Marble Falls High School senior golfer Madison Deberard watches her ball cut through the fairway after a strong tee shot during a Mother’s Day event at Lady Bird Johnson Golf Course in Fredericksburg. Courtesy photo
In the world of sports, adversity is commonplace. It can be found on every football field, basketball court, and golf course and strikes on each dropped pass, missed shot, and shanked stroke. In those unfortunate moments, feelings of self-doubt are bound to arise, forcing athletes to make a conscious choice between allowing disparaging introspection to set in or bucking negative thoughts for unwavering positivity. Athletes who choose the latter are poised for success.
Marble Falls High School senior golfer Madison Deberard has mastered that game.
“If I hit a bad shot, I’ll just turn around, take a deep breath, and focus on the next one,” she said. “You just can’t get too caught up on the negative too much.”
While many claim to be forward-thinkers, Deberard’s success proves her method works. Since February, the 18-year-old golfer has finished in the top 10 in 11 of 14 competitions. As her senior year progresses, Deberard continues to rack up accolades, including a tournament-best score of 78 on Nov. 2 at the Joy Riley Invitational in Austin.
“I started off really bad in my game,” she said. “I was a solid eight-over, and I told myself, for colleges to be looking at me, I couldn’t be shooting like I was. All of the sudden, I got three birdies on the last five (holes). I didn’t know I could do that. It awakened me to the potential I had.”
The seasoned golfer learned the power of positivity from a stable of coaches and trainers.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without them,” she said. “They helped me process everything it takes to put everything together.”
No one has helped Deberard conquer the mental aspect of golf more than head coach Rick Blackington.
“He’s all about making relationships with the players rather than being so hard on them,” Deberard said. “He wants to accompany them and help them in any way possible. He’s a really good guy and one of my favorite people. There’s just something different about him.”
Unlike many golfers with years of instruction and experience, Deberard started playing the sport in middle school.
“I was so used to contact sports growing up as a kid,” she said. “This was totally new to me.”
After taking a break from outside tournaments her first two years of high school, Deberard dropped everything to focus on golf full time.
“I took a break freshman and sophomore year because I was playing softball at the time,” she said. “That kind of interfered during seasons.”
Off the green, Deberard stays busy with several extracurricular activities, including the National Honor Society, student council, and Business Professionals of America. She’s also the head editor of her school’s yearbook, another avenue to spread her positive spirit.
“I do these things so I can focus on the good in the world,” she said. “Growing up, I’ve always been a people-pleaser.”
While she hasn’t made a decision on which college she’d like to attend, Deberard has some idea on a field of study.
“I want to major in mass communications, journalism, or photography,” she said. “That stuff has always interested me. I started taking pictures freshman year and have always enjoyed it.”
With several tournaments left on her busy schedule, Deberard has set expectations toward her goal of receiving more scholarship offers.
“I want to stay consistently in the 70s, preferably the low 70s,” she said. “Not only do I want to encourage myself but as well as my team.”
If the senior is able to accomplish her mission, it will be a direct byproduct of her unrelenting positive attitude and persistence on the course.
“We all make mistakes and have bad days,” Deberard said. “You just have to keep going, keep practicing, and ask for help. It’s nothing to be ashamed of at all. It’s a process to get to where you want to be.”