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Thread: Preparing for Competition

  1. #16
    Sliding through impact campilobaxter's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the responses guys, keep them coming!
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    Practice under pressure


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    That is certainly one method. Hilarious to watch.
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    Junior Golfer SunnyWalker's Avatar
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    For the Father/son competitions I would introduce him to it gradually. Putting contest, chipping, driving range stuff. Start with whatever he is best at and work from there. Hopefully, he'll win (HINT HINT) some early and won't get discouraged. I would also keep the contests short at the start. On the course, I would start with a one or two hole match. Maybe the last 2 holes of a nine if he is playing well. I might start a short match on the hole he seems to play the best. Anything where he has some advantage and is more likely to succeed.

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    Breathe and Relax
    All the best players still get nervous. High School golf is a great time to work on this stuff. Practice deep breathing before you tee off and throughout the round. You want to play all your rounds calm like a walk in the park. Learn to relax, slow down & quiet the mind and I assure you, he will play better. Don't put any undue pressure on himself. Just play the game he knows he can & let the chips fall as they may, as they say.

    - Don't let one shot bother you. Stay in the present & forget about the last bad shot.
    - Reassure him that you don't expect him to win all the time. Golf is a game & it's meant to be fun. But deep inside, he is going to want to show You that he can play. Whether he tells you that or not.
    - Make sure he doesn't change "his" game. What I mean by that is don't try & keep up with someone that might hit it further than he can, or swings differently. That can get him in trouble as well. I remember trying to do this when I was a freshman ... trying to keep up with the bigger, taller upper classmen on the team. Remember that golf is an individual sport & that he is unique & has his own swing. As long as he has the correct fundamentals, don't let him change something if he thinks it might be "better"

    Some Tips I used during my HS & collegiate days

    1. Always be prepared the day before a match.
    - Whatever you need in the bag ... balls, tees, marker, ball markers, rain gear if needed, gloves, etc.
    - If you aren't playing your home course, get familiar with the course online as much as possible. (I didn't have the luxury of the internet in my day! HA!)

    2. Have 2 warm up routines prior to matches.
    - One for if you have a lot of time to warm up
    - One for a short warm up (you will find this one handy is it will happen more often than not)

    3. Matches are sprints, not marathons
    - No big numbers, you don't have enough time to recover since most HS matches are 9 holes in the afternoons. (at least they were when I was in school ... except for the 18 district matches)
    - Simple mistakes means Bogey is the worst score on any hole
    - Don't take a risk unless the risk will get you a full shot better on the hole
    - Simple system for scoring ... go low on the Par 5's and short Par 4's ... play to the center of the green on long par 4's and par 3's so you make routine pars. Don't go for sucker pins!

    4. Leave the school work and social time for the clubhouse
    - It's very easy to get distracted in matches by what you have to do for homework still or other social stuff... all this clouds your brain from the task at hand and playing your best.
    - Make a to-do list of what you need to do after the round & off the course and keep it somewhere out of your mind.
    - Bottom line .... focus on golf while you are golfing and then focus on the other stuff after.

    5. On the Range
    - Find your swing early & your flight pattern for the day. What I mean is, one day you might have a fade ... so play the fade & don't try to fix it the day of the match. Leave that for the practice range on another day.
    - Build confidence with what swing you have that day.
    - Go to an end of the range to concentrate and isolate yourself from others. Keeps you focused at the task at hand.
    - Practice the opening tee shot. "Play" the hole in your mind on the range. Hit the drive, and only when you have one in play do you move to the next shot & so on. Go thru your entire preshot routine on the range, thru every shot.
    - Work on shots that you will hit during the round. Visualize most of the holes in your head.
    - Work on rhythm, timing, balance, & grip pressure.

    6. Putting Green
    - Dial in your speed from long & short range ... this needs to be automatic
    - Make 30 3-foot putts for drilled consistent practice
    - Practice breaking putts with your full routine to get in the rhythm of actually playing
    - Notice your misses & adjust ... sometimes it's just as simple as not playing enough break on left to right putts

    7. Chipping green
    - Get your feel down by doing multiple chips & pitches from various lies ... basic chips & some hard pitches
    - It all comes down to feel in your hands .... the softer the better

    8. Learn to grind it out
    - The up & downs you make ... pump yourself up by silently congratulating yourself. Never put yourself down for a bad shot. You hit it, it didn't go as you liked, but it's over now & there is nothing you can do about it, so put it in the past.
    - Pay attention and finish every hole to the best of your ability .... stay in the moment

    9. Again .... remember to breathe & relax. I can't stress this enough. Tension kills a golf swing & your mindset.

    10. Finally ... remember that golf is fun! Try and make it fun because you will always play better when you have fun doing it. It shouldn't be a chore.



    I try and live by a lot of these still today but ....

    Hope he makes the team & has a great high school & hopefully, collegiate, career!
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyWalker View Post
    For the Father/son competitions I would introduce him to it gradually. Putting contest, chipping, driving range stuff. Start with whatever he is best at and work from there. Hopefully, he'll win (HINT HINT) some early and won't get discouraged. I would also keep the contests short at the start. On the course, I would start with a one or two hole match. Maybe the last 2 holes of a nine if he is playing well. I might start a short match on the hole he seems to play the best. Anything where he has some advantage and is more likely to succeed.
    These are some top notch suggestions. Start at the range and putting greens, keep the competitions shorter on the course (every two or three holes as you suggested) so he can have more chances to mentally reboot.

    I'm a big believer in the old adage "it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game". Even if he fails, there are great lessons to be learned so he shouldn't be discouraged. Golf is fun, competition is fun, being around friends is fun - everything else is gravy.

  9. #22
    Mini Tour Player smgoldstein's Avatar
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    Everyone has nerves when it comes to competition, the difference is how it affects ones performance. My daughter, when she played softball, would freeze up when she was at bat and never swung the bat. My son, on the other hand, seems to thrive on the competition. Unfortunately, competitive sports is not for everyone. If it doesn't agree with him let him enjoy the social aspect of it. Time, and experience, will tell.

    That being said, being prepared mentally is important. If he is playing a course that he knows I would have him mentally review how he will play each hole-good and bad shots-so when he does play he will be more comfortable for what happens on the course.

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    Club Pro jhtr20's Avatar
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    Breaking up the round into 4 and 5 hole Nassuas might be worth trying. In your first outing he would have lost the first 4 hole game but started fresh again on the 5th tee. You could do match or stroke play but I would suggest using whatever format his matches will be. Your story kind of reminds me of playing with my HS girlfriends father the first time. I started off poorly but he didn't let me off the hook. I didn't beat him but rebounded and made it interesting down the stretch. I learned something that day. And yes I paid him his winnings.
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    Good luck to your son Dan, it should be fun for him trying out.

    I think what you did is fine and you need to have him practice/play in pressure situations so its like an everyday thing for him as others have said


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  12. #25
    Sliding through impact campilobaxter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OITW View Post
    Good luck to your son Dan, it should be fun for him trying out.

    I think what you did is fine and you need to have him practice/play in pressure situations so it’s like an everyday thing for him as others have said


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    Thanks Alex, and thanks to everyone who contriubted to this thread.

    I mentioned in the HS golf thread that he made the team (hard not to, since they need the bodies!). The first thing the coach did was start them in competitive putting and chipping drills. "Everything we practice will have a competition aspect to it" he said. So that's a good start!
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