If we spent as much money on the mental game as we do on new clubs and equipment when our game goes south not only would our woes disappear and our scores go down, but the rest of our life would magically get better too.
We are all familiar with Yogi Berra’s quote; “90 percent of the game is mental and the other half is physical”.
I like to say about golf; “90% of the game is mental and the other half is in your head”.
I bet you’ve hit every club in your bag perfectly at one time and likely even birdied or parred every hole on your course at some point (if you play at a club regularly). Yet you still beat yourself up with negative self-talk for a missed green or fairway or the odd chilly dip. Does the internal phrase “you suck” ring a bell? It’s certainly a version of one that many of us say in our heads after a less than desirable shot.
Here’s an interesting fact: If you say it and think it, it’s likely going to continue.
You see, what you put your attention to becomes your reality. If your thoughts and your emotions are aligned with disappointment, frustration or anger, you’ll continue to attract more of that. Conversely, if you constantly focus on the amazing feeling you’ll have after the shot you’re about to take, your odds of actually creating that feeling just improved tenfold. As will the likelihood of pulling it off.
Fred couples was quoted (when speaking with Bob Rotella in 1992 prior to winning the Masters) about what his pre-shot thoughts are. “Before each shot I think about the best shot I ever hit with whatever club I have in my hands”. This puts Fred into a positive mindset as he sees, and more importantly, feels the success prior to the shot. When you use positive emotion and focus only on that, you increase the likelihood of success.
So my tip is to think like Fred. Prior to hitting your shot, think about how the previous success with that club made you feel. Then visualize the shot, lock in your target and let it go.
As always, if you’re looking to train your brain to stay in this positive headspace, both in and away from the game, I’m open to conversation.
Keep your head in the game!