In 2011, after missing the first four cuts on the west coast swing, and being embroiled in a media fueled groove controversy, learn what Scott McCarron did to gain the trust he needed – to find his groove – to make a top 20 finish at the AT&T?
Scott has committed significant time to the refinement of his swing, which is common among tour players. The initial learning stage is followed with blocked and inner game practice sessions to gain the trust needed for high- level performance.
Through quality practice, trust for Scott was growing even before the AT&T, with streaks of improved play across the tournaments. As we say, Scott was very close.
But, then came the emotional training grooves debate, which started innocently in San Diego, and then flew across the country’s media outlets. We don’t intend to re-hash the debate, (Scott’s final statement) except to note that the emotional energy spent, emerged in the dispute and resolving it, were substantial. The efficiency with which Scott and other tour players learn and perform, to some extent, correlates with how well they manage their emotional landscape.
With his emotions managed and his emotional tank on full, Scott was able to put renewed energy into finding his game. A chance meeting with Chris O’Connell, Jim Hardy’s number one swing-coach protégée, helped Scott add the final technical piece. Practice rounds and practice sessions, during preparation for the AT&T, produced the kind of trust in his swing that would stand the Pebble Beach test.
It’s a lesson for all of us. With emotions managed, Scott was able to focus on performance. As George Leonard explained in Mastery; “although they are practicing and preparing consistently, intensively and precisely, sometimes athletes find themselves on a ‘plateau’ of performance.” While Scott felt steady improvement, lower scores hadn’t kicked in. At this point, Leonard wrote; it’s important to have the courage to continue doing the right things, while on the plateau, knowing that another performance level will kick-in. Scott didn’t win the tournament, but he did reach another plateau. He emerged from the emotional draining grooves disagreement stronger, and at the same time, he realized the coming-together of his diligent practice! He found his groove.