Friday, November 30, 2012

The Why!

This is very powerful stuff.

Great leaders THINK, ACT & COMMUNICATE in the same way.

The Golden Circle =

Why doesn't mean winning.  Winning is a result.  Here is my why:

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.  Players don't want to play for SMU because of what we do, but they feel why we do it.  Our beliefs, actions, thoughts and words need to line up.  We need to understand the why so that we can live in sync with our reason for being on the team.

Why do I do what I do?
    I want to lead people to achieve their dreams, be their best self and grow.  In turn, my dreams will be fulfilled.

How do I do it?
    I do it by supporting them in what they do each day.
    I do it by pushing them to stretch themselves mentally, physically and emotionally.
    I do it by helping them form a vision of a successful self.
    I do it by providing excellent technical knowledge and honest and positive coaching.
    I do it by teaching my students that they don’t have to be someone else to be great, but they might need to change how they view themselves and their habits.
    I provide my students with freedom to play, be themselves and be joyful.

What do I do?
    I coach and teach golf.
    I mentor.
    I love.

The players who are at SMU understand.  The players who just joined us this year felt the why and came even though we were ranked #110 in the country.  Players who continue to join us in the future will do so because of the why, not the results.  Our culture is from the inside out.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

On Course Game - Backward Day

This is a tough, but fun game.  It is a good test of your fairway woods and hybrids, as well as your course management skills and short game.

Backward Day

Play your home course from your usual tees.  Think about your usual club into each green and use that club off the tee.  This will give you a long shot into the green. 

Is your 3 wood the best play for the hole?  If you can't quite get there, where will you have the best shot at getting the ball up and down? 

This game will put a lot of stress on your game and is a great one to work on your patience as well as the areas we talked about.

Photo Credit:  Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

One of the best long approach shots I have seen was Brittany Lincicome's on the 18th at the Dinah Shore in 2009.  She used a hybrid on the 210 yard shot to the island green. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On Course Games - The Juggler

Today's game is a great one to use to sharpen your wedge play and your iron play.

The Juggler- How well can you keep three balls in the game? 

Ball #1 - From the tee box as usual.  You can pick a different set of tees each time you play.
Ball #2 - From the 150 yard marker or you can pick a distance with an iron you want to sharpen.
Ball #3 - From the 100 yard marker or you can pick a distance with a wedge you want to sharpen.

Here is how you score your game:
1 point for each green hit.  In an 18 hole round, a perfect score is 54.
2 points for each birdie.  Lots of opportunities!  If you make one per hole, you would have 36 points.
1 point for each par. 
-1 point for each bogey.
-2 for any score over bogey.  Oh Oh!

Make sure you drop the ball instead of placing it. 

You can also keep track of how close you got each shot.  Did the wind or slopes effect your club choice?  Did you go at the hole with your wedge or iron shot or did you play to a position?

Have fun!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Off Season Games - Worst Ball

I love to see players play!  By that I mean that hitting balls is great when you are working on mechanics, but that should only be a small portion of your practice time.  This week, I will post one game daily that you can play on the golf course that will provide you with great practice that is specific to a skill.  Today is Worst Ball.  It is a great game to help you handle adversity and accept your bad shots.  You will also get a great short game practice.

During my early years at Texas A&M, I had the pleasure of coaching a great player by the name of Kristina Edfors.  Kristina was from Sweden and invited me to visit her in the summer.  While I was in Sweden, I stayed at her house, along with another house guest, Fredrick Jacobson.  Kristina's little brother, Johan, who is a member of the European Tour, is one of Fredrick's best friends.  Freddie was fresh off a win in the British Boys and was about to turn pro.  He and Johan played a ton of tennis the week I was there, but we did get out to the course together once.  I asked them both how they practiced and Freddie told me that his favorite practice was to play Worst Ball.

He would play between 2-5 balls on every hole and hole each out.  His score for the hole was the worst score he made of all the balls.  I asked him what was his best and he told me he had recently shot under par while playing 5 balls and counting the worst score.  I was impressed.

Freddie is known for his short game skills (and table tennis).  I would imagine these Worst Ball games had a lot to do with his ability to both handle adversity and get it up and down from EVERYWHERE!

Fredrick Jacobson and Johan Edfors

Start with two balls on a day when the course isn't busy.  Hit both off the tee and play each until it is in the hole.  Of the two scores, write down your worst.  If you play with a friend, you can play match play on your Worst Ball.  Have fun with it!  Let me know how you score. 

You can also play the game as a Worst Ball Scramble.  Hit two balls off the tee.  Pick up the best shot and place it at the site of the worst shot.  Continue this until the ball is in the hole.  This will really test your consistency.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

More Fast Easy Fun

More, fast, easy, fun!  These are the words that Dr. David Walsh used to describe our society's focus now.  We don't hear "No" very often and don't want to accept it when we do.  What does that have to do with golf?  Instead of saying no to emotions, such as anger, fear, and sadness, young players often give in to the emotions they feel on the course.  It might have started when they were younger and allowed a tantrum or a whine or it might just happen on the golf course.  Either way, they need to learn that how they act in any situation is their choice and not a matter of an out of control reaction. 

Adam Scott allows a moment of frustration. 

I don't really like the idea of "controlling" emotions.  Instead, I like the idea of cultivating positive emotions.  Cultivating means to nurture or grow.  How can you play golf and nurture your positive emotions while neglecting your negative emotions?  That is the skill that needs to be developed if you want to play golf in your best state of mind.  It is less about control and more about choice.  It is you being your best self in competition.

Symetra Tour player, Julia Boland allows herself positive emotions on the golf course.

Your first step in cultivating your positive emotions is to figure out what emotions help you and hurt you on the course. According to Dr. Robert Plutchik, your emotions were important to your survival by regulating your ability to reproduce or decide on fight or flight.  Wikipedia  Without a threat to your life, emotions on the course become centered on performance.  Poor performance becomes the threat and emotions create reactions that involve thought patterns and behavior.  In order to stop the reaction, you need your will instead of your emotions.

As happens to me constantly, when I am thinking through a blog post, the world seems to want to help me.  At Mass last Sunday, the priest, Fr. Paul Otting, gave the homily about this very topic.  He talked about emotions vs. will.  While his talk was focused on sin and not golf, it brought a level of simplicity to my thoughts.  Your will is your ability to choose.  It is your determination, your desire, and your purpose.  Fr. Otting spoke of the ability to set emotion aside in the moment to gain something in the long run.  Delayed gratification is a skill that is somewhat ignored these days, but that is the skill that is most needed in learning to tap into your positive emotions on the course.

Watch this video and come back.  Marshmallow Test

What bearing does this video have on a golf game?  Simply, we need to learn to say NO to ourselves when we want to give in to negative emotions and instead use our will to stay in the right state of mind for success.

Plutchik's Wheel

By Machine Elf 1735 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Plutchik believed that there are eight basic emotions:  Anger, Anticipation, Joy, Trust, Fear, Surprise, Sadness, and Disgust.
Your will is your biggest source of strength on the course.  It will overcome any negative emotion you may have if you choose to say no to the emotion and not allow the patterns of behavior and thoughts that accompany the emotion.  Here is an example:

You hit your first shot of the day out of bounds on the left.  How do you act?  Or do you react?
Here is a table of both:

Young players seem to think that emotional reactions are out of their control.  Emotions flood in, thoughts fly and behaviors change.  The tail wags the dog.  Instead, the player needs to understand that emotions, while natural, aren't automatic.  Choosing your emotions is the same as choosing your choice on the menu.  The cheeseburger calls your name.  You can smell it, see it and even taste the juiciness of it before you order it.  However, you can decide to have will power and eat a salad.  If you look around, there are a lot of people saying yes to the cheeseburger.  There are also a lot of competitive golfers who never see their best round.  When you are playing golf, all of your feelings are on the menu and only your will power will keep you strong.  Decide the emotions that help you succeed and order them as much as possible.  Know which emotions are score killers and will yourself not to give in to them.  It's up to you!

What can you do to cultivate your positive emotions on the golf course?  Here are ten things:
1.  Be in the moment
2.  Let go of mistakes
3.  See problems as challenges
4.  Stay active with your mind between shots - self coach positive thoughts
5.  Judge yourself at the end of the day
6.  Remember, you are not your score
7.  Decide or script your actions for the day.
8.  Forgive and forget.  A good practice in life and on the course.
9.  Allow your routine to focus you on your task.
10. Choose the emotions from the top of the wheel and keep them close by you.


Where do you place your awareness?  This is a gigantic question, because there are so many things, thoughts, people and conditions to be awa...