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By Lynne Warren of Disc Golf World News Magazine

When you step out of the car for either a friendly game or a tournament round, what kinds of expectations do you have? Without realizing it, you may have your expectations set for unrealistic occurrences. Could it be you believe any of the following must happen?

You will make every single putt. Everyone in your group, whether in your line of sight or not, will hold perfectly still while you putt. There will be total silence when you are driving, even from people who are not in your group. You will have no bogeys. You will play with golfers who are at your high skill level. The tournament will be organized perfectly.

Thinking in such absolute terms is dangerous. You are constantly setting yourself up for disappointment. Every time you play, you will experience anger. Experiencing anger on such a continuous basis is not healthy. At some point, you will become a chronically angry person. It may even make you angry that point you out as a hotheaded golfer who no one would miss if you didn't show up at the course at all. Eventually, golfers who have such skewed expectations may have to give up the game: they simply cannot play without experiencing extreme frustration, utter disappointment, and self-destructive anger.

Angry people do not readily understand that they are the cause of their own fury nor realize that they cause more suffering to others than to themselves. They continue with their own agenda of unrealistic perfection and unfair breaks and fail to heed the words of others.

The angry golfer could learn much from the golfer with a positive outlook (who will also have high expectations). The crucial difference is that the positive golfer does not expect everything to go his way. He is willing to accept responsibility for missing a putt or shanking a drive. He understands that luck is not always in his favor; sometimes bad luck will come his way. He is prepared to utilize all his mental and physical abilities and shoot for a stellar round, but he does not expect a perfect round. He instead will enjoy the challenge of performing to the best of his ability- fully to the best of his ability. He is able to remain within himself and yet be aware of what people and situations happen to be present. he realizes that he can not realistically blame anyone or anything outside of himself.

The positive golfer expects that a certain number of things will go wrong. He also expects to deal with the unexpected by regrouping and coming up with an alternate plan to get right back on track. He expects to balance out the unexpected by calling on his skill, mental focus, and belief in himself- that he can handle whatever comes his way. He knows what he can do; he knows how to do it; he believes that if it does not happen in the first round or on the first hole, there are still opportunities ahead. If he keeps his wits, he will be able to meet the future challenges with an even temperament, thus keeping a clear mind and positive emotions working in his favor.

No matter what you want to have happen on the course, ultimately, you can only get what is reasonably possible from particular experiences. If you routinely experience anger, you will want to reevaluate your expectations. No matter how talented you are, you will not make every putt you throw, luck will not always go your way, and most certainly you will not always win. So, you can reasonably expect that you will miss a putt somewhere along the line, you will be distracted sometime, and you will lose sometime. Face it, and begin to rehearse some different self-talk and some different reactions when something does not go your way.

Your experience says that frequently certain things occur. If your expectations are in line with what happens, you won't be outraged. When you are removed from the situation and in a calm mood, think about each thing that really gets you steamed when you play. Realize: "this is likely to happen". Then make a plan for what you can do the next time you face that situation on the course. Think what you will say to yourself prior to the next round and at the moment during a round when something goes wrong.

Intense anger is not something you learn overnight. Likewise, it takes time to learn how to avert anger. Practice avoiding anger in other situations in your life. Take control of this emotion, and open new doors for success.


Learning To Control Anger