Category Archives: Champion Mindsets

Stop Shooting 125!

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Recently I took on a new young golfer who wanted to uplevel his play on the high school golf team.  He came to me shooting 122.  After the first lesson, he shot 115, and then a sparkling 47 on 9 holes.  His next match was back up to 125.  Something was wrong.  He was making great progress in his lessons, improving his swing and short game. There was no reason to score high again.  The answer was clearly not in the physical realm. It had to be psychological.  He was shooting 125 because he had no internal limits to shoot less.  In other words, he was not “owning his own game” enough to tell himself, “these kinds of scores are no longer acceptable.”  He was not setting internal limits on his performance and demanding a better game of himself–and doing the work to achieve it.

As I was driving home thinking about a champion’s mentality—the resolve to own your own game and call yourself up higher,” I heard an internal voice say to me, “That applies to you, too, Veronica. There are areas of your life where you are shooting 125–putting you in default mode, causing you to just survive because you are not setting limits on a low performance life–and not calling yourself up higher.  It’s time to own your life, make the changes, and and resolve that certain things are “just not acceptable anymore.”  This realization hit me in the gut hard.  Yep, you and I are responsible for our own scoring, which means the results we are getting are not a result of shots that just happened to go bad, but thinking which produced the shots in the first place.

Hit with this conviction, I am taking out 3 days to get away, to fast and pray, to make some clear decisions about saying goodbye to a 125 life FOREVER.  Now if my student only had the ability to shoot 125, that is a different story, but he clearly had the ability to score lower–that’s why staying stuck in a comfort zone is not acceptable.  Staying in the comfort zone of a 125 life is not acceptable because you and I CAN do better.  Equipped with a resolve and some reflection on better thinking, a higher expectation, and the belief that we can do better, we will. It begins with answering the question, “What am I no longer willing to tolerate?”

It’s a powerful question that is the first step to lower scores and higher living.  When we set limits internally, we start owning our own game which will result in getting our shots in the fairway and out of the rough!   our shots in the fairway and out of the rough!

Leveling the Playing Field

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I have always been fascinated by the spiritual side of performance.  While most people think that a competition is simply on a mental-physical plane, we are in reality four-part beings.  This past week I had the chance to experience the emotional-spiritual side of a championship. In this case, it was in the internal completion of a championship that happened almost 40 years ago.  I had no idea there was still something to be completed until I returned to my hometown where I lost my first major championship to the 7th ranked amateur in the United States, and some say it was done in an underhanded way by her.

I was a teenager at the time who had a fiery competitive spirit, but the West Penn Amateur was the most prestigious tournament in Western Pennsylvania at the time.  I had just beaten my biggest rival in junior golf in the semi-finals and now I had to face Judy Oliver III for the championship.  Yep, you heard me right.  The third.  She was the jet-set millionaire type that had everything and I was the pip-squeak who grew up on the other side of the tracks, until the back nine of the competition.

I was 1 up on her on the 14th hole.  She hit her drive out of bounds.  I hit mine slightly in the rough.  Then I hit a freaky shot out of bounds.  We both had a horrendous hole after playing great golf.  She accused me three times of having a higher score than I did when we reached the hole.  I was so afraid, being in the pressure of the moment, that I did not know how to respond, so I thought, “She must know what she is talking about. She is more experienced than I am.”  So I agreed, and conceded the hole.  Only problem was, she was wrong.  We were both on in the same number of strokes, but I gave away the hole because I listened to my opponent’s adamant voice, and ended up losing the tournament by a narrow margin.

The loss was traumatic, as I did not have anyone to help me process the intensity of a fully engaged heart, mind, and body in my competition.  When I got home, I was hoping my mom would console me. She was listening to the radio broadcast the tournament shot by shot and she was more devastated than I was. I ended up consoling her.  The next year I had totally forgotten to enter the tournament, as I psychologically blocked the whole competition out from my mind.

It took me years to process what had happened, and although I never though she had an evil intent in her actions, a lot of people did.  I always admired her, however, and was a bit envious that she had so many more advantages than I did.

When I went to my hometown to play in the U.S. Open Qualifier this past week, I had the chance to reminisce with a lot of people about my upbringing in golf and the people in it.  I asked my friend, Bob Ford, “How is Judy Oliver doing?”  He responded, “Not very well. She died about 12 years ago of cancer at age 54.”  I was stunned and saddened.  Then all of a sudden I also had another thought come to mind, “In the big picture of things, the playing field had been leveled.  I scored a win in the game of life in that I was still living.  I now have an opportunity she won’t ever have and that is I am alive—I am alive to play championship golf age an age that she never will.”  In that moment, I felt something deep inside me have a sense of full closure.  The book was now closed on a devastating first championship experience and how it laid the foundation for my competitive trajectory for years to come.  I didn’t even know there was still something there meant to be brought to closure, but I felt it deep within.  There was no longer a need to even think about that story because I was granted a win in life that surpassed my competitive loss.  I could go on, now fully cleared of that experience, and in a sense be restored to “competitive innocence.”

None of this was conscience to me until I heard of her loss.  Being an emotionally and spiritually aware person, I was saddened for her loss, stunned at the effect that experience still had deep within, and deeply grateful for the sense of closure and new perspective I gained to start a new era of play now from a fresh sense of advantage in my life.  I will always admire Judy Oliver for her life and legacy, and now I can get on with my own in a new way.

All competitions have to be emotionally completed or that energy will stay within you until you deal with it.  If I can help you in your competitive journey, please reach out to me at: veronica@truechampioncoaching.com.

Jordan, Jack, and Unstoppable Success

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My first memory of life occurred when I was three years old on a Saturday afternoon with my dad.  We were staked out on my brother’s bed, tuned into our little black and white television.  Perhaps a better word would be “glued” to the t.v. as the indomitable Arnold Palmer charged up the 18th fairway winning yet another victory to expand his kingdom.  When it wasn’t Arnold, it was Jack staking his claim to  championship territory.  While most little girls were playing with dolls, I was at Daddy’s side absorbing his love for the game and enjoying watching the world’s greatest players seize the prize.

With decades of observing the greats of old as a weekly tradition, and rubbing shoulders with them from time to time, it is no wonder I found myself comparing the new young Master’s champion, Jordan Spieth, to those who have gone on before. As my eyes once again were glued to the television for an entire weekend, I couldn’t help but compare Spieth to Nicklaus.  The two could pass for twins when it comes to similarity of style and the unique factors behind their success.

In terms of the way they play the game, both are strategic thinkers, methodical and along the serious side in their natures. Jack was all about course management and his thinking about how he played his shots.  Ditto Jordan.  While you might argue that Tiger Woods is also a strategic thinker, he is, but in a very different way.  His thinking is much more aggressive and a lot of the time, outside of himself in his fighting style.  Woods’ energy is very forceful and physical.  Both Nicklaus and Speith vent their energy verbally.  They also are very ritualistic in the set-up of each of their shots, meticulous to the bone.

At last year’s U.S. Open I had the opportunity to get inside the ropes to watch the players.  As a performance coach, I am a trained observer and watched each one like a hawk.  When I saw Jordan, he stood out like a like a lone cat in a line of German Shepherds.  There was something about his quiet demeanor, the way he carried himself as champion, and his utmost confidence in himself.  His level of focus was off the charts, and I thought to myself, “Who is this good-looking young guy who conveys the air of an Open champion even in his walk?”  (I have to admit, I also said to myself, “Wow!  Too bad I am not a thousand years younger!  He’s so cute!)  Both Nicklaus and Spieth exude a similar air of a champion who refuses to think about himself as anything less than one–ever—even in a casual walk around the clubhouse.  Their mindset is sealed to dwell forever in the champion zone.

Perhaps the greatest similarity between the two champions is their upbringing. While most people don’t link home life and friendships as causal factors to championship performance, deep trusted relationships are primal to long-term success.  Nicklaus had a very holistic upbringing, playing numerous sports, and was grounded in a solid, intact, family life.  Jack Grout was his teacher since he was a young boy.  The consistent encouragement and friendship that Grout offered Nicklaus through the years had both a pillow and launching pad effect on the champion.  I know this first hand.

One day I was on the driving range watching Nicklaus hit balls with Grout’s eye upon his every shot.  The intensity of Nicklaus’ focus on the range was no less than it was under pressure.  Hitting one irons, each ball shot forth like a torpedo to a tree way down the range. Nicklaus never looked at his target. His eyes were riveted on a spot a foot in-front of the ball.  “Great shot, Jack!”  Grout said to Nicklaus. Jack hit another shot followed by another shot of empowerment from Grout, “Jack, you’re the greatest!”  Grout built Jack up after each shot.  I felt like I was watching a song and a dance routine between the two of them.

While Spieth obviously looked at his targets, they were small ones.  His head was down a lot, focusing deeply on what was right before him.  He chose his caddy because of his powers of encouragement and friendship.  Like Nicklaus, Jordan too, has a grounded home life, a special needs sister whom he is deeply inspired by, and a long term teacher he had since he was an emerging teenager. There is something to be said about the relational dynamics of having the kind of support around you that breeds stability, nurture, and emotional security so that you are free to look outward and soar.  Because I never had that, it is so glaringly obvious to me the power of nurture to one’s success when I see it. Spieth himself credits his family and team as the most important factors in his rise to the top.

Whether Spieth will ever equal or surpass Nicklaus’ record has yet to be seen.  From the eye of this beholder, however, there’s no telling how many more decades this golf chic will be glued to the television screen, engaged in her father’s favorite past-time, cheering on a new generation champion who has already demonstrated the traits of unstoppable success.

God’s Way to an A upcoming seminar

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I am pleased to announce that I will be equipping students for intellectual and emotional victory in their studies through my upcoming God’s Way to an A seminar here in Va. Beach.  If you have been seeking God for a breakthrough in your studies, this training is for you.  I have seen amazing skyrockets in students’ personal and academic life through this eye opening, paradigm changing approach to learning.  Trust me, you will never approach learning the same way again.  If it’s time for you to stop striving, start abiding, and enjoy soaring–PLEASE don’t waste another moment in academic torture!  Sign up today. Make the investment in yourself.  God has a more excellent way for you.  The workshop is geared for college and grad students.  Interested high school seniors accepted upon request.  Email me at: veronica@truechampioncoaching.com.     To register: Go to: newlifeprovidence.com.  Click on “events.”

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Hope to see you there!  Veronica

Join us for the Big Bloomers Golf Clinic this Sunday

Please join me Sunday, September 21 from 3 to 5 pm
at Longleaf Country Club in Pinehurst
                    Fore 
A VERY SPECIAL GOLF CLINIC:
                     
 WOMEN EMOWERING WOMEN
 Learn:
The 4 Movements to the Golf Swing
                            AND
 The 4 Movements to Becoming a Big Bloomer!
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Hello Friends!
How often have you and I heard the phrase, “Golf is a man’s game?”  As many times as I have looked down the driving range and realized I was the only woman working on my swing in the company of 25 or so men, I just happened to know better:  Golf is a woman’s game—and a passion of mine is to do golf a girl’s way!
That’s why I have decided to use the game to empower women to create a more beautiful life.  While I have used the language with many of you of becoming a champion, in my life-coaching to women, I like to use the term “blossoming.”  Both terms are about releasing your potential to become the best version of yourself.
Mom became the best version of herself when she took up the game at 85 and broke free from a 6 month death sentence due to a terminal heart condition and a death wish to literally blossom while she was dying.  She lived almost 7 more years
and finished strong–Together we re-created her legacy.

Continue reading

Birdies for Grandma!

alysaWith the thrill of the Opens now almost at a bygone simmer, I wonder what will forever remain etched in my memory upon reflection of the event as time moves on.  You see, winners come and go.  I found it amazing that Kaymer who won by an amazing ten shots failed to make the cut in his next tournament.  Wie bowed to Lewis who seized backed her champion position in her next event.  Isn’t it the nature of the game that what brings a thrill in one moment vanishes into the parched brown fairway to wither away in sports history oblivion in the next.

Every now and then, however, I meet a true champion, someone whose impact upon my life never fades away, even years after meeting that person. A true champion is someone who impresses you more about who they are than about what they score.  I met such a person in ten year old Alyssa Getty. Continue reading

A Lesson from Lucy Li: Be a bloomer!

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The U.S. Kids World Championship has always been one of my favorite events of the year here in Pinehurst.  There’s nothing like watching a seven year old swing with the ease and power of an up and coming Tiger Woods and wishing I could replicate that child’s near perfect swing!  My involvement this year, however, was different.  Continue reading

To Quit or Not to Quit

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Golf is a funny game.  Unlike other sports, we golfers are haunted on a regular basis with the “quitting demons.”  Why is it that in just about every round of golf or in just about every championship quest a golfer pursues, there is the temptation to quit the game?  The thought has never occurred to me in playing volleyball or tennis or in any other sport.

I think it is in the nature of the beast.  Without question, golf is the hardest sport I have ever played.  When I took up tennis, I could take long layoffs and pick the game back up right where I left off.  The same is true for racquetball.  But golf?  Take some time off and off kiss your game good-bye if you want to play with any consistency.

Today was a real game changer for me because just when I decided to set the game aside for a season, some unsuspecting force came along to open up my mind, release my inner athlete, and get me excited about a whole new pursuit.  Oh, gimme a break!  Just when I was relishing in the thought of giving myself permission to walk away from the torture and frustration of pressing through to the next level, Frank Lewis had to enter into my life—and give me fresh hope—just went I didn’t want any!  Continue reading

Teddy-Boy Memorial Tribute and Dog Bone Open

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One of the things I enjoyed most about the U.S. Opens was all the people I met.  It was great to strike up a conversation with a total stranger and have it be totally appropriate because we were all talking the same language surrounding the same story.  Hey, I even learned a brand new vocabulary word while shooting the breeze with a lady on the back of the eighth tee.

“This is such a great place to stand,” she said. “The shade makes the heat bearable and the zephyrs are quite consistent.”  “What’s a zephyr?”  I asked.  “A zephyr is an unexpected cool breeze on a hot day.”  Just as she was talking, one blew through lifting the burden of high heat off my sweaty brow.  The truth is, if you are going to have to endure a hot day, you might as well do it under some shade in the line of the zephyrs.

The same is true for breezing through a tough loss.  After I made it through the Opens hit with the loss of my beloved doggie, Teddy-boy, during tournament week, I decided that what I needed most was a few zephyrs.  If you want to experience a cool breeze on a hot day, the first thing you have to do is know where the breezes are and then position yourself in the line of them.  If it works on a parched brown fairway, it will also work in the parched spots in your home where your beloved doggie used to sit, eat, or sleep.  Continue reading

Champion Mindset of the Week: Affirm the champion identity in yourself and others!

Champion Mindset of the Week:  Repeat after me:  “I AM a champion!  YOU are a champion!”

I often refer to my clients/students when I speak to them as “Champion Marilyn” or “Champion Sue.” I call them by the name that reflects how I see them, their true identity. I believe there is a champion in everyone.  It’s a powerful word, isn’t it?

Most people I come across do not see themselves as a champion.  When I was working at the Greg Norman CHAMPIONS Golf Academy, I would go out on the golf course and observe twelve 17 year old boys from Mexico play their game.  I would observe who would play like a champion and who would not.  I would not judge their champion identity from their score, but by how they carried themselves on the course–by how they conducted themselves and by what they demonstrated to me.

One day I was observing Fernando.  Watching him play, he looked like he was on the PGA tour.  If he hit a good shot, if he hit a bad shot, you could not tell how well or how poorly he was playing, because his emotions were so consistently calm.  I was so impressed with him, even though he was not having the best day score-wise.  When we got back to the classroom, I said in front of all the other boys, “Fernando, you are such a champion.  Today, I saw you behaving like a PGA player out there, I was so impressed.”  As I spoke into his champion identity, you could see that he never had anyone tell him what I was telling him about himself.  I could see that he was not seeing himself as I saw him, but as I spoke LIFE to him, I could see that he was drinking in affirmation about connecting to his true identity as a champion.

Within a matter of just a few weeks, he went out and won his first tournament.  I have to believe by making a deposit of identity affirmation to this young man, he was able to connect to his higher self and began to “play from his spirit.”

This past week I did not qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open.  I shot two rounds in the eighties.  This was a three year goal I had for myself.  The good news is, I did not sink in my emotions.  There was no despair or negativity whatsoever.  Why?  Because I had the power of others speaking to my champion identity. I felt so much love and affirmation through my Caddy Club support system which I intentionally created to give myself the encouragement I needed, that when I did not qualify, a wave of love washed any spirit of defeat off of my true champion identity which I define as an overcomer.

There is SO MUCH more to say about my journey that I want to share with you, but for this week, for just today, I want to encourage you to  live, work, and breathe from your champion identity—say to yourself outloud, “I am a champion!”  and then instead of judging o speaking about that person who you see is not living up to their true champion identity, go speak to the champion in someone else who can’t see what you see in them. Who knows?  There may be a first place finisher just waiting to emerge in them as there was in Fernando.  And even if there isn’t in the moment, you will call someone else up higher to be their best selves.  Isn’t that what we all need a little more of in our world, and what we all crave for, someone else to come along and help wash off the crud of negativity so that our excellent spirit can shine more powerfully?

Inspiring you to hit your best shot, Veronica

I have One More Spot Open-  Breakthrough to Your A Game workshop Pinewild Country Club, tomorrow, June 5, 9 to 4 in Pinehurst

Info: http://truechampioncoaching.com/tcc_Breakthrough_to_Your_A_Game_june_5.pdf

Registration:  http://truechampioncoaching.com/agame5-14