Mind Power

Apply my Five Cs for competitive golf and bring some mental power to your game

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As the competition heats up, it’s more important to be calm, cool and collected. Act as if you belong in the heat of the moment; act as if you’re ready to win. Use your body and breathing to get back to being composed. After a poor shot, take a “mini timeout” and learn from the shot. Use a postshot routine to assess what caused the result. It may have been a wrong club decision, lack of commitment to the shot or just a poor swing. After taking the time to analyze, you can move on, knowing what caused the poor result. The most frustrating thing in golf is hitting the same poor shots and thinking that they’ll continue throughout the round. Learn from the result and move on to the next shot with a clean slate. Many golfers react immediately to poor shots with either critical self-talk or deflated posture. Sure, we don’t want to hit poor shots, but being critical of each result only intensifies the emotions. Also, put each shot in perspective—all golfers have recovered after a poor shot. Remember the times you’ve made that great par out of trouble. One poor shot doesn’t always equal a bad score. If you lose composure, it’ll certainly lead to a series of poor shots and a disappointing round.

Comfort Zone
Intense competition pushes lots of golfers’ comfort zones to the brink. That’s not surprising. Most people feel uncomfortable when they have new experiences, whether on the golf course or not. Whereas some folks cave under intense competition, the strongest competitors expand their comfort zones by embracing the challenges that lay ahead of them. The players want to accomplish something they haven’t done before. They thrive on the pressure.

If you have a hard time attaining that level of peak performance, how do you train yourself to get there? One way is to define the situation differently. Instead of looking at a new situation as something to be nervous about, see it as something to have fun with and embrace the chance to go for it. Too often, golfers begin to “protect” their score when they have reached that new personal best, while others see it as an opportunity to go even lower. Are you playing to win or playing to not lose? Sometimes the fear of failure creates negative pictures that lead us from shooting a great round to an average round. When you feel uncomfortable, it’s important to get back to your present shot and define the outcome you want to execute. It all gets back to mastering the process.


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