I am lucky to have spent time and become friends with a great sports psychologist at the University of Missouri. His name is Coach McGuire. He repeatedly told me during my college years, "Confidence is a choice." It took me years to understand that concept, but I have grown to truly believe it. The problem is that it can be a hard choice to make. Another statement that Coach McGuire says almost as frequently is, "Competence breeds confidence." At the end of the day, confidence is a choice, but advancing one's skill set makes choosing to feel confident easier.
This off-season is all about increasing my competence as a golfer. I feel like I am doing that in a big way. I am proud of the week of work that I just finished. Despite a blast of very chilly weather, I executed a great plan this week and completed a Full Practice Schedue and Full Fitness Routine. I definitely had to be very focused and efficient during some practice sessions and had to endure really cold hands, too, but I stayed on task all week and did great work. Getting all of my drills and work done this week was a big accomplishment, and I can feel my competence growing.
I have two cool stories from the past several days that I would like to share. On Wednesday evening, I was finishing up a great day of practice in some very chilly conditions, and I was ready to call it quits for the day. I realized that I hadn't hit any bunker shots, and decided that despite my nearly numbed-frozen hands, I should hit a few bunker shots before I left. I took five balls into a bunker and picked a short bunker shot. I told myself when I got three in a row inside a combined 12 feet (it was an easy bunker shot), I would be done for the day. I hit the first two shots to about a combined five feet and then holed the third ball. So, with that goal achieved, I turned to a more distant flag and thought I'd hit the other two balls to it. I holed the first one. I don't know that I have ever holed consecutive bunker shots before. Sure made me glad I stayed! Then on Sunday, I needed to complete just one putting drill and a couple minutes of wedge practice to complete a Full Practice Schedule for the week. The weather was rainy and quite cold, so after finishing my remaining practice requirements, I decided to leave the practice facilities and go play nine holes. I had played two full rounds earlier in the week, but something about this nine holes felt special to me. I played the back nine at Holston Hills, which is not a difficult golf course in good weather conditions, and I challenged myself to shoot under par. Given the wet and cold conditions, the course actually played fairly long, and I was extremely happy with pretty much all elements of my game. I made two birdies and one bogey. 35 on the back nine at Holston is nothing to write home about, but in those conditions, it was a good score. More importantly, it was a great baseline for my off-season improvement.
The process is working. My competence is growing. It is already becoming an easier choice to feel confident. I will be playing the best golf of my life by January 1, 2015.
The Web.com Tour published the dates for its first two events of the 2015 season. I officially get to work on resolving my Unfinished Business the last week in January when the Web.com Tour kicks off the season in Panama City, Panama. I'll be ready.
I'm having fun! I love the process of getting better. Thank you for caring and sharing the journey with me. I have more news and ways that I'm getting better to discuss. Keep it here!