The first question you need to ask yourself is how would you like to be defined as a golfer? Everyone is different and brings different strengths and skills to the game. Thinking of these will help you form your definition of yourself. The sooner you define yourself as a golfer, the better you will see and create your future. If you don't define yourself, you run the risk of being defined by others or by your score.
Here are some attributes or characteristics you can use to think about who you are as a player:
- Hard Worker
- Great Putter
- Great Ball Striker
- Great Driver
- Great Wedge Player
- Great Bunker Player
- Houdini Around the Greens
- Loves a Challenge
- Loves the Game
- Great hands
- Feel player
Okay, there are a lot of descriptors listed above and I'm sure I left off plenty of others. My job is to coach, but to be effective, my job is to be observant. I am constantly watching recruits, my players, the pros and other players. What is apparent to me is that the best players know themselves. They understand who they are and they play to their strengths. At the Thunderbird this spring, I watched some truly great junior girl golfers play the game. No two were alike, yet all had greatness. The winner kept the ball in play and made a lot of great putts. She wasn't fancy from tee to green, but once on the green, she was the queen. Another top player was impeccable in her strategy. Every approach was in the right place on the green and all the rolls and humps worked the ball toward the hole instead of away from the hole. A third great player used her power to give herself an advantage. She fearlessly hit driver and got to par 5's in two and hit wedges into par 4's. Yet another player was great around the greens. Her wedges and chipping were phenomenal and she had no fear of missing a green. All have won numerous events and will continue to take turns shining on the national level. They have figured out at a young age how to play to their strengths.
I say that they will continue to shine, but one point of this blog is that players sometimes lose their games. Instead of playing their game, they get in their own way. Perhaps an injury creates a swing fault. Soon the fault leads to bad shots. That in turn leads to doubt. Doubt soon turns into fear. Fear takes away confidence. Low confidence leads to players allowing their scores to define them. That is only one spiral that can take you down the rabbit hole of a slump. There are many more I have witnessed over the years. How about the player who loses her feel for the game? She worked hard from a young age to be a good player and made steady progress for years. Then she hit a wall. What caused the wall? So many things can cause the confidence to go away. It can start with comparisons to others or a change in mechanics. Sometimes it can simply be a change in the level of competition.
When confidence is scarce in a golfer, she will begin to see the course differently. Nothing is straightforward or easy. Mistakes get magnified. Muscles get tight. Goals become focused on what you don't want to happen instead of what you want to happen. In the end, perspective is lost.
|Mr. Rogers had it right. Take his advice to heart for yourself as well as for others.|
This exercise won't prevent you from losing your confidence, but this first step of defining yourself as a golfer is a good way to understand what you need to do to play your best golf without getting in your way.
Our next step will be figuring out how to use your energy on the course to be at your best both mentally and physically.