Resiliency, the ability to come back when behind, is a key mental skill to have both in sports and in life. A recent NBC show highlighted the resiliency of pro golfer, Michael Allen, who for most of his life struggled to make a living as a pro golfer.
Although he believed in himself, after 334 PGA starts without a win he called it quits. In an effort to better support his family, he tried other jobs. After several more years, with the support of his wife and the financial backing of friends he tried again.
His wife convinced him he had to do something different in order to have a better chance at a successful comeback. This time, he worked more on his fitness, hired a new “swing coach” and worked with a “sports psychologist”.
Resiliency combined with doing things differently paid off. After 20 years, Michael won his first PGA Senior tour and for the past 5 years has been a leading money winner, winning several other major tournaments.
The interview was conducted by veteran news reporter, Jayne Pauly. When asked by Matt Lauer of the Today Show, which of the changes she felt were most important in turning things around for Michel Allen, she said, the “sports psychology”.
As a sports psychologist, I live and work inBoca Raton,Florida, aMeccafor golf and tennis and home to numerous professional athletic events. In my experience, mental skills like resiliency and confidence are partly inherited, partly learned through early childhood experiences and partly improved upon through teaching, as are many life skills.
Through counseling and various types of emotional skills training athletes and non- athletes can learn to make changes and improvements in their performance both on and off the playing field.
The key is to get the help you need, make the necessary changes and put in the time and effort for things to come together.