Category Archives: Golf

What Charlie Woods, the Great Imitator, Can Teach Young Players

The debut of Charlie Woods at the PNC Championship this past weekend was nothing short of extraordinary.  Fortunate enough to be there in person to watch all the action, I observed what makes him a promising great player at the tender age of 11.

As a trained performance coach, it’s my job to see into things.  I look at what escapes the naked eye of most to identify processes, practices, and mindsets that fuel high performers the average observer does not see.

For starters, Charlie Woods is the great imitator!  He swings like his dad. He twirls his club, sets up to his shots, strides to his tee, struts down the fairway, and exudes a competitive spirit just like Tiger does.  That’s for all to see.  What does he do that all don’t see?

Charlie has a love of practice. Immediately following play, Tiger and Charlie headed straight for the practice tee.  After five hours of golf, you would think they would take a break for a bite to eat or something!  Instead, they headed right to the range without skipping a beat.  It was as if the round of golf plus practice afterwards was all one “motion.”  It wasn’t play and then some practice as two separate actions.  Play then practice was all in one flow.  It was remarkable to see!

The lesson: You cannot become a great player without a love of practice. Potential is only released through action…the action of sustained, dedicated practice. 

Champions love to practice.  Check for Charlie!

Charlie was focused on hitting specific targets 100% of the time.  As soon as Charlie got to the range, he immediately pulled out a sand wedge and hit to a 60-yard (or so) flag.  Six of the first ten balls landed within ten feet of the flag. One of them hit the pin.  When it did, he lit up like a Christmas tree, and twirled around to see if anyone was there to celebrate the shot with him. 

You could tell he was focused, disciplined, and enjoyed the process of repetitive motion.  You could tell the practice tee was like a second home to him, that he had spent a lot of time there as a part of his daily life.  He was like a hunter who goes out into the wild, shoots his prey, and then come back home to skin the cat.  Charlie reminded me of a young hunter going out to hunt down his golf game and then comes back to the range to skin his swing and get ready for the next day’s conquest.  He goes out only to come in. How rare is that!

You will never see a pro practice without hitting to specific targets. Most amateurs “just hit” on the range somewhere in the area of “forward.”  Most have no love of targeted practice.

The lesson:  You don’t get what your desire. You get what you prepare for.  Focused practice will separate you from the pack.

Champions have superior focus.  Check for Charlie!

Charlie exudes relaxed concentration. I remember watching Tiger Woods at the Valspar Championship a few years ago.  Following him for two days straight, I was astounded at his mental-emotional state throughout the entire 36 holes. It never changed or wavered. He was in such an Ideal Performance State of calm concentration—in his own world. He was competing at the highest level with a relaxed concentration with not more mental exertion than if he was walking his dog.  I saw this in Charlie: a quiet mind.

In my opinion, that was the most outstanding feature of Charlie’s play, bar none.  Here was this little boy, playing in a PGA championship with the big guys. He was as comfortable in the world of adults as I’m sure he is playing in the junior ranks with other pre-teens.  He has the ability, like his Dad, to kick back into this own world fueled by a quiet, focused mind and competitive spirit.

The lesson: If you want to play great golf, you must create an ideal performance state for yourself, which is one of calm concentration.

Champions play from a quiet mind. Check for Charlie!

Charlie loves to create shots. Not one time in the entire time I watched this father-son duo, did Charlie focus on swing-mechanics.  Did you get that?  Not once!  It’s an important observation because working on swing mechanics and playing golf engage two different sides of the brain.  Focusing on swing-mechanics employs more left-brain activity.  Creating shots uses more of your right brain, employing more envisioning and imagining.  Playing golf is a right-brain activity! 

Seeing Charlie envision and set up to hit his now famous fairway shot, drawing around the trees, to set up his eagle, was an impressive right-brain action. Where most players, even some pros I teach, are too stuck in mechanics mode, here is a young tike who is totally free to play!

Lesson:  If you want to be free to play, hit shots, and score, you MUST eliminate thinking about swing-mechanics.

Champions are free to play and create shots.  Check for Charlie!

While this list is not exhaustive, it is instructive.  Each of these practices and mindsets which Charlie exemplifies is teachable.  Every young player can learn these things. You don’t have to have Tiger Woods’ DNA in you to excel.  You can learn what Charlie, the great imitator of his father, does.  You can be a Charlie imitator! 

These exact practices, processes, and mindsets are what I teach in The Champion’s Way: Core Foundations for Achieving Peak Performance in Sports and Life.  Helping competitors develop an ideal performance state of calm concentration, learn to play free, enjoy focused practice, express champion mindsets, and create shots are all foundations of forming the inner core of a champion in an athlete.

We all are jazzed about Charlie Woods, the great imitator of his famed father.  While you may not have the deposit of greatness from Tiger Woods replicating himself into your child, there is good news.  It is completely possible to imitate what Charlie Woods so beautifully exemplifies—the practices and processes of a true champion.  I’ve seen that happen over and over again in my students.

If I you would like to bring out the true champion in your player, please visit my on-line training and reach out to me at truechampionacademy.com for your champion checks!

Special Christmas offering:  Enjoy a $50 off on my 12 Module n-line training: The Champion’s Way.  Use this coupon code:  IMITATOR.  Truechampionacademy.com

Make Daily Waves for Better Scores and Energy

Sometimes the most obvious keys to success both on and off the course remain hidden from view.  Recently, I discovered a key to a competitive junior golfer’s success that is the fundamental building block for success at any age.  For the teenager who is seeking to develop her potential and get the competitive edge, it is crucial. 

It’s the ability to produce energy at will.

Let’s face it, sports are all about skill, both developing it and executing it.  It’s about focus, learning to concentrate, and think like a champion.  It’s about enjoying competing with and against others.  Strategy, knowing your swing, fitness, and a strong work ethic are all keys to performance.

You have to be “all in.”  Competition requires all of you.  It’s intense.  As much as you love the game, it’s so easy to burn out.

I met a young athlete who never burns out.  I was amazed to make this observation about Alex.  Every time I give her something to work on, she works on it and is “all in.”  She has the ability to dive deep into her game, keep pushing her limits, and never needs a break from it.

I began to study her to discover why.  A competitive junior golfer, she is also a competitive cheerleader.  She has a dual passion.  Several times a week she goes to cheerleading practice where she engages with twenty-four other athletes who serve as her social group—her family.

Her coaches push her to her max in each practice.  She told me the other day, “They spend most of their time yelling at us!”  She smiled as she made this remark.  “Cheerleading has produced great strength in me, particularly my legs,” beamed the girl who can hit her drives 270 yards with ease. 

Not only does she have a dual passion in sports, but her sports complement one another.  Cheerleading is all about working together as a team.  It’s social. Golf is singular—independent.  Cheerleading is about expressing yourself with sass.  Golf is about containment.  (However, I have talked to her about putting some more bling on her golf bag!)  I also noticed that the vibe she gets in cheerleading to push to her physical capacity is carried over to her golf game.  As such, Alex is always in a state of high performance in her mentality AND her energy.

Every day she creates waves of stress and recovery as she moves from cheerleading to golf back to cheerleading.  Dr. James Loehr, world class trainer and educator in high performance states, “The key to sustained high performance is not time management, but energy management.”  Stress is anything that takes energy from you.  Recovery is anything that brings energy to you. Intentionally creating intermittent stress-recovery cycles throughout your day empowers you to capture energy at will.

Alex, quite unintentionally, is always expending energy and recapturing energy through the waves she creates between cheerleading and golf.  She fits school somewhere in-between!

When I made this discovery about Alex’s natural lifestyle of energy management, I thought, “She will never regress.  She is always in a state of stress-recovery cycles and high performance.”

We can lean a lot from this 17-year old and praise her parents for giving her permission to pursue both passions as they see how they complement one another.

I have other students who struggle with a singular focus on golf. They are afraid to branch out—or take their eye off the game in fear they will regress.  I hope they will take a cue from Alex and find harmony in exploring other interests along the road to championship.

Why? Because if you don’t have energy—physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy— you can’t do anything!  I highly recommend my new book, The Champion’s Way: Core Foundations for Achieving Peak Performance in Sports and Life to learn more about these four energy zones I refer to as “champion zones.”

That’s why on this Sunday afternoon, I am enjoying writing this article in the corner of a new whole foods market and food bar. Writing is a recovery practice for me.  Then it’s off to the oceanfront for a vigorous walk.  Afterwards, I’ll head to the driving range to thrash some balls in the high heat as this senior player still thinks she is a 17 year old!

Join me.  Make some waves of high performance today!

Veronica Karaman is a performance coach who helps golfers and other competitors to ditch their inner critic and release their true champion within.  She is the founder of truechampionacademy.com where you can find her products and coaching programs. Contact her at veronicakaraman@gmail.com.

Take the Shot!

Recently I was giving a playing lesson to a student of mine.  He came to me frustrated that he could hit the ball a long way, but could not score.  “My friends always out play me and I hit the ball better than they do!” he exclaimed. His ability vs. his results were getting the best of him. 

After he attended my Breakthrough to Your ‘A’ Game workshop, he realized that he needed to master his mental and emotional game.  It wasn’t until I went out on the golf course and watched his mind at work on the course that we discovered the main domino causing his exasperated state.

From the first tee, I could see that he was diligently thinking about his swing as he was setting up to the ball.  It didn’t take me long to share my assessment, “The problem is you are playing from the wrong side of your brain.  Golf is not played from the left brain—it’s played from the right side of your brain.  We have to move you from playing ‘swing’ to playing the game.”

He confessed to me that he had taught himself how to play the game.  I could tell he was a superb learner.  A professional nurse who worked in cardiac, he had to be extremely precise on his job as people’s lives hung in the balance.  He took that precision into his golf, but in the wrong way.

I explored his thinking further.  “Please talk to me out-loud as you set up to this shot.”  He said, “Now I don’t want to go over there.  It’s out of bounds. I don’t want to go over here…if I hit it too long then this is going to happen…”  “STOP!”  I shouted.  “Your problem is you are playing defensive golf.  Golf is not played that way.  You have to play offensive golf!  You have to envision the shot you want to hit and then hit it!” 

We both looked at one another as we discovered his breakthrough revelation.  I continued.  “You were a basketball player in college.  You didn’t play basketball that way, did you?”  “No!” he confessed, “Never.”  Golf is the same way.  When you invoke your imagination and see the shot you want to hit, then you will be playing the game.  It’s time to move from defensive to offensive golf.  Now hit the shot you want to hit on this hole and don’t think about anything else!”

He proceeded to get the correct yardage, ask for my feedback on what club to hit, and then took dead aim on the target.  The ball went sailing right toward the pin. He hit the green!  Turning around to me in utter joy, he exclaimed, “I did it!”  After several more shots just like that, he was all smiles.  “This is FUN!”

All we did is turn his strategy from one of survival on the course to one of executing.  This 90-some shooter, after taking about four mulligan shots, ended up shooting 3 under par for the nine holes.  Amazing!

It was a beautiful thing to see the shift take place in his game and the way he approached it.  Driving home, the revelation that was such a powerful breakthrough, was not only for my student, but for me.  I began to think about how many times I have sabotaged “scoring my best in life,” because I took the defensive posture.  Instead of aligning myself to the shot I wanted to take on my dream, on a career move, or on an idea, I settled for what would get me by.  Just like my student, I ended up with a result that was far below my ability—and I brought unwanted suffering upon myself as a result.

How about you?  How has the Corona virus affected your mindset?  Are you playing small when you need to play big?  Have you pulled back when your heart is saying to go forth?  Is it causing you to bring unnecessary suffering upon yourself? 

While being cautious, I absolutely refuse to let this nasty virus make me play defensive in life.  I took 3 shots I wanted to hit recently.  I moved out of my home, left a job, and wrote a courageous letter to someone I needed to stand up to. Why?  I’m on my way to the game I want to play—envisioning and hitting my shots!

As you tee it up in golf and life today, focus on taking the shot you want to hit.  Take dead aim on it.  That’s what champions do.  I want to be a champion. I believe you do, too.  Take the shot!  Who knows, maybe there is a 3 under par round just waiting for you, too.

If you would like to start calling and hitting your shots in golf or in your life, please reach out to me. We’ll hop on a quick call and see how to release your inner champion! veronica@truechampioncoaching.com.

For performance coaching programs, please visit truechampionacademy.com.

Finding Total Victory on the Road to Championship

I have been playing competitive golf for 55 years. Through the various stages of my life, my approach to the game has taken on many transformations. My recent championship, the Tennessee Senior Women’s Open, proved to be yet another enlightening experience on my road to championship.

It was so different than the first time I made a road-trip to play in a big championship. I was 15 years old, a young whipper-snapper who was bent on winning. It didn’t matter that it was my first tournament away from home and I should have been satisfied with the experience of playing in a national competition. It didn’t matter that this was my first road trip with my mother and that creating a fun memory with her was a good aim. I just wanted to win!

After I shot a horrifying 100 in my first round, all I wanted to do is leave. Mad that I didn’t win, I made my mom get in the car and make the five-hour drive home from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh immediately after my round. I could not see that there is much victory between a winning and losing score.

Forty-six years later, I have learned that no matter what you score, you can achieve total victory on the road to championship.

While I now help others become champions as a performance coach, I thought it would be good to tee it up myself. Over the years, I have learned and taught that the mental-emotional state in which you play is even more important than your skill level. In order to reach peak performance, you have to create an Ideal Performance State of total positivity and calm concentration.

I’ve also learned and taught that identity is the key missing ingredient in high performance. You are not a champion because you win a trophy. You are a champion based on who you are. Helping others connect their head and their heart with the truest part of themselves, empowers a player to play from victory. They play from a high sense of self-belief in their heart.

As I headed to Tennessee, I packed my bags along with all the dynamics of the inner game that I live, breathe, and teach. While I have not played a lot golf, I had victory in my spirit.

One of the challenges of playing golf in Tennessee in the summer is the high probability of rain. This time around, the rain and thunderstorms were constant. The first day we had a four-hour rain delay. I didn’t tee off until after 4 pm! Come the 16th hole, we were playing with the fire flies and all the chirping night sounds. My focus and ability to read the greens was stellar. My ball had a little GPS system on it—I made putts from everywhere! I was leading the TN Senior Women’s Open by 5 shots after the first round!

The next day I had to get up at 4:45 to finish my round. Due to three bad nights of sleep from a noisy hotel, I was very tired. My mind was so tired I could not focus. A total turn-around from the day before, the wheels came off. I topped 3 balls into the water on my drive on one hole, ending up with an 11! I ended up losing 14 shots to the eventual winner.

While my emotions felt a letdown for about fifteen minutes, my spirit rose up. I thought, “It’s just a score and nothing more.” It came again, this time with a little melody, “It’s just a score, and nothing more. I play free. I have the victory.”

Unlike my 15 year old self, I did not feel the sting of defeat for more than a moment. All I felt was victory. Victory in winning the first day. Victory in defeat my second day—why? Because my worth has NOTHING to do with my score.

Neither does yours. Whether you are playing in the US Kids, the National High School Team Championship, or any other competition, my encouragement to you is to PLAY FREE. You don’t have to wait 46 years to discover this reality. You can discover it on the road to championship today.

Enjoy your entire experience. Embrace your family and friends—all the relationships that come your way. “To enter” is to win. And most of all, know that your priceless worth as a person has nothing to do with your score! That’s total victory.

If you would like some help for yourself or your competitive junior golfer and are in the Orlando area, please join me on Friday, August 21st, for a one day Breakthrough to Your ‘A’ Game workshop at Red Tail Golf Club in Sorrento, Florida.

More info here: redtailgc.com/instruction.

Hope to see you there!

Veronica Karaman is the founder of truechampionacademy.com, a performance coaching practice on-line and in person and the author of The Champion’s Way: Core Foundations to Achieving Peak Performance in Sports and Life, available on Amazon.com. You can contact her at: veronicakaraman@gmail.com

Taking Flight from Defeat: The Aftermath of my US Open Qualifying Letdown

“I was never afraid to fail or to push my limits because I always came home to love.”  Tiger Woods

These words spoken by Tiger framed my experience today at the Senior Women’s U.S. Open Qualifier. I did not qualify. Two bad holes cost me several shots and a qualifying spot.  It was a hard but glorious day.

First, about hard:  I have been working diligently on my swing changes over the last four months to eliminate an extra move that causes me to be inconsistent.  The proof of making such a change only comes under pressure.  Can you perform the shot under pressure?  Today, the answer is: not yet.  While I hit many great shots, the several errant shots cost me dearly—which is what I have been trying to eliminate.

I played with Jackie Gallagher, at 17 year LPGA tour veteran.  She was much younger than I. While we hit the ball the same distance, which made me proud, she was much more consistent in her swing.  She made the cut while I did not.

On the practice green in the morning, I made just about every putt from every distance. It was remarkable. The greens on the course, however, were very different—slower and the grass not as slick.  I had a few too many 3 putts, something I normally do not have.  So there you have it.

The hardest part was putting a full focus on achieving this goal over the last four months. Because the tournament is in Pinehurst, where I lived for six years, and is going to be on the course where I took Mom to play her first round of golf at 85, it would be especially meaningful for me to go. It would be a “full circle” kind of event. But real in my dream did not turn out to be real in my experience.

Now, for glorious:  I am always seeking to know what it means to live in the Kingdom of God.  This experience was a different kind of expression of the Kingdom, perhaps the most poignant and vivid.  Yesterday, I was not planning on playing a practice round, but connected with my friend, Carole, who is a sister in the Lord and fellow competitor, not to mention wonderful Caddy Club member! We met in a thunderstorm during the Tennessee Women’s Open about 15 years ago.  The entire field was sequestered in the golf shop for three days of off and on thunderstorms.  We became life-long friends in that thunderstorm.

I decided to play nine holes with Carole. When we got in, I saw Meredith, my competition partner who is also a fellow believer.  The timing was right for the three of us to connect and go to dinner.  It was a spontaneous moment. We enjoyed a marvelous Mediterranean meal with great fellowship.  It became obvious to me that just as important as the competition was the experience of true friendship. The exchange was beautiful.

Today on the first tee, I saw Carole standing on the sidelines cheering me on as I teed off. On the course, my playing partner, Jackie and I enjoyed one another’s company immensely.  She, too, is a fellow believer.  Her eleven year old son, Sully, caddied for the first time. My caddy and new friend, Jerry, was spectacular in his outstanding service, encouragement, and friendship. He insisted on treating everybody to lunch afterwards.  His generosity and heart-felt engagement in my game was touching.  His wife, Sally, also joined us.

I share all this to emphasize my initial quote from Tiger Woods.  God wanted me to be surrounded by love in the midst of my defeat. He wanted me to know, again, that defeat is swallowed up in love.  To so dedicate my mind, body, and spirit to a goal which I did not achieve and be immersed in the love of God throughout via true friendship, was a notable experience in the Kingdom—as well as a pronounced descriptive of what the Kingdom of God is all about:  friendships! 

Now for the best part and what you can learn from this, too:  The culmination of my experience took place after lunch which had to do with emotionally processing and completing a competition expeditiously.

While sitting at lunch, surrounded by friends, I felt free to let the tears of “performance letdown” flow.  When you are fully engaged in a competition and experience defeat, you have to express the emotions.  To do so in the presence of love and acceptance is the best place to “let it go.”  I allowed myself to feel the full brunt of the disappointment and defeat.  I always say, “Emotions have to be completed—fully released—in order to go on to the next competition.”  The laughter and banter around the table helped  buoy me up.

Here’s the supernatural aspect of processing a competition:  While I was sitting and waiting for the full results to come in, I received a text from one of my Caddy Club Members #8, asking me how I did. When I told him, he responded with, “Your best days are ahead of you.”  He preceded it with “Flight taking off.” I thought at first he was saying, “You’re taking flight, Veronica.”  I didn’t realize he was talking about his getting on a plane!  But too late! I took it to mean, “I’m taking off—and my best days are ahead of me.”  It was just enough of a perspective shift to get me jolted out of my emotional rift because it made me think FORWARD AND FUTURE in the MIDST of all the feelings of my defeat.

It reminded me of Mary at the tomb of Jesus.  As she was crying, peering into the tomb, she was looking for the live amongst the dead. Jesus was no longer in the tomb!  All of a sudden, He appears to her as the gardener, behind her, and asks her, “Why are you crying? For whom are you looking?”  She was looking for Jesus, thinking that somebody had taken him away.  Then He calls her name, “Mary!”  She recognizes him as Jesus and her entire emotional state changes in an instant!  In order for her to go from crying to rejoicing, she had to have a change of perspective. She had to turn her head from looking in the tomb to looking up and turning around.

That’s what was beginning to happen to me in the text sent to me.  Here was my thought process after my round before the comment in my friend’s text pinged my perspective:  “It is going to take several days to process this. I think I am going to take some time off. This is too hard and I am not seeing the fruit of my hard work.  If I spend some time at the ocean, if I am all teared up, at least people will think I was in the water! Boo hoo hoo!”

When I got into my car, I immediately called my performance coach and long-time friend, Jon, who took my perspective change to an entirely new level and full completion.

Please take note of the steps Jon used me with as a Master Coach.  If any of you have children, or even employees, trust me, this is the most empowering thing you can do for someone engaged in achieving a goal who falls short.

“Jon, I did not qualify.”

“Veronica, I am so proud of you!  You did your very best. You entered the competition—you competed!” 

He affirmed my worth totally separate from my score (1)

He validated and elevated my identity. (2) 

“Veronica, you are a pro golfer.  Do you know what pro golfers do? Pro golfers compete in tournaments.  You love to compete, right?”

I said to myself, “I am a lot of things other than a pro golfer.  I think of myself as a pro golfer somewhere down the list, but okay.”   “Yes, Jon, I do love to compete.”

He immediately directed me forward and literally inserted me into my future, compelling me to TAKE ACTION.”  (3)

“Then go find another tournament to compete in.”

“Well, I signed up for the US Open Qualifier, but that’s the grueling one.  36 holes in one day.  I was only going to play in that to be a preparation for the Senior US Open. Now that I did not make it, I was thinking of withdrawing from that tournament. Should I still compete in it?”

“What do I have to do, put my shoe through the phone?”

I BURST OUT LAUGHING.  At that precise moment, all the disappointment and let down IMMEDIATELY BROKE OFF OF ME.  I have absolutely no disempowering emotions still in me. They are completely gone! Halleluiah!

In speaking the TRUTH IN LOVE to me, in the space of less than 5 minutes, Jon helped me see my performance as NOT AN SINGULAR EVENT, but A CONTINUUM, an expression of WHO I AM and WHAT I LOVE TO DO.  BOOM!  It was SO POWERFUL.  So I guess I am taking flight.  Flapping my wings again for no other reason than I love to compete and I love to win, even if it is over a spirit of defeat. This was not my intention to have this sort of win, but who knows?  Maybe for right now, I need to affirm that I may be more like Tiger Woods than I thought.

It is true:  I am not afraid to fail or to push my limits because today, I came home to love. And in that knowledge, I can rest and be comforted.  Thank you to each of you who have played a part in my journey into competition and into the Kingdom.  This time I learned the Kingdom is about true friendships.

It is well with my soul!                                                                                                                              Until next time, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and into the Hole We Go!”

If you are interested in learning more about love-based performance coaching, please check out my program at:   jointhechampionsway.com.

 

Release Your Inner Champion – Beginner Golf School for Women, Friday, April 26th

  Veronica Karaman’s Release Your Inner Champion!                                                                                Beginner Golf School for Women

 Join us for an unforgettable day of golf, learning, networking, and leadership growth              Unleash your personal power both on and off the course!

 Friday, April 26                                                                                                                                 Casselberry Golf Club,  300 S Triplet Lake Dr.                                                                               8:00 am – 1 pm

This is a perfect one day fun intensive for beginners and those who need mentoring in the fundamentals.

  8:00-11:00 am   Instruction in Putting, Chipping, and the Full Swing                                                                          How to practice with a purpose                                                                     11:00-11:30        Champion Mindset Training: Ditch Your Inner Critic and Release Your                                        True  Champion!                                                                                                     11:30-12:30        Getting on the Course with Confidence:  An on-course challenge match       12:30-1:00          Debriefing Session and Concluding Remarks

** The week before:  You will receive two on-line video lessons on the grip and set-up

If you are looking to build relationships with other professional women, grow in your confidence, and develop your golf game, this day is for you!

Early bird Fee before April 15:  $229   Regular fee from April 15 on: $239     Student-teacher ratio 6 to 1

Fee includes:  5 hours of instruction plus 2 pre-school video lessons on the grip and set-up, gift, prizes, Instruction notes 

Contact Veronica Karaman for more info and to sign-up:  veronica@truechampioncoaching.com    757-407-1907 

 

 

Veronica is a high performance coach, professional golfer, and founder of The Champion’s Way:  Core Foundations for Achieving Peak Performance in Sports and Life, 2017 TN Senior Women’s Open Champ 

                                                       

What others are saying:

Veronica has an amazing gift of communication and reaching out to others. E. Beisiegel, LPGA Tour Player

After 30 years of playing the game, someone named Veronica finally turned the light-bulb on!  She is a great teacher.  Rosalie P.

I just had my first lesson with Veronica.  What a great lady and a very good teacher.  She can really pinpoint your problem and tell you how to correct it.  I was so impressed with her as a person and an instructor.  Janet W.

 Veronica is gifted with an ability to relate to people of various ages and skill levels.  She has a real flare for teaching.   Nora M.

I felt very good after our session today and feel I’m on the right path – thanks to you. Kathy W.

I improved 10 strokes in 9 holes, and even had a natural birdie as a 28 handicapper!  I made significant advances in my golf game in just one day, thanks to Veronica’s teaching.  Becky P.

Veronica is very upbeat and explains everything to our group in a clear and interesting way.  I felt she was interested in us as individuals.  She was warm, caring, and I learned many good ideas on how to improve my game.  M. P. Carl

I just wanted to let you know that your lessons are working!!! On Tuesday we played in the Founder’s Day Tournament and I won it with a low net of 69! My net score was the only one below par. Lori A.

I just love golf! Your ears should be itching because I’m constantly saying “Thank you Veronica” while I’m on the course!  Peggy F.

I wanted to thank you for something in addition to my swing improvements: I love playing golf again; I  get such a joy from playing that hasn’t been there in years, thanks to you.  KC S., USGA Rules Official

 

A Wild Golf Story!

“God, I need a blessing today!  Please bless me today!” I woke up screaming out this prayer after taking a much-needed nap.   After returning home to my new apartment from an early morning meeting, I was having a tough time functioning.  I was sleep deprived from a month’s struggle to sleep through the night from the unexpected noise from the nearby interstate. Feeling like a zombie, I had to stop and recapture a measure of rest.  My brain was fried and I could not function anymore.  Something had to give.  I desperately needed some recovery.

After I sent up my cry, I got up immediately and checked my phone.  My friend, Jeffry, had sent me a text.  “Veronica, I felt impressed to spend the day with you. I’ve canceled all my appointments.  Are you free to get together?”  Huh.  I called him and we decided to meet at Panera Bread in Winter Park.

“Veronica, I wanted to follow-up with you on your need for a caddy for the Senior Women’s U.S. Open Qualifier.  As someone who went to school to be a golf pro, I’d love to do that for you.” We talked about doing a “test run” to see how we would jive together.  I mentioned to him, “There’s a skins game with some guys from the Golf Channel at the Winter Park Golf Course at 3:30.  I’ve never played in it, but it sounds like fun.  Knowing that it is a little competition, we could do our ‘test run’ there this afternoon.  However, I’m not sure I want to pay a green fee and 20 bucks for the game the way I am feeling. We looked at one another, smiled, and said, “Let’s go!”

As we headed out of Panera, Jeffrey looked across the street to his favorite restaurant, Boca, and declared, “We are going to win the skins game, take the winnings, and come back here for dinner!”  “You go, boy!  You call that shot!” I replied. We chuckled about his golf prophecy and headed on over to the course.

 

 

It was a beautiful day to walk the nine hole course.  I was paired with two nice guys and Cara, a host for the Golf Channel.  I didn’t play great, but birdied holes #2 and #3.  I was hoping I would win a skin on hole #2.  (A skin is when you get a score lower than everyone else but only if you are the only one with that score. If two people birdie a hole, there is no skin awarded.)

 

Jeffry was great at reading the greens and we had a good flow going between us.  Once in, I anxiously awaited for the results.No one in the group in front of us birdied #2 or won a skin.  One more group was after us.  One guy had five birdies, but did not win a skin because there were others who also birdied the same holes!  I was the only one who birdied #2. Not only did I win a skin, I was the ONLY one who won a skin! I won all the money!”  My winnings totaled $200!!  Total victory!  Jeffry and I looked at one another and laughed!  “You called the shot, brother!  Your declaration came true!”  Jeffry exclaimed, “That’s just the start for things to come!  Total victory, Veronica!”  “Let’s head on over to Boca for dinner and fulfill your prophecy!” I replied.

We had a delicious dinner at Boca. We spoke about the power of our words, how we can declare things and they can happen.  I couldn’t help but think of my cry earlier that day.  Only God knew what I needed to get out of my funk—a fun day on the course where I cleared my head, found my caddy, and cleaned up in the winnings!

As we headed out to the car, I said to Jeffry, “Just think, this is just the beginning of many more fun dinners at Boca with our future winnings!”  Jeffry made sure to make one more declaration: “You are going to sleep tonight, Veronica!”  While I trusted that declaration would come to pass as well, I left knowing one thing for sure:  I was going to use the rest of my winnings to get my hair highlighted!”

It was a spectacular day–and one wild golf story to add to my journey on the road to championship.

P.S.  I had the best night sleep since moving into my apartment!

“And without faith it is impossible to please God.  He who comes to God must believe He exists and is a rewarder of them that diligent seek him.”  (Hebrews 11:6)

The Championship Mentality

“I have to be realistic,” my champion wanna-be client confessed to me.  She made this comment as we were winding down a coaching session in which I was helping to prepare her for an upcoming big golf championship.

She had just won her club championship by a milestone.  Hitting the ball the best ever in a long time, her confidence was sky high.  For the first time, she was learning to focus on the target and not her swing during competition.  The result was a quieter mind and more focused concentration.  Fitness-wise, she was very strong, having committed to a regular exercise routine.  I could tell that she was now in a position to open up her mind to a whole new possibility—one of winning the national championship she was about to enter.

“But I have to be realistic,” she said again when I confronted her limiting belief.  “Realistic?” I said.  “Champions don’t focus on what is realistic, which is all about staying in the box of what already is.  Champions focus on creating a new reality by breaking through the limits of possibility.  That’s why they are called champions. They open their minds to new possibilities. They go to the edge of their capacities. They push through what is to create what can be. Do you want to be a champion?”  “Yes.”  “Then let’s spend some time writing down what is MOST TRUE for you and 25 reasons why you believe you now deserve to be in the winner’s circle. The idea is to expand what is possible for you based on what is most true right now.”

This one exercise of connecting the head and the heart fuses a person’s belief system and leverages her identity it to a whole new level.  The focus is not on what is realistic, but on what is MOST TRUE. It took her some time to identify her most true reasons. When the list was completed, she was pleasantly shocked on what she read.  A few of her “why I deserve to be in the winners’ circle” reasons are as follows:

  1. My limiting beliefs are dissolving.
  2. I am strong.
  3. I just slayed the field in my club championship.
  4. I’m learning how to successfully focus on target and not my swing while in competition.
  5. I’m opening up my life to the fullness of experience and enjoyment that is awaiting me.
  6. My confidence is sky high.
  7. I discovered an effective swing thought that is empowering my swing.
  8. The timing is perfect for a peak performance.

When we finished with all 25, I had her declare them out loud.  The power that came out of her as she read them was remarkable.  When done, all I could exclaim was “Praise the Lord!”  She agreed, joining me with her own, “Praise the Lord!”  We laughed.  Now she was in her upcoming championship at the cellular level.  All her energy—her mind, her body, her emotions and her spirit—were in “go’ mode.  She is now “all in” her championship well before it happens. I further encouraged her to declare her reasons out loud several times a day to get them into her subconscious mind with even more certainty.

“You just upgraded your champion identity based on what is most true for you,” I summed up for her.  “Now you will go play in that championship from the CENTER of who you are as a champion. This is your most powerful self—and when you play from this “inside-out” place—you have already won.  Now go give it your all and let the chips fall where they may.  You are now playing from victory. Regardless of the result, you have positioned yourself for a peak performance and it is going to happen.”

The coaching conversation itself was a peak performance experience.  I, too, left feeling like I was doing what I was created to do—empowering people to tap into their championship mentality—to position themselves to perform from their highest self. I wish to reach more with this empowering training.

To learn more, visit jointhechampionsway.com.  Reach out to me at veronica@truechampioncoaching.com to set up a strategy session.

 

 

 

 

4 Comeback Keys You Can Learn from Tiger Woods’ PGA Championship

Yesterday was an amazing day of watching Tiger Woods almost win.  Actually, that is not a true statement.  While he did not take home the PGA Championship, Tiger Woods did win big.  There’s nothing like seeing a champion make a comeback after debilitating setback in his personal and professional life.

Beyond the golf world, the entire sports world was cheering him on as he inspired the inner champion in all of us.  His play was a visible demonstration of what the human spirit is capable of achieving even after the most notable loss.  How does Tiger Woods’ journey of champion redemption speak to the heart of a champion in you and me?  How does Tiger’s journey help someone who has experienced setback shift from spectator to player once again?  Consider 4 P’s to step back inside the ropes of championship after loss:

  1. Tiger acknowledged his pain. He didn’t deny it, but worked through it.  He dealt with it and refused to let it cause him to quit.  In his press interview, he mentioned how painful it was—harder than one would imagine—his journey to comeback was.  Part of that pain was taking ownership of his present limitation.  Since no one had ever swung a club like he did with having a spinal fusion, he had to figure some things out for himself and by himself.  If he had run from the pain, he never would have figured it out.

Champion Comeback Key #1:  Don’t run, hide or deny your pain.  Start with your pain and face it straight on.

  1. The road to comeback doesn’t happen all at once.  He commented that he did not know if he could play golf again.  In the time of “not knowing,” it required great patience for him to journey down the road of discovery—and not care what people thought about his “testing and trying,” giving competitive golf a shot again, taking time off, figuring out if he could re-capture his swing speed and game in the midst of his physical challenges.  A year ago, he never thought he would be in contention again for not one, but two major championships.

Champion Comeback Key #2:  Give yourself time and patience as you take steps forward to discover your comeback potential and what you are capable of achieving.

  1. About winning the PGA Championship and being in contention, he said numerous times, “I had to try.” He had to try to win. He had to try to shoot a low score. He had to try to see what he was capable of. He had to try to find a swing the final day. I often say to my coaching clients, “You can’t win if you don’t enter.”  The biggest win sometimes is just entering.  By entering, over and over again, Tiger Woods gave himself a chance to win.  Let’s face it. He had every reason to rationalize quitting:  “I have enough money and accomplishments.  It’s time to focus on raising my kids exclusively. What will people think of me? I need to play it safe and guard my back. If I don’t what I can do, why risk the unknown? It’s too painful and strenuous to try again.”  He put himself in a position to win because he chose to “be in pursuit” instead of quitting.

Champion Comeback Key #3:  Take inspired imperfect action.  Get off the couch and be in pursuit.

  1. Over and over again, he spoke about perspective:  “I’m grateful to be able to play again.  I didn’t know if I could….My kids aren’t thinking about my golf.  They are thinking about school, so that’s all that I am talking to them about….The positive vibes from the crowd were tremendous.” It was a beautiful sight to see Tiger stop for a moment and acknowledge the crowds on his way to the scoring tent.  He got that his energy was fueled by the crowd’s energy.  He then went on to hug Brooks for his win.  He was hopeful he would play in the Ryder Cup. In both words and humble demeanor, the re-emerging Tiger Woods expressed a holistic viewpoint on competition and life. It was now all in perspective. I often say, “Wholeness is a combination of performance and relationship.”  You could see an expression of both from him.

Champion Comeback Key #4:  Pain and setback will produce a new perspective in you.  Capture and live out that healthy viewpoint as you get back on the road to championship.

While you may never play in a major championship, you don’t have to remain a spectator in sports or life. Maybe you have experienced a setback in your own life, one that has produced shame, pain, loss, and limitation.  That same champion spirit in Tiger Woods, applied to your life, will get you back on the road to championship as well.  Why?  Because I believe there is a champion in everyone. I believe there is a champion in you!

To review, here are the 4 P’s to releasing your comeback potential, expressed from a place of identity:

  1. Champions face their pain head on.
  2. Champions take full ownership of their condition and patiently engage in the process of incremental discovery over time.
  3. Champions never quit. They pursue. They know the only way to get through a failed championship—in life or sports—is to enter another championship.
  4. Champions have a holistic perspective on life, sport, and “what it’s all about.” They have a healthy balance of performance and vital relationships.

Adopt these 4 Champion Comeback Keys and who knows where you’ll end up—maybe in contention for a major championship.  Like Tiger Woods, you’ll be saying about yourself, “It’s a miracle!”

Veronica Karaman is a peak performance coach, pro golfer, and writer who loves to inspire the champion within others. (Visit jointhechampionsway.com or reach her at veronicakaraman@gmail.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Road to Championship: The Sting of Subtraction– NOT!

I stood in the fairway, mad as hell. Yep, it’s true. I, who rarely experience a “risen anger,” couldn’t hold the emotion back. I was in the middle of a championship qualifier. I wanted to make it–and now I had to to contend with an outside factor that I hadn’t planned on: my caddy giving me wrong yardage. What the #$@#!?

It happened numerous times. It’s the last thing I needed in the moment of pressure. A wrong calculation–he subtracted when he should have added. Then I had to do the calculations myself. It made me mad because the last thing I needed to give energy to was to oversee “incorrect calculations.” His inaccuracy led to my anger which led to poor shotmaking–his emotions rose up, too–calm gave way to anger which led to poor shotmaking which gave way to a score 11 shots higher than my previous round. If he had just added instead of subtracted—the result would have contributed to my advancing, rather than to a defeat.

The sting of subtracting when you should be adding—that thought hit me hard as I read something that had nothing to do with golf, but how we make decisions about our lives. Many times in the heat of a pressured situation, we decide to subtract instead of add. Many times we are not even conscious of the DIRECTION OF OUR DECISION. We make a decision based on survival, what keeps us safe, rather than on adding which makes us grow. We honor a limiting belief which subtracts us, keeping us stuck, rather than on pursuing a dream, which adds to us. We remain silent in a conflict, which subtracts from our connection, rather than speaking the truth in love, which adds to us. We judge when we should be open. We run when we should stand. We wait to be acted upon rather than acting. We listen to others voices rather than our own–and as a result, we lose when we could win. STOP THE MADNESS!!

What are you subtracting from your life that you should be adding/multiplying? What are you losing as a result of the direction of your decision? If you want to move forward, make the kind of choice that will ADD to your life, not SUBTRACT.

I was further convicted by reading a very insightful post by someone who some consider to be prophetic. Here is an excerpt from Nate Johnson:

“There is a word that keeps being illuminated in my spirit for weeks now: MULTIPLY. I kept hearing it as a command from the Holy Spirit: Multiply, multiply, multiply. Multiply means to cause to increase greatly in number or quantity, and in Hebrew means increase, abundance, enlarge, and greatness.

“Adam and Eve were told to be fruitful and multiply. Abraham was told to multiply and become the father of many nations. Jacob grew and multiplied. Even in captivity in Egypt, Israel grew and multiplied…Job who lost everything then found himself not only restored but MULTIPLIED.”

“Being a multiplier” is in the very nature of God. Since you are made in His image, you have the ability and capacity inside of you to ADVANCE–to ADD GREATLY—and not to SUBTRACT and DIMINISH.

Then I thought about how God must feel when He wants us to make decisions that will advance His agenda and His kingdom in our lives and we don’t take action. He must get angry, just like I did on the course because He wants to succeed in His agenda, but needs you and I to come into alignment with His purposes and to step out and trust Him in the process.

If you are in a place wanting to advance your life, step back and consider how you make your decisions. Will that decision and the way you make it ADD to you or SUBTRACT from you. If you will make the decision that will multiply you, you are on the road to championship! You will win!

When I was challenged to share my story of my competitive journey, and invite others in to my journey, it was a decision that added to my life. I have been so blessed by the affirmations and validations I received regarding my writing and the inspiration it has brought to others. Even in my defeat, I was added unto, as a result of my own decision. There’s a win awaiting you–just make the decision to ADD–to MULTIPLY. Make it a MULTIPLYING DECISION. It is there you will find the blessing of God! It’s time to say good-bye to shrinking thinking–and WIN!

(P.S. I have processed my on course experience and only share from a place of story-telling to make a larger point, and to multiply an inner win for others.)