Last week was a great time in Orlando at the latest Alumni Build your Game Camp. The alumni camp feels like a family reunion. It was great to see everyone.
This year, as in most years, we added some new instruction to the curriculum introducing the alumni to the K-Vest system to capture some biomechanical data on their positions, swing motion, and efficiencies.
Alumnus student Tom Stout said, “I come back every year and keep learning new things. It’s a great experience. I can’t wait to come back next year”.
Tom and the others learned quite a bit about their golf swings but we also included Paul Monahan, a performance coach, to the instruction experience. Paul is an expert in the mental performance space. He has been working with GGA for a number of years helping the GGA instructors improve their performance as players and instructors, GGA owner Tim Graves decided to make Paul a part of the instruction curriculum.
Each morning Paul introduced a performance concept to the group. The subjects included:
- Performance Energy and Awareness
- Adopting a Mastery Mindset
- A Better Way to Compete
During one of the sessions, we were discussing the concept of mindset during the round. I asked Paul a simple question, “If you could describe the ideal mindset on the golf course, what would it be?”. He responded….
I immediately thought of question students often ask me, “What was it like playing golf with Moe?”. “Play” exactly describes how he played golf. He didn’t stress or grind over shots. He seemed casual. As a matter of fact, I can’t remember him ever reading a putt. On one occasion, after pulling a 5 iron into a tree next to the green, Moe made the sound of the ball breaking through the branches, “Craaaaash”.
Moe would often say that golf is a “walk in the park”. He seemed to play without expectations. He called it “An alert attitude of indifference “.
I also thought about my own experiences playing golf. Known as Moe’s protege, I often found myself getting caught up in the idea of being perfect. I was afraid to hit bad shots, wondering if I could live up to Moe’s expectations. I lacked indifference. Paul helped me realize that the expectations were actually my own.
Learning about my own performance energy and accepting good shots and bad shots made all of the difference to me.
Now, when I think of playing golf I think of how free it feels. I feel free to hit shots (good and bad) and create and have fun. Paul said “Just think of how kids play. They are joyful and have fun. They use a creative energy – not a negative and expecting energy.”.
I found other students’ reactions to Paul’s information interesting as well. At first, some of the students were skeptical. One student said “When you introduced Paul to the class I thought, oh boy, here we go, a mental coach. After spending a few days with Paul I thought it was one of the best things you have done in the camp over the years.”
As a teacher, I observe the students. One of the things I have noticed after teaching thousands of golfers is that we often get so caught up in the mechanics of the instruction that we forget that it’s all about re-creating ourselves into a “new” version of ourselves.
Learning is a creative process. If we aren’t changing, we aren’t learning.
Change comes from stepping out of our comfort zones and into a new and unfamiliar territory. For most of us, feeling our emotions is uncomfortable. I asked Paul about this
“When we step out of our comfortable places and get uncomfortable we learn. This is what we call growth”.
To find out More about Pau Monahan you can visit his website here:
I already play golf for FUN. I don’t want to go to a golf camp for mental instruction, I’m paying for golf mechanics instruction.
Hi Bob. I understand that you want to come to a camp for mechanics instruction. I’ve been teaching for over 24 years. You might not think that the mental instruction is important but how can you learn new mechanics if you are mentally incapable? Many students want to learn but they are “blocked” and they don’t even know it. Paul’s work has revealed to me how important mental training is to learning.
Great post! You can really see “play” when you watch a junior tournament with kids who are just learning the game. I remember my own son playing with so much joy and excitement. He was so happy to just play, and not concerned yet with scores.