Shake It Off: Keeping your head clear after a hard moment

I’ve mentioned before that my daughter is into sports. She comes by that pretty naturally as both my wife and I are the same. Our daughter loves both watching and playing sports and she has her favourites – basketball, baseball, lacrosse, and golf. 

I know I’m biased, but she’s a really good pitcher in baseball. She was the only girl on her team last year and lead in strikeouts by a lot. Even coaches on the other teams were impressed, but occasionally something would go wrong. She’d walk a batter, give up a hit, or one of the fielders would commit an error. I would always tell her to “shake it off”. I knew that when she let it stick in her head it would distract her from doing as well as she could with a clear head.

It’s the same thing with golf, which we’ve been doing together lately. I haven’t golfed a lot so I’m pretty bad. In the past I would think about how crappy I did on the previous hole as I went to the next, often leading me to be just as crappy, if not more so, on that hole. There was no way I was going to improve that way.

This year I’ve been taking my own advice. If I do crappy on a hole, I think about what I could have done differently (use a different club, line up my feet differently, keep my head down as I hit the ball), but treat each hole as a fresh start. If I’m playing a full course then that’s 18 fresh starts. I’m still pretty bad, but I’m certainly enjoying playing far more than I have in the past (and I think I’m nice to play with as well), which makes me want to play more so hopefully I’ll get better.

When we make a mistake or something happens to throw us off our game we can either dwell on it and kick ourselves (or curse someone else) or we can take whatever constructive lesson we can from it and move on to a fresh start. It’s our choice.

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