We offer simple rules for actions, such as when the club goes in the bag, the shot is over. The action of replacing the club means you move on. Another rule is take ten steps and move on. In other words, you get ten steps to walk off excitement, anger, disappointment or hype. The goal is to put yourself in your best mindset after those 10 steps. Even if you have to drop from the same place you just hit it, take 5 steps away and 5 back before you pull a club. It's one thing to tell a player to get over it, but much more powerful to give them a system to do it. These juniors loved it. Now, we need to keep encouraging, reminding and applauding these actions when we see them. When that 10th step happens and the body language snaps into place, we need a big thumbs up!
This is how you act after a shot! This will help you isolate mistakes and not string them together. One bad shot doesn't have to affect any more shots that day. We added two more actions to the post-shot routine. The first is, you can always go to your happy place. Plan before the day what you will think of when you need to keep your brain from spinning over something that went wrong. Between shots, relax into thoughts of you on the beach, with your favorite person or petting your sweet dog. Then, the second thing is, as you near your ball, ask yourself, "What's the best I can do from where I am now?" That one question will put you in the present and get you focused on action. We always go back to action as the important feature for mental game. By linking your mental game goals to a physical movement, you get to build habits based on action. If you need to say this out loud to make it effective, go ahead. No one really cares if you talk to yourself once in awhile.
We also worked on pre-shot routines. Much like Lynn and Pia, who are the founders of Vision54, we teach players to have different areas for different tasks. Here is our flow chart for our pre-shot routine.
We spent a great deal of time on routines, because the actions of a routine lead directly to readiness. Your pre-shot routine is the bridge that carries you from your preparation to your performance. Your post-shot routine allows you to create the mindset you want without it being reliant upon results. Both routines allow you to take actions that move you around the course matching your talents to the situations you will face.
One thing that we talked about that I believe is hugely important for a player is the enthusiasm to hit a shot. When you step into your performance circle, you have to be excited for your shot. You have to have a bit of joy in your heart. The performance circle is when you are completely present. It's a place for you to see opportunities instead of threats. But so often, the performance circle is a place where the threats are overwhelming. You step into a shot with dread in your heart. You want to know how it comes out more than you want to hit it. You have fear or nervousness lurking. You are focused more on what you don't want than what you want. Sometimes, hopefulness is the best you can conjure, instead of faith or belief in yourself. All of those thoughts and feelings lead you closer to dread than enthusiasm. Dread, doubt, fear, sadness, anxiety and result thinking have no place in your performance circle. You can create an action that allows you to channel enthusiasm. How about a little smile or a self-talk mantra such as "I got this!" repeated 2 or 3 times? Come up with a performance statement that channels your emotion to enthusiasm no matter what shot you face. Your routine is your time to be ready, so you can do whatever you want to get to a state of enthusiasm for your shot.
Fear sucks the fun out of golf. Our biggest message to our junior golfers is, let's figure out how to perform and have some fun! How can you be loose instead of tight? How can you connect to what you want instead of avoid what you don't want? How can you take your game to the course and do your best when it matters most? The answer is to tap into the enthusiasm of what can be. The ability to focus on opportunities and what you want is the key to being present in the moment and giving your best. Belief in yourself means you know you can handle any challenge you face on the golf course.
It is always special to have our players as teachers in the camp. They are living these processes daily and they relate them honestly and positively to the juniors. Kenzie Wright took the time to explain to the juniors how tension in her shoulders was blocking her from a good finish in her swing. She related to them that she dedicated a moment in her routine to focusing her energy into the middle of her lower back to relax her shoulders. It is important for juniors to realize that their routine is their chance to be completely prepared for their shot and Kenzie's experience allows them to see how another player did just that. She solved a swing issue by addressing her tension for a moment in her routine and that lead to better flow and better ball striking.
|Kenzie with flow to the target at UNM South. Great balance and target focus are keys to great play!|
Brigitte talked about her path to understanding her confidence. Instead of wondering whether or not she is confident enough, she now uses her routines to stay in the moment and have positive self-talk. She quit chasing the elusive quality that doesn't have any action associated with it and replaced it with the actions of solid routines, positive self-talk and strong body language. She told the players that confidence is a by-product of those things, not the overall goal. It's important for junior golfers to understand that confidence isn't the goal, but mastery of their skills and actions is the goal. That gives them the tools to move forward.
|Me and B. She has the best smile in the game and the best time to see it is during her play on the course.|
We have a great team. The players are enthusiastic, love the game and work hard and smart. That came across to the juniors and it is the best message they can receive. Golf is fun!
|Team celebrations are the best and most joyous moments we have!|