Rocco’s Attitude Provided a Tremendous Lesson for Aspiring Athletes

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Imagine your sport. Imagine playing the all-time best player in that sport. Then imagine playing that athlete head-to-head in front of the world…and almost beating him/her.

That’s the situation that faced golfer Rocco Mediate in the U.S. Open last week.

Mediate is a 45-year old journeyman golfer – just recovered from back surgery and ranked only 145th on the tour – who found himself in an incredibly surprising and intimidating situation. Barely qualifying for the tournament, he had put together an incredible three days of golf and found himself facing Tiger Woods in an 18-hole playoff for the the U.S. Open championship.

Imagine the potential for disaster. This wasn’t a one-hole sudden-death playoff in which one or two bad shots would end the tournament. It was a full 18-hole extra round, toe-to-toe against the best player in history, with each hole televised for a huge international audience. It represented the potential for a crushing defeat and incredible humiliation.

How would YOU handle this situation? How did Rocco? In fact, he maintained an attitude that I wish every young athlete could replicate. Here are two quotes that demonstrated his approach, both delivered with a huge smile on his face:

“I’m up against the best in the world. Everyone is expecting me to not win, but I can’t wait to see how I do.”

And after Rocco played Tiger, and lost only after 19 holes of intense play.

“I got what I wanted. I got the chance to beat the best player in the world. I came up just a little bit short, but I think I had him scared for a while.”

That’s right. This playoff was a scenario he had dreamed about since he was a kid. It had finally become reality, so I know he felt doubt and anxiety. But he decided to relish the realization of his life’s dream, not fear it.  And this attitude showed on the course. He played loose and relaxed and had fun… and almost won the tournament. In fact, if not for an incredible putt by Woods on the 18th hole to once again tie the game, Rocco Mediate would have won the U.S. Open.

He provides a valuable lesson for aspiring athletes. If you finally get what you’ve been dreaming about, don’t dread it…embrace it!!

Want to see an interview with Rocco Mediate after the tournament. Check out this YouTube clip:   Rocco Interview

By the way – summer vacation is almost here for most of our physical education readership (at least, for those of you in the northern hemisphere), so I’m going to lighten the schedule for the PE Update blog. We’ll publish only every two or three weeks over the summer.  Heck – you’ll probably all be out trying to become the next Rocco Mediate and won’t have time to read blogs!

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]golf,sports,attitude,physical education,athletes,Rocco Mediate,Tiger Woods[/tags]

The Masters Golf Tournament Uses Sissy Grass

This was the weekend of the Masters golf tournament.

What I find most fascinating about the Masters are the close-ups of balls resting on the carpet-like fairways. The grass it’s so uniform and short it looks like artificial turf.

I am your stereotypical duffer and the courses I play on are not championship caliber. Dead patches and divots are the norm. Winter rules are in effect, meaning you can move your ball out of a lie that has been ruined because of bad grass.

Winter rules are common for northern Ontario courses because of the short playing season and the need for course owners to generate revenue before the grass is really ready. Besides, duffers like me like being able to move our ball to a better lie.

I occasionally play a championship level course. There is one in my hometown, but I seldom play there because the green fees are considerably more than the $12 for nine holes that I’m used to paying. And, while the fairways are beautifully groomed, I can’t hit off them. They’re too nice. To me, it’s like hitting off a putting green and my sub-conscious mind must be trained not to take divots off a green. So I whiff a lot.

Yup – you can take the Masters and that fancy golf course. It’s not real golfing for me. I could empathize much better if the Augusta National course was a cow pasture.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To subscribe to the free PE Tips of the Week Newsletter, Click Here!
To check out the PE Update.com website, Click Here!

[tags]golf,Masters,course,grass,sissy,winter rules,physical education[/tags]

The Happy Gilmore Driving Technique – Can it Actually Produce Longer Drives?

It’s almost the holiday season, and with that season comes the opportunity to watch movies. One of my all-time favourite sports movies is Happy Gilmore, in which an ex-hockey player, played by Adam Sandler, takes up golf and uses a driving technique that is half golf drive and half hockey slapshot.

It’s a technique that’s unlikely to be effective. Or is it? In fact, Fox Sport Network’s “Sport Science” studied Happy Gilmore’s technique to see if it could actually yield more driving yards. As a subject, they used pro golfer and 2008 PGA Player of the Year, Padraig Harrington. Harrington learned the Happy Gilmore technique, took some test wacks, then compared those drives to his average driving distance of 296 yards.

Rather surprisingly, Harrington’s Happy Gilmore drives were significantly longer than his traditional drives. Truly significant – in fact, 30 yards longer! Of interest, although initiated by a moving run-up, his body position during the swing and at contact were similar to that of his stationary technique.

The explanation? The moving run-up gave him momentum as he took his swing, and also improved his ability to make a larger shoulder turn for better torso torque. The result was an increase in club-head speed from 107 miles per hour to 114 miles per hour!

So why don’t more golfers use the Happy Gilmore technique? The risk of inconsistency and inaccuracy. As Harrington said, “I’m too cautious for that.”

Check out this video of the test.

Happy holidays…and Happy Gilmore too.
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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,golf,golf driving,Happy Gilmore,>[/tags]