthroughs.
Let’s contrast that with the Wednesday and Thursday this week. I work in retail and I’ve got to say that Christmas time really sucks from a job perspective. 60 hour weeks are just no fun. A month of that all came to a head this week. For the first time in 20 years I was off on Christmas Eve. I also had Christmas off. Not only was I finally done with the long hours and hurried customers, but I was going to get to see my family for the first time in a while.
Now let me be up front. My family comes first and I do not regret how I spent the last two days. I had an awesome holiday and I sincerely hope you did too. I have two little nieces that I love dearly and the memories we made over the last two days I’ll carry with me forever! Because of that, though, I didn’t do my normal practicing. Instead of my normal structured practice, I just “snuck in” a round on each day. I shot over to the course and quickly played 18 on Wednesday and 18 on Thursday.
No extra putts, no extra shots, no field work, just straight rounds. And they were rounds played quickly. I was on a time crunch. Did I enjoy myself? Of course. Did I get any better because of them? Absolutely not. These rounds were the opposite of my play on Saturday. Again, I’m not unhappy about this. It is simply a great example of the difference between throwing plastic with a purpose and just throwing plastic.
[tweetthis]There’s a huge difference between throwing plastic with a purpose & just throwing plastic.[/tweetthis]
There’s 126 days to go on the road to the 2015 GBO. If I can make each of those 126 days even half as productive as last Saturday, I will absolutely destroy the courses in Emporia. It will be scary how much better I’ll be at that time than I am now. Is it realistic to think this will happen? I don’t know. It sure is my goal, though. For that reason, I’ll be making sure that each practice session has a clear intent and purpose. I’ll know what I’m trying to work on before I get out there and I’ll stay focused on those things the entire time.
If you want to see each of those goals and practice sessions in more detail, please follow along on Facebook. If you haven’t already, please also consider subscribing to the blog. I’ll keep you up to day each Friday on my GBO progress. We’ll also get you weekly tips, bits on the philosophy of the game and life, and in depth articles on the mental and physical aspects of playing great disc golf. For those of you that already follow along, thank you! I’ll see you all on the road to the 2015 GBO.