The Importance of the Mind in Playing Great Golf!

By: Gail Smirthwaite

It has long been accepted that the mind is what makes the key difference between success and failure in many areas of life and not least in sport, but still golfers who really want to achieve better results or win tournaments do not actively engage in preparing themselves as much mentally as they do physically.

Tiger Woods possibly did not know the importance of having a sports psychologist at the age of 12 but he does now. It is a little known fact that Jay Brunza, a sports psychologist, worked with Tiger from the age of 12.

Woods has often said that he doesn't need to work on his mental game, but then will follow this up by saying that he doesn't need to "because all the strategies have been in place from the age of 12!"

It is so important to develop your mental skills and clearly the earlier the better; although many golfers out there may not have been fortunate enough to take this on board at 12 years of age, believe me when I say that it is never too late.
If you think of the sports person you most admire, how would you describe them? Possibly focused, driven, motivated, dedicated, ambitious - all these skills are not to do with technique or talent but everything to do with attitude.

If you make the choice to learn to be more aware of creating a positive mindset, how these skills can be developed, and how your belief systems may not be serving you but you can change them, you stand every chance of not only creating the golf game you want to achieve but success in the life you want as well.

Much has been written about top sports performers' ability to perform 'in the zone'. It is in this 'state' where the best results are achieved most easily. You can liken the zone to that feeling of everything being so easy on every level; when you are operating without conscious thought and without effort. To give you an everyday example; remember what it was like when you were learning to drive a car? It was awkward trying to remember everything in the correct order, but after time you learnt to drive without any conscious thought for the process.

My definition of the 'zone' is that when we follow our path, the one that offers the least resistance, and when we begin to play the game we most naturally play, on and off the golf course, we begin to excel. We will find that we are having fun because it is 'effortless', we are in the flow because we are doing what we 'love' to do.

I do many talks, and I have coached numerous golfers on a one to one basis, and time and time again the same thing has happened: the enjoyment has gone out of their game of golf. I often feel that people are describing a trip to the dentist not an enjoyable day playing their favourite sport!

Before I finish this week's newsletter I just want to make one final point that I want to share with you that if you are prepared to take FULL RESPONSIBILITY to change that which is not working for you and to commit to doing more fully that which does then you will be able to make the changes to your game of golf that you want to achieve!

My online programmes and my soon to be launched E-Course will help you to work more fully on the mind side of your game of golf.

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TIP: To keep a check on your self-talk start your sentences with 'I am going to...' This will encourage your subconscious to believe that what follows is going to happen. For instance; 'I am going to hit this shot onto the green...' 'I am going to get this putt into the hole', 'I am going to really enjoy today's game of golf' etc.
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