Golf Mind Play: the Gremlin Inside of your Head

By: Tracy Tresidder

Is negative thinking causing you to lose confidence in your game?

Since the brain controls the body's actions, we can assume that positive thinking produces positive results. Unfortunately, positive thinking is not always easy to come by, especially in a society where self-deprecation is equated with modesty. You have to learn to repress that little creature which embodies negativity - the gremlin in your head. The gremlin is responsible for sending negative messages that cause us to berate ourselves and lose confidence in our abilities. The more we give in to the gremlin, the less we will succeed.

Are you setting yourself up for failure?

On the golf course, your gremlin appears when you have already mentally set yourself up for failure. An example is teeing off while there is a crowd of people watching. A common fear shared by many players in this situation is that they will embarrass themselves by slicing the ball or by scuffing it just off the tee. With thoughts like these suffused in your mind, players are actually setting themselves up to do exactly what they fear will happen. When the player's thoughts cause her to slice the ball, she may mutter to herself, "you idiot, what did you hit that shot for?" or "I always hit a bad ball when people are watching." The problem is that the player has already set herself up for failure before she had even approached the tee. She succumbed to a negative result by listening to the gremlin inside her head. While dwelling on negative suggestions, players use up precious mental energy that could be more effectively applied to the positive thinking that results in executing a great shot. By listening to your gremlin you actually change the chemistry of your brain and create tension in your body. Golf is a game of flow and feel, and it is almost impossible to hit a good shot when your brain chemistry is causing you to be tense. Blocking out your gremlin does take practice, but in the long run learning to conquer destructive thinking will make you a more confident player, and allow you to enjoy your game even when you're not playing your best.

Wipe the slate clean!

If you submit to negative thoughts, they become extremely difficult to overcome. The key is to gain control of your thinking by replacing pessimism with optimism and by substituting negative suggestions with phrases that resemble, "I can do this," or "I can swing with the perfect tempo." You can recite these thoughts just as easily as the evil gremlin can sew new negative ones. By conjuring up a positive attitude where you would normally have a negative impulse, you'll wipe the slate clean and allow yourself a fair chance at hitting a good ball, and end up feeling good about yourself at the end of your game.

Tips

1.Learn to suppress your inner negativity. Apply your mental energy towards staying focused on the present.

2.Keep doubt out of the equation, trust in your own abilities, and know that you have the power to make it happen.

3.Remember to enjoy your game even when you're not doing your best. If you submit to negative thinking, positive actions will never result.

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