Men’s golf team takes unique approach to mental training
Beyond the course and the weight room, the CU Men’s Golf team is taking their approach towards golf to an entirely different level.
Starting this year, the team has switched up their practice routines. Instead of just hitting balls or doing some putting, the players are exchanging fierce glances as they compete against one another for the ultimate prize – sleeping in on Friday mornings.
Coach Roy Edwards came up with the idea at the start of the season to divide the men’s team in two: one deemed black, the other gold. The purpose of having two individual teams is to simulate the competition the players face in tournament play and help them mentally prepare, Edwards said.
“There is no sport where mental training is so important. Confidence plays a huge role in (the team’s success),” Edwards said. “The black and gold idea keeps the team competitive and confident.”
The two teams compete in mini events every day at practice. From 18 holes of putting to chipping from tough lies, the players duke it out for their chance at a little extra rest.
The loser has an extra cardio session in the weight room at 6:30 a.m. Friday, senior golfer Pat Grady said.
Mental training is nothing new to golf. More professionals are incorporating mind and confidence training into their routines. That acted as the inspiration for the new form of training, Grady said.
“This is a straight copy from Stanford. They won the national championship and we decided hell, if it’s working for them, why not?” Grady said.
Stanford Assistant Coach Matt Tight said it wasn’t a formal practice that their team engages in.
“We don’t necessarily split the team in two,” Tight said. “We do have various practices, and there is sometimes informal competition amongst the team.”
Tight added he has not heard of any other team taking the competition to such a level, but it did appear to be a good idea. It looks as if the idea could be attributed to coach Edwards.
The team seems to be reaping the success of their new practice routine, having gathered its first win in two years at last week’s Louisiana Classics.
Apart from tournament scores, however, the team is beginning to really feel the effects of mental preparation, Grady said.
“It puts more emphasis on your practice, and it makes you focus and try harder at practice, so I think it leads to lower tournament scores” Grady said.
Players are gathering the confidence they need from the little victories the weekly competitions afford them, junior golfer Derek Tolan said.
“I’m working on trusting (my swing),” Tolan said. “It definitely helps.”
The benefits of the training emerge from a heightened confidence and less worrying, Edwards said. As the team heads to the Western Intercollegiate March 26-27, they’re secure in their mental preparation.
“We try to get them to only be worried about things they have control over,” Edwards said. “We give them a positive outlook so it’s not, ‘I hit a bad shot, I’m going to hit another.'”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Kyle L. Haas at firstname.lastname@example.org.