Wright State golf coach Brian Arlinghaus is an expert in the field of sports psychology, and he wants his players oozing confidence every time they tee it up.
But there’s a drawback to that. Sometimes, the Raiders feel so good about themselves that they try pull off shots even escape artist Phil Mickelson might consider too risky, compounding their problems.
»WSU BASKETBALL: ‘Very high expectations’ for 2019-20 season
Instead of going for miracles when trouble arises, he wants them to take their medicine.
“I really need our guys to be disciplined in their decision-making, turning double-bogeys into bogeys and eliminating some of the bigger numbers,” Arlinghaus said. “You’re in the trees, and you try to hit a heroic shot instead of getting it back into position and guaranteeing a bogey.
“The time to get aggressive is not when you’re out of position, it’s when you’re IN position. What we’ve been doing as a team is having one or two of those ‘I got this’ moments instead of just getting it back in play.”
That recklessness was on display at times at the Wright State Invitational at Heatherwoode golf course in Springboro on Sunday and Monday. The Raiders finished third among 12 teams for their fourth top-five showing in five events this year, but they could have put more heat on champion Wittenberg with better course management.
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“We finished well, but we’re still making decisions that are costing the team two, three, four shots per tournament, and I told the guys afterward, ‘That is going to be the difference between winning and losing in a week,’” Arlinghaus said.
The Raiders have been gearing up all year for their next event: the 54-hole Horizon League tourney Sunday through Tuesday at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.
They were fourth last year as senior Mitch Lehigh (Gnadenhutten, Ohio) and sophomore Bryce Haney (Huber Heights) finished tied for ninth and junior Austin Schoonmaker (Springboro) tied for 20th.
Schoonmaker tied for 15th in 2017, and Lehigh tied for 12th in 2016.
“I don’t really have to worry about those three guys. They’ve been there, done that,” Arlinghaus said. “Where I’m going to have to do my best coaching is the freshmen — because, going into the conference, nerves can get a little bit high.”
The Raiders have seen most league teams in the regular-season. They finished two strokes behind second-place IUPUI at the WSU event, while Northern Kentucky was seventh, Green Bay eighth and Cleveland State 12th.
They’ve also been competitive with Oakland, which was picked as the league favorite. Two-time defending champion Cleveland State was second in the preseason poll, IUPUI third, NKU fourth and Wright State fifth.
The Raiders are shooting for their first title since back-to-back crowns in 2003-04.
“It’s very doable,” Arlinghaus said. “I told the players in our team meeting that they’re going to be in a position that’s likely to make them very uncomfortable. I need them to be disciplined, follow the processes we’ve worked on all year and not panic. If they do that, they’ll be able to pull this off.”
Players giving back: Matt Vest and A.J. Pacher will hold their second-annual Base Basketball Camp for boys 10-14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 17-20 at Ascension Middle School in Kettering. The cost is $175.
The former Raider standouts — who are playing professionally overseas (Vest in Germany and Pacher in Italy) — are incorporating aspects into their camp that will help the boys in their overall development, including yoga, strength and conditioning and life lessons. Each camper will leave with an individual growth plan.
Info is available online at basebasketball.com
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