A few weeks ago, my oldest daughter was getting ready for her golf play day at our club.  She was in the garage over by my old golf stuff digging around for something.  When I asked her what she needed, she said she needed some water balls.  I asked her why; she told me there were a few par-3s that had a lot of water, and she didn’t want to lose any of her newer golf balls. I laughed a little, then told her she needed to think positive and not negative thoughts.  We spoke about visualizing where we wanted the ball to land, and what it looks like in the air while flying towards our target.  We also spoke of how negative thoughts normally lead to negative outcomes. Like every other golfing dad out there, I took out a brand new sleeve of balls from my golf bag and gave them to her.  I told her to only use them on the water holes and no other holes.  She understood how I wanted her to think prior to the shot.  Later that day, I was anxious hear about her round.  I came home from work and she proceeded to hand me the golf balls I gave her.  I was excited until I saw they were not used.  She said she was still scared to lose a brand new ball in the water.  She said she hit one ball in the water that day, and that she was thinking about not hitting it in the water on that hole. While laughing at the idea of her not using the brand new golf balls, I reminded myself how important our thoughts are prior to hitting a shot.  We all have friends who dig into their golf bags for old golf balls to use over water, and I’m sure most end up in a watery grave. Make sure pre-shot thoughts are an area you address with your students, no matter what level of player they are.  Whether is it “aim small-miss small,” “take dead aim,” or “focus only on the target,” we need to teach how to have positive thoughts.
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