Superhero Performance

Certain players onTeam USA at the Solheim Cup Sunday’s singles matches elevated their performance to another dimension, a superhero level. The US Team was losing 10-6 heading into the 12 singles matches. Team Europe only need 4 points to retain the Solheim Cup, but something in the US players said, “No!”
We certainly had the pleasure of witnessing absolutely amazing golf and a mental focus we all would like to achieve! Let’s examine the peak performance mindset…
The concept of Flow was coined by professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in 1975 as he explained in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. The word Flow is synonymous with ‘being in the zone’ or in the ‘Flow channel’ or in a state ‘fluid performance’. Superfluidity is the supreme Flow experience. It is an ego-less state of “Super Flow” marked by zero friction (rubbing/slowing), zero viscosity (resistance to flowing) and Superconductivity (zero loss of energy).
Imagine playing a round of golf, or being active in any event or project, and staying out of your own way, and experiencing zero friction?
While researching the concept of peak performance and superfluidity I came across Christopher Bergland, world-class endurance athlete, who has a Guinness World Record for running (153.76-miles in 24 hours on a treadmill) and is the three-time champion of the Triple Ironman, which is a 7.2-mile swim, 336-mile bike, followed by a 78.6-mile run done consecutively. 
Chris explains, “Superfluidity is a state of perfect harmony. When you are so immersed in what you are doing that you completely become one with the task at hand to the point that your ego dissolves you are in a state of Superfluidity.” 
Most of us are in a state of flow while truly focussing on a task, project, or competition. The professional athlete can maintain that state of flow throughout a competition and avoid most negative thoughts, anxiety, fears or doubts or as Csiksgentmihalyi would call it, “friction.”
To reach the absolute peak performance, a superhuman experience, it’s superfluidity! It’s an entirely different level then flow. Chris says, “To achieve this state it is necessary that you ‘let go’ and get out of the way of your ego stored in the prefrontal cortex.”
I believe that is exactly what happened to some of our US players after the unsportsman like action of European player, Suzann Petterson. The player’s ‘let go’ and got out of their own way as their focus was on the prize and redemption!  You probably already know what happened. On the 17th hole of the Saturday afternoon four ball competition between Suzann Pettersen and her partner Charley Hull against Brittany Lincicome and Alison Lee, Pettersen claimed that the 16 inch putt Lee had left for par to tie the hole was not verbally conceded. Lee picked up the ball as Hull was obviously walking off the green towards the next hole and Pettersen was not  in her sight. Although no verbal concessions were made, the actions of the players communicated, ‘That’s good, let’s go to the next hole.” The rules official with the group had no choice but to give the hole to the Europeans, who went on to win the match.
This certainly fired up the American team!
Let’s examine the superfluid play of some of the American players: Lexi Thompson, US Teams first player out was 7-under par through 14 holes and halved her match. Morgan Pressel beat the always tough player Catriona Mathew. Alison Lee was 2 down through 4 holes and then went into superfluid mode, making 3 birdies in a row, then birdied 3 of the last 7 holes to her match. Gerina Piller was all square through the 9th hole and then birdied 4 of the next 6 holes. On the 18th hole, Piller needed to make a 12 foot par putt to keep the European Team from getting the last 1/2 point they needed to keep the cup! She made that pressure packed putt! Lizette Salas was 1 down through 11 and then birdied 5 of the next 6 holes to win, 3 & 1. Angela Stanford was taking on the very intense, Suzann Pettersen in her singles match, and started her round birding 4 of the first 6 holes. With par’s from holes 7-14, Stanford found herself all square, but then she birdied 15 and 16. It seemed fitting that Stanford closed out Pettersen with a par on hole 17, where the earlier incident occurred.  Cristie Kerr was 3 down after 4 holes but then went to another dimension and birdied 7 out of the next 8 holes! Michelle Wie’s intensity was evident as I watched her on the first tee preparing for her match! Her peak performance state helped her to birdie 8 of 14 holes, including 5 in a row to defeat Caroline Hewall! Paula Creamer was the anchor player for the US Team and she proved that she was worthy of that position! She started her round with 5 par’s and then birdied 5 out of the next 8 holes including 3 in row to win 4 & 3 over Sandra Gal.

It was a time that the players became one with the mission and were absorbed into a state of complete concentration and focus on the prize! Many talk about the incident on the 17th green with Pettersen being the fuel that lit the fire and put the US Team players into their superfluid peak performance state. I agree!

Be Positive – Live Positive – Golf Positive

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