Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Deserving?

We are underway.  We just returned from our first event at Puerto Rico, where we finished tied for ninth.  We prepared well for the tournament and worked hard over break to improve our games.  However, I would guess that we fell into one of the oldest traps in the game, the idea of "deserving" a score.  We knew as a team that we had worked hard on our putting and chipping.  We were striking the ball well.  We have had great guidance from Dr. Cook on our mental game approach.  There was nothing lacking except our ability to compete.



Players often believe that their hard work in golf will pay off in lower scores and that is often the case.  It isn't always the case though.  A feeling of worthiness in golf often gets in the way of a competitive mindset.  Take the case of hitting a great drive down the center of the fairway that comes to rest in a divot.  You didn't deserve that break!  You chunk the next shot short of the green, fail to get it up and down and stand at +1 after a hole when you didn't do anything wrong.  If that is how you view the events that took place, you are in the wrong mindset for competition.  You're not deserving of anything in golf, no matter how hard you work, how well you prepare or how ready you are to play.  You still have to step on the tee and execute.  Your score will be helped by all of your preparation, but your preparation will mean nothing if you don't set it aside.

Watching my team compete this week in Puerto Rico, I was reminded of this fact.  We were ready, yet we couldn't quite let it flow.  It was like watching a great soccer team lose a match, even though they took far more shots on goal and looked better on the pitch.  At the end of the day, the scoreboard tells you how you did and no matter how you protest or point to reasons you "should" have been the better competitor, you didn't score.  There needs to be an understanding going forward of the need to fight hard for each shot.  Great players stand in the trees and say, "How do I get out of here?" instead of "How did I get in here?"  We need a bit more of the first and a bit less of the second attitude to truly tap into our greatness instead of merely flirting with it occasionally. 

The opposite of feeling you "deserve" to play well is playing when you aren't at 100%.  You dig deep on those days and do what you can to compete.  Your mind is busy with coping and not worried about whether or not you are worthy.

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