What mental state should you play in?

Aug 17th, 2011No Comments

I loved watching the final round of the PGA Championship. I was watching how these great players handled the major pressure. I will be honest in that I don’t know a lot about Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner; however they looked like totally different types of golfers on Sunday. What I mean by this is the “state” they played the final round. The commentators mentioned time and again how Dufner seemed to not let anything bother him. As the round went on I thought Dufner was trying to be so unemotional that it affected his intensity level. I understand that if we get too emotional it can hurt performance, yet Dufner was going the other way with this idea. He looked complacent, almost uninterested. This can lead to focus that is not as sharp and energy levels that are too low to be at your best. On the other hand Bradley was so in the moment he allowed himself to celebrate great shots with a fist pump, big smile, and hop in his step. He actually looked like he enjoyed the pressure. I coach golfers to be humans, not robots. Throughout sports history the champions showed a certain intensity and energy. Some showed it in how they reacted, while others you could see it in their eyes. Bradley had that intensity and energy and he allowed himself to experience the moment. Dufner looked as if he was trying to ignore the importance of the event by not caring. Some golfers are told to play like you don’t care and never show emotion because that is bad. I don’t want to coach robots, I want to coach golfers who do care, who do get upset, who do celebrate a great shot, that’s life. I think that what makes life great is to be emotionally in the experience, that what’s makes us feel alive. I know people will tell me that too much emotion can hinder performance. I agree if the emotion is not channeled properly it can become an issue. I sometimes think that trying to not show emotion can be more damaging as one loses the spark that brings the competitive spirit alive when you need it most. Both played great golf for four rounds and Bradley proved yet again that emotion can be an asset to performance. I’m looking forward to following Bradley throughout his career, because it is refreshing to see someone enjoy the game so much

How many junior tournaments to play in?

Aug 17th, 2011No Comments

As we the summer concludes I’m surprised how many junior golfers over extend themselves during the summer. What I mean is that parents and juniors feel compelled to play in every tournament on the schedule. The problem is that the junior has no time to practice and bad habits set in and poor performance follows. The best professional players in the world play maybe three weeks in a row and have time on Tuesday and Wednesday to practice. Juniors bounce from one tournament to another tournament with no down time and no time to practice. The pressure of rankings and competing is overshadowing proper training and long term development. I like to help juniors and parents set up a realistic schedule that includes practice, physical training, mental training, practice rounds for important events, and prioritize the best tournaments to play. In the long run, playing in one tournament a week with scheduled practice time in between is more beneficial than playing 8 tournaments in a 10 day stretch. Juniors get burned out and by the time the summer ends they don’t want to play anymore. Set up a realistic schedule that balances out training and competition. Look at long term improvement over short term results.