Dr. Bhrett McCabe has earned a reputation as one of the best sports psychologists in the world. Athletes across all spectrum of sport seek his guidance, including dozens of professional golfers.
Reigning U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm is one of McCabe’s clients, and on this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, McCabe revealed the advice he game Rahm in the aftermath of his first major championship win.
“I went to Scottsdale, and Jon Rahm had his U.S. Open party,” McCabe said. “I was there, having a great time, and Michael Phelps was there. Michael Phelps is on the Mount Rushmore of male athletes. He’s sitting there, and Jon asked a question to me, and we were talking. He goes, ‘You know, Michael, after I won the U.S. Open I called Bhrett and I said, what now? And Bhrett said, ‘Get back to work!” And Michael said, ‘Exactly!’ You’re not going to be happy for long.”
McCabe then referenced a term from his new book: “Suckville,” which he says is the state of mind, or rather, the anxiety and pressure an athlete experiences after a great success, and the desire to continue to perform with the new weight of expectation.
“Those trophies on the wall, those successes that you and I have had, we have pride in our players,” McCabe said to Harmon. “But I know you as a coach. There is an anxiety that you gotta get back out there and keep improving what you do. And the players feel the same thing. And so what happens is, when we get that disappointment that it’s not producing the fun anymore, it’s now becoming a burden because we’re trying to continue to get the outcomes to line up to give us joy, we get pretty stuck in Suckville, because now the game is punishing. We lose the spirit of the game.”
For more insights from McCabe, including why you shouldn’t aspire to stay calm under pressure, and the best way a player can prepare for a major, check out the full interview below.