- itemClassic Golf Instructiontagged by System, 10/21/11
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The Mental Game in Two Words - Page 4
It is clear to me from observing athletes in action that some are helped by seeing the glass half full (positive) and some are helped by seeing the glass half empty (negative). It probably depends on the person's history of managing situations where call for improvement.
One of the best reasons for thinking positively that I have seen came from self-help guru Depak Chopra. He said that if you can manage a problem by either seeing the glass half full or half empty, seeing it half full will lead to a better quality solution to the problem. At first, I thought, "what difference does it make if you can manage it either way?" Then I realized that simply managing it doesn't mean equal quality of the final solution. The implication of seeing it half full is that (1) your muscles will be more relaxed, (2) you won't have to divert any mental energy to managing any stress that might result from seeing the glass half empty, and (3) you will have more of your mental capacity to devote to the task at hand.
The above advice was based on a person's ability to see it either way. If a person is unable to see it half full, then the improvement he/she can get by seeing it half empty may surpass what he/she can gain by trying to see it half full. One of those zero-sum games in life, but even zero sum games can be overcome by adding resources.
Twenty years ago, I would have considered this as psychology mumbo jumbo, but I gained some wisdom in those twenty years. My career was in one where the ability to see the glass half empty was important.
I ran into this at a mixed format 3 day tournament. It was down to me against someone that I was well matched up with. We were in match play and I had to win for my team to win the tourney. My opponent had the honor and he duffed it right in the water. Of course the first thing I thought of was just get it over the water. Took the pressure (as my drives were less than great the previous two days) and smacked my drive about 260 dead center of the fairway. Wound up pretty much winning the tourney with that drive as his next drive was in the woods so ended up laying on the green putting for birdie and 4 strokes to win.
That may be your perception but in reality it's about your skill/ability with your ballstriking.
Two words? "Relaxed Focus" readily comes to my mind.
I read a lot about "pressure" in this thread. My thought is that folks who can't handle the pressures that golf presents, have not experienced much pressure in other aspects of their lives. I think a person who experiences a higher degree pressure than any thing golf can throw at them will be less afraid of what ever golf pressure they face.
I am of the opinion, that surprises and/or fear of the unknown can cause pressure, which can rob a person of their confidence. The full circle completes itself when one loses their confidence, and they put more pressure on themselves.
Myself, I have been golfing for so long, that nothing surprises me anymore as far as the game itself is concerned. No surprises, equals no pressure, which equals no loss of confidence.....99% of the time.
Eric pretty much sums this thread back in 2011 in the opening post.
I would simply say "Play Golf"
Golf can be a game of great pressures during any given moment, at times.
It can be at times, when your not even playing a shot or putt (when your opponent makes a shot or putt to potentially win)
At times a player may either be winning or having a great round and then the pressures to close the deal build.
Today on yahoo there was an article about what pro's would change if they could start over.
Many of the answers were similar, "enjoy the game and slow down"
Slow down referred to trying not to accomplish too much too quickly.
20 Years of Golf: Players' advice to 20-year-old selves
I guess I meant when I am thinking positive and enjoying my game, I play really well, not so much when I was younger and put too much pressure on myself and was hard on myself.
We learn with our prefrontal cortex, our intellect, but need that side of our brain to recede - become quiet - when we play golf.
When people say they are not thinking during a great round, that is what is happening. They are relying on the other prts of their brain that control balance, timing, athletic motion.
All in life is about attitude. Don´t need to say that, of course, you need to work hard in order to achieve your goals, whatever they are. You are not able to play good golf just believing that you are able to do it. you need to prepare yourself, and train hard. But, if you play good but don´t have the ability to control yourself and have confidence, there is no way to make a good round. I have proved myself, that when I keep a good mood and confidence during a round, I do at least 30 points, almost in the worst day. When I give up in the middle of the round, because I have hit some bad shots, it´s gonna be a really bad result, and worse, a really bad day...
When I first started playing and joined a golf league I had no confidence in my game. I was as likely to shank a ball just because I was worried about not hitting it well. Which of course led to me trying not to shank a ball, which lead to me tensing up and shanking the ball. It is a vicious circle, which goes around and around, which makes it a circle!
It does not help that I used to suffer from bad anxiety, I used to get near crippling stage fright before performance and on occasion would get wobbly knees on the tee.
The thing is I never had this issue at the range. I was by myself and just hitting the shots I wanted.
When I thought it over I realized that "pressure", for me, came from trying hit the shot I wanted and the shot executed the way I knew I could. Failure to do so was rattling around my brain.
I needed to have no shanks, no nubbed balls, perfect execution (for a noob),
Then I learned to stop worrying and love the challenge. I started to adopt a saying from the Matrix, "there is no Spoon!". Which soon became "no spoon", to finally "spoon". I know once you take out the other words it becomes the battle cry for the Tick!,
However this was a means to remind me that this is just a game, nothing bad will happen if I shank a ball, if a double bogie a hole. I will have a bad score, but ultimately my kids dont care, they are still healthy and happy, so why the pressure, this is a game not my livelihood.
I know how to hit a ball so I have found the joy in the challenge of the next shot, no matter how that shot lies. I dont get upset or have a tantrum or throw a club (never done that), I have calmed down and learn to enjoy the game.
I have always struggled with trying to kill ball. The harder I try to swing the crazier I hit the ball.
What I have learned lately is twofold. First off "Stand closer" and "Swing easy".
When I stop trying to reach and kill it and focus on setup and loosely swinging, I am getting a lot better at ball striking.
So for me at least "Stand closer" and "Swing easy" are important swing thoughts for me.
- The Mental Game in Two Words
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