Monthly Archives: September 2011

Golf: Mental Preparation for a Tournament

Every sport has a variety of pre-game rituals to prepare the athletes for competition.  I attended a Professional Basketball game, and there was a consistent routine of drills that the players engaged in, such as stretching, passing drills, lay ups, foul shots and rotating jump shots.  These rituals are carefully planned by the coaches with the purpose of warming up the bodies and minds of the players for competition.  Unlike basketball, golf is basically an individual sport.  The golf player needs to develop his or her own pre-game rituals to prepare for competition.  What are the important pre-game rituals to prime up your mental game?

Athletic performance is dependent upon the cooperation between the intellectual mind and the feeling body.  The connection between the mind and the body needs to be awakened.  Conscious stretching is an excellent way to wake up this connection.  Conscious stretching is more than simply stretching muscles, it is moving your center of awareness into the area of your body that you are stretching.  For example, if you are stretching a muscle in your leg, you relax into the stretch and focus your awareness totally into the sensation that is occurring in your muscle.  With a quiet mind, you move your awareness into the different parts of your body, and as you warm up your muscles, you are also consciously connecting with your body.

The second part of the mental game that needs to be warmed up is your competitive juices.  After you hit enough balls to get your body loose, play some competitive practice games to wake up your competitive fire.  For example, take out your driver, and play the game that you need to hit 3 in a row within a 20 yard width of a target.  This game simulates pressure, challenges you to concentrate and forces you to focus on the importance of each shot.  Another game is that you need to make 3 putts in a row from 6 feet.  Again, you begin to move into a vibration that challenges you to make each putt count.  As you exercise these mental challenges, you are awakening these mental muscles for competition.

Another great mental preparation exercise is to imagine playing the first 3 holes on the practice tee.  Pull out your driver and imagine that you are on the first tee box, and hit the type of shot that fits the layout of the hole.  After a good drive, hit the appropriate iron that you would use for your approach shot to the green.  Imagine yourself on the 2nd tee box, and repeat the exact rotation of shots that you would do on the course, except the putting.  After completing the 2nd hole, do the same process imagining the 3 hole.  Some players will go through the entire 18 holes in this manner before a tournament, and they will tell you that they receive great benefits from this exercise.  It serves the wonderful purpose of experiencing the rotation of shots that your experience during the round, yet more importantly, it will decrease anxiety because your body is becoming familiar with playing strategy.  The same process can be done on the putting green.  Play 3 holes imagining that you are on the first green, and you go through your full routine, and finish the hole.  Pick another hole and imagine that you are on the 2nd hole, then the 3rd.  This process helps you get the rhythm of your putting routine going, in addition to engaging your mind into the attitude of scoring.

Finally, create a pre-game warm up that warms you up physically and mentally, and be consistent with the same process.  The worst mistake you can make is to go straight from your car to playing a round with no warm up.  It may be the 4th hole before you begin to transition into competitive mode.  Develop a pre-game plan and allow yourself plenty time to complete the process.  As human beings, we love consistency and love to know what to expect.  If you develop a pre-game routine and consistently follow it, your body and spirit will become accustom to the different cues, and will be ready for competition.  The consistency creates safety, and safety allows the best of your ability to come out.  Warm up you body and warm up your mind, and you will hopefully warm up that pencil to write down those low numbers.

Dean Sunseri, MA, MEd, is a specialist in Sports Performance Counseling. He has a Masters in Counseling from the University of New Orleans and a Masters in Theology from Notre Dame.  Some notable athletes he has coached are PGA Tour member John Riegger, NFL Players Donte Stallworth, Patrick Ramsey and Kenny King, New Orleans Brass Hockey Team and the US Inline Skating Team. He resides in Baton Rouge, LA and can be contacted at ds@ihaveavoice.com or www.ihaveavoice.com by telephone 225-290-7252.

 

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Rules for Fair Fighting: Marriage Counseling

Fighting fair in marriage is an attitude and a skill; a skill that must be learned and practice to have a successful marriage. The following are some basic guidelines for fighting fair in marriage:

1. Deal With The Issue Quickly – don’t let it linger indefinitely

2. Deal With Only One Issue At A Time – don’t “kitchen sink” your partner by bringing up everything you’ve been upset about.

3. Avoid “Put Downs” and Generalizations – avoid words like “you always, you never, you are always right or wrong, good or bad,” etc.

4. Listen Without Interrupting – take turns listening and ask questions to clarify what’s being communicated.

5. Don’t Fight In Front Of Your Kids – arguing in front of your children is child abuse. They don’t want to hear it anyway.

6. Don’t Bring Up Past Mistakes, Hurts, or Issues From The Past – don’t dig up the past. Stay in the present with the topic at hand.

7. Avoid Name Calling and Personal Insults – name calling and personal insults might help you to win the argument but may also cause you to lose your marriage.

8. Make It A “Win-Win” Outcome For Both of You – you can only win if you both win.

If you maintain an attitude of honor and respect, all disagreements will eventually be resolved.

Dean Sunseri is a Licensed Profession Counselor experienced in General Mental Health Counseling, Christian Counseling and Marriage Counseling.  He is located in Baton Rouge LA.

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10 Ways to Improve your Marriage

It takes work to have a good marriage and the following are 10 practical suggestions to improve the quality of your marriage.  Practice these principles and you will reap great benefits.

1.      Create a date night either every week or every other week.

2.    Every day pray to be loving, forgiving and appreciative.

3.     Tell your partner often that you love him or her.

4.    Do unexpected or random acts of kindness.

5.     Touch, hold and hug, because your physical self is revitalized by loving, non-verbal communication.

6.    Let others know how much your partners means to you.  Public affirmation of your love increases the care in the relationship.

7.     Create at least 30 minutes of quality time together daily.

8.    Learn to be an excellent communicator, expressing thoughts and emotions freely.

9.    Pray together, in private and in public.

10.Keep the growth of your marriage a high priority.

Dean Sunseri, LPC is a Marriage Counselor in Baton Rouge, LA.  He can be contacted at 225-290-7252 or email.

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Three Reason Why Christian Marriages Fail

In the United States we have an epidemic of divorce.  Marriage is the sacred institution that provides the foundation for the individual, the family, the community and the nation.  When marriages fall apart, the individual, the family, the community and the nation fall apart.  Even a greater tragedy is the fact that the rates of divorce among Christian marriages is not that much different than non-Christian marriages.  With the help of grace, mercy, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and Father God, Christian marriages are falling like flies.  It makes me asked the question, where are we missing it?  Here are three major reasons why Christian marriages fail.

The first reason is that the individuals in the marriage are not following the mandate of Jesus to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.  “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).”  Jesus does not instruct you to seek your spouse first, or the welfare of your children first, or even your job first.  He is clear with his instructions, which is to make the pursuit of the Kingdom of God as the first priority above everything else.  Is the Sunday football game more important than attending the Sunday worship service?  Is the children’s athletic activity more important than the mid week Bible Study?  Is the morning news more important than spending time with God?  When priorities are out of balance, lifestyle gets out of balance, and relationship disorder is inevitable.  The promise that God makes is that if you seek Him first, above all else, all these things will be added on to you.  What will be added? He will add your food, clothing, jobs, time, provision for all your wants and needs.  The message is for you to get into right order with God, and your marriage will fall into place.

The second reason Christian marriages fail is the lack of training in living out the Word of God.  Jesus taught that you need to constantly feed your bodies with proper spiritual food.  “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4).”  Just as you feed your body with physical food, your spiritual self needs to constantly be fed with the inspired Word of God.  There is life in the Word, there is direction in the Word, there is correction in the Word and there is instruction in the Word.  The Word of God must not only be learned, but it must be applied to your everyday life situations.  How much effort do you give to applying the Word of God to your life situations?  Is this a primary aim for you and your partner?  Spend time everyday reading the Word of God, and asking the Holy Spirit to assist you in understanding and applying.  You may ask, “What does this have to do with my marriage?” Everything!  When there is a couple who actively seek to live out the Word of God, they will treat each other with love, respect, dignity and peace.  A harmonious marriage is a natural, or better stated, a supernatural byproduct of such a commitment.

The third reason Christian marriages fail is because of the inability to deal with the sin nature.  When a person becomes a child of God, his or her spirit is reborn, but the mind and the body still possess the sin nature.  The sin nature is the loss of consciousness of connection with God, and all the effects that result from this loss.  The cross of Jesus Christ is the place of victory where the sin nature is defeated.  A Christian must learn to enter into the benefits and power of the cross in order to dominate the sin nature in the mind and the body.  Many Christian marriages are destroyed by addictions and unhealthy habits that erode the relationship.  The cross is the only place to find the spiritual power to overcome permanently these unhealthy habits.  Dominion over the world, the flesh and the sin nature are only found in the cross.

You may be thinking, “He did tell me anything about the marriage itself.  He only discussed the individual responsibility.”  This is true.  A fulfilling Christian marriage is rooted in the committed walk with God of each individual.  When each person in the relationship is 100% committed to live out the guidelines of Christ, marriage issues clear up automatically.  Get the individuals in right order and the marriage will fall neatly into place.

Dean Sunseri, LPC is a minister and Licensed Professional Counselor in Baton Rouge, LA.  He specializes in individual counseling and marriage counseling.

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The 7 Keys to Effective Communication

As a marriage counselor, one of the most common problems for a couple is the inability to effectively communicate.  Often, a past problem has not been resolved because of the lack of communication, and the small hill of a problem grows into a mountain.  Lack of effective communication not only causes problems for married couples, but also has hurt relationships such as employer and employee, parent and child, brother and sister and any other relationship.

What are some keys to effective communication?  Here are 7 keys to help you become an effective communicator.

  1. Be honest, direct and compassionate.   Sometimes individuals are brutally honest, and pat themselves on the back for speaking directly, yet their comment created more damage than if they would have said nothing.  For example, the spouse asks, “How do you like my outfit?”  The partner says, “You look fat in that outfit.”  Big mistake.  A better approach is to say; “You look ok, yet you look better in the other outfit.”
  2. Avoid name-calling.  Practice speaking with respect, and avoid using any names that are degrading, disrespectful or hurtful.  This includes comments like, “You’re just like your crazy mother.”
  3. Stay focused on the one issue.  Often a conversation will get diverted and lost in surrounding problems, and move off the present problem.  If you are discussing that you are upset because your friend forgot to call you, don’t bring up how forgetful your friend is with other people, and how lazy she is, and how unmotivated and self centered.  Stay focused on the present issue that you are hurt that you friend forgot to call you.
  4. Describe the Specific Behavior and express how it impacted you. Avoid making general statement like, “You are always late.”  Use the specific behavior such as, “You said that you would be home for 6:00pm, and you arrive home at 7:30pm, and I am upset.”
  5. Avoid Resentment Build Up.  Resentment or internalize emotional pain is the great destroyer of relationships.  Do not allow resentments, hurts or anger get momentum inside.  They will eventually come out, and often times in a destructive way.  Learn to release your resentments and free up your heart.
  6. Express Appreciation.  Remember to see and express appreciation for behaviors that you like.  Most people want to satisfy people who are important to them.  When you express appreciation, it makes the other person want to do the behavior again.  Human beings respond much better to praise than criticism.
  7. Have a Voice.  Don’t lose your voice in any relationship.  When you lose your voice, you lose your power.  No relationship works well when one person does not have any power.

Effective communication is not always easy, yet the alternative of poor communication is much harder in the long run.  Follow these simple guidelines, and enjoy the benefits of effective communication.

Dean Sunseri, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Baton Rouge, LA.  He specializes in Individual Counseling, Marriage Counseling and Family Counseling.  He is the co-author of the book, A Roadmap to the Soul.  He can be contacted at 225-290-7252.

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