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 firstname.lastname@example.org.