Mind Games: What To Think When Overthinking

By Chris Istace, Mangy Coyote Media for Ace Runners

Want to get better with every shot you take? Take two and a half minutes to learn how to “Clear the mechanism” and find your flow.

Clear the Mechanism

Back when Kevin Costner was young enough to play a professional athlete, he starred in a movie called “For the Love of the Game.” The 1999 flick has an amazing mind-hack for use every time you play disc golf, particularly when things aren’t going your way on the course.

Costner portrays Billy Chapel, a veteran baseball pitcher closing out his career. As he plays through one of his final games, he reflects on his loves, his life, and his career. Ultimately, he pitches a perfect game and, obviously, gets the girl (spoiler alert).

But it’s his pitch-by-pitch habit that we’re going to focus on here; a simple motto that - in the movie - closed out the world around him and focused every one of his brain cells to the task at hand.

As Chapel put his foot on the mound and leaned in for the pitch call from his catcher, Chapel would say the words, “Clear the mechanism.”

Everything around him blurred. The crowd went silent. It was just him, the catcher’s mitt and the physical motion of throwing the ball, letting his body do its thing. In essence, his flow and focus came from not thinking at all.

All of us playing disc golf are guilty of thinking too much, particularly when we are supposed to be absolutely centred on the actions we’ve trained our body to do; throwing the disc correctly.

Instead, this may be rolling in our minds as we begin our X-step:

“Don’t throw nose up.”

“You need to hyzer this.”

“Don’t be short.”

“Give it a little extra.”

“You must throw light.”

“You must throw hard.”

“I should have thrown the other disc.”

The potential line-up of rotating thoughts becomes an inexhaustible tornado of concerns.

Instead, “Clear the mechanism.” Plan your throw, then wipe your mind clean with a short statement to yourself as you make your shot wherever you are on the hole. Do it in practice. Do it in game visualization. Do it every time you are about to make a disc fly.

But you don’t have to “Clear the mechanism.” Your focus cue can be anything that pulls you away from your thoughts and puts you in the moment.

“Pink Grape Bananas.”

“Shut it down.”

“Grandma’s candy cupboard.”

It can be almost anything to snuff your thoughts for a few seconds as you throw the disc as purely as possible.

You already know your throw is inherently established in your muscle memory. You have practiced and honed your skills with hours and hours of play. The final step to purity is getting your stinkin’ thinkin’ out of the way.

The final step to curing over thinking is finding a way not to think at all.

This article was written by Mangy Coyote Media, a multi-media venture covering disc golf, its culture and community in Canada. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and at mangycoyotemedia.blogspot.com. Mangy Coyote seeks submissions from creators wanting to write about disc golf in Canada. DM them on FB or IG for more information.

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