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Child’s Play by Anthony Scorcia and Sara Dickson, PGA

June 6, 2011

I’d like to thank Anythony Scorcia of  On Par with Anthony Scorcia for the opportunity to participate in this article.  To connect with Anthony, visit his website or follow him on Twitter.

Child’s play

~Anthony Scorcia and Sara Dickson, PGA

Michael Collins was on this past week’s show and he was as informative as he was funny. We talked about the behind scenes life of a caddie as well as the caddie-player relationship. You can listen to the interview here, but one of the things that Michael mentioned has had particular resonance with me. He was talking about letting a “bad shot” go and his theory/philosophy is that “every shot is a chance at greatness.” The words made me think of my son learning to shoot a jump shot and the benefits of child’s play.

When my son was about 2 ½, March Madness dominated the television. No “Blues Clues,” no “Dora,” just college basketball. He had already been running around, was familiar with the idea of throwing a football or how to play soccer, and was just starting to learn how to shoot a basketball. I watched in amazement has he would look at the television and try and recreate a standard jump shot. At first it was clumsy; shooting then jumping or shooting well after landing. It wasn’t before long that he started to get it. No, they were not perfect and no, he’s not a prodigy, but he got it.

He missed left, said, “aww,” then missed right, said “aww” again. He missed long, he missed short, and then he didn’t miss and said, “YES.” Every shot was indeed, a chance at greatness. I wondered how many people play golf or even practice golf in the same manner. The results of missed shots did not define my son nor did he ever say, “I stink;” although I would have been impressed with the vocabulary. Yet, somehow the numbers on the scorecard seem to define countless numbers of golfers. Surely, these golfers don’t do their job perfectly every day, nor are they the perfect parent, spouse, son or daughter. We know every painter has revised a painting, every writer has rewritten the page, and every golfer has that same chance. It’s called the next shot, the next hole or the next round. It’s all part of the journey. So consider a child at play the next time you do play. You might just find it’s a lot more fun.

Before posting this story, I asked Sara Dickson, PGA to share her thoughts. Below is her instructional response to my thoughts:

This message is great.  It is so refreshing and un-limiting. 

Every shot is independent of the one prior and the one to come.  Michael Collins phrases it so well because certainly that means every shot then, is an opportunity for greatness.  However, this is under one condition; the golfer must actually realize this fact.  Have you ever heard the golfer who has just hit 3 shots to the right in a row say, “Well it is just not my day, I’m going to hit everything to the right today.” Right? Wrong!

I like the description of Anthony’s son missing the basketball hoop to the left, right, short, long, and then finding the basket.  The missed shots were not because the little guy is a “bad” basketball player; they simply indicated there was a different way to shoot the ball that would provide a better result – the made basket.  The same can be said in golf.  Swings that send the ball to the left or right of our intended target are not indications of “bad” golfers; they simply indicate there is a different way to swing that may provide a so-called or so-deemed “better” result.  That is the beauty of golf.  Every shot is an opportunity to execute the shot that leads to that “better” result – the chance at greatness. 

Next time you are practicing and hit a shot that does not match up with your expectations, remember Anthony’s son and his proactive approach to improving his jump shot.  Instead of focusing on the shot that did not go in the basketball hoop, Anthony’s son kept his focus on the target, and clearly did something differently the next time to make it go in.  Eventually, the most effective jump shot is found.  This is how children play.  Whether or not they know it, this trial and error process is what leads to progress.  Now that we know it, we as golfers can apply the same principle, giving every shot the chance for greatness. 

Great article here, Anthony.  Thank you for sharing with us. 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2011 7:06 pm

    Sara,

    Love reading your stuff.

    Sometimes I get too caught up in the debate that I forget about the etiquette.

    Your stuff always brings me back to how I want to be remembered.

    Thanks again.

    JG

  2. June 6, 2011 11:24 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it, JG.

    Please don’t forget how many of us benefit from your debate. You always do it with great class and fairness. The golfing community everywhere is better for it.

    Talk to you soon,
    Sara

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