Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘LPGA

There’s an old Yiddish Proverb that says: Mit ein kinder compt mazel. When translated, means “With each (newborn) child, comes luck.” But is it luck or are there mysterious unexplained powers at work that actually create the good luck. I have found, after conducting experiential self-esteem building workshops for many years, there’s a strong correlation between high feelings of self-worth, when an individual’s life is in harmony, and that individual’s ability to create positive events in his or her life.

And the opposite is also true. When individuals have a low sense of self-worth, and their lives are not in harmony, they will actually create negative events in their lives.

A low sense of self-worth is brought about when we withhold our feelings, when we lie or tell half-truths, when we cheat others, and when we allow unresolved issues to hover above us like a dark cloud. A low sense of self-worth can also be a manifestation of not having been loved and nurtured as a child.

But we can break the chain and enhance our lives! It takes time and hard work; there’s no such thing as a quick fix. Here are two examples of how the process works:

Professional women athletes who take a maternity break from their sport, have their baby, and then return to their sport, will almost always experience enhanced performance. One needs only to follow the LPGA, WNBA and female Track & Field athletes to see this power of the universe at work.

Here’s an example from a negative perspective: The untimely death of John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife Carolyn Bissette and her sister Lauren. Their lives were not working and there was anything but harmony in their relationship. Carolyn was allegedly having an affair and doing drugs. John was experiencing anguish and a state of confusion over his troubled marriage, his failing magazine, and the recent news that his best friend and cousin, Tony Radziwill, was near death with testicular cancer.

Good things will happen to you beginning the day you are born providing you come from a loving, nurturing family. And you don’t withhold your feelings and emotions.

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Here’s a great example of how, when athletes are happy and their lives are in harmony, an unseen power seems to take over and propels them to a championship. Such was the case today watching James Hahn win the PGA Northern Trust Open in a playoff. Hahn drained a 25-footer on the final hole for a birdie. After things settled down, he was interviewed and first thing he mentioned was how happy he was that he and his wife were expecting a new baby girl in three weeks. In the LPGA, it’s not unusual to see a professional golfer take a break, have a baby, then return to the tour and immediately start winning. This is in line with the Psycho Self-Imagery theory that says when you’re happy and your life is in harmony you create positive events in your life, on and off the field of competition.

For those of you who follow my column know that I believe there’s a relationship between an athlete’s feelings of self-worth (self-esteem) and performance. Regarding the US Open, it’s my opinion that Phil Mickelson’s trip to attend his daughter’s eighth-grade graduation enhanced his own feelings of self-worth and his game. Athletes who are happy and whose lives are in harmony perform close to their skill levels on a consistent basis. Women in the LPGA who take a break and have a baby often return to the tour and start winning tournaments.

On the negative side, as soon as Tiger Woods publicly accepts Sergio’s apology and gives vent to his anger his game will kick in. When athletes are angry, they give away their power. I’m surprised Lindsey Vonn, Tiger’s significant other (who has a strikingly similar appearance to two of Tiger’s past significant others – all statuesque blonds who were highly intelligent – one of whom he married) does not kick some sense into his head and encourage him to resolve his issue with Sergio. He had a chance, when they shook hands, but said not a word. By accepting Sergio’s apology he would be doing it for himself, not Sergio.

I believe in order for any golfer to win the Masters he must first and foremost have the skill level to win. But once he has the skill level, there are other factors (especially mental factors) that can affect performance. Here are just two of them that, from my perspective, were responsible for Bubba Watson taking home that green jacket:

Number one, he was happy and his life was in harmony. In the field of golf, it’s not uncommon for members of the LPGA to take a maternity break, have a baby, and when they return they find their golf game has risen to a new level and they suddenly begin winning tournaments. (Just ask Juli Inkster and I’m sure she will confirm this.) In Bubba’s case, just two weeks before the Masters he and his wife Angie adopted a one month old baby boy and named him Caleb. “It’s a blessing. To go home to my new son will be a lot of fun,” Watson said. “Golf isn’t everything for me. If I would have lost today, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. To win is awesome, but I’ll go back to real life next week. I still haven’t changed a diaper.”

And number two, he was “excelling for a higher order.” Bubba was helped by the memory of his late father, Gerry, who died of throat cancer on October 15, 2010. According to USA Today: “Watson has thrown himself into the cause of finding a cure for cancer, which is why one of the biggest hitters on the PGA Tour uses a pink driver with a pink shaft. He also wore pink trim on the all-whites he wore every day of the Masters.”  When you help others less fortunate than yourself, you enhance your feelings of self-worth, thereby enhancing your performance.  As the poet John Bright wrote: “Find yourself a cause, not a resting place.  You may not do much for the cause, but the cause will do much for you.”

Combining the adoption of a new son with the memory of his late father had a powerful positive effect on his performance.

But she’ll be back, and here’s why. When Lorena tearfully announced that she was retiring from active play on Friday, April 23rd, 2010, she said that she was retiring in order to look after her charity foundation, and also, and more importantly, she plans to raise a family (having married Andres Conesa, Aeromexico’s chief executive, last December.) For those of you who follow my column know that I am a strong believer that when an athlete’s life is in harmony, when they are happy, when they are helping others less fortunate than themselves, and when they have a high sense of “inner self” as Lorena does, they actually create positive events in their lives on and off the field of competition. I call this process “Psycho Self-Imagery.” In the field of golf, it’s not uncommon for members of the LPGA to take a maternity break, have a baby, and when they return they find their golf game has risen to a new level and they suddenly begin winning tournaments. (Just ask Juli Inkster and I’m sure she will confirm this.) Lorena has stated that she still plans to play in her own tournament each November in Guadalajara (The Lorena Ochoa Invitational) and when she does, that first tournament after the birth of her first baby, watch for her score to be lower than ever before. Maybe even 54, which means a birdie on every hole. Leona, along with Ai Miyazato and others, subscribe to Vision 54, a group of young women who believe making 18 birdies in a round (thus shooting 54 on a part 72 course) is absolutely doable. And Lorena has a great opportunity to achieving this since, according to her website, she likes the challenge of “managing your mind.”


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