Morallos takes ‘Mamba Mentality’ off the court and onto the course

By Rachel Spencer, Contributing writer

It all started with a TEDtalk.

Ali Morallos is no stranger to competition, having seven top 10 American Junior Golf Association finishes under her belt, in addition to qualifying for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Public Links, all before stepping foot in Champaign.

Once a member of the Fighting Illini women’s golf team, the California native had a strong start during her first fall season, racking up three rounds under par — including a career-low 67 at the Coeur d’Alene Collegiate back in September.

The idea of taking Kobe Bryant’s iconic ‘Mamba Mentality’ off the basketball court and teeing up with it on the golf course came to Morallos on a training trip after watching a TEDtalk that featured Bryant himself. In it, he discussed how the mentality has helped him shape his goals, not only for his basketball career but in his daily life. 

Morallos said the messages and goals of the TEDtalk really spoke to her. The freshman saw the potential ‘Mamba Mentality’ had, not just for her game but for how she works with her teammates too.

“Overall, it’s just about doing everything with a purpose and trying to better yourself every day,” Morallos said.

Morallos understands the ‘Mamba Mentality” as going the extra mile. She says that approaching everything more tactically than emotionally to figure out the best solution for herself and her teammates is what the phrase is all about. And like Bryant, Morallos found that she could use ‘Mamba Mentality’ in her everyday life.

According to Morallos, regardless of where you are in life, it isn’t about winning or losing.

“There is no winning or losing. The only time failure like that can exist is when you don’t give yourself the chance to improve,” Morallos said. “So every day, whether it be trying to watch what I eat, or putting 100 percent into workouts or managing my time so I have enough time to study for my midterm, it’s definitely about putting 100 percent into everything I do to try and better myself.”

Putting 100 percent into what she does has paid off for Morallos so far in the spring season. She led the Illini, alongside senior Dana Gattone and junior Bing Singhsumalee in the spring season opener in Arizona, building on her contributions to the team in the fall.

For Morallos, embodying a ‘Mamba Mentality’ on the course simply means staying in the moment and recognizing that she’s earned her spot at the tournaments she plays in.

“It’s definitely more about quality at the moment and trying to hone in on what specific parts of my game I want to work on,” Morallos said. “Just accepting what I have, what game I brought and reminding myself that before I got to that tournament, I put in all the extra work.”

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