Golf is one of the most fragile sports psychologically. Golf is a game of confidence and competence.
Negative thoughts tighten up the wrong muscles enough to blow your shot.
If you want to consistently knock strokes off your game, you can’t leave the mental part of your sport to chance.
Focus on Playing Well, Not on Avoiding Errors
Golf can be an unpredictable game. Says sport psychologist Dr. Bob Rotella, “If you spend your time fighting the fact that golf is a game of mistakes and trying to make it a game of perfect shots, you’re really saying that you don’t like golf.”
Golfers in control of their mental game react well to inevitable mistakes and misfortunes.
Focus on Process Goals, Not Results
Success comes from patiently and persistently doing the right things over and over. Process goals focus on what you are doing, not the results of your shots. Such goals may be:
- I will execute my pre-shot routine on every shot.
- I will stay in the present. In the middle of the round, I will not worry about what my score will be or where I’ll stand in the tournament.
- I will not allow anything that happens on the golf course today to upset me. I will accept mistakes and be tough in adversity. I am going to be in a great state of mind for the entire round today.
Anger and frustration are impediments to playing the game as well as you can. If you’re angry, you’re not focused on your next shot. Also, anger introduces tension into the body and hinders your effort to get your mind and body into the state where you play your best golf.
Play in the Present
If your mind is truly in the present, you don’t evaluate how you’re playing. You take each shot at a time, not thinking about past shots or the score.
Although this sounds simple, staying in the present can be the most difficult part of the game. Golfer’s who don’t get overly excited or discouraged are able to keep composure and execute shots more fluidly throughout the game.
Trust Your Swing
Play with confidence. Thinking about and trying to fix mechanics will usually produce a worse result than trusting in your flawed swing. The correct response to a bad shot is to forget about it. On the next shot, execute your pre-shot routine. Swing unconsciously. Trust it. If you feel the need to fix your mechanics, wait until after the round and go to the range to do it.
Embrace Your Nerves
If you feel nervous or excited, use that to your advantage. Taking deep, slow breaths can be helpful. Visualizing what you want can be helpful. The calmer and clearer you can keep your mind, the more you can keep it focused on what you want, the more the butterflies will fade and fly in formation.
Recognize that the physical sensations you feel are caused by adrenaline, a natural product of your body. It will help you play better if you keep your mind clear.
Summit Performance Consulting LLC works with golfers of all levels to improve their mental game. Contact us at Info@SummitPerformanceConsulting.com or 561-325-8363 to learn more about how to become the best golfer you can be.