Junior Golf: Planning Ahead-Attitude

image In this Friday Flop Shot, we will look at your son’s attitude and how it affects his play in a tournament. Professional golfers have an approach to all aspects of their game, especially tournament play, that becomes a regular, repeatable routine which helps them with their attitudes too.

Ah yes, our son’s attitude, the attitude of our son, it doesn’t sound so complicated, does it, really? Until you become a parent, a child’s attitude is just a phrase you hear once in a while. As a loving, caring parent a child’s attitude can be a wonderful fun thing or a stressful, difficult and very trying time. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

Every successful athlete has a positive mental outlook and attitude. This is displayed differently in each sport. Golf is a sport where adrenaline and attitude must be managed. Sure, when a pro golfer hits a bad shot he is unhappy and some show their displeasure more strongly than others. Matt Kuchar says, “Oh Mattie”, when he hits a bad shot. Jordan Spieth says “Oh Jordan” or “No Jordan”.

The key here is that most people need to vent after a poor shot. And they need to get beyond the bad shot as quickly as possible. When caddying for S3, Nelson Blanchard, our good friend and excellent golfer, will say, “Sammie, you have until you walk by that tree over there to get over that shot and start focusing on hitting a good next shot.” Well, that tree is very close at hand, maybe 10 yards down the fairway, so S3 is allowed to vent in a quick and timely manner and reset his mind to a positive state for the next shot.

So how does a parent help the son to prepare to have a proper attitude in competition? Please remember that attitude is 1 part of the huge arena called “mental game”. Millions of words have been written on this and we are giving you some tips/cliff notes to get things started.

 You must have a conversation the week before the event. Better yet go to the range or play a few holes and make every effort to keep things on a positive note. (Matt Kuchar photo Jacksonville.com)

Attitude prep during your conversation should include: helping your son realize that he will be doing something he enjoys, he will have fun. He belongs with the other entrants and he will appreciate the tournament environment. He is going to hit a bad shot and the key is to have a very short memory and focus on hitting a good next shot. Everybody him the tournament is going to hit a bad shot. It’s how you hit the next shot that counts.

Basically, Dad and Mom, you are encouragers for your son. Lift him up. Help him believe he can recover from a bad shot. Frankly, sometimes it is tough. There will be times when your son hits a great drive, just misses the green with his approach shot, chunks a chip and 3-putts for a double bogey. All that after hitting a great drive. This is hard on adults and can be really hard on kids. All the discussions before a tournament don’t guarantee anything. They do however, plant seeds in your son’s mind that will grow fruit now and then.

Have 1 5-minute discussion several days before the event and on subsequent days give him a thumbs up and say the word, Positive or Positive Mental Attitude or just PMA. You may have 50 opportunities before he tees off. Repetition, it works!

See you on #1 tee, positively… Sam

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