Thursday, April 10, 2014

Motivation and Intention

Last week, I had a nice surprise.  One of the teams playing in our home event told me that they loved my blog.  There is nothing like positive reinforcement for motivation.  That is the first point of today's blog.  Find something positive in what you are doing to carry you to the next shot or the next hole. I once had an argument with another coach that there is no such thing as a good bogey.  I believe there is such a thing and there can be good doubles, too.  If you make a clutch 10 footer for bogey, you just found a reason to celebrate.  You found a positive to focus on as you move forward.  You generated positive energy!  If you knock a ball out of bounds, but make a double, you've in effect made a solid par with your second attempt.  It's your job as a player to create your frame of mind and create your own energy.  Find a way to create positive energy!

The second point of the blog is intention.  If you are playing high school, college or professional golf, you are an expert.  You are better than 90% of the golfers in the world.  Now, take your knowledge, your expertise, your experience and your talent and simplify the game!  When you become an expert, you develop mastery.  Mastery leads to simplification and clarification, not complication.  Yet, I see many players making things complicated on the golf course.  Here is a real-life example of how you can complicate a simple process.

You and a buddy are sitting in your house.  Your buddy says, "Hey, I'm hungry for a Whataburger." You instantly picture a big burger and say, "Yea, that sounds great."  You both know what you want. Then your buddy says, "You fly, I'll buy."  You have a plan.  You know the way.  Off you go to the car.  You start it up, you back out of the driveway and drive to Whataburger, where you order two burgers and two Cokes and return to chow down.  Sounds like a simple thing, doesn't it?

Okay, what if you got a burger the same way you played golf?  Your buddy mentions her desire for a burger.  You immediately wonder if you can eat a burger.  Your mind jumps to questions.  Should I eat a burger?  Is that the right thing?  Then, you hope that you can get that burger.  Then you want the burger more than anything!  You went from desire to wonder, to hope and back to desire.  What if you simply went from desire to intention?  Here we go on our journey. 

You start the car and back out of the driveway, but you do it tentatively.  You've done it a million times, but this time, you are careful and do it more slowly, because this burger is important.  As you think about the drive to Whataburger, you worry a bit about the upcoming lake on the right side of the road and instinctively steer closer to the center line.  Someone honks at you and you steer back into your lane.  You chide yourself that you've driven this route a hundred times and you can do it, but as you do, you grip the steering wheel a bit tighter and slow down a little.   You think, "This is really important.

On your way to Whataburger, you have to pass Chick-fil-a and you wonder if you are making the right decision.  The clear picture you had when your buddy talked about a Whataburger suddenly turns into a chicken sandwich.  Your mind wanders to waffle fries.  Wait, you need to go to Whataburger.  "C'mon," you say to yourself, "it's Whataburger you want.  FOCUS!"  You think, "This is really important and I'm screwing it up."

There it is, right in front of you, Whataburger!  But it's noon and it's busy.  The lot is full of people coming and going.  Due to fear of hitting someone, you get near the Whataburger, but not quite there.  It is going to take an extra minute to walk there, but at least you didn't hit anything in the lot.  You think, "It's okay to be careful, because this is really important."

As you walk in, you can smell the burgers and your desire for one hits you hard.  You want it so bad that you lose your mind momentarily and walk to the front of the line, passing three people.  They yell at you and you drop your head as you line up behind them.  You remember that you need to be patient and respectful as you wait your turn.  You think, "It's okay that I forgot my place, because this is really important."

Finally, you are at the counter.  You have overcome fear, worry, doubt and distraction and you can order your burger, pay for it and drive home to eat with your buddy!  You are in possession of the important burger!  Your goal has been achieved, at least until dinner time!

This is a silly example of how you can have mastery over a situation, yet still complicate it and make it seem too important.  That is what so many of us do on the golf course.  We forget our way; we forget to play a game; we become distracted; we become self-conscious of our actions; we worry and fret; we become cautious and fearful; we accept less to avoid conflict; we sometimes act badly; and we take a circuitous route to a straightforward goal.  You are an expert golfer.  You know what you are doing.  You are enough!  You have greatness in you.  You know how to act.  Keep it simple.  Focus on your desire.

The next time you play golf, follow these simple steps:

1.  Have a desire!  You need to desire to play your best golf whenever you tee it up.  You need to picture what that looks like to you and attach yourself to that image.  Don't allow fear to get in the way of your desire.  Don't allow doubt to cloud your desire.  Don't allow worry to distract you from your desire.  Fall in love with your desire to play your best golf.
2.  Have a plan!  Know the way around the course that fits your game.  Choose your targets based on your plan.  If you encounter a road block or a detour, adjust your plan, don't abandon it.  Focus on where you want to go instead of where you don't want to go.  Don't force your way around, but use the most logical path.
3.  Keep your desire and plan in mind and balanced at all times.  If your desire overwhelms the plan, you will lose patience and forget to manage your game.  If your plan becomes more important than your desire, you will simply go through the motions and the game will lose its fun.
4.  Remember that you are an expert and hold yourself to a high standard of behavior.  People at the top of their field lead themselves well.  Keep it simple, act like a champion, stay calm, rely on your strengths, and continually balance your plan and your desire to play your best golf.


  1. Wow Jeanne! Love it! Thanks! Nancy Cole

  2. Hey Jeanne have a question on this article, when you mean to have the desire to play your best whenever you tee it up, how does that attitude come in to play with practice rounds and playing with your buddies?

    1. I just had this conversation with a team member yesterday. We talked about playing golf this summer with nothing on the line or in other words, practice. What we talked about was using practice time on the course to form good habits. When we played Karsten Creek last week, we played the practice round as a scoring round. We didn't actually keep score, but we played only one ball and played it from wherever it went. Karsten Creek is a great, but tough course and I wanted the team to understand that it would be tough to score from the wrong positions on the course. They punched out when in trouble, they dropped in drop zones when in the water and they putted everything out. They told me after that it helped them get ready.

      Whether you know it or not, you are always forming habits. What do you want your habits to be?


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