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7 Tips For Tournament Prep

Looking to test your skill this summer? Here are 7 tips to get the most out of your game day experience!

Enter The Big Stuff

A lot of times we feel like we need to work up to being ready to play in bigger events, but nothing accelerates the growth and learning process like putting yourself out there amongst the best competitors. Think big, pick your dream event and go for it. You’ll find the rewards will be way greater than playing safe or going small.

Invest In The Process

If you’ve invested in playing an event, to get the most of out the experience you’ve gotta go all the way. Invest in the process of winning and do a thorough investigation of all you might see come tournament time. Find out where the tees will be, play extra shots into the greens and putt to and from a variety of locations you think you’ll see come game day. You’ll spend a few more bucks, but you’ll end up being better prepared and it will totally be worth it.

Get The Inside Scoop

If you’re an amateur or don’t have a regular caddie, find someone local who knows the course to help you. An assistant pro, good player at the club or anyone who knows the ropes, can offer up a ton of stroke saving strategies. Get them out during your practice round and if you hit it off, pay them to be on the bag for the event as well.

Think about how a trainer would talk to a boxer minutes before a big fight.

Plan To Peak

When working with a coach it’s important to plan your training so that you “peak” at the right time. Make big changes in technique well in advance, so when the event arrives your mind is solely focused on scoring.

Trying to play great, while thinking about positions and swing mechanics will likely make it tough to hoist that trophy. Think about how a trainer would talk to a boxer minutes before a big fight. A reminder of strategy, followed by a lot of confidence boosting talk. “You’ve never been tougher. You’ve never been stronger. You’ve never been faster. You’re the champ!” That’s what I’d want to be hearing from my coach before battle. Not a technical breakdown of how to punch. Coach or no coach to pump you up, you should be thinking the same thing!

Find Your Competitive Spirit

If you’re training to compete, you need to act like a competitor. Create exercises that put you into competition mindset where pressure and consequence are a daily part of the training cycle. Putting drills that put a premium on speed as well as exercises like “Worst Ball Workout” and “Short-Game Showdown” are great for getting into a competitive vibe. As your event nears, spend less time on the practice tee and more time playing. You’re going to need to be a gamer out there and the best way to do that is to be highly connected to playing the game!

Play Wu Wei

Wu Wei is a Chinese term which roughly translates as “doing without doing” or “action through non-action.” There’s a story about a group of monks who take a morning walk to a great waterfall at the base of a massive cliff. Upon looking to the top of the waterfall they see an old man preparing to jump. Thinking he’s trying to kill himself, the monks try to communicate with the man to stop, but to no avail. The man leaps from the cliff and plunges into the rough water. The monks quickly begin searching the water but the man appears to have been consumed by the rapids. Just then one of the monks looks 50 yards downstream and sees the man appear swimming peacefully in the calm water where the rapids have dissipated. The monks rush to assist and ask, “Why were you trying to kill yourself?” The man replied, “Kill myself? I’ve been making that jump since I was a child.” “But the water is so rough and dangerous, aren’t you fearful of drowning?” asked the monks. The man shook his head and said, “Well, the first time I almost did. I hit the water and it pulled me under and threw me around so much. I fought as hard as I could against the current, but it was too strong for me. I was terrified and almost drowned that day. I guess I liked the jump so much though, I did it again. This time as the water tossed me around, I didn’t fight it. I relaxed, let go and the most amazing thing happened. The moment I stopped fighting, the current swept me safely into the calm water without any effort at all.” Wu Wei represents the paradoxical approach so common to the Zen way of living. Just like the opposing Chinese symbols of Yin and Yang, Wu Wei reminds us sometimes the best way to get what we want is to let go.

As it relates to golf. Jack Nicklaus said, “I won a lot of tournaments with different swings.” That means regardless of whether or not he had his best stuff, he still knew he had what it took to compete and win. Instead of fighting the swing or contact he had that day, he relaxed and created a strategy around what the ball wanted to do to most effortlessly find its way to the hole.

Follow The Freedom Formula

Here’s the deal. People are at their best when they FEEL their best. Period. If you’re going to play your best golf, you need to consistently be operating from an elevated mood. The great news is YOU control your mood. How? Through the thoughts you choose. The “Freedom Formula” is understanding the connection between thoughts, feelings, actions and results. Positive thoughts elevate our mood leading to greatest access to our “best stuff.” Conversely, negative thinking lowers our mood leading to mostly garbage or at best a lesser version of what we’re capable of. The challenge is to practice kickstarting the formula on each and every shot by thinking of something that makes you feel pumped. It doesn’t even have to be rooted in reality. If it gets you excited, any thought is fair game. Following your shot, learn to suspend judgement of the outcome. The mentally tough athlete understands that judging an outcome in a negative way lowers their mood, which will in turn possibly have a negative affect on their ability to perform on the next shot.

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