Going, Going, Gone
by Michael Riggs, M.Ed.
Let’s face it, a round, a year, or a career in golf is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. So, it may be time to view your game from a different perspective. Often, players will admit that they are exhausted from the grind of practice, play, travel, schoolwork, and … Considering they don’t take proper time to recover during their rigorous schedule, it is no wonder they find themselves too mentally and physically fatigued to consistently perform at a high level.
With this fact in mind, it is important to consider ways to save energy and develop strategies to reduce the wear and tear of the intensity of our brain and body’s work.
Think of an automobile. At a stoplight, it makes perfect sense to gently idle the car while waiting for the light to turn green. Now, imagine you keep one foot on the brake as the other pushes on the gas pedal causing the engine to go to a very high rpm. As you sit, waiting for the light to turn, your engine is wailing away while the brakes struggle to keep the car from lunging forward. The roar of your engine may sound impressive, but in essence, you are wasting fuel and adding strain to all of the systems of the car. For the first few stoplights this may not have noticeable effects. However, over an extended period of time it becomes clear that there are adverse side effects, most notably, your car is running hot and burning fuel unnecessarily. There is no benefit from maintaining a high rpm while sitting still.
Now then, let’s translate this to golf. Why do players remain in “high rpm mode” when they are between shots, off the course, or engaged in something non-related to golf? At first, there may not be noticeable physical or mental side effects of this mode, but just like the automobile, the player may begin to “burn out” and “run out of gas.” There seems to be a fear that if a player doesn’t eat, sleep, drink, talk, walk, and dream about golf they are going to fall behind the competition. Actually, the opposite is more likely to happen because the player is slowly burning out – allowing the competition to pull ahead.
Let me share a story with you.
Recently, I was talking with Gary, a dad of one of the Jr. golfers, Liz, with whom I work. Gary was telling me how he felt that Liz was “losing her spark for practice” lately. After some discussion with Liz, it became apparent to me that she was in “go mode” nearly all of the time. Liz candidly admitted that she “was all about golf, all of the time.”
While this commitment to the game is admirable, she had been running on empty for some time now, and the first obvious sign was her lackadaisical approach to practice. She hadn’t had any down time, completely away from golf, for nearly a year and a half! It was no wonder she was feeling a bit fried. My immediate suggestion was for her to get some rest and relaxation – yes, go to Disney Land and the beach – to recharge her mind and body. After which, I promised to help her adjust her attitude toward commitment, work, and play so that she isn’t wasting valuable resources in high rpm mode without going anywhere.
Commitment to the game is one thing. Over commitment and burn out is another.
Schedule time to completely relax and get away from golf completely – no watching, reading about, talking about or playing at all.
Caps off to Dani Urman, cancer survivor and player for Cherry Creek HS in suburban Denver, Colorado, on her commitment to making golf a big part of her life again. Way to go, Dani!
In Another’s Words…
Golf is like a love affair. If you don’t take it seriously, it’s no fun; if you do take it seriously, it breaks your heart. — Arthur Daley