The Missing Steps

The Missing Steps Blog

Thank you for taking the time to read the story about Elite Performance Systems and how I went from a player, to technical teacher to growing golf champions. My personal story will help you to understand the genesis of our program and what uniquely differentiates us in the world of high level golf performance.

Growing up in a small town in Northeast Oklahoma I played a number of sports including golf. After a solid junior golf career I moved on to play collegiate golf. When I began competing at the collegiate level I would have these ups and downs in my performance, shooting a low score one day and a high score the next day. My performances were inconsistent both during a round and over the course of a multi-round event. I continued to work on the technical aspects of my game with the hopes of stringing together better performances. As I moved into professional golf, even though my technique was more refined, I observed the same trends.

My experiences and my inability to play well consistently drove me out of competition and into teaching.  I worked hard and became a great technical teacher. I thought the answers to my struggles, and those of my students, were from a technical space. So after a mediocre round my students would head to the practice tee but their technique was intact. They would hit a few balls and all of a sudden we would “find” what we thought they had “lost” on the course. What was the missing piece that I was looking for both in my personal performance and in that of my students? What was more baffling was when my students did win, which they did, I could not tell you why or how. I just thought they hit it better that particular day or event. These questions drove me to seeking answers.

I owed it to myself to find these answers but more importantly I owed it to my athletes to help them find these answers. And this quest drove me outside of golf to Olympic performance and the NFL. What I began to find was all of these other sports train for high stakes; their training techniques have consequences which help them prepare to withstand the heat in competition. I began to see the characteristics that set these high performing athletes apart: their training, the way they think before, during and following each action and how they think about the action after they perform it.

I was fortunate to have a great relationship with Bill Parcells and his staff at the Dallas Cowboys. As my junior academy in Dallas grew, I began to see the contrast in what differentiated us from the elite in the NFL. At the elite levels of the NFL and Olympic performance everything was defined, measured and timed. Their training looked different too; their ability to replicate the high stakes nature of competition was happening every day in their training sessions. The final component which I was not finding in golf was the mindset piece: how the athletes think before, during and after each action, each competition and each training day. Olympic rifle gold medalist, Lanny Bassham, helped me to refine these understandings as I discussed with him the experiences he had as a high level athlete and coach. Both Coach Parcells and Coach Bassham showed me standardized systems that athletes could implement in training and commit to in competition so that the environment did not dictate how they thought and performed.

No one was doing this in golf so I brought these concepts back to my junior academy. I continued to collaborate with Coach Bassham and Coach Parcells and built a system from the ground up. We began to define what the athletes should think about before, during and after the action. We precisely measured and timed these processes and gave our athletes standardized systems to use in both training and competition. I began to understand the variances in performance from great, to good to poor were due to corrections in the self-image. Understanding this additional element, alongside the think piece and training piece, was a game changer. Your self-image, by definition, is the sum of your habits and attitudes. It is your area of comfort that you operate in and it is something that everyone possesses. This is why 95% of the winning is done by the 5% as the great know how to think, train and grow their self-image no matter the outcome of their training or performances.

Here is the good news: you can grow and change your self-image. We began to stress the importance of the thoughts after the action or the reinforcement. The great do it: they unpack their performances after the action, the day and the competition. Coupled with the high stake nature of our new training our athletes in our academy began to see their performance change, as well as their self-image grow and change. We began to incorporate a performance analysis, a daily training journal, to continually put solutions into our training which helped the players’ self-images to grow. Their training began to change and the results in their performance followed suit.

In addition to solutions, we helped athletes to understand the value of the personal best. We shifted from the paradigm of statistics (averages) to the outcomes they actually performed, their personal best. Olympians focus on mastery of skills in different areas of their games so why shouldn’t we? We began to track personal bests in short putting, distance putting, chipping and pitching and reinforce these in our performance analysis. These systems helped the athletes to trust and commit to their technique, by controlling their thoughts, not only in training but in the inconsistent environment of competition.

This is how Elite Performance Systems (EPS) was born. After years of being tired of going back to the technical piece of golf I was able to provide standardized systems of thinking, training and reinforcing built on the most successful athletic performances of the NFL and Olympic sport.

Most recently we have brought these concepts to high level high school golfers who are preparing for collegiate competition. We have built a college onboarding system that helps the athletes to understand these concepts, putting these systems in place and laying out their training and tournament preparation. We help them to set goals for winning performances and utilize the performance analysis to measure and track their training. If your journey or the journey or your child or student has taken you to a place where you want to work on your mind and training to enhance your growing technique, allow me to continue the conversation with you through an introductory phone call. It would be my pleasure to help you as you learn how to better trust and commit to your game.

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