Mental golf coaching has had a big impact on some recent golf tournaments. It’s not only relevant to the top golfers in the world – it can make a massive difference to any golfer’s performance. It’s all about training your mind to focus on the right things to help you perform at your very best…
The luck of the Irish?
One week after the 2011 British Open, the Irish golf open was being played at Killarney. In it were three Northern Irish and one Irish major champion competing. Darren Clarke the current Open champion has stated that it helped his major win to know that Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy had all won majors before him. I’m convinced this gave him strong belief in himself.
Believe and you will achieve!
Belief plays an important role in our lives and if you believe you can achieve something then you will. This is never truer than when you are playing golf, but you need to train your brain to think the right thoughts at the right time. This is just one part of mental golf coaching, but a very important one.
Who was that famous car maker, oh yes Henry Ford,who said “if you think you can or if you think you can’t you are probably right”. Powerful words and this has been proven time and time again. One of the classic examples was the 4 minute mile and Sir Roger Bannister. Scientists and doctors believed the heart would explode if anyone ran as fast as Sir Roger Bannister did. But, guess what? Sir Roger Bannister did break the four minute mile and his heart did not explode and a week later there were many runners that broke the four minute mile.
In golf we create these beliefs all of the time. I see this a lot when I am coaching golfers. They often say ‘I can’t play that hole or I can’t hit that club’, but this is simply not the case.
They would have played that hole well at times, but chose to focus on bad experiences instead. They would have hit that club well, but they chose to focus on bad shots they had with that club.
Another example is the circus elephant that is chained up. It is trained to have something around its foot and it believes that it cannot escape. After some time of conditioning the elephant owner only has to put a light rope around the elephant’s leg so it believes it cannot escape. As we all know, the elephant could easily break through the rope and escape to freedom but it doesn’t, because as I said before, it has been conditioned.
Train your mind to focus on success
In golf we need to focus on our successes just like Darren Clarke focused on Irish success – his mental golf coaching helped him do this. Of course this was not the only factor in his win, but it helped. He didn’t let negative thoughts enter his mind – and he did this very simply by focusing on positive thoughts.
Learn from your best performance
Here is a good mental golf coaching tip – next time you finish a round of golf cast your mind back to your three best shots and write them down in vivid detail.
Relive the shots and make them real in your mind. Also write down three things that you learned from your day out on the course. This is a great technique to help you move forward with your golf.
When you are faced with a similar shot next time you are playing, relive that great shot you played. As you build up more and more memories of the good shots you’ve played you’ll be able to recall great shots for almost every situation you find yourself in.
I am not suggesting you talk yourself into shots that are simply not achievable – you need to play within you own capabilities. But by focusing on positive shots you are far more likely to have a positive outcome, and you’ll enjoy your game a lot more as well!
Remember – your mind is an amazing thing!
You’ll find lots more mental golf coaching tips in our Golf Putting Lessons.