Goals. We all have them. Whether it be at work or play, we are inherently built for autonomy, mastery and learning. I”m physically fit enough to strike a golf ball within reason. But last summer and the summer before, that was not happening. I continued to hit shots fat, hook or three putt more than I want to remember. I finally had it. On a family vacation, I took some time out to see Mike. Viola. Bad shots diagnosed. A plan had been formulated. I had goals for my rounds and the range.
My buddy”s whom have been taking me for about the last year and a half were not happy when I told them before the round-I was out. I had things to work on. I wasn”t worried about scoring. I was concentrating and focusing on certain swing keys throughout my round. I had a goals but the pressure of a “friendly” match was not what I needed at the time.
My goals were simple. (Ask Mike, he”ll tell you and show you what you need to hear and see). But I was focused. Determined. At least I felt as though I was ( side note- I didn”t practice as much as I should have- but don”t tell Mike). I could see immediate results when I did play with just a few swing, stance and grip keys.
Assimilating or relating goals or goal setting isn”t much of a stretch when thinking about other sports or your profession. When I was playing baseball at any level, I had a goal for every time I took the mound. I had one focus, throw strikes. First pitch strikes to hitters decreased their batting average more than 100 points. Two strikes on a .300 hitter now he was a .167 hitter. It was therefore imperative that I threw strikes, because strikes led to outs (Plus, it kept my team in the game behind me. I didn”t have to strike everybody out. It was more democratic. See Crash Davis, Bull Durham) Get 27 outs and score one more run than the other team, now team goals are realized.
As a coach, there are many aspects to baseball and winning but simplifying through small steps was the key. Win every inning. If the other team scored one run-score two. If they score five-score six. You get the idea. The end result is not emphasized but will be apparent if the smaller steps or objectives are met.
When you tee it up this spring, think about the small objectives. For example, eliminate three putts, keep the ball in play- no penalty shots, for starters. Dedicated practice is at the heart of achieving your goals. Keep this in mind when you”ve hit balls twice in a dome and one of those times was with your six year old son. Be realistic.
Scott Kapla, Mike Fay Golf Staff Writer