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Stress: A Performance Tool For An LPGA Athlete

LPGA Tour Athlete

When we can put the right words on the emotions we're experiencing, it allows us to better understand what's happening to us. Emotion is the energy of movement, and this energy has an intensity. Having the ability to play with intensity will allow you to use emotion at a specific moment to perform. The following information is based on a professional LPGA Tour athlete's first day of competition versus her second day.

Here's a concrete example of the intensity of emotions:

Whoop data

The use of a Whoop device, a tool that measures stress level, heart rate, and duration, allows us to better analyze the stress related to specific moments of performance. In the example above, on day 1 of the tournament, stress is at a moderate intensity and has a duration of 6 hours and 9 minutes. Compared to day 2 of the competition, where we observed a drop in intensity and duration, this time 2 hours and 19 minutes.

Based on this information, do you think the athlete performed better on day 1 (Thursday) or day 2 (Friday)?

Probably a majority of people would say day 2 (Friday) since the stress levels and length of time have decreased. On the contrary, after consulting with the athlete, the reduction in the intensity and duration of stress was less beneficial for her. As for the word stress, the word that came up during our conversations was “excitement”. This excitement has an intensity which is represented in the diagrams above. So, the emotion (excitement) and this intensity allow her to maintain higher levels of vigilance, alertness, and more optimal concentration. When the energy and intensity levels decrease, she loses focus and her ability to perform is affected. On the other hand, if the intensity was too great, she could also lose focus and the ability to perform.

An important point to remember is that playing with intensity and emotion is very demanding. For hormonal, physical, and mental reasons, the body has its limits in terms of duration and intensity. This is why moments of relaxation and recovery are just as important.

Now, do we need to be activated to perform? Yes.

At what intensity? It depends on each person.

This is where mental coaching can help you determine the level of emotion that works for you and the level of intensity that will allow you to perform when you need it most.

Michel Dubord

CPGA Golf Professional

Mental and Wellness Coach

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