July 12, 2017

Most players think a good mental game is something you either have or you don’t. This is a common mistake, you wouldn’t say the same thing about having a six pack or being able to speak a foreign language, as you know that is not true. Yet having a six pack and speaking a second language require taking action and commitment.

The same is true with developing a mind that works with you rather than against you.Here are five simple quick tips you can employ immediately to create better flow to your game, without negative internal chatter, and stress.

1.  Be Kind To Yourself.  This may sound corny! But you would be amazed how many negative things golfers say about themselves when playing. A ‘bad’ shot can see a player, curse and bang their club into the ground, and feel as though they are the victims of some huge injustice. It’s OK to be upset it’s natural enough, but only for a few seconds, then ‘let it go’. If you beat yourself up you reinforce a negative self  image, which in turn damages your self-confidence.

2. Believe In Yourself. (Self- Confidence) There is a correlation between positive expectation and positive outcome. Best summed up in the quote by   Henry Ford, “if you think you can or think you can’t you are usually right”.  If you do not believe you can execute a particular shot – don’t take it. Rather use sensible course management to re-think your strategy on the options available to you. I am amazed by how many golfers I meet describe themselves as ‘bad golfer,….. poor putters,….. keen but not very good”, holding such a negative self image, never helps our mental game.

3. Focus on the Outcome not the Process. Too often we get so caught up on the technical side of the swing, that mentally we are a long way from having    the neutral mindset we require to play our best golf. I really we should swing the club without any distracting thoughts, indeed I train my clients to swing without any thought at all (during the swing). Just as an archer makes their focus the bullseye, and the race drive makes their focus the perfect line on the race track, as golfers you should make a habit of having a distinct target to focus on (where you want the ball to end up), this stops us  focussing on the swing. When you drive your car, where is your focus. It will be (unconsciously) upon the destination not the position of your hands and feet, when you can swing the club with the same lack of thought that goes into driving your car you will mentally be in a much better place.

4.  Slow Down When You Feel The Pressure Build. When we get tense everything speeds up. We walk, talk and think faster. This is due to adrenaline   entering our bloodstream, and we get a very slight sensation of the ‘fight or flight’ physiological response. We all experience pressure/tension on the course, and breathing deeply and slowing down our movements can reverse this sensation. Though almost every golfer I know tells me they know this, almost none of them tell me they do it!. try it, it really does help.

5.  Celebrate Your Successes.   Have you noticed Tigers fist pump over the years, or how about Poulters shouts of “Come on” when he makes a clutch putt  in the Ryder Cup. These are extreme expressions of internal celebration make public. But in so doing they are very positively reinforcing their internal self-image.  You too should celebrate great shots, and clutch putts, not with some dramatic physical gesture, (which I think in a club competition may be perceived as gamesmanship) but internally  say to something that makes you feel great about yourself. “Great Shot”, Well Done”, Doing this, builds your confidence and gives you a wonderful memory of success to draw upon in the future.

Robin Sieger is a world class performance coach, bestselling author, broadcaster and has been hired repeatedly as a motivational and inspirational speaker at global conferences for clients such as IBM and Microsoft.The UK author of three of golf’s most successful mental game books in Europe including Silent Mind Golf, which are now available in the USA from Jan 2014. Today he divides his time between London, Scotland and the USA. When in America, he is based at the Concession Club in Florida where he is their visiting Mental Conditioning Coach, and works with both PGA professionals, national teams, and amateur players of all levels.

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