Today is the opening of the Bush library, and being on campus is crazy. There are so many police / secret service people. In fact, every single living president is on campus today with their families for the opening of the library, so I am glad that they are all here. I am pretty sure I am in the safest place in the world at the moment.
We have to have two ID's on us at all times, and no sudden movements can be made. Pretty intense! But also really cool.
Just another solid reason why SMU is the greatest school in the WORLD.
This past Friday, we had the privilege of listening to Dr. David Cook talk about the mental aspect of golf. It was extremely insightful, and we all really enjoyed what he had to say.
I would like to write this blog entry on what he talked about, and what I took away from listening to him speak:
At the beginning he gave us the question: What would you be thinking in the situation where you're facing the shot of your life? -He told us by the end of the meeting that we will have the answer to this question. This question/answer is the KEY to game day. We need to acquire the ability to manage the interferences that are present on game day. You have to be able to perform in the chaos of knowing that you have a one shot lead going into the last hole. Because what is the greatest predictor of success? Mental Toughness.
Now to conquer Mental Toughness there are 5 choices. 1.) To embrace the pressure. -Pressure is your greatest competitive ally. Therefore, you HAVE to practice it. You have to be in situations where there is pressure, and you cannot be afraid of it. You need to take pressure as a gift. Dr. Cook then proceeded to tell us a story about a 43 year old PGA tour player who stated: "I like to put myself in position where I feel like I am choking my guts out, so I can see how good I can be..."
-If you are able to embrace the pressure and take it as a gift, then when you get into situations where you have a one shot lead going into the last hole of a tournament, you will be able to stay focused, because you have practiced it.
2.) Practice for the emergencies.
-This simply means that when you are playing in a tournament and you get a bad break, land in a divot, or are plugged in the bunker, you need to have practiced those types of shots in order to perform at your best. You need to be able to know your response ahead of time, meaning when you receive one of these breaks, instead of getting mad, be prepared. Dr. Cook said that golf is the worst practiced sport in the history of the world. If you think about this statement, you will realize just how true it actually is. How many of us go to the driving range, drag a golf ball onto a nice lie on the grass, hit, then repeat? Everyone does this. How many times do you ever get a perfect lie like the ones you give yourself out on the driving range, when you are out playing golf? Rare. You need to practice where the ball is a little above or below your feet, or when your ball rolls into a divot in the middle of the fairway. Be creative in your practice and prepare well, it will only benefit you in the long run.
-Therefore you need to develop the *3 Challenge Concept* : This means that in every competitive round of golf that you will ever play, you will be faced with 3 major challenges (might be more, might be less, but 3 is a good number). When you are faced with these three challenges, you need to have these three thoughts inside your head:
I have an opportunity to gain strokes against the field
I need to practice differently than everyone else
Calmly hit shots that you've never been able to hit before
Therefore when you are faced with a 'challenging' shot, you have practiced it, prepared for it, and you need to have the thought process that instead of the thought that 'this will turn into a bogey,' you can have the thought process that you have an opportunity to hit this shot better than anyone in the field, because you have practiced it before and know how to hit it.
3.) Painting a masterpiece.
-You need to paint your masterpiece all the way around a golf course. If you have seen the movie or book then you will know what this means: You need to be your own Picasso. Every shot that you will have in your life starts with a blank canvas. You have to create exactly what you want to happen, then once you hit the shot, you can simply sign your masterpiece Picasso. If you don't choose to paint a masterpiece, then you'll spend the rest of your golf and life in stick figure outcomes. GOLF IS ART.
-How do you create a masterpiece?
Call your shot
Target: What is your aiming point?
Shape: Will you hit a draw / fade / straight?
Trajectory: Will it be low / medium / high?
-Now what if you are standing on the tee box with OB on the left..what is your first automatic thought in your head? Is it, Don't hit it left? What usually happens with that thought process...you hit it left. Your muscles do not understand the word don't. It understands 'hit it left,' therefore it takes control, and you hook it OB. Your body will respond to your most recent thoughts through movement.
-You have to be able to identify these thoughts and realize that they have no power on you, unless you take them in. Therefore REPLACE THEM. You replace them by calling your shot. Muscles respond to pictures, so if you call what you want to do, then you give your muscles an accurate representation of what to do.
-This is an extremely important point. TRUST YOURSELF. When an athlete is free, they perform at their highest level. Game day is about trust and freedom. The words that we speak to ourselves can change our destiny. Scary right? Not at all, not if you trust yourself. All you have to do is flip the switch, believe in yourself, and you'll be amazed at how you perform. Trust is unbelievably powerful.
5.) Perseverance. -I have to keep moving; I cannot give up.
-SEE IT, FEEL IT, TRUST IT. SFT.
See: Calling your shot: Target, shape, trajectory
Feel: What does the shot feel like: Rhythm, balance, patience
Trust: Trust in yourself.
See the picture, your muscles feel the expression, and feel is released by trust. SFT.
Think of it this way: Golf is played in little 15 second clips. If you shoot par, you have to focus 12 min out of the 5 or so hours to commit to your shot and trust yourself. 12 min? That's nothing. What do you do the rest of the time? Enjoy yourself. Enjoy the nature around you. Enjoy the people you are playing with. And most importantly have fun. Golf is fun. It is not meant to be stressed over. Now. The absolute key to victory. The only thing you have 100% control of is what you think.
Therefore you should have a goal every time you go out and play. Goal: I am going to put my mind in position to score on every golf shot.
You also need to remember that par is an irrelevant measure in the game of golf. Golf is a game against the elements and par is not always the accurate measure of success.
Therefore Dr. Cook gave us an idea to help us see how we do with mental toughness and SFT, which we used in qualifying these past couple days. Our objective was to write 2 scores on our scorecard. The first score is what we make on the hole, and the second score is if you SFT on every shot. Meaning, if you make a 5 on a hole, and if you Saw, felt, and trusted your shot on all 5 of your shots, you would write a 5 down. But if you only did it for 4 out of 5 of your shots, then you would write a 4. This is where you need to be completely honest with yourself, because writing these numbers down only helps you and benefits you in the long run.
This was a lot harder than I thought it would be. However it helped us recognize where we were losing our SFT, and it showed us that if we had a bad hole, our SFT started to decrease. I advise you to try it, because it really points out and helps you understand where you lose shots in a round.
Having mental toughness is the absolute key to victory.
That is everything I took away from our meeting with Dr. Cook. Like I said, he was extremely insightful and I learned a lot. If you have not read the book or seen the movie, I highly suggest that you do.
Two great quotes that he had, that I will always keep close because they apply heavily to myself, and I am sure many others are:
"I like golf, because I want to be great at something difficult."
"When you know who you are (your identity) you are fearless."
I am extremely grateful that we had the privilege of meeting, listening, and talking to him. I really think he allowed our team to have a better understanding of mental toughness, and we are only going to benefit from everything that he said. With that said, we are ready for another semester of school and golf.
This week is busy for us, we had a putter fitting on Thursday
and today we have a meeting with Dr. Cook, who wrote the book Seven Days in Utopia! We are all really excited for this meeting, because the book is phenomenal. If you have not read it, I suggest you pick it up today.
School so far is going well! The classes I am taking this semester are the Art of Acting, Meteorology, Intro to Sports Management, PRW, Contemporary Moral Problems, and DISC 1312 - which is English.
Our schedules are busy, and we are ready for a hard-working semester in both school and golf.
I have been home for almost a week now, and man it is different. I am so used to seeing my teammates and coaches everyday, and now I am on my own for a month.
Luckily my friends down here have not gone out of town, so I get to go out and play golf with them everyday!
Anyways, I thought I would start to show you a little bit of Austin during the Christmas time. Every day I am going to post something different that makes Austin....well Austin.
I think I will start off with the Cedar trees on 360.
Loop 360 is a highway that is decked out in trees all along the side of the road. It's a yearly tradition down here in Austin that people decorate them. Yes...people go out and decorate trees on the side of a highway. It's actually quite beautiful, and extremely creative. It shows off our Christmas Spirit!
Also, two trees out there are specially decorated for two of my really good friends down here in Austin: Allison Kuntz - who has signed to play D1 Golf at Winthrop University in South Carolina &
Matthew Perrine - who has verbally committed to play D1 Golf at Auburn University in Alabama!
Congrats to them :)
Off Season is coming to an end. Finals are nearing the corner. And the semester is almost over.
It is crazy that I have almost completed one full semester of college. It has flown by so quickly! Soon I will be cleaning out my dorm room, and heading back to Austin for a month - which I cannot complain, because it will be CHRISTMAS BREAK! I love Christmas! It is my favorite holiday. All the pretty lights, (hopefully) cold days, and christmas shows!
We took our golf pictures a week or so ago! I have to admit, we have a pretty good looking team, as you can see for yourself below
How cute are we <3
These next two weeks are going to be tough. I have a test literally every day this week, so I will be mentally drained. Then we have finals coming up, so it will be non-stop hitting the books for me, and the rest of the team.