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I watched Paula take the risk many have taken before her.  A drivable par 4 tempts the young star to throw caution to the proverbial wind and go for it.  Like many before her, the hole reaches out and bites back painfully.

What moved me about Paula's experience was her quiet yet passionate response.  "I kind of stood on the green there and just tried to get all my emotions out," said 22-year-old Creamer, who with eight career wins on the LPGA Tour is considered the best player yet to win a major.

"I was standing there, looking at the hole and thinking, how did you just hit it seven times on this hole? "If I hit a good bunker shot there, then maybe we wouldn't be sitting here talking about it. But unfortunately I hit a horrible bunker shot and if I could do it all over again I would probably lay it up.

"I'm not sure what happened there. Just kind of felt like one shot after another seven times. After that, it was difficult to bounce back."  (Thanks to: [Link Removed])

Do you think?

As I watched her go through that experience, three strokes down in the US OPEN, if she was going to contend, this was the time for a gamble.  Paula has the shots.  She has proved it again and again. I love her fiery spirit and I can see incredible growth in her ability to handle the crushing disappointments golf inevitably throws at you....no matter what level you are on.

How can we be so hard on ourselves in the first place?  Somehow, in our heart of hearts, we stand on the first tee and we think, "Today, I will master the game.  Today I will keep my focus and play the best golf of my life.  Putts will fall.  Drives will find short grass.  I will master the game."

Are we conscious of this slightly ambitions mindset?  Of course not, we are hiding in our Clark Kent clothes telling our friends we haven't played in forever and God knows how you will play today, etc.  Never the less, almost all of us have entirely inappropriate expectations.

What is the cure?  Easy. All you need to do is address the inherent disappointment that golf is guaranteed to deliver....by its very nature.  A lot of factors have to go just right for you to experience the flow of great performance that comes from self belief.  Reading the right distance, picking the right club, adjusting for wind and terrain to say nothing of the myriad of babble-chatter that is going on inside your head.  The odds are not in our favor.

When you compound the huge desire to master the dog gone game, we set ourselves up over and over for "crushing disappointment"....the exact words countless clients use when describing their golf failures.  That is why Paula Creamer offers an incredible lesson for all of us.  When you watch her play watch how she expresses her frustration clearly, and yet she succeeds in pulling her focus back time and time again.

After a potentially paralyzing triple bogie in that round, she went on to shoot a two under par 69 on Sunday to finish in a tie for 6th.  I admire her tenacity.  Yes, she has a fiery temperment but she is learning to handle the jolts and meltdowns that go along with it.  I admire that even more.

Way to go Paula!  What can we learn from watching her?  Here are three steps to dealing with the occasional yet inevitable jolts and meltdowns on the golf course.

1.  Admit that you are going to have some embarrassing shots before you play each round. Telling yourself the truth about this unspoken and unpleasant reality in golf will empower you and give you confidence.  Holding the belief, even if it is flying under the radar, that someday you will play the mistake free round is exhausting and a waste of time.  Decide today that you are going to simply be more reasonable about this facet of our great game.

2. Make a plan for how you are going to handle above mentioned occasions. I am a big believer in doing something physical to help you get over your frustration.  When you hit a particularly ugly and humiliating shot, you are being showered on the inside with a chemical cocktail including adrenalin and cortisol.  These hormones are on auto-release in your body.  In a very real way you have an inner eruption, like a volcano, that destroys everything in its path.  Knowing that, you can PLAN FOR A MELT DOWN. I like to say, "I know I am going to have an embarrassing shot or two today."  Then, when one happens, I acknowledge it.  "Yep, there it was!"

3.  Do something constructive to get through the moment. Try collaborating with your body instead of clobbering your body with  abusive thoughts and language.  Grab your towel and twist it as you walk to your next shot.  Take a golf ball in your hand and squeeze it with all your might.  Acknowledge what is real: "Even though I blew it again, and I am really angry and frustrated, I know I won't quit this bleepity-bleep game so I might as well lighten up."

Remember that it is PRACTICE that takes your golf game to higher and higher levels and that it is PRACTICE that is going to take your inner game to the place where it can support your new golf game. I know you believe you can play better.  I believe it too.  Make a plan and persist in following through.  You will bring yourself to unbelievable achievements. Just ask Paula.


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