Your Inner Athlete column: How to get your mind out of the way of playing great golf
Ryan Summerlin June 16, 2014
In his “Little Red Book,” Harvey Penick believes that average golfers (anyone who shoots above 75) can improve their scores by about five strokes at a time. What if you could shave a few strokes off of your game without having to change the mechanics of your swing?
As a sport psychology expert who consults elite athletes and golf clients, here are four proven mental toughness tips to quiet your mind and keep you focused and confident during your next round of golf.
IMPROVE YOUR GOLFING IN FOUR STEPS
1. Always play with your best ball. If you have ever changed up your ball for fear of losing a good one, that poor expectation potentially serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy that can greatly influence your performance. Instead, allow yourself the opportunity to play your best by playing your best ball.
2. Make a decisive stroke. If you have ever chosen a club, then questioned your initial decision but swung with it anyway, you have experience tension in your game. Take the necessary time to make a decisive stroke so that you can feel in control and confident to let the ball go.
3. Keep it real. Strive for a personal best score while keeping your achievement expectations at, or just above, your current ability. When your goals are challenging yet within reach, you’ll have a much easier time committing to your overall game, maintaining effective focus and fulfilling your expectations.
4. Highlight your strengths and improve your weakness. Top athletes in every sport have learned to use positive constructive feedback. It is not what you don’t want to do, but rather what you will do. Also, professional golfers refrain from generalizing their golf game. Instead, they identify the holes they played well and the holes on which they could use some work. This tactical approach allows them to stay positive yet constructive, leading to overall greater enjoyment and commitment to achieving personal best scores.
With a Ph.D. in sport and exercise psychology, Haley Perlus is a professor, published author, international speaker and peak performance consultant. For more free tips, visit www.DrHaley Perlus.com or call 303-459-4516.