76 Days to Go.
Human beings are creatures of habit. The things that we’ve always done tend to be the things that we continue to do. We eat the same meals, usually at the same times. We get up the same time each day and lay our heads on our pillows at the same time each night. We hang out at the same places, with the same people, doing the same stuff on a regular basis. We are human beings and we are creatures of habit. How we approach disc golf is no different.
We all have bad disc golf habits. Some of us don’t follow through. Others don’t practice putting. Some don’t stretch out before rounds. Some have weird quirks that have worked their way into their throws over time. This could be a really long list.
We could also make an equally long list of good disc golf habits. Some have a solid preshot routine. Others visualize every shot. Some of us have a regular practice regimen. You get the idea.
In the end, what is evident is that most of what we do in life, and most of what we do in disc golf, is the result of habit. It’s just what we do automatically. It’s the pattern we fall into when we move through our days. Habit is the autopilot of our lives. Where do these habits come from? In general, they come from two places.
One is laziness. Many of our habits, if we are being honest with ourselves, come from just doing what is easiest without thinking about it. These are our unintentional habits. The ones that we’ve built without even realizing it. These are typically our bad habits. We all have a bunch of these.
The other place habits come from is a place of intentionality. When you live your life intentionally, you tend to build habits that are actually positive and good for you. When you take the time to determine exactly how you want to act and move through life both on and off the disc golf course, you will typically make a very strong effort to make sure you do it positively and effectively. This is usually where our good habits come from.
At this point, I’ve been preparing for the 2015 GBO for two months. That’s 60 days of dedicated, intentional preparation. That’s long enough to have built some new, positive habits. It’s also long enough for me to somewhat regret how I’ve approached the sport that I love over the last 11 years.
The last 60 days has really shown me that almost all of my disc golf habits have been developed accidentally. Unfortunately, most of my disc golf habits are not good ones. For example, my 10 year fight with putting is finally coming to an end. All it took was 60 days of dedicated, intentional putting practice every day to overcome the previous 4,000 days of frustration and embarrassment.
I’ve had more disc golf related anguish in my life related to poor putting than all of my other disc golf struggles combined. I’m sure many of you can relate. How have I hopefully fixed this problem? By building some new disc golf habits. By intentionally approaching putting and not allowing it to continue to be a constantly changing, never practiced, luck driven process.
It used to be that on any given day I’d be trying a new grip, new stance, new putter, new style, or a million other new things in an effort to improve my putting. When each one didn’t work in a week or less, on to the next. No thought was put into each of these changes. No true effort. No time practicing. Just jumping from one thing to another to another hoping to find the golden ticket. Little did I know that the golden ticket was in front of me all along.
That ticket turned out to be developing good putting habits. Find a good grip and stick with it. Find a solid athletic stance and use it every time. Follow through on every putt. PRACTICE EVERY DAY. There’s just no way around that last one. I just heard Sarah Hokum describe putting as a glass of water with a hole in the bottom. If you don’t take time to put more water in the glass every day, it will be empty very quickly. Wise words, Sarah, wise words.
I can’t believe it’s taken me over 10 years to finally commit to doing what it really takes to get better at this sport. I often sit and wish I’d found this sport before I was in my early 30’s. I realize now that I’ve compounded that issue by not really taking it seriously for the first 10+ years I’ve played it. How much better could I be if I’d just taken the time to develop some positive disc golf habits early in my time in the sport? How much better could we all be if we’d taken things a little more seriously?
As the GBO approaches, I’m realizing just how important this habit thing is. When I’m in Emporia on the first day of the tournament, and the two minute warning sounds, it will be time to execute. The pressure will be on and the nerves will set in. When that happens, we fall back into whatever our habits are. We do what comes automatically. The autopilot light on our life’s dashboard lights up and habit takes over.
I’ve realized that the key to winning, or at least the key to performing to my fullest potential, is to build as many positive habits as I can between now and then. How many things can be set on auto pilot between now and then? If it can be done with putting, I’m half way home. What else can it be done with? With 10 weeks left, what other good disc golf habits can be instilled?
And what about you, dear reader? What are your disc golf habits? Are they good or are they bad? Which ones have just kind of happened over time and which have you intentionally developed? What good habit would help your game the most? These are the questions you should be asking as you seek to improve. What parts of your game can you put on autopilot? You are human. You are a creature of habit. What will you do to make sure they are good ones?
You know something else you could put on autopilot? This blog! Yep, just enter your email below and every week I’ll make sure you get all the disc golf goodness that is the Mind Body Disc blog.