Moving In The Right Direction

I just finished my second Suncoast Tour event of the summer at Black Bear Golf Club in Eustis, FL July 22nd-24th and boy was it a learning experience and a good one at that!

Lately I have been struggling with my mental game while in competition; during practice I was playing great and was able to focus on the tasks at hand.  But when I was getting into competition I was worrying about things that were out side of my control.  For me the definition of insanity is trying to control the uncontrollable so you can only imagine how I was driving myself nuts.

After shooting 81 in the first round of this tournament and worrying about things I should never worry about on the golf course, I had as what you might call a come to jesus meeting with my coach. We talked about the things that were going through my mind that day and how they were keeping me from playing freely.
Some of the things were:
– Thinking about explaining to people why I didn’t play well
– That the current way I was playing would not get me through Tour School
– Trying to raise money to help pay for Tour School
– That I was better than the way I was playing and there was no excuse for shooting those numbers
– Putting too much pressure on myself to perform
– Pleasing people by playing well
So as you can see, having all those things going through my head are in no way conducive to playing good golf.
After some practice on the putting green and range I went home showered got something to eat and decided to read a book.  Not turning on the T.V. was probably the best decision I could have made because it gave my mind sometime to break away from the day and relax.  After reading almost all 350 pages of my book that afternoon, I felt relaxed and ready for the next few days of competition.
The next two days of competition were some of the most enjoyable ones I had had in a long time.  I made sure I was aware when thoughts outside of golf crept into my mind and  acknowledged they were there and refocused onto what I was currently doing. I also didn’t put any pressure on myself to play well, I trusted in my preparation and played fearless and smart instead of fearful.  This gave me the ability to play more freely and confidently and return to the fun loving Ericka that I knew I was on the golf course.   I ended up shooting back to back 73’s and  saw improvements in all aspects of my game due to released tension I was causing myself.
I am so excited I broke through and it couldn’t have happened at a better time.  With me leaving in a week for LPGA Tour Qualifying School I am so excited for the month that lies ahead of me! I am ready to play fearless and smart golf and really see what I can do with a game I love so dearly!

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