Tournament Focus and Mental Game
Apr 25, 2009 // All Blogs, Pro Tips //


Stafford Lake DGC – Novato, CA

The key to a strong mental game is to realize what you need to do in order to score well on the course. It’s best to not let the mind stray from what you set out to do at the start of the round, play consistent and as mistake-free as possible. You don’t want to ever lose focus when the situation shifts to less then ideal. The best way to develop a strong mental game is to not let errant shots and missed opportunities affect your next shot or your round. The strongest mental games are also attributed to the players that are the most patient and confident in their abilities on the course.

With that, there are many different pieces that add up to a complete mental game. For example, I prepare for tournament rounds by strategizing how I am going to play every hole by mentally walking through the course shot for shot. I try to think about where I what to ideally place every tee shot and every approach through an entire round. This has proven to really help me when the tournament starts and I feel that I that I know what I need to do in order to win. Once the tournament starts, I find that there are two different things I have to deal with mentally; my throwing and the people I am playing with.

When I am getting prepared to throw, my concentration is on different things depending on the type of throw that I am preparing for. I really try to focus on going through the basics of the technique, being patient and not trying to force anything that might cause an errant shot. During putting I try to concentrate on shifting my weight from back to front while extending my arm and reaching for the basket. During approach shots I concentrate on the speed of the disc coming into the basket, the angle of release and keeping the disc within 20 feet of the basket on all upshots. During driving I try to concentrate on hitting the right of angle of release whether it is on a hyzer, straight or anhyzer line and gauging the power needed to throw an accurate drive.

Always keep in mind that every hole is it’s own individual challenge as it is much easier to focus on one hole at a time, and realize that you need the throw the shots required to score on that hole only, one shot at a time. If you try to think and visualize all of the shots necessary to get you through an entire round of all 18 holes, it’s simply too overwhelming and that may effect how you play those holes if you try to think of all of them at once. Plus you must not let your score on one hole effect how you play the next hole, I know that it’s easier said than done, but understand that each hole is a next opportunity to better your overall score. Throw one shot at a time, play one hole at a time.

As for dealing with players in my group, it used to really shake me up early in my Disc Golf career when a player in my group was difficult to play with. I have learned to keep my distance from them and really focus on what I need to do on the course in order to score well. I have sometimes even used their negative emotions to increase my intensity during the round. I think the best thing to do is to really concentrate on the task at hand and play your game to the best of your ability in all situations.

Another thing that I keep out of my head is how other players are performing. I am never concerned with other player’s scores unless it is coming down to the final holes when I am battling it out for a win. I don’t think that concerning myself with others scores does anything positive for me during a tournament because in reality I know that I can only score so well on every hole on the course. It can only take my focus away from what I need to do in order to score well and play my best in a tournament. If someone plays better then your best that weekend, they deserve to win.

So remember, keep your mind on the basics and what is in your control. Letting other things or other people into your mind just distracts you from maintaining your mental game. I have always loved to play at any time, but I know that I play my best disc golf when I have that tournament feel and can maintain my intensity and focus.

4 Comments on "Tournament Focus and Mental Game"

  1. Rob N says:

    Great comments. I way too often see people getting upset because of what other people do on the course. So they made a long putt, or got lucky and slide through some tree’s, who cares. I agree totally that you should only worry about what you are in control of; your own game!

  2. Matt Roller says:

    I like your site. The tips have been great. This year I have made the effort to stretch BEFORE I get to the course. Is there a stretching routine that you prefer that would benefit a dg round?

  3. Great tips Mr. Jenkins. I was just wondering what the heck you threw in the distance finals in 2008 thats on youtube? Destroyer or what? I have been trying those 360 spins on drives and it aint looking so good lol.

  4. Josh says:

    Congratulations on being World Champion!!! I was cheering you on listening to crappy PDGA radio 🙂 Next year I’ll just have to come in person. Congrats to your sister too… Team Jenkins rocks!