Over the weekend, our full time students participated in their first tournament of the year, the Myrtle Beach Jr. Challenge Tournament sanctioned by the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (HJGT). The tournament was attended by our full time students, Junior Player Golf Academy’s full time students, as well as a few individual players. All of the tournament preparation really paid off, judging by the success of our players. Four of our players were trophy winners, with Fabricio Gaxiola placing 1st in the boys 14-15 division with an all time low score of 137, and only one drop shot. Susana Olivares placing 1st in the Girls 14-18 division with a score of 150, Angel Guerra placing 3rd in the Boys 14-15 division, and Jose Fernandez Jr. placing 3rd in the boys 11-13 division. We also had five other players who placed within the top ten of their divisions.
Prior to the tournament, our coaches main focus for each of the students were short game and mental stability. The coaches had been working with our full time students for several weeks trying to prepare them on what they might expect.
“The greens at Myrtle Beach National are different than what the kids are used to at Barefoot Resort, so we practiced on short game a lot,” said Coach Eddie Overstreet. “ There was also a lot of nervousness and doubt, which was expected since it was the first tournament. Even our highest placing players, Gaxiola and Olivares, struggled with a positive mindset in the week leading up to the tournament.”
During the tournament, the students used what they had been practicing and transferred it into great performances on the course. According to Overstreet, most of the students did exceptionally well on their short game and once their nerves wore off, they had positive mindsets moving forward. For Olivares mindset was everything in this tournament. After round one she was sitting in 4th place with a pretty doubtful mindset, but made a huge turnaround in round two. She stayed upbeat and ended up moving to 1st place with 5 birdies.
“The last tournament that I participated in, I played pretty bad and could not seem to shake that mindset,” said Olivares. “ I had been thinking about my previous tournament a lot leading into this tournament, which made my mindset pretty negative. My main focus was shooting under 80 because of the new changes that I have been making on my swing, which I was not super confident about just yet. Because my mindset was off, I didn’t play very well in my first round. Afterwards, I talked with Coach Eddie, gave myself a pep talk, and began thinking more positively. Everything just began to fall into place and I began golfing like I knew I was capable of. Winning this tournament really helped to boost my confidence on my swing and putting and it let me know what I need to work on for my next tournament.”
Like Olivares, Gaxiola’s main focus was also keeping a positive mindset. However, he decided that from the beginning he was just going to “go outside and enjoy the round no matter what happened.” In doing so, Gaxiola scored a new personal low score and was one of two players to score below par on the second round.
“When I have a positive mindset I know that I can play golf and when I’m negative or having a bad day it just gets worse and worse,” said Gaxiola. “ Because of this tournament, I know that I am capable of playing that low now. In the future I just need to believe in myself and keep a positive mindset, since it helped me to play the best that I have so far.”
As our full time students continue to practice and prepare for the Hilton Head Junior Shootout on October 21st and 22nd, it appears that having a positive mindset is the key to success. Thankfully, all of our students have the best resource available to boost positive mindset, in Sport Psychologist Consultant, Dr. Tiffany Jones. Dr.Jones will continue working with all of our students individually to ensure that they have the right mentality for successful performance in the upcoming tournaments.