September 21, 2017

Enjoy it All! By Rudy Gonzalez, World Junior Golf Advisory Board

Enjoy it All!  By Rudy Gonzalez, World Junior Golf Advisory Board

Learn to enjoy all conditions!

I often listen to golfers describe the conditions they dislike the most. Rain, wind, heat, or cold you name it I’ve discussed it all with my students. I find that most of my students that dislike a specific condition, for instance rain, have performed poorly so they associate rain and wet conditions to poor performance. I have tried many things to overcome these preconceived ideas that they can’t play well in a specific condition. Most recently I took the preparation route. I was lucky enough to walk with a student in rainy conditions in a practice round and our goal was to prepare fully from tee shot strategy to distance control on greens. We felt we knew exactly how the course would play in rainy conditions. We had rain gloves, extra towels, rain gear, umbrella you name it we were PREPARED.

As I watched my laptop screen as they posted the live scoring I was in shock in how different scoring was from practice to the competitive round. It was a huge disconnect. After the round we spoke on the phone and the first comment was “I told you coach, I just don’t play well in the rain. I just don’t like it.” Back to the drawing board.

Well it wasn’t until I had a discussion with a friend (a Sports Psychologist) that I realized preparation was not the missing ingredient. It was the perception of playing the rain. The preconceived mindset. The negative associated with this particular adverse playing condition. It’s not often we are able to practice or play in the rain in South Texas but we were able to do good work on changing our mindset. We learned to enjoy the process of overcoming the poor performances in rain and windy conditions. It almost became a game and a challenge that we looked forward to every opportunity to accept the conditions and overcome. Accept the conditions and choose to think the only way to overcome was choose to think today is our day. I learned that we have the power to choose how to look at the things and by reframing situations and choosing to face challenges in golf head on one day things will work out in our favor. Every day strive to overcome and believe it’s our time.

This experience with my student changed my approach on how I teach kids about playing in tough conditions. If its drizzling or windy or cold, I recommend you create some type of game or challenge that will make them laugh and have a blast. Create skills challenges that tap into their creative side. I understand there are times we need to reschedule or cancel for the safety of our kids but if at all possible show them that golf can be played and fun is possible in these conditions. Getting a little wet, having their hats fly off their heads are things they will remember and as they grow older they are more likely to accept the challenges mother nature presents.

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