Confidence

As a former competitive golfer who played collegiately at a reasonable level I was able to witness and come to understand the attributes that set the great golfers apart from the mediocre ones like myself. Some were gifted athletically and were bigger and stronger and capable of hitting the ball far which allowed them to “over-power” the course with their long drives and short shots left to approach the green. These players were often erratic and had times where they made the game look easy only to have this off set by wide misses and poor shots that seemed to come out of nowhere. (My game would have fit into this category).

Other golfers were satisfied with always hitting the ball straight, not making too many mistakes, and plodding themselves around the course with the least amount of mistakes. I have several golfers that come to mind when I think of this type of player and was always fascinated by their ability to not get too upset from a bad shot, nor too excited about their good ones. Like their games, their emotions also seemed to stay in the middle of the fairway.

I saw several golfers who seemed to be destined for the PGA Tour when they were 16-20 years old who for some reason never progressed past that point and eventually gave up the dream. Most golfers, like myself, never had the potential nor did they truly pursue the game with the required vigor that could have taken them to another level.

The ones that made it were the ones that had faith in themselves and for reasons I could not determine were able to stay the course and set themselves on a path and trajectory that most could only briefly dream of. These select few came from all types of backgrounds, had different swings, hit it far or perhaps it short. Some were tall with flowing swings while others were short and stock with a compact swing to match. There didn’t seem to be any one factor physically that guaranteed success.

Mentally, though, one factor always stood out and that was confidence and the belief in ones self. These folks had the ability to weather the inevitable storms that came at them and know that this stumbling block would pass and would not be the end of the journey. They always seemed to know that despite a bad swing or a double bogey that over the course of 18 holes or for the entire tournament that much good would come with the occasional bad. They also knew this when thinking about the long run which for many of them took ten to twenty years before they registered much success such as qualifying for the tour, getting inside the top 100 on the money list, or winning a tournament.

Confidence shows itself in many ways. I knew a few golfers who went on to play the PGA Tour that were truly confident but unfortunately displayed it by being cocky and arrogant. But then, I knew others that were also confident but remained humble and polite, at least on the outside.

Confidence is needed to be successful in sports but also in life. Confidence is a good thing and something God blessed us with. It is the ability to maintain a positive attitude even in the face of adversity. Good things will happen in this life but challenges will often confront us as well. How you deal with that adversity and find balance is what confidence is all about. I hope you can maintain it while still being the polite, humble, and generous person we are called to be. 

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