Adaptability: Changing How We Respond to Change

Whether it’s the kind of change we choose or the unexpected kind, it can be hard, uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Change comes in different shapes: having to shift to online schooling, starting college or moving to a new city, a tree in the line of our otherwise perfect shot. We know change is inevitable. Our ability to adapt to changes is what can determine our success both on and off the course. 

Understanding our relationship to change can be an important first step in developing adaptability. To do this we can ask ourselves: How comfortable am I when unexpected things happen? Do I see change as a good or bad thing? How do I feel when changes are happening – do I get anxious or do I find it energizing? Am I open to changes to my routines or do I avoid them at all costs? 

Having tools or a process can help us effectively deal with changes, and become more comfortable overtime. At First Tee, we utilize a tool called STAR to support kids and teens to build their confidence as they deal with challenges and changes on the course and in daily life. Try it out for yourself: think of the last change or shift that occurred in your daily life and try these 4 steps. 


  • Stop: This is where you pause and give your mind a break. Take a breath. What are things that help you calm down? 
  • Think: Consider your choices. What are some of the choices you have in this situation? Think of it from all angles.  
  • Anticipate: This means to look ahead. What could happen (good or bad) as a result of each choice? Think about how each consequence will affect your ability to reach your goals.
  • Respond: Select the best choice of what to do. Each person’s “best choice” may be different from the next. The best choice is one that helps you progress to your goal while maintaining your values. 

There is no guarantee to successful outcomes, but these techniques and routines can help us more effectively deal with change. This helps us grow into stronger individuals, better equips us for whatever comes our way, and can create new opportunities along the way.  

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