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Think Wizard of Westwood to improve your game

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With apologies to the participants in this year's play-in games, the 2014 NCAA Tournament gets underway in earnest on Thursday.

While checking your brackets during this year's March Madness, remember a legendary basketball coach and his teachings.

John Wooden, who won 10 national championships at UCLA, is one of the greatest coaches of all time in any sport, and he has had a lasting impact on more than just basketball.

Let's apply some of his timeless wisdom (in the form of the quotes below) to help you improve your golf game this year:

• "Never mistake activity for achievement." Most of us have busy lives so when we actually get to the course we must have a plan. Just because we're hitting golf balls doesn't mean we are actually achieving anything with our golf games. Before your next practice session, identify your goals for the day and establish a plan to execute them.

• "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." How many of us play rounds where we are not driving the ball well and our frustration trickles down into all of our other clubs? So many golfers get discouraged by the part of their game that is misbehaving that they lose focus on the things that they do well. Remember, it only takes one good shot (a solid iron, a good chip, a made putt, etc.) to turn things around, so focus on what you do best.

• "If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes." When learning new things or making changes to our game, we must remember that the only way to learn that new information is to experience it. Even if the shot is lousy, there is always something that can be learned. Both negative and positive reinforcement are acceptable ways to learn new information. The road to improvement will be paved in part by mistakes that are made that you don't want to repeat!

• "It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it." There are several things you can do to stay focused toward the end of your round. First, stay hydrated and snack on foods that help you sustain your energy. Second, experiment with turning your focus "on" when it is your turn to play and turning it "off" between shots to conserve your mental energy. Finally, use your knowledge from the beginning of the round to help you make good decisions. By the time you play the latter half of the round, you should know your tendencies and make adjustments for them.

In honor of March Madness, let's utilize Coach Wooden's words of wisdom to play better golf. After all, "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."

For more tips from Golf Channel to help you improve your overall game, click here.