TFT’s Strategy to Overcoming Fear and Frustration

TFT participants have been taught to persevere through obstacles and use their mental strength in tough situations. However, learning these lessons in a class and correctly utilizing them in the face of adversity are very different. Barnav Mitra, an eleven year old TFT of Plainfield participant, can proudly say that he has achieved both.

Barnav has participated in TFT of Plainfield for four years, and is now at Birdie level. He also takes private lessons from TFT coach Joe Ubil at the Plainfield West Nine. Barnav decided that he wanted to play in tournaments, so his dad, Baivab, signed him up for his first one. As the day started, Barnav recalls that he felt nervous and excited. When he started playing, however, Barnav experienced something that he did not expect. “The first few holes went horrible! I had to pick up after ten on the first hole, and then I shot a nine on the second hole.” Besides first tournament jitters, Barnav was also intimidated by his talented opponent. “I had been paired up with a champion player, and that made me very nervous because that was my first tournament, and I was playing with someone much better than me.” As any eleven year old would be, he doubted whether he should continue the tournament, but then his mindset changed for the better. “When I got on the fourth hole, I felt very frustrated and I told my dad, who was caddying for me, that I wanted to give up, but then I remembered four years ago when I had my first TFT class and the coach, Bill Castner, told me to never give up. Even his first tournament went badly, but you always gain confidence after.” This TFT lesson inspired Barnav to keep playing, but he was still frustrated with his scores on the next three holes. Then another piece of advice, this time from his coach Joe, influenced him in the best possible way. “Before I teed off on the eighth hole, I remembered something that Coach Joe had said to me in another First Tee class. He said that you aren’t playing against the other person; the only opponent you have is the ground versus yourself. After that, I played the 8th and 9th hole very well.”

The tournament experience had a profound effect on Barnav. “After that match, I am not afraid to play people better than me anymore. Being encouraged by Joe and Bill showed me that if you are encouraged, you can enjoy anything. TFT also taught me that I can always make friends in tournaments. In the end, I managed to learn from the person I was playing against and I got excited to have a new friend.” Turning a potentially frightening situation into a rewarding experience is what TFT coaches teach their students through lessons such as the 4 R’s (Replay, Relax, Ready, Redo), personal par, goal ladders, and STAR (Stop, Think, Anticipate, Respond).  Barnav’s perseverance in his first tournament shows how the TFT is making an impact upon the lives of participants by helping them build mental stamina and strength that will serve them well throughout their lives. Whether Barnav uses these skills in his school, neighborhood, tournaments or tests, he is proud to be a TFT learner. “Without TFT, I would feel pretty bored: I would think of golf as just a regular sport, but it really isn’t… it’s much more than that for me.”

Barnav at Plainfield West 9



Story by Remi Shendell