Screenshot 2019-06-24 at 18.11.49.png

BURNOUT BEWARE!

Are you overlooking one of the most important parts of any training program? Are you RECOVERING appropriately in order to help you establish your Optimal Performance State? If not you’re risking the biggest of all Performance inhibitors; BURNOUT.

It’s that time of Year where a lot of Golf is played. More rounds per week, 36/72 Hole Events and multiple weeks on the road where Golfers attempt to acquire the appropriate scores and points to achieve their Goals. It’s the perfect storm of ambition, routine and fatigue. The lure of success leading to long hours of practice, preparation and play. Where more ‘work’ becomes custom and practice. Not only are balls hit prior to a round they’re also hit AFTER in an attempt to “fix” a problem, to iron out the creases of poor Performance.

When Performance is sub-optimal the temptation is to keep grinding. To keep working hard by hitting thousands of Balls on the Driving Range or spending hours on the Chipping/Putting Green. However this behaviour might well be anaesthetising you from the real issue: you’re not in your optimal Performance State (Physical, Mental & Emotional Condition), which in turn is causing your Technique/Skill to breakdown.This makes it even more important for Players to be self aware of their State.

A great example of being totally in tune with this is from Episode 9 of The Earn Your Edge Podcast featuring Beau Hossler (Hit the Image to Listen). I recommend you listen to the entire episode but if you tune in between 21.40s - 27.09s you’ll hear how Beau was playing his 14th Week Straight on the Web.com Tour (just think about that for a second!!!) as he needed to give himself the best chance of acquiring the required amount of ranking points to get his PGA Tour Card, and he wasn’t Playing well. However, he knew that if he prepared well and ensured he was in the best possible Performance State, that would give him the best possible chance of grinding out a decent result vs trying to ‘fix’ his Ball Control with lengthy Practice Sessions. He recognised he needed to prioritise his Recovery/Rest! Spoiler alert: he finished 19th that Week and got his Card!

I can’t tell you if need to Work or Rest, that’s down to you being in tune with yourself (aka self-aware) Physically, Mentally and Emotionally, however I will provide a tool (keep reading ;) that will help you determine the best course of action to get your Performance where you want it to be.

So how do you Optimise Recovery?

Well, I’ve broken it down into 5 distinct elements: 

  • Sleep

  • Hydration

  • Nutrition

  • Physical

  • Psychological


Sleep

Sleep plays a major role in athletic performance and competitive results. The quality and amount of sleep Athletes get is often the key to Winning. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep in particular provides energy to both the brain and body (Learn More about the specific stages of Sleep Here: https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-101). If sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have time to regenerate, repair & consolidate memory and release hormones.

NFL Legend Tom Brady famously advocates 10 hours of sleep, regularly “hitting the hay” around 9p.m (Learn More about his Sleep habits here:https://www.nectarsleep.com/posts/learn-sleep-habits-tom-brady-sleep-like-champ/) and Lance Armstrong famously dared people to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep (amongst other things 🤭) to improve mood, performance, and concentration.

TB-UA.jpg

A study in the journal sleep confirms the role of sleep in performance with results that show declines in split-second decision making following poor sleep. Results also showed increased accuracy in well-rested subjects.

Exercise (like lifting weights or playing Golf) depletes energy, fluids, and breaks down muscle. Hydration and the right fuel are only part of training and recovery (I’ll cover those in a bit). What Athletes do immediately after competition also determines how quickly their bodies rebuild muscle and replenish nutrients (again, I’ll cover this later). This helps maintain endurance, speed, and accuracy.

Some research suggests that sleep deprivation increases levels of stress hormone; cortisol. Sleep deprivation has also been seen to decrease production of glycogen and carbohydrates that are stored for energy use during physical activity. In short, less sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus at game time. It may also slow recovery post-game.

Whether you’re at the top of your game or in the game for the fun of it, getting the proper amount of sleep is necessary to face the world with your best food forward. Sleep will not only help you play better, it’ll get you on the road to good fitness, good eating, and good health.

Here’s a great info-graph from Precision Nutrition (you should definitely follow them on Instagram, they’re awesome. Here’s their Profile: https://instagram.com/precisionnutrition?igshid=ulzmuk20f3fd) that illustrates the optimal amount of sleep for different ages:


Hydration

Hydration is massive as just a 1% drop in your hydration levels will negatively impact on your Performance (see Table and Image below):

Screenshot%252B2019-06-24%252Bat%252B18.15.45.jpg
effects-of-dehydration-on-performance_infographic-v2.jpg

Replacing the fluid lost during a round of Golf is extremely important, especially if you’re playing several days in a row . Hence why it’s an essential part of your Recovery program. A simple way to monitor your fluid levels is to measure your weight prior and post round. Every Kilogram of weight you lose during the round is 1 litre of water you need to replace. Best practice is to replace a little more than what you have lost during the round to allow for urination, so as a general rule you should replace 150% of what you have lost. This means that a Golfer that weighs 70kg prior to a round and 68kg post round needs to drink 3 litres of water post round to ensure they’re fully hydrated for tomorrow’s round. 

A solid rule of thumb to help golfers stay hydrated and focused is to consume 100-150 millilitres (small cup) of water every 15-20 minutes/2 holes during a round/practice. Golfers should also avoid fizzy or sugary drinks, as these contain ingredients that can dehydrate the body.


Nutrition

As Golf isn’t as physically taxing as other Sports and the fact it’s played at a pace that allows for snacking this isn't as big an issue as in other Sports (see my Previous Blog “Fuel Your Round” for advice on what to eat during your Round). That being said it’s important you eat a balanced diet in general and fuel your body with nutritious meals prior, post and between rounds.

Lean protein is required to help repair any damage to the muscles and minimise muscular fatigue, vegetables provide micronutrients + carbohydrates to replenish your energy stores as well as being easy to digest and good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) help with general energy and hormone balance levels. Pitta Bread & Hummus or a Baked Potato with Baked Beans and Cheese are solid post Round Options.

It’s important to ensure you plan your meals as it is easy to get caught in the fast food trap, especially if you are traveling for an event. Make sure you have access to cooking facilities and appropriate sources of food to avoid unhealthy choices i.e. foods that provide minimal micronutrient content and contain high amounts of bad fats i.e Hydrogenated and Saturated Fat.


Physical 

Truth be told this isn’t my area of expertise, so for further information on this topic I’d recommend heading to the myTPI.com website and find your local TPI Certified Trainer to discuss this in more depth (click on the image below). 

However, Physical recovery is something we all can relate to as we’ve all finished a round and felt stiff, sore and tired. The easiest way to deal with this is with massage/manual therapy - a qualified masseuse can be very beneficial in aiding recovery between rounds. Unfortunately, not all of us have one on standby, however there’s a variety of self-massage techniques i.e. foam rollers or spikey balls (Here’s a quick guide from Runners World: https://www.runnersworld.com/health-injuries/a20812623/how-to-use-a-foam-roller-0). 

Massage can also be used in conjunction with hydrotherapies such as hot and cold immersions to ensure a well-rounded physical recovery strategy is maintained. By alternating between a hot bath/shower for 1-2 minutes and a cold burst for 30 seconds you will assist the recovery process.


Psychological 

The final area is Psychological Recovery. This is an area that’s often completed subconsciously by Players, often very poorly. Most Golfers will finish a round, head to the clubhouse and relive their experiences by reciting all the poor shots they played. The concept of reflection is a good thing but the focus on the bad shots isn’t. Its essential Golfers debrief with a positivity bias as it “completes” the round from a psychological standpoint, and as John Dewey Says:.

Reflection .jpg

This can be done very effectively by using a wonderfully simple reflection tool created by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott of VISION54 called “Good, Better How”. You can complete this in a Journal, Notebook or simply download this Template:

Make sure to include all aspects of your Performance: 

  • Ball Control (Greens In Regulation, Fairways Hit, Hole out Conversion etc) 

  • Performance State (Commitment and Focus Levels, Post Shot Reactions etc)

These provide you with “both sides of the coin” i.e. Objective Data on your Ball Control/Skills (Off the Tee, Approach Shots, Short Game & Putting) and Subjective Analysis of the State you were in that facilitated the your Ball Control Outcomes (the Story behind your Skill if you will).

This reflection helps you formulate a Positive Action Plan, and if you’re not sure of the best course of action, it’s a great tool to start a conversation with your Coach. The Players in my Connected Coaching Programme swear by it!

Another Psychological Tool that’s gathering popularity in the Golf World is Mindfulness, its most famous advocate being Rory McIlroy. Here’s what he had to say about it prior to this years Masters (Hit the image Below to watch):

In short, Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment (aka being “Present”).

Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. Definitely something to try if you find yourself physically and/or mentally fatigued.


Reflection

I hope you’ve found the above information useful, particularly when facing an intense stretch of Tournament Golf. Don’t be a BUSY FOOL!

Busy Fool.png

Thanks for reading!

Oliver C. Morton

The Leading Edge Golf Company

www.TheLeadingEdgeGolfCompany.com


IMG_4075.jpg

I’ve made plenty of mistakes; I’ve been fired, hoodwinked by a scoundrel and given plenty of poor advice (knowing what I know now). Due to these experiences, and dozens more, I’ve become fascinated with the concept of Failure. 

I spend a lot of my time Coaching Children and one thing that’s clear is the fear of Failure takes hold easily. Why put yourself into a position where you might look stupid? Why risk the possibility of letting people down? Isn’t it better to stay in your Comfort Zone?

ComfortZone.jpg
Overcoming the Fear of Failure is vital in a World where the status quo is constantly being challenged and transcended.

The sad thing is that Failure is a pre-requisite for Growth. Looking back on my mistakes, yes they were tough, but they were also precious Learning opportunities. Losing my Job made me more resourceful and creative. I now regard the experience as one of the defining moments of my Life.

My Parents are my big advantage. Unfortunately, my Mum passed away when I was 11, which meant I got an early dose of how cruel Life can be. However, it also meant that my relationship with my Dad deepened. The depth of our bond has meant I’ve been more receptive to his advice than I otherwise might have been, and something he’s always emphasised is the importance of a “can do” attitude (i.e. a Growth Mindset). “Failure is inevitable,” he would say. “It’s how you respond to failure that matters”.

I_dont_Love_Perfection_ttjqro.jpg

A study by the University of Bath has shown that the quest for Perfectionism has grown over the last 30 years. Young people are anxious about how many Friends they have on Facebook, whether they fit in, whether their lives are sufficiently wonderful. Is it any wonder they worry about admitting imperfection, personal or academic when they are surrounded by airbrushed images and blemish-free lives in the digital World they live in? Are they so worried about being Perfect that they’re missing the fact they’re Excellent?

Children as young as seven are also worrying about exams. They’re constantly being tested, judged and labelled. They’re told, subtly and sometimes insistently by Parents, that the rest of their lives are on the line when they walk into the exam room. Parents mean well, but this is clearly adding to the pressure and undermining the joy of Education.

What to do? It’s worth remembering that the World is constantly evolving. Technology is transforming our lives at an unprecedented rate. Think tanks estimate that young people today will do at least 15 different jobs through the course of their lives, many of which haven’t even been invented yet!

resilience.jpg

In such a World, where the status quo is constantly being challenged and transcended, adaptability and variability are key. The most important thing of all however, will be resilience - the capacity to bounce back from setbacks. Because when we step into the unknown, mistakes are inevitable. Sound familiar Golfers?

This is why overcoming the fear of Failure is so important. Children are tested too much. Teachers face too much pressure from the Governors. Yes, exams are inevitable in any worthy education system, however, isn’t it healthier for young people to approach these as Opportunities rather than Threats? Isn’t it better for Children to learn skills that enable them to cope with the inevitable pressures of Life? These Skills are learnable and liberating, but are rarely taught.

Now, some might say that as a Coach I’m overstepping my remit. However, I believe my role as potentially one of the most influential figures in a young Persons Life, I need to empower them in any way I can to develop the aforementioned adaptability and variability. The fact that my vessel is Golf doesn’t make the need any less prevalent than if they were stationed in a classroom. The need is the same, I just happen to have a practical manifestation that embodies the message.

IMG_0034.jpeg

This is why my Junior Coaching Sessions at Archerfield are a voyage of self-discovery. They are a time of experimentation and fun. A rich learning experience where errors are seen as crucial not detrimental. I want Children to experience the counter-cultural idea (when framed in the right way), that messing up can be productive. 

In Silicon Valley, the most successful tech companies “fail fast”. They release prototypes and software into the market early to discover their weaknesses, which accelerates their development and improvement. Michael Moritz, perhaps the most famed venture capitalist of the modern age, states: “The tech sector has grasped the power of Failure to drive success. We need that Mindset in the world beyond tech.”

famous-failures-1.jpg

Children need to understand that it’s a good thing to look stupid from time to time. That asking questions in class is cool. That speaking to a large room of people is daunting, but hugely liberating, because what’s the worst that can happen? If you forget your lines, the World keeps turning. Albert Einstein flunked his exams and Michael Jordan missed over 9000 Shots in has career, it didn’t stop them living remarkable lives.

Above all, Children need to understand that anyone that’s achieved anything of note has gone through multiple stages of imperfection. Success, is a Journey!

Ryan Babineaux and John Krumboltz, two Psychologists have excellent advice for those who are prone to the curse of Perfectionism: 

  • “If I want to be a great Musician, I must first play a lot of bad music.” 

  • “If I want to become a great Tennis player, I must first lose lots of Tennis games.” 

  • “If I want to become a top Commercial Architect known for energy-efficient, minimalist designs, I must first design inefficient, clunky buildings.”

Failure’s not easy, it’s not comfortable, but creativity requires risk! As the World continues to become more dynamic and complex, the capacity to adapt is even more precious. I’d go as far to say that over the coming years adaptability, variability and resilience will be the most critical traits in the coming decades. Golfers, is any of this resonating?

Fail fast and Fail often. Thanks for reading!

Oliver C. Morton

The Leading Edge Golf Company

www.TheLeadingEdgeGolfCompany.com


thumbnail_IMG_3980.jpg

What Are We Measuring?

From the way we dress to the content we put on Social Media, our Ego often runs the show. To pursue Mastery of any sort, a high level of discomfort is required, usually in spite of the Ego’s desire for pedestal-worthy achievement. I’ve had a slow and steady awakening over the past few years, allowing me to begin to see just how much my Ego is in control (Cliff Notes: Work in progress 😉).

Let’s start with a Golfing example, (hang in there non-Golfers):

how-to-keep-score-in-golf-1.jpg

Across the globe, the Golf community utilities Handicap systems to rate the quality of a persons Play. Basically you are given a number of Strokes (generally between 0 and 36) to minus off your Score (aka Gross Score), that creates your ‘Nett’ Score e.g. a Person has a Handicap of 10, they take 80 shots, which is their ‘Gross’ Score - their Handicap = their Nett Score, 70.

In essence, the systems can be used as a gauge of progress. The lower a persons Handicap is the better they are, right?

Similarly, take a look at Weight Lifting (another passion of mine). It should come as no surprise, that as you add Weight to your lift the stronger you are, right? The guy who Deadlifts 300lbs/136kg is obviously stronger than the guy who lifts 250lbs/113kg?

deadlift-mistakes.jpg

However, what if the person lifting 300lbs/136kg has terrible form, is slopping through the reps, and is about 2 pounds from destroying their spine? What if the person lifting 250lbs/113kg has perfect form, a flat back, and is “owning” that 250lbs/113kg? Now the situation is a little less cut-and-dry.

For some of us, a fun but “not a big deal” hobby becomes serious eventually. The low-level OCD in me (a better expressn might be ATD - Attention To Detail 😉) makes me pursue any interest with great intention, perhaps you understand that feeling. Nearly every hobby I’ve ever embraced has quickly evolved to full-tilt obsession. I want Mastery.

What the Ego wants is crowning achievements, not slow, quantifiable signs of progress and unfortunately, we are willing to cheat the system to appease the Ego monster.

Bandit.jpg

In the Golfing world, “Bandit” is the term used to describe Golfers who appear to Play Competitions utilising a Higher than appropriate Handicap for their ability in order to Win. This Golfer might subconsciously gravitate towards Courses/Competitions that are less challenging. In doing so, the chance to Learn a vast array of Skills in a less comfortable Environment is potentially by passed.

The Ego wants glory, the Ego wants to look good. The Ego can’t fathom failure.

Ironically, by pursuing “Mastery” in the form of higher achievements on paper, we might be side stepping true Mastery.


Reframing for Mastery

A year or so ago I battled with this dilemma myself (apologies Golfers but it’s the non Golfers turn for an example 😉). I had a goal to Deadlift a certain amount of Weight by the end of the year.

Picking a Weight as a Goal is the first red flag of the Ego: I wasn’t interested in good Form/Technique, I just wanted the Weight. I picked a number that I thought was doable, but I struggled. I was missing the opportunity to improve my Form i.e. using different lifting styles, hold types, body angles etc. Instead I was thrashing and flailing on a single Technique to check a box that somehow signifies I’m now a better Lifter. I was trading long-term progress for a short-term victory — just what the Ego desires. Can you relate Golfers?

Let’s not get it twisted: lifting heavier is a sign of progression. It’s immensely important to struggle, and it’s equally important to have Goals that push you beyond your comfort zone. Having a long-term project is a key element of Learning, but it must be balanced and supported by a hefty base of previous experience.

In the end, I called time on that objective and traded it for a pursuit of Mastery. Instead of striving for the big projects that would take Months of effort, I took on the opportunity to push myself for short-term, Daily Wins, a concept I learnt from Karl Morris of The Mindfactor. I still looked for ways to embrace discomfort, but I wanted a wider breadth of experience not achievable by pursuing a single ‘Weight’. In essence, I wanted to ‘own the Weight’ before throwing on the next plate.

Will the time come again to beat my head against the wall on a single project? Yes, of course. The stories of those who can achieve the seemingly impossible are alluring, but let’s not forget all the small victories that have led up to those crowning achievements.

Podium_finish.jpg

The Ego and Money

Keeping Up.jpg

For the American audience, we’ve all heard the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” (or is it Kardashians now 😉?). It’s the idea that the folks down the street (The Joneses) have the latest model car, a well manicured lawn, and a well-maintained home. Our house, with a filthy old car, a moderate but understandable amount of weeds in the garden, and chipping paint, looks comparatively much worse.

So what do we do? We have a subconscious desire to portray an image like the Joneses. What we may not realise though is that the Joneses are far more likely to carry debt and the constant stress of projecting an image of excellence and prestige (plus there’s no practical value to any of it).


Ego: Comparisons and Happiness

Dog.jpg

I’m guilty of this as much as anyone. I’ve found myself looking up prices on hardwood flooring, marble counter tops and other vanity items. Everyone in the estate has it, so we at least need to compete, right? What if we want to sell our house? Will we suffer on the value of our home because we don’t have these “essentials?”

The problem is, I don’t really see much value in those items. Others might, and that’s ok. I’m more of a functional guy e.g. Does the table work as a table? Great, I’ll take it.

There’s a very real drive to fit in. As this study by Neuroscientists Michael Lindner and Klaus Fliessbach at the University of Bonn in Germany points out (Read a Summary of their Study Here), our brains actually show different pleasure and pain responses when faced with the successes or failures of our peers. When we perform well and our peers don’t, we’re happy. Conversely, we are upset when we fail and others succeed.

sometimes-you-win-sometimes-you-learn-poster-vector-22570411.jpg

I think we can all relate this to our Golfing Performance, after all, that’s exactly how the Winner is determined - comparison of your Score against your Peers. However, instead of setting the Score and Winning as the Primary Objective (letting the Ego Monster Drive things), why not set a Personal Goal for the day of what you want to Learn from the Experience - something you have direct control over (the way of a Master 😉)? From my experience those that do the latter aren’t that far away from the Winners circle when the dust settles.


Reflection

Relection.jpg

So, I guess I’m doing my part in keeping at least some people happy. Let me explain:
We do what we can to Master this crazy Game. In doing so, these practices enable us the opportunity to pursue Golfing freedom; to enjoy their time on the Course without allowing their Score to ruin the experience. That makes me happy.

However, a Peer might see Mrs. X as someone who could use some improvement and that’s OK. I just believe a Coaches default setting should be to guide a Player on a Journey to Mastery that’s driven by Enjoyment and Fun vs a Pursuit of Excellence driven by Ego.

Keep that Monster in Check Folks 😉! Thanks for reading!

Oliver C. Morton

The Leading Edge Golf Company

www.TheLeadingEdgeGolfCompany.com

Posted
AuthorOliver Morton
CategoriesWider Lens