Monday, April 15, 2013

SMU Women's Golf Practice Schedule

SMU Women’s Golf
P.S. #9
April 15-20

Monday – Team Workout at 3:30
Tuesday – 9 holes from front tees at DAC Gold.  Most birdies wins the day.  Eagles count 2!  Today, also please accomplish the following: 
1.  30 putt drill.  Put a tee down at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. Go up and back and up.  How many did you make of 30?  Do it until you get at least 25 of 30.  Use your routine.  Don’t start over. 
2.  With a teammate, play an up and down game.  Take 3 clubs + your putter.  Drop the ball, use your routine and pick tough shots.  Play to 10.  You get a point when you get an up and down and your opponent doesn’t.  Routines, putt them all.
3.  Hit the following from the bunker:  5 good shots from a good lie, 2 good shots from an uphill lie, 2 good shots from a downhill lie, 2 good shots with the ball above your feet, 2 good shots with the ball below your feet, 2 good shots from a fried egg lie, 2 good shots buried in an uphill lie and finish with 5 good shots from a good lie.  You are the judge of whether or not it is a good shot.  Vary your targets.  Use your routine.  SFT!
4.  3 Boxes – David will create 3 boxes on the green.  The first will be made with tees 18” away from the hole.  Hit 10 putts at the hole from 10 feet away.  8/10 need to be in the hole or in the box.  When you accomplish this, move to the next box.  The next box will be made with tees 30” away from the hole.  Hit 10 putts from 20 feet away.  8/10 need to be in the hole or in the box.  The 3rd box will be 42” away from the hole.  Hit 10 putts from 30-40 feet.  8/10 need to be in the hole or in the box.  Use your routine. Think high side to have the best chance of staying within the box.

Wednesday – Play day at Lakewood.  Play 18 holes today!  Two contests:  Fewest putts & best Up & Down %.  

Thursday – Team workout at 6:30 AM
Team Day –
1.  Play the Cross Country game on the big green.  Pick the longest putts you can and play match play against a teammate.  Play 18 holes.  Make 5 putts in a row from 5 feet for every 3 putt you make.
2.  Play the Short Putt game on the big green.  Pick the shortest putts you can and play match play against a teammate.  Play 18 holes.  Make 10 of 20 from 10 feet if you 3 putt. 
3.  On the short game area, play 18 holes against a teammate.  Carry all of your wedges and a putter.  Winner chooses shot.  You can hit from any distance with any wedge.  Match play.  Use your routine.  Drop the ball.  Finish out.  If you make more than a 3 on any attempt, you must do either 10 pushups or 20 sit ups.
4.  On the driving range, set up your aiming sticks 3 paces in front of you 1 foot apart aimed at a target.  Go through your routine and hit 2 shots through the sticks with every club in your bag.  Focus on where the ball starts.  If you want to take it further, shape the shots after they fly through the sticks.  You can do this alone or with a partner. 
5.  Driver – Play to 10.  Call the shot.  Where it starts, how it is shaped, where it ends.  Define a fairway on the range.  Match play with the best shot winning. 

Friday – OYO
Do what you need to do to prepare to play this week.

Good quote from the Masters:
Q. Did you have any trouble adjusting to the greens because of the moisture? Many players did; you didn't seem to.
ADAM SCOTT: I was saying that I kind of scared myself earlier today on the putting green, and went out there and left everything short on the front nine, considerably short, most putts. And just had no real feel for it. Obviously I knew they would be slowing up with a bit of moisture on them.
But by the back nine, I said, this is it; this is where you have to be a little bold and just stroke freely, because you're going to have to make putts to win this thing. That's just how you win tournaments.
Fortunately, managed to adjust well enough.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

One Day Practice Schedule

If you read today's practice schedule, you will see that I wasn't pleased with our short games this past weekend.  We looked unprepared to play in high winds and it showed with a lot of bogies and doubles.  That is far different than how we have been playing, so it's back to the basics.  We will count down to the Number 1 before we leave for C-USA Championships.  Today is schedule #10.

Do these in order.  Do not move to the next one until you have accomplished the one you are on.

1.  Make 10 in a row from 5 feet.  Use your routine.
2.  Put 5 tees down around the hole at 10 feet away.  Make 10 of 20 from 10 feet.  Use your routine.  Focus on speed + break = middle of hole.
3.  Put 5 tees down at 15, 20, 25, 30, and 35 feet.  Putt with one ball from each tee and move to new tees after the putt.  Make 10 putts from any position.  Use your routine.  Focus on speed + break = middle of the hole. 
4.  Go to 40-60 feet and get 10 balls to end within 2 feet of the hole.  Use your routine.  Focus on speed + break = middle of the hole. 
5.  Get 10 up and downs from the fringe of a green.  Use only one ball.  Putt them out.  Use your routine for all shots.  Remember, whenever you miss a green, 4 things can happen and 3 of them are good.  You can make an up and down with a great chip.  You can make an up and down with a great putt.  You can chip in.  You could not make an up and down.
6.  Get 10 up and downs from gullys short side using any of the following clubs:  Putter, hybrids, 7 irons and up.  Get the ball rolling.  Putt it out.  Use your routine.  SEE IT prior to hitting it.
7.  Get 10 balls within a wedge length of the hole from 50-100 yards.  You choose your distance. 
8.  Get 10 balls within a wedge length of the hole from a greenside bunker.
9.  Get 10 balls on a green at least 100 yards away from the fairway bunker.
10.  Make 10 balls in a row from 5 feet.  Choose a breaking putt that is challenging.  Use your routine.  Focus on speed + break = middle of the hole.

Let me know if you finish your schedule!  Good luck and focus.  If you aren't focused, step away and take a break.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Player's Responsibility

If you want to be a great golfer, you must have confidence in your ability to play the game.  The confidence must be unconditional and unwavering.  It cannot be based on past results, current ball striking or the golf course you are playing on.  It must come from within.

Just as your confidence isn't based on outer things, it also doesn't need to show up in your scores, your ball striking or your comfort level over a shot.  In other words, you can have a bad shot, a bad day or a missed cut and maintain your confidence if you choose to do so.

Remember my first sentence; "If you want to be a great golfer...."  The world is full of average golfers, but there aren't many winners.  120 players tee it up, but only one comes away with a victory.  What separates these players?  If you stand on the driving range in the morning, you can pick players who have the swing and ball striking to win, yet are they the ones who prevail?   Go to the practice green and watch other players make putts from everywhere before they go to the first tee and you might or might not see those players in the final group.  The difference between great players and the players whose names don't roll off the tongue is confidence.

Look at the past few weeks on the PGA Tour.  Yesterday, Martin Laird won after missing four of eight cuts, including last week at the Shell Houston Open.  Yet, here was his quote after winning:

"I came in here quietly confident, even though my record this year has been poor to say the least," Laird said. "But golf's a funny game; doesn't matter what you did two weeks ago. It turns around pretty quickly."

Martin Laird

The week before, D.A. Points came away with a win at the Shell Houston Open.  He needed a par on the last hole to avoid a playoff.  By the way, he had missed six of eight cuts coming into the week.  Here is what he had to say about that par:

D.A. POINTS: Yeah. You know, again, both super difficult holes, both holes that set-up awful for me because I like to move it left to right and both holes you need to basically hook it off of, and I still hit good shots. I picked the right club off the tee.
You know, I don't like hitting 3-wood, 3-iron into a par 4 ever, but it was the right play and I really hit a nice second shot. The wind was supposed to be a little off the right on 18 today. I'm certainly not going to flag hunt from 231, what I was.
So I was just trying to hit. I hit a nice shot and it just didn't quite fall off like I was expecting, and I had a really tough pitch and I hit it pretty close to how I wanted to. I thought it might roll out a little bit more than that and then the putt, you know, was as good as I could hit.

So, the thing about it, is I never count myself out. I never just chalk it up, like, oh, this year is over with. I've never ever felt like that. I was just grinding, just trying to wait and try to find that one thing that was like, boom, there it is and there I go.
Fortunately, it was this week and I capitalized on it.

D.A. Points

Points had every opportunity to back away from the moment, but instead, he just went forward on the hole with quiet confidence.  The hole didn't set up well for him, but it didn't matter to him.  Instead of allowing that point to take away his confidence, he just did what he trained himself to do.  He had a lot of club into the green, but he did what he could with the shot and didn't allow his expectations to shadow his result.  He said it himself in this quote.  He kept working, he kept believing and he kept searching for an edge.  

As a coach, I've been a bit frustrated with confidence lately.  My team knows that I don't like to hear or use the word frustrated.  To me, the word denotes a helpless feeling and the user is often slipping into being a victim of circumstances.  When it comes to helping others with confidence though, I become a bit frustrated.  My picture of a player might be one of greatness, but if the player's view of herself isn't the same, I am virtually helpless in communicating her greatness to her.  The path to confidence is self belief.  Self belief is the responsibility of the player.

Here are some ways that good players lose their confidence with the real problem in parenthesis.
They rely upon results to decide their worth and then choose the results that reflect their belief.  They can hit ten great shots in a row and miss one to the right or left and use that shot to point out that they aren't good. (Fear of failure)
They argue against their talent or abilities, because to admit to them creates pressure to perform that they aren't ready for or are afraid of facing.  (Fear of success)
They suffer an injury, are forced to take time off and fail to have patience with their own recovery of either the injury or their game.  (Expectations)
They fail to prepare as needed for success and allow that to be an excuse for their performance. (Fear of success)
They play the game to not make mistakes.  (Fear of failure)
They lose their love of the game, because they are wrapped up in results instead of playing the game.  (Fear of failure)
They focus on their shortcomings instead of their strengths.  (Fear of success)
They blame others or find excuses for their shortcomings. (Lack of responsibility)

The "F" Word in relation to your confidence is FEAR!  Delete it from your life and replace it with the "B" Word: Belief!

Over the years, I have seen so many players with great talent fail to realize their dreams.  The dreams fall away slowly as the players fail to confront what is truly needed; self-belief and confidence.  They chase better swings, better putting strokes, new pros, different workouts or new clubs. None of those things hold their answers.  Until they can sit quietly in front of a mirror and see a champion looking back at them, they will not find their answer.  No coaching will lift them unless they allow themselves to feel weightless and worthy of praise.  No swing will be good enough until they accept their swing as a product of their preparation and belief instead of a living, breathing thing that controls them and their game.  No putting stroke will work until the eyes and mind combine to visualize what the hands will produce.  Greatness lies within.

In the meantime, I have seen players who didn't have the best junior careers blossom in college.  I have seen average college players win on tour.  I have seen men and women who wouldn't stand out on the driving range lead the money list.  Why?  Self belief!  Confidence!  Faith in their own abilities!  They understand that they might not shine every week, but the ability to shine is just around the corner.  They work hard to play better golf and understand their strengths will lift them while their weaknesses don't have to define them.  They have patience with themselves and do what they are capable of doing instead of becoming impatient and either giving up or playing like a hero. They have faith that if they continue to work hard, believe in themselves and keep their love of the game that they will achieve their dreams.  

Who are these people?  How about Mark Wilson.  He has won five times on tour and has over 13 million in earnings.  Pretty good for a guy who ranks 174th in driving distance.  Instead of worrying about how short he was off the tee, he figured out ways to win.  Mark was one of a bunch of all stars I accompanied to Japan in the 90's.  His game might have been the least impressive of the 6 guys on the trip, yet he has the biggest earnings.  Why?  He has quiet confidence in his own ability.   

Stacy Lewis

How about Stacy Lewis?  She wasn't the best on her high school team and had back surgery her freshman year of college.  Here is what one of her college coaches, Shauna Estes, had to say about her, "Stacy definitely had a little down time when she would get a little frustrated when she couldn’t lift much weight or do a whole lot. When she got cleared to do some things like chipping and putting, she took full advantage of the year to work on her short game.” 

Stacy did what she could and slowly built her game to become the best in the world.  Her attitude to do what she could in her red shirt year at Arkansas taught her exactly the right lesson for success.  Work hard at your capabilities and add to them as you go.  It isn't about being content with your status, but understanding that sometimes it is enough for the moment and you can slowly add to it to become the best.  Stacy was named to four All America teams while at Arkansas.  She managed this after surgery, bed rest for 2 months, having a steel rod in her back, not lifting weight or swinging a club for a year and not competing for over a year.  

Luckily, Stacy didn't reflect on any of those things to choose whether or not to have confidence or belief in herself.  Instead, she worked her way quietly and confidently to the top.  My list could go on and on.  Zach Johnson was never recruited and walked on to a team at Drake University in Iowa.  However, he is now a Masters Champion.  Ai Miyazato is #9 on the LPGA money list, but 80th in driving distance.  Instead of focusing on her weakness, she figures out how to score despite it. Erik Compton has had two heart transplants, but earned a PGA Tour card this year and has a win in his sights.  His ability to set aside difficulty and fight for what he wants is clear.  

In this case, you have to learn to believe in yourself.  If you don't, no one can help you.  If you do, no one can stop you.

The bottom line of all of this talk about confidence and self belief is, it is the player's responsibility.  If you want to be great, you need to set aside your fears, your weaknesses, your self consciousness, your past results, your laziness, and your doubts and decide to embrace confidence.  No one can do it for you.  This isn't about your parents, your coach, your pro, your caddy or your past.  This is about you and this is about now.  If you want to argue for the reasons you don't have confidence, you will never have it.  If you want to point out what is holding you back, does it compare to Stacy Lewis or Erik Compton?  If you want success, you have to see yourself as the star who achieves it.  With that success will come praise, pressure and spotlight.  You have to be able to see yourself accepting praise graciously, handling pressure with grace and being in the spotlight with humility prior to ever having it.  You have to choose confidence!  

Can you do it?  Can you believe in yourself more than you believe in anyone else?  Can you accept the responsibility of steering your own ship?  Can you be great?


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What's It Like to Play Great?

Yesterday we had a team meeting and we reviewed our beliefs and talked about how important they will be as we go into our last four tournaments of the year.  These tournaments can define us as champions or we could fall short of our goals.  The key will be to remember what has helped us all year and be great at our three touchstones.  The dedication to our touchstones will lead us to success.

Love each other.  We need to remember to be good to each other.  We need to take a breath and not be petty or mean-spirited.  We need to lift each other up.  We need to be there for our teammates.  We need to appreciate the unique qualities that each person brings to the team.  We need to remain a tight unit of eleven people until the last putt falls.

Have a learner's mindset.  We need to continue to be open to possibilities.  We need to strive to improve daily.  We need to play as a child and remember to have fun, have wonder and have appreciation of what we have, what we do and what we love.

Play with freedom.  The last touchstone is the one that we spent the most time talking about.  I asked each player what she thought or felt when she played her best round this year.  Here are some of the answers I received:
Happy, Free, Proud of My Attitude, Peace, Clear, Nothing, Calm, Simple.

There is a lot to learn from these responses.  None of them talked about golf swings or shot making.  They all answered with their state of mind.  When I asked them what the common thread was with their answers, they told me "chill" or calmness. 

Bubba hit the shot he saw and felt.  He trusted himself.

None of their answers were about how focused they were or their level of concentration.  On great days, you don't have to focus or concentrate, it simply happens for you.  By thinking about your focus and saying over and over what you need to do with a shot, you will lose the freedom to swing.  Instead, on great days, you see what you want, you feel it, trust it and let it go.  Simple!  The conversation turned to our "Try Scale".  On a level of 1-10, with 1 being no try and 10 being to try as hard as possible, they said that on their best days, they were at 2-5.  One player even admitted taking her putting down to a 1 and finding success on the greens. 

Our talk then turned to how to proceed into our last four tournaments.  How do you handle it when you really, really, really want something?  Our instinct might be to try harder, focus more, work on mechanics and be more controlled.  Instead of those things, figure out how to take it down a notch, not up.  As you prepare, do it calmly with a goal of finding your best self, not your best swing.  As you prepare and play, allow yourself to let go of results.  Be completely accepting of what you brought to the course on that day and love yourself unconditionally.  Ohhh, this is a tough one, but to be truly in your happy place, you can do it!  If you have a bad swing or a bad shot, don't try harder, don't tighten up, don't focus more and don't become more determined.  Instead, breath deeply, find a calm thought and become friends with SFT* once again. 
Can you picture your favorite place and allow it to put you in the right frame of mind? 

How can you channel yourself into the right state of mind?  It is up to you to figure this out.  Some players keep their minds busy by chatting and engaging their playing partners.  Some are quiet and think of their favorite place or a significant other.  Freddy Couples used to remember his best shot with the club he was about to hit.  Fuzzy Zoeller whistled as he walked down the fairway.  Rosie Jones used to look at the greenness of the grass under her feet to stay in the present.  However you do it, find something that calms you, focuses you in the now and allows you to be open to your next opportunity.

Here is a great Golf Digest article from the best, Dr. Bob Rotella. 

It's that time of year!  April and May are why I absolutely love to coach.  I want to help my players use what we learned throughout the year to shine and be their best.  Can we See It, Feel It, Trust It?  YES!  Can we channel our best golfing self when we need it?  YES!  Can we rely on the touchstones of Love Each Other, Have a Learner's Mindset and Play With Freedom?  YES!

I love this commercial.  It says it all!

Finally, golf is golf.  It is a game to be played.  Whether it is the NCAA Championship or a dew sweeping round with your best friend, it is the same game.  To keep that in mind is the key to loving it and playing it with freedom.  As a coach, that is also what needs to stay in the forefront of my mind.  PLAY!  HAVE FUN!  LOVE THE GAME!


*SFT = See it, Feel it, Trust it.  From Dr. David Cook's writing in Golf's Sacred Journey:  Seven Days in Utopia.


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