I thought I hated golf.
Fine, I never exactly hated it, but as my family was obsessed with it, I didn’t play it. Just out of principle. Like I never “learned” how to drink coffee.
10 years ago I got bored and started hitting golf balls at the range. I heard clapping – my parents had seen me hitting 50 m. They told me I was great, that I should give golf a try. I said no, “golf is just not my thing.”
Even if I secretly enjoyed it.
10 years passed. When I went home few weeks ago, there was a bit of tension. My mom had a golf tournament coming up and felt like she wasn’t improving despite all the effort. On top of it, my dad had filmed her the day before to show her what she didn’t do right. She was annoyed and said she saw no difference. My dad was sulking, because she didn’t want to listen.
“Aha,” I thought, “I can try a bit of my coaching skills here!”
I asked my mom about her goal, what she already had done, and ideas how she thought she could improve her game. After a while she reluctantly said that maybe watching the video again would help. This time she listened what my dad had to say and saw what she did wrong.
“But there’s no way she’ll listen when we’re playing. She’s as stubborn as you,” my dad mumbled.
To prove him wrong, I forgot my “hate for golf” and did a deal with my mom: I went to play with them the next day open minded, willing to listen to my dad’s instructions. I had to show my mom how to receive feedback or I would have no credibility.
It was tough, but in 20 min I was hitting the ball 100 m. Oh the joy!
My mom had been observing me closely. When my dad asked her to change the golf club, she felt uncomfortable. Yet grinding her teeth she agreed to do it and after a small slump in her performance, she hit her record and got a birdie.
“Damn, I’m a good coach,” I thought “and golf is a piece of cake.”
Oh I was so wrong: Two days later when I went confidently to open the game – boom. I felt pressure. I needed to perform. I started over-thinking my every move, where my feet were, how hard I should hit, where the target was. I got stiff.
And the game suffered.
I went from a promising golf player to an useless person missing the ball or hitting it 2-3 m along the grass. More frustrated I got, worse I played. I stopped listening.
My dad walked up to me and said with a calm, encouraging voice: Stop, listen and relax. Just keep your eye on the ball, forget the rest. You have checked the direction it should go to, now focus. You know what to do.
I hit it 80 m to the right direction.