“What if I leave the ball in the damn sand?”

As most of you know, I picked up a part-time job this Spring as the Boys Golf Coach at my local high school.

I was feeling good about my game going into the season. Over last summer, I dropped nine strokes off my handicap. I was primed to do some coaching.

And then I get on the driving range.

All of a sudden, a new pressure emerged. The opportunity to demonstrate as a coach is constant. Standing in front of either one or a group of players to hit a ball without having warmed up or hitting a few practice shots conjures up a few demons in one’s head. At least mine! I’m supposed to be good. I’m supposed to teach them! It’s a completely different and more demanding pressure than playing a round with my pals on a random Monday morning.

Then of course comes teaching other often more difficult aspects of the game, like escaping sand traps. The course has an excellent facility with a nice green side bunker to practice on.

Standing there in front of a bunch of players who are eagerly awaiting to learn something from me might have been the scariest shot I’ve ever had! The pain of all the scar tissue from shots out of the sand gone bad were now being felt.

“What if I leave the ball in the damn sand?”

Fortunately, the ball floated out over the lip of the trap and softly on to the green.

“Okay. Your turn.”

I decided that THIS would be the last shot I’d hit today!

Mental frailties are a real thing in all aspects of our lives. None of us are immune to them.

When discussing this particular frailty to Barb, she kindly suggested that I use this as an example to the boys that we all will struggle with crises in confidence.

While this is excellent advice – and what I would tell my clients – it doesn’t change the the self-inflicted anxiety.

Mental frailties evolve out of lack of confidence that are specific to certain times and places. Those inner demons and scar tissue creep out and start talking trash in our heads.

They are opportunities for us to get better. To have the mental discipline to slow our minds and breathing, to manage our expectations, and to – in golf speak – trust our swing.

And when we fail at times – which we will – to commit to chalking it up to life being hard, rather than some insidious self-inflicted pity that adds to the scar tissue.

I’ve taken Barb’s advice and shared my own inner mental frailties with the kids. I told them when we play that they are certain to see me hit bad shots. And that in golf and in life the path to being resilient is to keep playing the best we can each and every stroke and minute we get.

Don’t consider yourself weak for having these occasional mental frailties. Consider yourself human. By managing our own expectations better, the demons will remain in hiding and the scar tissue will heal.

And then you can go on and boldly hit out of whatever sand trap you find yourself in.

Keep chasing unleashed.

Quote of the Week:

“Either I will find a way, or I will make one.”

~ Philip Sidney, 16th century English soldier

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