Sunday, July 29, 2012

Prepare, deserve, commit, accept.

I thought about the mental game whilst playing golf today. Although well aware of the mental game, and being a fan of the musical implications of “The Inner Game of Tennis”, this never occurred to me when I was playing the tuba. Often spoken in golf but rarely spoken in music is “Commit to the shot.” Mr. Jacobs only hinted at this concept with mouthpiece solfegio. “Commit to the shot” also means “Be willing to fail.” Mr. Herseth gave a master class and there were no takers to go on stage as a guinea pig. Knowing all were afraid to make the first mistake he picked up his horn and did a terrible spweaw announcing he would get it out of the way first. Commit to the first note of the Petrushka solo. Commit to the high G# if you perform Bydlo. Mr. Jacobs was a fan of the expression “Paralysis by Analysis.” Golfers use the expression “There is no place for thinking on the golf course.” They do not mean that you should no be aware of the pin placement or the distance to the pin or even the wind. They do mean that once you have made your decision and selected your club, you must quiet your mind and commit to the shot. Along with this goes a general feeling that you deserve to hole this put. This does not happen in a vacuum. It must be preceded by preparation. That is not necessarily to say practice. Preparation may include knowing the yardage, choosing the right club, cleaning your clubs the night before. On the musical side it may mean cleaning your horn and it may certainly mean studying the score and hearing it in your head. For both it certainly means holding a clear image of what you want the outcome to be. And it certainly means accepting the outcome and moving on. Golf requires this. Golfers know all they can do is put a good strike on the ball. From there it is up to the wind, the terrain and the golf gods. Along with this must come confidence. This can’t be faked. It must be based on remembrance of previous success if only on the driving range (aka practice room). Paul Driscol gave me great advice about golf when I had just taken up the game at age 45. “No one will remember your score, but they will always remember how you acted on the course.” This is good advice for pick-up gigs if you want to be called back. Side note: My wife took this to another level, “No one will ever remember your score but they will remember how you looked. So buy me a new golf outfit.” (LOL, ok I made that up.) Prepare, deserve, commit, accept. My grandson at age two;