The Train Wreck Effect


Challenges for the U.S. Open or your local club
Weve all been there. We know the feeling. Its that feeling we have when things seem to slip away from us. Before we know it several shots and even several holes can go by. Without realizing it weve allowed it to happenagain. This situation is often called a train wreck. Why? When a train hits something it triggers a series of impacts all the way down the line. The same thing happens on a busy highway when one car stops or hits another car in front creating a chain reaction with the other cars behind it. On the golf course a train wreck occurs when one poor shot or poor decision is allowed to affect future shots and decisions. This chain reaction can trigger more poor shots and more poor decisions to follow. The result is really no different than the train on the tracks or the car on the road. Before you know it a series of events take place that send that scorecard ballooning!
In the upcoming U.S. Open Championship at Pinehurst this week it is especially important to avoid the train wreck. However, a train wreck can throw your round off course anywhere and anytime no matter where you play. Poor shots and poor holes are going to happen. Yes, they are going to happen even to the most detailed perfectionist or hopeful optimist. It doesnt matter what level you play; it happens to everyone. In the US Open, the conditions are such that accuracy and consistency are remarkably important. The US Open courses are designed to create a heavy price for missing fairways and not landing on greens.
The interesting thing about train wrecks is that they are the result of what is going on inside the player. Yes, train wrecks occur because the inner game has been thrown into turmoil. Those players who understand how the inner processes are taking place are in a much better position to become what I call their own solution maker on the course. Think about it for a moment. When a train wreck occurs, it occurs because a series of events take place inside you in reaction to whats happened on the course. The actual outcome isnt nearly as important as the inner reaction you have to it. If you dont break the negative reaction cycle, the same thoughts, feelings and actions will probably take place. When they do, your results will also probably be the same as well.
Judy, a 7 handicap told me she was playing well except for a few holes where she would just lose it. She would describe that something would happen and then it seems Id just play poorly for a few shots and sometimes two or three holes. This is the train wreck. Have you ever been there? Judy kept pointing to the situation and the results of her shots as some kind of explanation. She would go on describing and explaining them when finally I put my hand up to stop her. Its not the shots that are important; its the realization that you have created the extension of the train wreck and thats done internally. I said. Because what you do internally affects what you do externally, the solution is there. We went on to discuss just how Judy was literally the cause of her own train wreck occurring as long as it did.
Here are some general tips to help reduce the train wreck effect:
1. Try to see each shot as a separate opportunity
The reality is; each shot stands alone as a separate entity. Train wrecks can occur when we put too much emphasis on one shot or decision that it leaks into the next one and the one after that.
2. Remember: you are responsible for the continuation of a train wreck
Yes, thats right. Although youll hit poor shots and make poor decisions at times you are responsible for how long you allow a train wreck to continue. Are you aware of whats going on inside when this happens?
3. Always return your attention to rhythm and feel
Bring your attention back to feeling the rhythm of your golf swing. When a train wreck occurs many things are thrown off balance mentally, physically and emotionally. When this happens rhythm is usually thrown off as well.
Keep reminding your body of the feeling you want and the rhythm of your golf swing.
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