Player diary: Davidson's Todd Eckstein (Part 2)
As I’m writing this entry, our team is 38,000 feet in the air en route to our second tournament of the year, the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic in South Bend, Ind. Flying to a tournament is a novel concept for us because most of our tournaments are within five or six hours’ driving distance to accommodate restrictions on how much class student-athletes at Davidson are allowed to miss for their respective events. The opportunity to travel to South Bend for a quality event (and the football game against Michigan State!) is a luxury for which our team is very thankful.
I’ve had conversations with guys on our team this week about that thankfulness and how important it is to take that mindset to the course. Last weekend at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate, we beat ourselves up mentally. Every guy on our team logged a great amount of quality practice hours, especially on short game, before our trip to Chapel Hill. When the putts didn’t drop and the chips didn’t roll out, that very familiar dialogue started playing out in each of our minds and maybe even aloud:
“I’ve hit this shot a thousand times, how could I do that?”
”I’ve been putting on these greens since 7 a.m. How did I leave that short?”
“Seriously? I hit that so good it went over the green?”
We’ve all heard that self-doubt in our heads, but in reality, what good does that do? We had the opportunity to play with four great teams on a course that was in great shape for two days in sunny, 75-degree weather. The bad shots will come no matter how well you’re playing, but isn’t the opportunity to play a tournament, even if played poorly, better than not playing at all? Taking that approach helps not only make the tournament more enjoyable, but also takes away self-induced pressure.
We also put in more work on chipping and putting this week to help alleviate some of our woes from the Tar Heel. Each Thursday practice is dedicated to more than two hours of short-game work. We have chipping and putting games that we record each week to check our improvement. Nearly everyone had better numbers last Thursday (Sept. 19) than during the previous session. All that plus a conditioning session with our strength coaches Sept. 19 and you get a team of guys ready to go for this next tournament. We’re flying high right now, but hopefully we’ll be flying a little higher on the way back to Davidson after Notre Dame.