Posts Tagged ‘pressure’

Junior Golf: U.S. Open Takeaways

In this Monday Mulligan let’s see what we can learn from this most recent U.S. Open.

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Photocredit:jennleforge.com

Here are some takeaways:
Even a tough course can give up a lot of birdies when it is softened by rain and there is little to no wind. This was the case Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
As the course dries out and the wind picks up, everything changes. Now the course can begin to play like the designers and selection committee intended. This was the case yesterday. Erin Hills was tougher than it had been.
There will always be a winner. Sometimes there’s a playoff, but usually 1 player rises to the occasion and handles the tough conditions and serious pressure better than everyone else. Brooks Koepka did this yesterday.
Winners handle pressure better. They perform better under it. When Brooks was asked about the pressure of being in contention for a U.S. Open title, he said he couldn’t imagine being under more pressure than he was at the previous Ryder Cup. They’ll all tell you that the pressure of playing for one’s country and teammates is much greater than playing for yourself! So Brooks had already experienced, in his mind, which is what counts, more pressure than he would feel currently.
Patience on the golf course counts, particularly in tough conditions. One of the announcers mentioned that Rickie Fowler started swinging all out with his irons during yesterday’s round and this was the point where he lost his game just enough to get out of contention. Anyone remember the “swing easy when it’s breezy”?
When it’s going good, don’t change it. Brooks was in the zone, hitting fairways and greens and making putts. This is a winning combination. When all the others near the top of the leaderboard stumbled for a hole or 2, Brooks stayed confident with his game and kept on making good shots.

What does this mean for your son/daughter and their junior golf career? To begin with, the more they play tough courses in tough conditions, the more confident they will become. They will begin to understand that everybody is playing the same course in the same conditions and whoever stays calm and patient will have a chance to win.

They will realize that a winner will always be crowned, no matter the score, as long as it’s the lowest and no matter how good, bad or ugly the golf course is. Hey, a win is a win!

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Photocredit:pgatour.com

He/she will start to realize that there is always pressure. It can come from any and all directions and how your youngster handles that pressure will have a huge impact on their score. Depending on your kiddo’s personality, his/her ability to deal with pressure will manifest itself differently.

There are times that your child will play better than others. Encourage them to relax, stay confident and keep on doing what they’re doing. Enjoy it!

Hope you enjoyed watching Brooks win his 1st major. It was great viewing!

See you on #1 tee with confidence… Sam

Junior Golf: The Best Mindset For Playing In Front Of A Gallery

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will take a peek into your daughter’s mind and offer a great way to deal with the mental pressure of playing in front of people, playing in front of a gallery. (image offcoursegolf.com)img_0106

When S3 was just starting to play golf, there was always 1 more parent who said they couldn’t watch their son play golf because it made him, the son, too nervous. We continued to run into this mindset even with some high school golfers and their parents.

What constitutes a gallery? To a 6 year old junior golfer it might be anybody. Perhaps parents, her own and those of the other players in her group. Friends, relatives or coaches all can make some golfers nervous.

Playing while people are watching is an issue that Linda and I addressed early on with S3. Being kind of the standard Goldfarb family ham, basically being comfortable performing in front of people, S3 never was overly concerned about people watching him play drums, sing or play golf. When the previously mentioned situation about parents watching their kids play was making their kids nervous came up, the 3 of us had a brief discussion.

Our concept that worked wonderfully for S3 and certainly 1 that you can try with your daughter is this: Daughter/Son, be excited that even 1 person has chosen to come out and watch you play golf. If there is more than 1, be it 10 or 100 or 1,000 be even more humbled and thrilled that all these people have taken time out of their very busy lives to come watch you. This is a positive thing! Take a deep breath and inhale all that positive energy. Be grateful and thankful and humbled by these situations. Embrace the moment. Then refocus and begin your normal routine. (image Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open)

Even the pros will tell you they have their moments of just a slight bit of nervousness. Many will admit to having some cases of nerves. Yes, even Jack Nicklaus has fessed up to having some jitters on the #1 tee at tournaments. The bigger the tournament, the bigger the jitters. For most of the professional men and women all they want to do on #1 tee is hit a decent shot and get on with their round.

See you on #1 tee excited that someone has come out to see you play golf… Sam

Junior Golf: Unexpected Stress

In this Friday Flop Shot we will bring up some points about some of the mental aspects of golf that your junior golfer will be dealing with for his whole golf career.image

Stress/pressure is a part of life. It’s everywhere and that includes golf and golf tournaments. There is good stress, “I’m excited about the tournament,” and there’s bad stress, “ I hope I don’t play poorly and disappoint my parents.” Both are normal and both need to be dealt with. This is a good time for me to mention that Linda and I are not sports psychologists and are merely passing along things we have learned from our son’s junior golf and college golf careers. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

As parents we are all pretty much aware that our kids are subject to stress and we are able to expect and anticipate most of the times it will show up. So here’s an example of a type of stress that hit S3 that we had never thought of: we like to play golf together whenever possible, and this means including S3 on our team in scrambles. His golf skills are a big benefit, even when he was playing from the ladies tees he could sometimes drive the green! What we did not realize was that even at a young age S3 felt like he needed to hit a bunch of great shots to carry the team of us old folks and C and D players for all 18 holes. Here’s a pic of S3 and me with some of my college buddies at a scramble in Houston, what fun!image

What did this look like? Well, he was trying so hard, read over-trying, that it took him 9 holes to calm down and contribute to the team. In fairness, his chipping and putting is always good, so it was his drives and approach shots that needed a calmer persona. Finally he would take a breath and get his adrenaline under control. This wanting to carry the team pattern continued until he got to college. Even today, I know in his heart he would like to put the whole team on his back and hit all the great shots himself. The key is controlling the excitement and it’s tough.

This is relevant folks because stress and pressure are always hanging around our youngsters and the more we are aware of it, the more we can give them a thumbs up and a warm smile.

See you on #1 tee looking stress-free… Sam

The Mental Game of Junior Golf: No One is Immune to Pressure!

“the burden of mental or physical distress especially from grief, illness, or adversity”

The pressure is on for parenting junior golfers!

What a great finish to the Greenbriar Classic this past July as Ted Potter, Jr and Troy Kelly, tied after 72-holes, needing 3 playoff holes to decide the winner!  Pressure was taking its toll on many of the half-dozen or so players who had a chance to win going into their final 9 holes. Tour veteran Ken Duke had 2 doubles in a row.  US Open champion Webb Simpson had a string of bogeys.  Even Ted and Troy hit some poor shots during their playoff… pressure never takes a holiday.  Even the pros are not immune to the impact of pressure.

Our junior golfers (JG’s) have endless opportunities to experience pressure:

  • their first tournament,
  • their first tournament in a higher division,
  • the name of the tournament,
  • who is watching,
  • how many are watching,
  • what does today’s score mean for future events,
  • “I am playing terrible…how do I fix it?”,
  • “I am playing great…how do I keep it up?”,
  • “Wow I have never hit this shot before…can I pull it off?”,
  • “This 3-foot putt has my knees knocking!”
  • …and the list goes on and on.

Successfully dealing with pressure is a learned behavior and while some Junior Golfer’s do it better than others…please remember Mom and Dad, no one is immune.  The earlier you and your JG address this issue, the faster their overall game should improve.

English: The British professional golfer Nick ...

Sir Nick Faldo and Ian Baker-Finch were talking about pressure during the closing holes of The Greenbriar Classic.  To paraphrase Sir Nick talking about the pressure mostly on Ted Potter, Jr and Troy Kelly:

You need to be able to recognize that some part of your body or mind is over-revved …too hyped up.  Identify that part and have a brief conversation with it and do something to calm yourself down …take a few deep breaths.

When Sir Nick Faldo and Ian Baker-Finch talk –you certainly want to pay attention.

Your junior golfer is not going to achieve their desired result when their knees are shaking, or their pulse or blood pressure is elevated.  Deep breathing exercises can be helpful:

  • Stand still
  • Take a deep breath and hold it for 5 seconds
  • Let it out slowly
  • Repeat several times
  • Refocus

Parents, we hope this brief introduction to the mental part of your Junior Golfer’s golf game has been helpful.  Please remember that pressure is always there, sometimes more… sometimes less… your Junior Golfer does want to play well for you and of course… they have their competitive spirit… 2 more areas of pressure.

Linda and I are sharing our real-life experiences from the last 10 years with our son Sam III, (S3)’s junior golf career.  We appreciate you joining us on this journey and we hope our successful junior golf experiences will be a foundation for success in your junior golfer.

Now get out there and have some fun! –Sam

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