How Wie Manages Pressure
Have others told you that you “have a lot of potential?” Often the word potential characterizes the large gap between a golfer current level of performance and what he is capable of performing.
Though many coaches and parents use this phrase to motivate, golfers can feel a lot of anxiety due to the high level of expectations from others.
I work with a lot of golfers that sense high expectations from others.
The key to overcoming pressure is to manage these expectations (from others and your own) and have fun with the game.
Yeah, I know… easier said than done.
Well let’s look at someone who is dealing with the highest of expectations and their journey to success.
Michelle Wie was considered a prodigy when she became the youngest player (10 years old) to qualify for a USGA amateur championship.
Wie turned professional shortly before her sixteenth birthday in 2005 with a great deal of fanfare. Expectations were high for Wie and she struggled to mange the pressure.
Wie’s first LPGA tournament victory came in 2009 then, nine months later she won her second LPGA tournament.
It took 79 events until Wie won another championship as she rebounded from four shots down to win the 2014 LPGA Lotte Championship.
The victory ended a four-year winless drought and marked her first come-from-behind victory.
Wie overtook leader Angela Stanford on the final day of play and finished at 14-under to win by two shots. The victory moved Wie’s ranking from from 23rd to 13th in the world.
In her post-tournament interview, Wie was asked, “What do you think that says about your resiliency right now and your mental strength of your game?”
Wie provided a great tip on mentally dealing with tournament pressure…
“I’m just having fun out there… Every time I felt nervous out there, I was looking around and I was like there was really no other place I would rather be. So I just had a blast out there today.”
Wie was unfazed by the pressure despite being four-shots down, “Well, my caddie isn’t one for pep talks, but he gave me a good one on the green today. He was like just play your game. You are playing well. And that’s really what I did. I didn’t try to force anything.”
Tips to Overcome Expectations and Pressure to be Great:
You start by acknowledging the expectations you feel to play great golf, not try to ignore them. Next, you want to replace these pressure-packed expectations with simple goals, such as to hit fairways and greens.
Next, you want to make having fun a priority. Golf is supposed to be fun, right? Why did you enjoy golf when you first started playing the game (before the expectations arrived)?
Keep in mind that you can feel nervous and still play well if you manage your emotions, focus on your game and have fun. By developing your mental toughness, your golf game will reach greater heights.
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