Junior Golf: More Championship Thoughts

In this Wednesday Waggle let’s spend a little more time of the way champions think. These are valuable lessons from highly successful athletes.img_0102-1

The mental game or the mindset of a player, coach or team is critical to performing at a high level. In fact most elite athletes will tell you that they wish they had started working on their mental game earlier than they consciously did. The consensus is that the physical part of the game is easier to master than the mental part. We can all see this play out in every sport. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)

Early in the UT/USC National Championship Game, UT’s Aaron Ross dropped a punt and USC recovered the ball on the Texas side of the field. To paraphrase UT head coach Mack Brown,
“Aaron was the only 1 mad on our sideline because all the rest of us knew what a great player Aaron was and that he wouldn’t do that again.” Wow, what great confidence by teammates and coaches! Having this level of confidence allows everyone involved to focus on what’s important, as in the next play and winning the game. It keeps everybody as calm as is possible in such circumstances. When your daughter hits a poor shot, how does she react? Please encourage her and help her build her confidence so that when she has an undesirable result on the golf course, she can recover and get back to playing her normal game.

As the halftime break was ending and UT was getting ready to go back out on the field, 1 of the offensive linemen gave a brief and enthusiastic rah rah speech. Then Coach Brown uttered his own final words to the team, and I’ll paraphrase his brief statement, “OK, let’s go win this game!” What a classic speech of confidence in his team! They were leading and had 30 minutes of football left and if they played as good as they were capable of they would be National Champions. The team and coaches knew they were good enough. This was the perfect time to reinforce their level of confidence with a few calm and choice words. If Mack had yelled and screamed at the team or thrown things, it would have appeared as as lack of confidence or panic to the players. (photo from google.com)image

Do you remain calm or do you show signs of stress or panic with your girl? Does your daughter believe that you have confidence in her and her abilities on the golf course? If not, Dad and Mom, it’s time to change your tune! Encourage her during practice with words like, “you can hit that shot, chip it in, make that putt, you know how to do that, you’re good enough and of course, I love you.” Our youngsters are fragile creatures who do not want to disappoint their parents. A smile, a thumbs up and an I love you are what your junior golfer needs more than anything else.

Calm and confidence are 2 traits that can vanish quickly during the heat of competition. A couple of bad holes and all of a sudden your daughter doesn’t even think she can hit her golf ball. Some days she’ll recover and sometimes she may not, but that’s golf and that’s life. It’s not how you react to something, it’s how you respond. There’s a big difference.

Tons of excellent golf books and sports psychology books are for sale all over the web. Or look up some world champions and see how they prepared for competition. I suggest you only look at players who finished 1st at least once at the highest level of competition in their sport. Read some of Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus’s quotes or any of the golf legends, male or female. Their insights are spectacular and immediately useful. Help your daughter build up her confidence and the calm that, hopefully, goes along with it.

See you on #1 tee looking calm and confident… Sam

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