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The Highs And Lows Of The LPGA Tour

Maude-Aimée LeBlanc
Maude-Aimée LeBlanc of the LPGA Tour

The LPGA Tour adventure with Quebec golfer Maude-Aimée LeBlanc has begun. I’ll accompany her for a series of 3 tournaments on the American west coast starting with the Fir Hills Seri Pak Championship tournament on the outskirts of Los Angeles, played at the Palos Verdes Golf Club—one of the most beautiful and hardest courses I’ve seen to date. Uneven terrain, all the fairways are inclined, the greens are small and undulating, the winds coming from the Pacific, everything to play the worst round of golf in your life. For this tournament, I played a two-part role: mental coach and caddy.

Round 1, Thursday - after discussing the game plan, I felt Maude was strong, confident, committed, and with warrior's energy. Everything I felt in her preparation was transposed onto the course and I witnessed the most beautiful round of golf of my life. She played 64! The only player in the tournament to play the course without a single bogey. It was wonderful to watch her play and see her grind through the most difficult moments. Wow!

Our initial plan was applied to the letter - breathing, and positive thinking before starting her routine, all combined with an execution punctuated with intensity and devoid of restraint. Her focus was unwavering and she had fire in her eyes. Nothing could stop her. It was truly beautiful to see her play with such ease and pleasure. Every challenge she faced became an opportunity to demonstrate her talent. Her approach on the course was like a warrior advancing across a battlefield. Everything was going smoothly, she was in the optimal performance zone - she was in flow.

Leaderboard first round

Round 2, Friday - ''I don't understand what's going on anymore?!?!'' As some would say: ''The train fell off the track.'' She played 79.  What do you think happened in less than 24 hours? Performance anxiety had taken its toll. The anticipation of the worst after experiencing the best. Why would it continue to go well? Humans tend to self-sabotage when things are going well and we often see this in many areas of our lives, whether it be golf, work, or even relationships. What drives us towards self-sabotage? Without doing a deep psychoanalysis of the human condition, limiting beliefs, fears, inner demons, and wounds from the past resurface to set the record straight. The brain is built to return to what it already knows for safety and reassurance.

She may be a high-level athlete, but she is also human with the emotional baggage that she's accumulated over time. Performance anxiety made her lose all her lucidity, her connection to her body, and her concentration was challenged; she only focused on the worst happening. When I felt that her energy had changed, "shifted", in a more harmful direction, my objective was to bring her back to the established plan, make her breathe, and regain her routine while bringing her back to her positive thoughts. Her brain resisted, and her demons came back stronger. I felt them and her non-verbal demonstrated what she was experiencing internally. Throughout this 2nd round, there were also moments of combativeness, moments of wanting to get up, and I told her: ''Look up to the sky, keep your chin high, it will help you stay more confident even when it's more difficult.'' A person's posture often demonstrates the state of mind and at the same time, we have the power to overcome it when things are going badly by standing straight and proud. And as the cliché says: “Fake it until you make it.” The brain is malleable in that we can change our state of mind by using inspiring, positive language, and a strong posture. I would even say a warrior's posture.

PS: Did you know Maude-Aimée LeBlanc is the only Quebecois golfer to play on the LPGA Tour? She’s the only one to have been on the circuit for years. No other Quebec player has achieved what she's accomplished year after year. Let's be proud and support her during her good rounds as well as the bad ones.

Michel Dubord

CPGA Professional / Mental Coach

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