A huge part of disc golf is knowing what and how to throw. The other part is execution. If you want to work on execution, then you need lots of repetition and practice. That part is easy, what we really need is to work on the mental side. Here are 3 things to think about when you are playing disc golf that can help you win the mental game.
1. Play the hole before you shoot.
Don't just walk up to the hole and try to fling your drive as far as possible. Stop for a moment (even 5 seconds helps) and ask yourself how you are going to play each shot. (Let's pretend you are right handed) If you step up to a right curving fairway and the basket is 390 feet away but you can't throw backhand anhyzers very well and your sidearm consistently hits 320 ft and maxes out at 350 ft, you need to play the hole for 3. You should NOT expect to birdie this hole. Your max distance, perfect shot, once every other month sidearm still leaves you 40 feet short. You've left yourself with a chance for a long putt (assuming you were also accurate). What usually happens though is you try to overpower your disc to get it that extra 20 or 30 feet and sacrifice accuracy.
While, you may occasionally get that long drive to be accurate and then follow up with a long putt, you need not pressure yourself to deuce this hole. PLAY IT FOR 3! Take an accurate 300+ ft drive. Throw your putter the next 80+ ft to leave you a gimme par putt.
You have to be honest about your abilities and limitations and play within them. On longer holes or more technical holes, you need to think SHOT PLACEMENT. Stepping up to the tee, ask yourself: "where do I want each shot to be?" Place your shots mentally, then try to execute accordingly. Don't just slam your disc down the fairway and hope for the best.
2. Lines, angles, disc selection
Think about what line or shape you are going to try to throw as well as the angle of the disc (hyzer, flat, or anhyzer). Here is an example in my own game. Hole 3 at Arcadia Park in Fort Worth, Texas is a 305 foot slight hyzer with woods lining the left side of the fairway, open field to the right. I can throw my Stalker basically straight at it with enough hyzer angle to handle the speed. My max distance with the Z Stalker is just enough to get it to the basket. Or I can choose to throw my Z Force (a much faster and more overstable driver) on a wider line. The better choice is the Force and this is why: the line I'm throwing on is totally clear (the open field to the right). The hyzer angle I'm throwing on with the Force will bring the disc to the ground and not fly past. Because I can throw my Force past the target on a normal shot, I can use more of a hyzer line (but not quite a hyzer spike) to get me to the basket without risking blow-bys. The Stalker is not a bad choice but just not preferrable when I know that I can more easily turn the Stalker over drastically decrease my distance along with the possibility that if I throw it right down the pipe and it finishes left even a little early I'm in the woods praying for a clear out to save a par.
3. Don't grumble...recover!
When your shot doesn't go as planned, don't embarrass your friends and family by yelling, cussing, throwing your bag, or whining like an overgrown baby. Say to yourself: "Time to go to work" or "I can recover" or "I can still save the par" or "I can still make that putt." How many times did you mean to lay your putter up right under the basket but instead you left it 25 ft short. Well, don't start grumbling and complaining about your shot...as if you have already missed the next putt. Speak positivity into your game about how you are going to nail the putt anyway. I don't need no stinkin' drop-in or SOMETHING to keep your attitude lifted. Plus there is nothing worse than that guy who blows a gasket when he doesn't throw a pro level shot on every stroke. RELAX. Get over your mistakes and oopsies and try to make the next shot a good one. Getting ticked off will only make things worse and make you look stupid.
Don't be stupid. See ya on the course,