With the NFL playoffs in full swing and the PGA Tour season starting up, I ask this question. Is there any parallel between the two sports? As most of America watched the media hype surround Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, I thought about what a golfer can learn from the former Heisman Trophy winner. Does he have some miraculous pixie dust that allows him to forget all the negatives and only remember the positives?
As a golf teacher and player, I have experienced numerous ups and downs during the course of a round. Tebow and the Broncos won their division and a playoff game, despite Tebow at times playing very poorly. In fact, statistically he was rated as poorly as possible by NFL standards. So how is it that he was able to simply perform when it mattered most?
Tebow was somehow able to overlook the failure and excel during some of the most critical times of the game. Some have argued that he is able to perform in the most critical times of a game because he just knows how to win, or because of his religious beliefs he has divine help. Regardless of how you characterize Tebow’s on-the-field successes, they cannot be discredited.
From a golfer’s perspective, the lessons that can be taken from watching Tebow succeed in the face of what may seem to be insurmountable obstacles, might be his biggest gift as an athlete. His ability to stay in the present moment and maintain a high level of confidence despite the results that would make others question. As it is defined, confidence means to have faith or belief or trust in one’s ability. The ability to not buy into the self-doubt or fear that is so common for an athlete especially a golfer is perhaps the key to his success.
Take Tiger Woods as an example. For the better part of his professional career he was been considered the best golfer in the world, despite at times driving the ball poorly. Yet, somehow he was able to overcome the poor shots and still perform at an extremely high level. Is he lucky? Good? I believe that it is self-belief that great athletes such as Woods and Tebow each possess that allow them to stay confident and perform.
Everyone has the capacity to learn how to perform better under pressure, and stay confident – like Tim Tebow and Tiger Woods – even when things appear dire.