Last week I was watching the NCAA Men’s Championship on TV.  The tournament format is match play:  first team to three wins is the champion.  This style of play is always entertaining because of the ups and downs of the match.  One player is leading by a few holes, and then the other player makes a comeback.  It’s real-life golf drama. I noticed that I was becoming more and more engaged in the matches, cheering on the great shots and the players’ recovery shots.  There were a number of times a player seemed to be out of the hole; one player had an advantage by hitting a good shot to set up a birdie effort, and the other player, who seemed to be out of position, would either make a long putt or even chip-in from off the green.  This now forces the player in good position to make his putt to just tie the hole. Most golfers don’t play a lot of match play.  We often grind trying to shoot the lowest score possible.  When teaching our students, especially the younger ones, it is important we talk about these “must-make” opportunities.  Lead them in drills or games that get them in the right frame of mind to be aggressive on making the shot.  You can see that some players thrive in these environments while others don’t. Playing match play will teach your students the importance of never giving up, as well as providing the opportunity to experience a “flair” for the dramatic.  Your students will be more successful, and you will be, too.
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