Well this quote couldn’t be more true to summarize my BC Amateur tournament. This was my second tournament of the summer and was a bit of a rough one- which of course, means exponential learning!!
After my first tournament of the summer (the city zone 5 tournament) I really thought I had figured some things out and took away some valuable lessons and was looking forward to putting them into action. However, although I learned some valuable lessons for moving forward, I did not adapt and apply them. It was like part of me just expected that I would be able to do them just because I knew I should. This was incredibly naive of me and a bit insulting to the field of mental training to think that I could just magically change my thinking without putting in the work. This is something that I tell athletes I work with all the time; that mental training is like strength training and you have to work continuously at it if you want to improve. It was a tough pill for me to swallow when I realized I did not follow my own advice!
After the first tournament, it became clear to me that when I get into pressure situations my default thinking is to go technical and think about my backswing. This is the same with my putting. My putting I start trying too hard to control and then my dreaded putting yips come in. I worked so hard last year to work through these and had a lot of success and am disappointed to think that I did not need to continue to put in that work. I know I play better when I focus on an external target and feel my tempo (this is also supported in research) but I struggled with giving up that sense of control I feel when I think technically. This was the area I really wanted to work at and improve for the BC Am, but neglected to put in the time to improve it and when it came competition time I was unable to bring myself to making this shift in my thinking. So although I knew what I needed to do and work on, I did not apply it. I had the will to think externally and of targets but I did not do it.
I certainly had envisioned creating and implementing a full mental training plan for this tournament. Indeed, I fell victim to what we call in research as the “intention-behaviour gap” where we intend to do something but fail to follow through (typically used in physical activity research to show the number of people who say they intend to be active but do not follow through on those intentions). There are certainly some strategies that have been shown to help close this gap that I will be sure to use next time I decide to do something. Strategies such as action and coping planning, cues, prioritization and self-regulation strategies. I will talk about these in more detail in a future blog.
So although it was definitely a disappointing tournament, there were still so many great things to take away. The nice thing about competing as I get older is that I have a greater perspective of where golf fits in my life. I was incredibly fortunate to have good ol’ Dad on the bag! He caddied for me the first two days and it reminded me of my former competitive days when we would travel all across BC to play in different golf tournaments. So a big thanks to my Dad for always being such a great supporter of my golf no matter what age I’m competing at! And second, I was also incredibly lucky to be able to compete again with a former teammate from the UVic Vikes – Alyssa!! This girl is both a fantastic golfer and a fantastic person. Such a great reminder for me to appreciate the experience, persevere through everything that happens on the course and to still work with your butt off! Not only is she a hard worker but also a very smart worker and definitely reminded me that if you want to compete and play well – you’ve still got to put in the time and work for it!
Stay tuned for my next blog series where I will be focusing on a mental training plan specific for putting!