Overcoming Adversity

This Week in Mental Training: Acceptance to Overcome Adversity

Last week’s installment of “this week in mental training” discussed the use of purposeful routines as an effective way to manage effort and recovery throughout a competition.  Routines are useful for maintaining a present-minded focus especially when coupled with the mental skill of acceptance.

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Individuals who are confident in themselves and their abilities exhibit high levels of acceptance for their shortcomings. Acceptance for events outside of one’s control in the present moment (past shots, rankings, and fixed personal attributes) results in greater effort and the ability to overcome adversity over the course of a career. Effective athletes train themselves to have “a short memory” (a.k.a. acceptance) for mistakes in order to become fully immersed in the present moment once again. Lack of acceptance leads to wasted energy and attention which serves as a drain to the pursuit of long-term goals.

Please reach out to us for further information regarding individualized training to maximize the performance of your student-athlete as we continue to pursue our mission: “to assist the long-term development of our student-athletes by creating a mindset of continuous improvement through preparation, competition, and self-evaluation … resulting in a community of excellence!”

All the best,

Matt Cuccaro, Ed.M. (matt.cuccaro@juniorsports.com)

and

Scott Swainston, M.S. (scott.swainston@juniorsports.com)

[separator text=”About the Author”]

Matt Cuccaro, Ed.M.

Matt Cuccaro is the Director of Mental Training at Junior Sports Corporation (JSC) on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Since joining JSC in 2006, Matt has trained numerous American Junior Golf Association Junior All-Americans, IJGT champions, as well as PGA, LPGA, and Champions Tour Players from around the world. He received his Masters of Education in Counseling/Sport Psychology from Boston University and is an active member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.  Follow Matt on Twitter at @MentalCoachMatt  

 

 

Scott Swainston

Scott Swainston is in his third year at Junior Sports Corporation as the Assistant Director of Mental Training.  His experience started at Georgia Southern University where he received his Master’s degree in Sport Psychology.  While at Southern he worked with collegiate student-athletes on the mental aspect of high performance in a variety of sports.  His experience has continued since joining JSC, working with athletes who compete at the junior, amateur, and professional level.  In addition to his responsibilities at the Academies Scott works closely with the International Junior Golf Tour; traveling to tournaments to work with players from all over the world on their mental approach to the game.  Scott continues to be an active member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.  You can Follow Scott Swainston on Twitter at @ScottSwainston  

Handling Adversity Like Lewis – Educational Blog

Handling Adversity Like Lewis

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C.– The road to a world No. 1 ranking is filled with twists and turns, as evident by LPGA player, Stacy Lewis.

This week at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, Lewis seized the Rolex No. 1 ranking, but not without a true test of her character and ability on the course. After the completion of her third round, Lewis was sitting pretty just two strokes behind leader, Ai Miyazato heading into the final round.

Then heartbreak struck.

9ca6291914ecead27cb2de266d7133f1Before signing her scorecard, Lewis was slammed with a two-stroke penalty throwing her four-shots back from Miyazato. Knowing this was her chance to capture a No. 1 ranking, Lewis had been dealt what should have been a momentum-killing setback.

Lewis received the two-stroke penalty as a result of a violation of Rule 13-4, which prohibits players from testing the condition of a hazard (bunker). Lewis’s caddie tested the surface of a fairway bunker on No. 16 with his right foot. Television viewers called in to LPGA officials regarding the violation, leading to a review of the video after the round, and ultimately the two-stroke penalty.

Suddenly, Lewis was four strokes back of the victory and the No. 1 ranking heading into the final round.

“We looked at the video, he walks into the bunker, he kind of pushes, he kind of bounces his knees a little bit, and his foot turns,” Lewis said. “That was kind of the big indicators, that his foot turned, and you could kind of hear the sand crunch a little bit. So that’s deemed to be testing the conditions.”

Lewis maintained a positive outlook on the situation at all times.

“More than anything I just feel bad for him because he feels awful,” Lewis said. “But he’s the best caddie out here, so we’ll be fine. We still have a chance to win tomorrow … In my mind I shot a bogey-free 66 today, and that’s what I’m going to take home tonight.”

Lewis turned her anguish into fuel for her final round and carded an 8-under-par 64 to rein victorious in Phoenix and become the second American female to take the Rolex No. 1 Ranking.

What can a junior golfer take from Lewis’s story?

In a round of golf there are millions of opportunities for disappointment. A single bad shot or penalty stroke can feel like the end of the world in the middle of a promising round. It is easy to let frustration build from a bad hole, or an unfortunate break. One bad hole is not the end of the world.

The importance of keeping a level head and realistic goals is evident in Lewis’s story. Lewis took her unfortunate situation and turned it on its head. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of her round, she took what could have been a tournament-ending blow and used it to propel herself to victory. During the final round on Sunday, Lewis birdied four of the final six holes to seal the win.

“It happens,” Lewis said. “People hit a wrong ball or ground their club in a hazard. Weird things happen when you play enough golf, and I told [my caddie] that over and over and over again. He would have felt horrible if we lost by two. That’s why I just put the dagger in and made some more putts coming in.”

Learning how to take a difficult situation and turn it into a positive is a skill that benefits golfers on and off the course, but is not easily mastered. Junior Sports Corporation Assistant Director of Mental Training, Scott Swainston is trained to help junior competitors learn to take situations like Lewis’ in stride.

Contact Swainston for a consultation or for more information on Mental Training. Be on the lookout for Swainston at the following International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) Mental Training Tournament Series Events:

#RocktheSocks Open at Bulle Rock  – April 13-14 

The Chocolate Challenge at Hershey (Major) – May 11-12 

The Bridgestone Tournament of Champions – May 25-27 

Tiger-like Focus – IJGT Educational Series

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C.– Last weekend Tiger Woods captured his 17th World Golf Championships (WGC) title at the Cadillac Championship  in Doral, Fla., after beginning the final round with a four-stroke lead. Woods has never lost on tour when holding at least a four-shot lead entering the final round. In total, Woods has converted 40 of 42 outright 54-hole leads into wins on the PGA TOUR and is now 8-8 converting 54-hole leads into wins at WGC events. Nothing short of impressive – but what can the average or aspiring amateur golfer learn from Woods’s success?

Any golfer, professional and junior alike, that has played in a competitive golf event has felt the pressure of the final round. Whether attempting to break 80, shatter a personal record or trying to win the event, the final round provides psychological challenges not found in any other round.

1a1f476989e50cf55fa7ab6613317d0fThoughts during the final round are absolutely related to the outcome of the tournament. The body does not move or react without thoughts. Being aware of the way thoughts, feelings and actions work together will change the outcome of a round. Director of Mental Training, Matt Cuccaro explains how self-talk (or the voice inside your head) controls attitude, emotions and, when used effectively, is a helpful tool to focus attention in competition.

When beginning the final round in the lead, it is tempting to use “Perfect” phrases during self-talk. “Perfect” phrases include things like ‘I have to’ and ‘I must.’ These phrases add stress to rounds and demand exact precision. Players like Woods have found a way to balance the natural tendency of these thoughts with “Neutral” phrases like ‘focus on the target’ and ‘one shot at a time.’

Woods is the epitome of what strong mental training can do for a competitive golfer in a final round pinch. If you need help navigating self-talk during competitive rounds, set up a consultation with Cuccaro or assistant Director of Mental Training, Scott Swainston. Swainston will be on-site at three IJGT Events during the Spring season: #RocktheSocks Open at Bulle Rock presented by KENTWOOL Socks , the Chocolate Challenge at Hershey  and the Bridgestone Tournament of Champions. 

(PHOTO CREDIT: Joe Skipper, NYTimes.com )

What is Mental Training?

What is Mental Training?

Mental Training is a huge aspect of sports training, but what exactly is Mental Training?  Below you will find the top 5 misconceptions heard about the mental game.  Opposite those misconceptions you will find explanations to clarify the philosophy of the Junior Sports Corporation mental training program.

Mental Training Isn’t…  Mental Training Is…
“Just think positive” Thinking positive is great, and definitely leads to better results than thinking negatively.  The reality of sport, however, is that things do not always go as planned.  Learning to effectively deal with reality by focusing on the present is the true challenge.  Simply saying things like, “I got this” or “I can do it” aren’t nearly as helpful as more on-task thoughts like, “pick a line” or “feel the speed.”
“Forget bad shots” Neuroscience tells us that we don’t have the capability to simply forget.  The most important aspect following any shot, regardless of the outcome, is to accept the shot.  That means you have completely come to terms with where the ball has come to rest.  There is nothing you can do at that point, except learn.
“Practice makes perfect” The old adage that practice makes perfect implies that there is a “perfect” out there.  In golf that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Quality practice is about stretching your current abilities by challenging yourself.  If you have set up the proper challenge you will make the mistakes necessary to learn and build skill.
“Mental Training is a quick fix”

Mental training is more of a marathon than a sprint.  Building healthy habits for competition and practice takes time.  Training your mind works very similar to building technique in your golf swing.  It takes purpose, learning from mistakes, and tune-ups over time.   The foundation of our mental training program is developing a mindset of continuous improvement.

“Mental training is only for someone with a problem or for when you are playing poorly” Mental training is for anyone looking to improve their approach to the game.  Time after time you hear elite athletes discussing the journey and their continuous desire to get better.  Continuous improvement is achieved by seeking challenge and developing curiosity in practice.  This will ensure that you are doing all you can to reach your full potential.

Mental training is about developing a mindset which allows you to constantly challenge yourself.  Seeking challenge will allow you to learn more about yourself, and deal with the realities in front of you.  Athletes who are able to do these things will maximize their abilities throughout the ongoing journey of development.

[separator text=”About the Author”]

Matt Cuccaro, Ed.M.Matt Cuccaro is the Director of Mental Training at Junior Sports Corporation (JSC) on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Since joining JSC in 2006, Matt has trained numerous American Junior Golf Association Junior All-Americans, IJGT champions, as well as PGA, LPGA, and Champions Tour Players from around the world. He received his Masters of Education in Counseling/Sport Psychology from Boston University and is an active member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.  Follow Matt on Twitter at @MentalCoachMatt external_link.png

 

 

 

Scott SwainstonScott Swainston is in his third year at Junior Sports Corporation as the Assistant Director of Mental Training.  His experience started at Georgia Southern University where he received his Master’s degree in Sport Psychology.  While at Southern he worked with collegiate student-athletes on the mental aspect of high performance in a variety of sports.  His experience has continued since joining JSC, working with athletes who compete at the junior, amateur, and professional level.  In addition to his responsibilities at the Academies Scott works closely with the International Junior Golf Tour; traveling to tournaments to work with players from all over the world on their mental approach to the game.  Scott continues to be an active member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.  You can Follow Scott Swainston on Twitter at @ScottSwainston external_link.png

Finding Value in Junior Golf

Finding Value in Junior Golf

 

“Why should a serious junior golfer compete on a national tour such as the IJGT? What makes your tour any different than the others?”

International Junior Golf Tour Mission Statement:

Provide exceptional junior golfers with the opportunity to develop and showcase their competitive skills while setting high standards to preserve the traditions and integrity of the game.


  All serious junior golfers can expect all of the following premium perks with an IJGT membership:

  • Industry Success and Tournament Experience: Now in its 18th season, the IJGT has conducted more than 800 National Championships
    • Tour Caliber Events – New venue each week, but same championship feel!
    • Professional Staff – Knowledgeable tournament staff traveling to each event with minimal volunteers
    • Course Marking / Competition Set up – IJGT prides itself on professionally-run tournaments and tournament staff will arrive at the venue one week before competition. During the preparation time we will set up and mark each golf course accurately by USGA standards.
    • Playing Options – All IJGT members may choose from over 160 open golf tournaments in North America during their membership, per the Canadian Junior Golf Association and IJGT member partnership. 10 events will be filled by performance based entry, the rest are open to all members.
  • Diverse Membership
    • Local, National, and Global Fields – 40 States and 41 Countries are represented on tour
    • 1,500 Members – averaging 5 tournaments per season
    • Outstanding Competition – all skill levels of junior golfers ranging between 9-19 years old
    • Tournament Series: College SeriesBridgestone SeriesMajor Championships
    • Player Service representative available 7 days a week to consult tournament schedule
  • IJGT College Placement
    • Experienced Full-time staff member dedicated to guide and answer questions about the college recruiting process
    • History of Alumni – College SigneesAmateur and Professional Success
    • Online Golf Resume – Auto updated scorecards and stats after IJGT events
    • Swing Videos – Produced and Uploaded straight to player profile
    • 1,400+ College Golf Programs receive tournament results and access all member profiles
  • Tournament Results, Scorecards, Statistics and Media Relations:
  • National Rankings and Amateur Exemptions
  • Technology and User Friendly Website external_link.png:
    • Interactive Communication – Contact us via phone, email, Live WebChat and Social Networks
    • Tournament Information – Email updates and up-to–the minute news and info
    • Blog Series:College Placement, and Player of the Week
    • Online Registration and Tournament Management
    • Live Leaderboards, Statistics, and Rankings
  • Partnerships and Resources that Benefit All IJGT Members
    • The First Tee – Exemption Program
    • IJGT Asian Circuit external_link.png –  7 tournaments in 6 different countries including South Korea, Philippines, India, Thailand, Japan and China. With over 2000 participants in the 2012 season.
    •  International Junior Golf Academy external_link.png – the only academy in the world that combines training, academics, and competition.
      • College Placement Program
      • Mental Training and Course Management
      • Fitness Training Consultation
      • Summer Camp/Special Program Discounts

IJGT Mental Training Announces Spring Schedule

IJGT Mental Training Series

The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) is proud to announce the 2013 Spring Events schedule for the IJGT Mental Training program.

e7a3ab633e201354f6ebb8a656331e9fIJGT Mental Training assists members, regardless of their current ability or skill level, to improve themselves on and off the golf course by working on the mental aspect of competitive golf. Mental Training assists athletes in developing a mindset of continuous improvement that will allow participants to maximize their athletic potential by increasing their effort and energy in training and competition.

Our Assistant Director of Mental Training, Scott Swainston, will be on-site at three IJGT Events during the Spring season. At each of the Events, he will be available for Personalized Mental Training Packages. These packages include a practice round session to prepare for the weekend, tournament observation session (including 30 minute post round session), and end with a post event session on Sunday.  In each of these sessions Swainston will work with athletes on four key themes of improvement: developing true confidence, controlling attention, understanding and effectively managing emotions, and maintaining motivation throughout the development process.

IJGT Mental Training Series Events

For more information and to schedule your Mental Training session at any of these three events please emailScott.Swainston@juniorsports.com or call (843) 422-2012.

Limited sessions are available for each event and are scheduled on a first come first serve basis.

 


b37e3364b79ef5e8b8f1d95759f790b2Scott Swainston is in his third year at Junior Sports Corporation as the Assistant Director of Mental Training. His experience started at Georgia Southern University where he received his Master’s Degree in Sport Psychology.While at Southern he worked with collegiate student-athletes on the mental aspect of high performance in a variety of sports. His experience has continued since joining JSC, working with athletes who compete at the junior, amateur, and professional level. In addition to his responsibilities at JSC, Scott works closely with the International Junior Golf Tour; traveling to tournaments to work with players from all over the world on their mental approach to the game. Scott continues to be an active member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.