By Michael Burcin, Under Par Consulting

When I decided to create Under Parr Consulting, I wanted to focus on themes outside of the full swing, which is normally the only thing taught in most lessons that kids attend.  In doing so, I believe that themes, such as course management, stats, practice structure, and event preparation can become more important than full swing instruction as players progress and get older. When exploring these themes oftentimes, the question is asked…Does my junior golfer need to see a sports psychologist?
In my coaching career, I was fortunate to work with many highly talented professionals in the world of sports psychology and mindfulness. Sitting in the sessions and using that information with players in meetings, what became very evident very quickly is two things that need to happen for the themes in sports psychology to take hold. Most importantly, the player has to be open minded to trying new things and ideas that they may have never thought of before. I would connect this idea to when a young player is introduced to yoga as a way to build speed and strength. Second, the player must understand that in order for themes within the field of sports psychology to work we must control the things that we can control in the world of golf and life off the golf course.
I believe often that sports psychology is often a crutch or an idea, proposed when themes that we can control are not being controlled. For all the great professionals in the world of sports psychology, nobody can fix poor course management, bad decisions on the golf course, bad nutrition, and making poor decisions away from the course that affect on course performance. I tell parents regularly there is no need for a sports psychologist until we start making better decisions around the themes that we have 100% control of.  Not using a pin sheet or yardage book, not focusing on preparation before an event, or losing your temper because poorly executed pre shot routines will not be fixed by someone else until that player decides to fix those issues.
There is definitely a need for support and help when players have nerves that overcome them, mental blocks around getting to the next level, or having a distorted view of where they stand against their peers.  I spent many hours with one of the most respected mindfulness experts in the world, and I cannot explain the impact he made on a handful of players in the areas of how to get better sleep, how they saw themselves and tying their self worth to golf, or strategies to calm their minds in uncomfortable situations.  It was no coincidence the players that showed the most hesitancy towards such help were also the most inconsistent in commitment, following through on tasks, or making good decisions. The most gifted and talented professional in the world cannot solve everything if we do not control what we can control from the outset.

Michael Burcin
Under Par Consulting