Posts Tagged ‘mental preparedness’

Junior Golf: 3 Lessons From A Tough Day

In this Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at 3 lessons your junior golfer can learn when he/she has a tough day on the golf course.

Let’s use yesterday’s round from the men’s U.S. Open Championship as a frame of reference. The wind was howling on Long Island and the world’s best male golfers scored one of the highest average rounds in PGA Tour history. There were a few guys barely under par and the rest were over par, some way over par.

These are professionals and they, as a rule, respond to difficult situations more effectively than the rest of us. We’ll see what happens today and over the weekend, but some of our fan favorites may not make the cut.

Here are 3 takeaways:

1. Every golfer has a bad shot, a bad hole, a bad round or a bad day. It’s going to happen, it’s part of life. How your youngster responds is the key. Help him/her to let go of, release, forget about the last shot and focus on hitting a good next shot.

2. Everyone needs a way to deal with frustration and anger. Don’t you think that Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy wanted to explode, cry or something after they combined for 25 strokes over par in Thursday’s round. Each of them must go low today to have any chance of making the cut. Help your son/daughter learn how to manage tough situations at the earliest possible age. It’s never too soon to address this issue.

3. Even in the toughest weather somebody’s going to have a good score. Those four 1-under par 69’s yesterday were superhuman and awesome considering the struggles the rest of the field had. In high school, S3 played in a snowstorm and the round was called after 9 holes. He shot 39, 3-over par, pretty decent considering the conditions, but one guy shot 34, 2-under par. Yep, there’s always that player! Have the proper clothes and equipment for windy and/or wet conditions. Everybody’s playing the same course and conditions. Someone’s going to have a good score. Encourage your child to be that golfer with the good score.

See you on #1 tee ready to handle the weather… Sam

Junior Golf: It’s U.S. Open Week

In this Monday Mulligan we’ll take a look at this very special week we have in front of us.

It’s time for the second men’s major of 2018, The U.S.Open, hosted by Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York. There is plenty of history with this club since it is one of five original founding members of the USGA and has held four previous U.S. Opens including the 2004 U.S. Open won by Retief Goosen.

Mom and Dad it’s what the U.S.Open really is that is important. It’s other name, not really a nickname, is the U.S. National Championship. At some point, every young athlete dreams of being a champion, perhaps even a national champion. Use this week as a time of inspiration, get some dreaming going on.

What does “Open” mean? There are basically 3 types of event categories for entrants: open events, amateur events and invitational events. “Open” means open to anyone who qualifies, both professionals and amateurs. “Amateur” means amateurs only, no professionals. “Invitational” means you must be invited to play in the event and may include either or both professionals and amateurs.

This week there is a star-studded field of all the world’s best golfers ready to prove their skills. And they’ll need them as traditionally this tournament is known for its length and brutal rough. Shinnecock Hills already is regarded as a challenging course and with a U.S.Open type setup we should see some amazing shots.

Photocredit: golfdigest.com

Let’s set up the TiVo. Coverage is on Fox, all times are Central: Thursday 3:30pm-6:30pm. Friday 3:30pm-6:30pm. Saturday 10:00am-6:30pm. Sunday 9:00am-6:00pm. Be sure to record at least 1 hour after Sunday’s end time in case of a new format 2-hole playoff. And all week long the Golf Channel has the very informative Live From the U.S. Open broadcasts starting today.

See you on #1 tee with championship dreams… Sam

Junior Golf: Plan to Win

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we’ll look at the significance of having a strategy, a plan, a game plan for every event.

One of the things that many junior golfers and their parents aren’t aware of is that in addition to the other pre-tournament preparation, their son/daughter needs to have some idea of the best way to play that specific golf course.

Let’s begin with a very basic and simple plan that all youngsters can understand. Every golf shot should be hit at a target so pick a spot where the tee shot should land. On par 4’s and par-5’s this would be a zone safe from water, traps, trees and other hazards, allowing a good look and chance to hit the desired next shot. When hitting to the greens, including par-3’s, simply aiming for the middle of the green is an acceptable choice.

The plan is greatly enhanced by playing a practice round prior to the event. Most courses offer discounted pre-tournament pricing for entrants. Subtleties of the layout are revealed and a practice round will greatly add to your kiddo’s knowledge of the course and improve the game day strategy.

So let’s watch as a game day strategy is executed to perfection. Quoting the greatest Olympic broadcaster of all time, Jim McKay, “He came out of nowhere at the Olympic trials. He got married and some said that would ruin his chances for a medal. He has two bad knees and couldn’t train for weeks. A year ago he wasn’t in the World Rankings at all. He seemed to come from heaven knows where.”

Watch as “the golf cap” obviously knows his game and how to use it to design a winning game plan and then beautifully perform it.

The takeaway here Mom and Dad is that having a game day plan gives your girl/boy a chance to be competitive at the end of the day. And having the patience to stay with the plan after hitting a bad shot or two is essential. Make a plan and stick with it!

See you on #1 tee with a plan… Sam

Junior Golf: Ignore The Naysayers

In this Wednesday Waggle, we’re taking a slightly different look at junior golf. Come along with me and enjoy the ride.

So your son/daughter has been playing well, having a Top 10 finish, a Top 5 finish or maybe a win. The next tournament is the finale, the biggest, the end of the season, the state championship, it’s a very big deal. And the naysayers show up saying things like, “Your boy/girl is not going to do well on that course. The fairways are too narrow, the greens are too fast, he/she doesn’t hit the ball far enough and they’ll never beat so-and-so.”

This was slightly the case as Big Red prepared for his biggest event. Even with convincing wins in his first 2 races, the negative folks were still saying this course was too long, he’d never hold up, his first 2 wins were flukes, he’d never beat his main competitor in this race and so on.

His coach/trainer, Lucien Laurin, and his caddy/jockey, Ron Turcotte, knew their athlete very well. They understood that he loved to run and he loved to run fast, very fast. And they also knew that he wanted to beat all of his competitors. He had to win, no second place for him!

Watch how this athlete handles his last competitive event. Watch the greatest racehorse of all-time, Secretariat, and see how he finishes his career. Watch the greatest athletic performance in history!

FYI Mom and Dad, in each of his Triple Crown races, Secretariat ran each quarter-mile faster than the previous one. He was constantly accelerating! Talk about finishing strong!

The takeaway here parents is to know your athlete, ignore the naysayers, be positive and move forward. The team must be on the same page so that the athlete has the best opportunity for an excellent performance. Finishing strong is a big deal!

See you on #1 tee ready to perform… Sam

Junior Golf: 3 PreSummer Checks For Irons That Fit

In today’s Monday Mulligan we’ll look at 3 aspects of your junior golfer’s irons so you can be sure he/she has the correct equipment for maximum summer golf benefits.

Your youngster is growing, needing bigger shoes, new pants, shirts, tops and bottoms. Remember Mom and Dad, that getting taller, faster and stronger likely means different golf clubs.

Irons and all golf clubs that are mismatched to any golfer are a handicap. Your kiddo’s chance of success is poor if he/she is using improper equipment.

Start by asking for the name of the best club-fitter in your area. It’s best to ask the really good adult golfers, the ones who seriously compete and win in amateur events in your area. They know! Not being judgemental, but if you ask your swing coach, he/she will say they can do it. Now, this may be true or not. Perhaps they are the best swing coach around and are capable of doing a club fitting, but are they the best club-fitter, I don’t know. If you ask a junior or their parents, they may say they use their swing coach.

The swing coach will recommend that your child needs this, that and the other in the next set of irons, which should be soon. The club-fitter makes that happen with their own unique set of skills. And the best club fitter is a very talented and well-respected person!

Here’s what should be evaluated and acted upon now, with the current set of irons, to make the best use of your summer golf investment:

1. Iron shafts: are they the correct length, weight and flex? For example: “x” inches long, 100 grams and regular flex.

2. Iron heads: are they matched to the skill level. For example: lighter or heavier weight, cast or forged construction and best for beginner, intermediate or advanced skill level junior golfers.

3. Iron grips: are they correct for your young golfer’s hand size and “feel” preference? For example: too small/skinny, too big/fat, just right/perfect and do they “feel” hard/slick, rough/coarse or pleasant, meaning slightly tacky/grabby.

There will be more than one club fitter in your town. The reality is that most are ok, but one or two are genuinely talented. Those are the folks you want to find.

A simple equation is that as your child’s skill level advances, they require more highly-skilled professionals, including swing coaches and club-fitters. Find out who the best are so you can go to them when you need them. You will need them!

See you on #1 tee with a proper set of irons… Sam

Junior Golf: Inspiration For The New Year

In this Friday Flop Shot we’re offering you some very special inspiration to help fire up your junior golfer, Dad and Mom and the whole family as we enter a new year.Photo credit dubaigolfThere are reasons some athletes are great. And at times we can’t completely figure out why greatness is in some people but not in others. There are times that greatness shines beyond the boundaries of apparent human ability. Oh, and for those of you who think you’re a decent snow skier, this post may put things in perspective.

Today we’re not talking about a golfer. We’re talking about Franz Klammer. Who? That would be the Franz Klammer who is the greatest men’s downhill ski champion of all time! What does skiing have to do with golf, you ask? As we look at genuine greatness, today it has everything to do with your junior golfer.

Examples of greatness can leave us with our eyes and mouth wide open, shaking our head at what we just saw! Hopefully that’s what you all will feel after watching the attached video.

Frank Gifford, former pro football player and avid skier and Bob Beattie, former U.S. national ski team coach are doing the play-by-play. The setting is thus: a Swiss skier has just set an incredibly fast time in men’s downhill skiing, in the 1976 Winter Olympics. The very fast time seems almost impossible to beat. Klammer is the last skier with any chance, no matter how slim, to take the lead which would mean winning the gold medal. Klammer is Austrian. The Olympics are at legendary Innsbrook, Austria. He’s going for gold in front of his home crowd. Franz Klammer is revered as the greatest athlete in Austrian history! Could any athlete have a more exciting opportunity than this, heck no!

Here’s the link to the video. The first 2 minutes set the scene and the last 2 minutes are the run. I highly suggest watching this on the biggest screen possible with the sound turned all the way up to capture the enthusiasm of the announcers. This is one of the top individual performances in the history of sports.

The Winter Olympics are coming this February. Men’s downhill is one of the first events, usually starting the first Saturday and only running a couple of days. You easily can miss the whole thing. We always record men’s and women’s downhill plus a lot of other events too. Franz Klammer’s 1976 performance is special but that doesn’t mean you won’t see someone else put on a spectacular gold medal performance. If you don’t watch, you’ll never know!Photocredit Sports Illustrated

The lesson here is belief. Believing that you can do it when you need to do it. Hit the fairway, hit the green, make the putt. Ya gotta believe!

See you on #1 tee believing you can put on a great show… Sam.

Junior Golf: The First Step To Success

In this Friday Flop Shot we will look at one of the most important things that you must stress to your young golfer in order to help them achieve junior golf success.

img_0558

Photocredit:Dubai Golf

This idea was always first in our house. Yes, even ahead of playing golf. Without this factor your child is limited in all areas of positive achievement. What on earth are we talking about here?

Let’s call it high standards. What does this look like? Well, many things come into play. A desire to compete, a desire to excel and wanting to get good grades on schoolwork are good examples. With discipline, structure and solid parental guidance these things are all possible.

Parents of kiddos 7 years old and younger may be wondering exactly why this is important. Why can’t your child just go to school and be a kid? Well, he/she certainly can, but things will be much better if you decide to pursue the suggestions we’re offering today.

Everything we’re talking about here translates directly into the world of golf, both practice and play. Without a good mental approach your youngster is at a distinct disadvantage.

Here’s where it gets very serious. No pass/no play is a reality in high school and college golf. Your son/daughter must be scholastically eligible to play in competition, period. There are no exceptions. There are minimum number of classes/hours and a minimum GPA that must be maintained. Start preparing your child for this situation now.

Once a golfer is scholastically ineligible there is a waiting period before they can regain their eligibility. This time varies depending on the structure of grading and grading periods at individual high schools and universities. It might be as short as a week or 2 or it could be 4 or 5 weeks. In every instance, no one is happy about it.

The coach is not pleased. The teammates while supportive, usually, of their ineligible team member, feel let down. Your child should be unhappy with him/herself. The lack of discipline, desire for excellence, respect for the game and respect for their teammates should hopefully be an encouragement to square those shoulders and start producing better grades.

It’s bad enough in high school where the consequences are basically embarrassment, letting down the coach and teammates and missing some tournaments, but it’s really bad in college where your son/daughter is being paid to play golf.

Too much scholastic irresponsibility and your golfer might be kicked off the college team. It happens! So now you and your student have this nightmare and your college out-of-pocket dollars have dramatically increased. Time for a big time pow-wow!

image

S3 was eligible for every event in high school and college. He missed a couple of events due to injury and one due to a poor qualifying round. But his grades were always good! There was actually more scholastic failure among his high school team members, than with his college ones. I feel this is generally due to an increased maturity level among college golfers.

Mom and Dad these are life lessons which are timeless and are helpful in every part of your kiddo’s future. Please consider finding some ways to incorporate some of these suggestions into your son’s/daughter’s everyday routine.

See you on #1 tee looking disciplined… Sam

%d bloggers like this: