Mental Golf Tips
- Give Up Control To Gain Control: Whenever an athlete is in the zone and can do no wrong, they often describe the experience as simple, rhythmic and easy. The ultimate goal is to get into this zone on the course while creating quality shots. The trouble is that golf is a difficult game that requires certain technique. When our focus is only technique, we lose rhythm, become tense and overwhelmed. The trick is to practice using a technical mindset then afreedom mindset. Use repetition to ingrain proper technique, then once you can execute 7 out of 10 shots, switch to focusing only on the target. To help you not think about mechanical thoughts try counting in your swing such as "1 and 2" or hum your favorite song as you swing. As your technique improves you will be able to hit shots without having to consciously control every part of your swing. You will then be much more likely to get in the zone on the course.
- Assess The Situation/Pre-Shot Routine: Every golf shot is unique and certain variables must be considered before hitting such as: lie, wind, distance, trajectory, where to miss, confidence in a club, how you're hitting it that day, etc. It does not necessarily require a lot of time to consider these variables, but you definitely do not want to hit a shot without a certain amount of strategy. Once a specific club is chosen to a distinct target it's important for a golfer to visualize the shot. It only takes a few seconds and can be done while making practice swings, but the eyes should be looking at the target rather than the ground or club. Once you have a feel for the shot, step up and pull the trigger with confidence and commitment. Each shot you play on the course requires this routine but it's not always easy. Distractions like playing partners, past shots, future expectations, slow play, bad bounces- destroys a golfers focus. Again, this routine does not take a lot of time, the golf swing is only a second, so assess the situation, visualize, get a feel and pull the trigger. You will immerse yourself in the moment and shot. The best part about focusing on the details of a shot is that it blocks out negative thoughts.
- Strive for Internal Motivation: Internally Motivated (IM) golfers play because they love the challenge/complexities of the game and enjoy the journey of improvement. Externally Motivated (EM) golfers play mainly to be accepted from others. An EM golfer plays to impress others or not embarrass themselves, therefore their enjoyment of the game is out of their control because its based on another person's perception of them. IM golfers enjoyment in the game comes from self improvement. Their golf happiness is in their control because they are competing only against themselves while trying to master the game. These two mindsets perceive failure differently. Golf skills will naturally have highs and lows- it's the nature of the game. EM golfers tend to get abnormally discouraged and embarrassed when they are playing poor, while the IM golfers become more curious and focused- theyperceive failure as a learning opportunity rather than a set-back. The IM golfer can not wait to play again, take a lesson, or go to the range after a bad round, while the EM golfer is likely to put the clubs away for a while and slow progress. Most golfers have a combination of internal and external motivations, so take time to reflect why you truly play the game. Strive to be curious and enthusiastic about the golf, rather than adding pressure by trying to impress others or not embarrass yourself. You'll be better off in the long run and accelerate improvement.
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