Posts Tagged ‘University of Texas’

Junior Golf:Uniquely American

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we are going to look a the huge sporting events that are place around the world. Depending on the country the sport could be soccer, volleyball, cricket, rugby, ice hockey, water polo or perhaps auto racing. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

Today, however, I’m focusing on America and guess which sport I’m talking about? College football and I’m really referring to the 30 to 40 mega-programs with gigantic stadiums. Certainly there are other schools and the military academies which have great stadium environments, but please allow me to go mega today for reasons I’ll mention.

As a University of Texas grad, there’s nothing for me like being at a home game in DKR Stadium with 102,000 of my Longhorn buddies and getting there early to watch the Longhorn Marching Band entrance. 400 strong the excitement builds as the drum line enters 1st to set a cadence for the others. Then Texas Fight (UT fight song) is played and the crowd erupts and the tone is set for the next several hours. The earth shakes from the band and the crowd, there is truly nothing else like it!

From USC to Wisconsin to Ohio State to Carolina to Alabama to Florida, all over America there are great marching bands getting their fans ready for a big-time football game. Amazing! (photo wikipedia.org)image

A few years ago our good friends Mike and Sherry invited S3 and me to join them at a UT home game vs Baylor. This was S3’s 1st time at an event of this magnitude and Mike and Sherry always wanted to be in their seats for the band entrance which is usually 30-45 minutes before kickoff, after the teams finish warming up. Well, I can tell you it took my son about 10-seconds to get into it as soon as the drum line entered the stadium. It was so cool watching him enjoy this and seeing him sing along to Texas Fight. He was pumped up the whole game as we watched UT beat the Bears.

A friend’s daughter wanted to be a part of the UT Marching Band. She had to pass 4 auditions before she was accepted and she made the traveling squad. Her timing was perfect as she played in the Pasadena New Year’s Day Parade and at the 2006 Rose Bowl when Texas won the National Championship. Let’s give these band kids credit since they rehearse a ton of hours and are really great at what they do. And the bands provide a level of enthusiasm, enjoyment and intensity that nothing ease can.

Now, please gather your kiddos and take 5 minutes and watch this video. Even if you are not a Longhorn fan it may give you an adequate representation of the feelings I’m trying to convey in today’s post.

Why is this important to junior golfers? It exposes them to new feelings, new levels of excitement and perhaps an appreciation of what it means to live in the USA. Hopefully it will inspire some dreams, new dreams, bigger dreams! Excitement is the most easily transferred emotion so let’s get our kiddos excited! Let’s go play!

See you on #1 tee with big dreams… Sam

Junior Golf: Teamwork

In this Friday Flop Shot we will take look at an aspect of all golf, certainly including junior golf that is often downplayed, overlooked or just not given enough attention. We’re talking about teamwork. (photo offcoursegolf.com)timg_0106-1

There are teams everywhere in our lives. From family dynamics, the workplace, relationships and extra-curricular activities, teamwork is in action. Sometimes it’s more obvious as in the team sports like football, soccer and the rest. Individual sports have teams as well, it’s just that those teams are mostly behind the scenes. Golf is the 1 individual sport where an aspect of the team is displayed when the event allows caddies. Caddies, good caddies, are absolutely invaluable to the player. In a tournament, the caddy is the only 1 who can give advice to the player and the best caddies give good advice. The player doesn’t have to heed the recommendation, but at least it was offered.

Jordan Spieth uses the term we more than any other PGA or LPGA player. When asked about the use of the term, Jordan says it refers to him, his caddy and his family and friends who have supported him in so many ways during his whole career from junior golf to today. Jordan does certainly understand that he, the player, is the 1 who must actually swing the club and bear the responsibility that goes with it, good shots or poor shots. (photo pgatour.com)image

Mom and Dad, please recognize that you are a junior golf team with your daughter. There is no way any professional athlete can operate without a team, often much larger than you would expect, supporting them. Your junior golfer is every bit as dependent on you for everything except for taking the shot! It is your help with finding the tournaments, getting her entries in, paying for the events and getting her prepared to play in them and then getting her to and from them. And hopefully being on the course with her as encouraging spectators or her caddy, when allowed.

Please allow me to once again briefly visit my Longhorn Legends On The Couch as they discussed their thoughts during the 2006 Rose Bowl National Championship win over USC. This is just fun for me, pardon my indulgence. Teamwork, teamwork and more teamwork was constantly referred to during the analysis of the game. Michael Huff and Aaron Ross, the 2 defensive players on the Legends Couch mentioned the confidence that the defensive squad had in each other. A player could count on his teammates to be in the correct position on every down. And the mentality of the defense was to swarm to the ball. If you get a chance to see this game, please notice how many white longhorn jerseys are involved in every tackle, they were swarming!

Kasey Studdard, Longhorn Legend offensive lineman, said the USC was running the same couple of blitzes, different defenses, when the Longhorns lined up in a certain formation. Well, the offensive line, who had played together for years and may be the best offensive line in UT history, took about 10 seconds to discuss it and figured out how to defeat it and they did so the rest of the game. Superior example of great teamwork!

Yes, team sport teamwork is similar to, but different from, individual sport teamwork. It is however, everyone being on the same page and fulfilling their duties. Parents, please get on board today with your girl’s junior golf efforts. If she’s willing to put in the effort to practice and play then you need to support her, period. If you are unsure of the best ways to support her contact us at icare4parents@gmail.com

See you on #1 tee with support… Sam

Junior Golf: A Championship Mentality

In today’s Monday Mulligan we will take a look at how champions think and act. It is different from how 2nd place and below approach competition. ( image jennleforge.com)img_0135

As an alum of UT, The University of Texas at Austin, I enjoy following UT sports, especially football. So 1 of the most exhilarating times of my life was watching the 2005 National Championship game against USC, The University of Southern California. I just finished watching a most interesting and insightful show on The Longhorn Network, called Longhorn Legends on the Couch. It featured 6 prominent participants from this game: head football coach Mack Brown, quarterback Vince Young, tight end David Thomas, offensive lineman Kasey Studdard and defensive backs Michael Huff and Aaron Ross.

Let me briefly introduce to these guys. Mack Brown-UT head coach who had a bunch of winning teams, Vince Young-IMHO the most exciting player ever in college football with 837 yards of total offense in 2 consecutive Rose Bowl wins, David Thomas-UT all-time leader in catches for tight ends and a Super Bowl Champion with New Orleans, Kasey Studdard-a great offensive lineman in college and the NFL, Michael Huff and Aaron Ross-both Thorpe Award winners as the best defensive back in college football and Ross also has 2 Super Bowl rings with the New York Giants. High achievers, no doubt!

As I thoroughly listened and enjoyed the nearly 3-hour commentary along with the broadcast of every play in the game, several recurring themes appeared. In no particular order: David Thomas 1st brought up how Mad Dog (UT strength & conditioning coach Jeff Madden) always had them running the stadium, running for the 4th quarter. The result in Thomas’ own words, “We never got tired during a game!” Later it was reinforced more than once, that Vince Young never got tired and rarely broke out in a sweat during a game. He was always faster than everybody else at the end of the game! Please note he was pretty much faster than everyone else during the whole game. FYI being in great shape is as important at the end of a golf game as it is in football! Conditioning counts!

2nd thought: everyone knew it was a National Championship game, but they refused to obsess over that, instead focusing on it’s still just a football game and let’s just play the way we know we can play. We’re good enough to win this game, so let’s go do it! Again, focusing on process rather than outcome. If the process is good, the desired outcome will follow. Same with golf!

Coach Brown mentioned about VY: “Vince, 1 of the best things about your game was your ability to keep your eyes downfield while you were moving around, looking for a receiver or where to run.” This is extremely tough folks and only the most gifted players can pull this off because to look downfield means you also must be aware of what’s coming at you that you can’t see. Scary stuff! In golf the equivalent is looking for the safe zone where you want your next shot to end up, seeing the whole picture then focusing only on the safe zone when you visualize the shot.

Last, for today at least, let’s talk about confidence. Both teams were undefeated and were accustomed to winning. Both were loaded with great athletes. Here’s where great coaching showed up. In the pre-game preparation, the Longhorn coaches knew this would be a tough game and they told the defense that they would have to make a big stop late in the game in order for UT to win. When you initiate that mindset in advance, it prepares the player for a positive result. Texas scored to make it within 5 points, trailing 38-33 with 3:58 on the clock. As UT kicked off, Vince Young was going to each defensive player telling them, “1stop, just 1 stop and we’ll win the game!” You see VY believed he could score on every play from anywhere on the field. He was always calm and unflappable, a very desirable leadership skill.

On a 4th down with 2 yards to go, USC gave the ball to the previously unstoppable LenDale White and yes UT’s defense rose to their expectation of making a big stop and tackled him short of the 1st down. UT got ball on their own 44-yard line with 2:09 to play. You could see it on the coaches, players and fans of USC, they knew they had lost the game. They had not stopped Vince Young to this point and could not stop him now. On a 4th down and 5 from the 9-yard line, VY ran the ball in, untouched, to take a 1-point lead. UT went for a 2-point conversion and made it. Final score UT 41 USC 38. Vince Young scoring the winning touchdown, photo courtesy of thecomeback.com.image

So where is your junior golfer’s mind? Is he calm and unflappable? Well that’s tough at any age. Does he see the safe zone or the unsafe zones? Please help him see only the safe zones. What are his expectations? Does he expect to win? Does he expect to have a few big numbers on his scorecard? Does he have enough golf conditioning to be able to perform well the last few holes of a tournament? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, I hope you will have them soon. Your junior golfer’s expectations may be very different from yours. Getting together on the same page is important.

See you on #1 tee expecting to play well… Sam

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