April’s Theme is Peak Sports Performance
Do you feel like golf gets easier and easier for you to play, with each shot you take? Do you see the opportunity to play golf as a chance to learn more about your abilities, improve your skills and enjoy the sport? How about other areas of your life? Do you look at meeting new people as growth opportunities to learn something new or make new friends? What thoughts come to your mind as you think about answers to these questions? Do you realize that mental skills come into play whether you step out to golf for the 100th time, or meet new people for the first time?
Mental training really pertains to any sport, and all aspects of your life. As you improve your mental skills and abilities, you are able to improve upon your performance in all areas of your life, including your sport. You know that your mind is with you everywhere you go, so it stands to reason that mental skills involve the mind with everything you do. You really can’t just work on mental skills for golf or your sport alone, without recognizing that they will affect everything else in your life. The mind doesn’t work that way.
If you have read any of my other blogs or received prior training from me, then you know that I place a great deal of importance on looking at how you approach all of life – not just your sport. This includes your mental skills and everything it takes in order for you to perform well in whatever you do. Even if you just want to focus on improving your golf game, you cannot magically flip the switch and have the mental side of your sport rise to the occasion when you are out at an event or ready to perform. If you have not been practicing your mental skills just like you do your mechanics, it is not realistic to expect those mental skills to be there on demand. These are skills that need to be practiced and worked on regularly, in as many opportunities as you can find, so you can perfect them. That way, they are readily available in your mind when you need them to perform well in your sport.
In this blog post, I am taking a look at a suggestion from one of my hypnosis products. All of my products are available for you to purchase and download from my website, but I like to offer this complimentary training to help you get started in the right direction with your mental skills. It is the kind of suggestion I can give you as a hypnotherapist, and I know it goes right to the subconscious level of your mind where your programming takes place. It then contributes to your mental programming and you begin to live as if that suggestion were factual. The same thing happens if you repeat it to yourself a multitude of times, over and over again, for the next several years. It will then become part of your mental programming where you will react to it as if it is factual. It is the same as hypnosis, to a certain degree, but hypnosis works in a lot less time where your repetition takes longer.
So the bottom line is, you are programming yourself all day long every day with all of the thoughts and suggestions you give yourself – good or bad. That is why I give you information on how to think correctly; the kinds of thoughts you want to think that will help you improve your sport performance. My suggestion here is one I would like to see you working on this week, starting today. Any time you hear yourself speaking negatively or thinking negatively about your game, stop doing it. Repetition and reinforcement build expectations, fears and doubts. Then when you go out to perform from that place, naturally your performance suffers. So let’s take a look at the suggestion, as a way of reprogramming those negative thoughts. It is: “With each shot I learn about myself and what works for me- improving my touch- learning and noticing that each day it is easier and easier for me to play golf well.”
This is a healthy, un-limiting suggestion that will help you perform better as you keep it in mind on a regular basis. How can you tell if your thoughts are negative and need to be changed? First, you must become aware of your thought patterns. Second, you must stop the thoughts that are limiting and unhealthy. Then third, you must work hard to focus on yourself and your sport in an un-limiting way, by replacing those limiting thoughts with ones that are healthy. So begin by saying to yourself over and over: “With each shot I learn about myself and what works for me- improving my touch- learning and noticing that each day it is easier and easier for me to play golf well.”
Does that suggestion sound like something you already speak to yourself? I think that it is very likely you’ve been beating yourself up with each shot before now, and you carried a level of expectation of perfection in your head. Then if you didn’t hit your ball as perfectly as you would have liked, or it didn’t land as perfectly as you hoped, or if it didn’t do exactly what you wanted it to do, you would have instantly started attacking yourself, the situation or the game of golf itself. All of that leaves you agitated and frustrated. Then those feelings build up inside of you, and you have probably already seen how your performance decreases when that happens.
So when agitation, stress, anxiety, doubts, frustrations, worries and fears all increase, your performance decreases. What can you do about that? Well, why not go into the experience ready to have fun, but ready to learn at the same time? You go into the game with the skills you’ve learned over time and still have today, but you need to recognize that you are still evolving, learning and growing. There is no such thing as perfection, in golf or in life. So, every time you get upset when the shot doesn’t happen exactly the way you want, you have to realize it’s your ego trying to hold you back, and you need to move away from that kind of thinking. Move towards the knowledge that you are learning along the way.
Each time you play, you are learning what works for you and improving upon things you actually have control over. You can control your swing, your stance, and your mental skills, and you are improving, learning and noticing that with each shot, it will get easier and easier to play golf. That will be the case as you look at the opportunity to learn, have fun and be present. Whatever experience comes your way, you can learn from it, grow from it and apply the knowledge at the next hole, your next drive, or your next experience with that same or similar situation. It is a continuous evolution that you are learning along the way, and frees your mind up from the negativity that holds you back.
Getting rid of negativity frees your mind up to be open to the experience of learning. When I say that each day with each shot it will get easier and easier for you to play golf well, imagine thinking that way on a regular basis, rather than thinking “I’m just not putting well”, or “my short game’s getting worse”, or “my long game’s getting worse”, or “I don’t know why I’m even playing anymore”. Instead of thinking all those kinds of thoughts, imagine being present, recognizing that you are learning and growing, figuring things out mentally and mechanically, and that it is getting easier and easier to play. As you do, you will then begin to have fun again in your sport. Isn’t that why you started playing in the first place? I know that a lot of people have lost the ‘having fun’ aspect of playing golf, because they have gotten so frustrated when things haven’t gone the way their egos wanted them to go. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can choose what you think, and how you approach the game.
So what you need to do to improve your performance and level of fun playing golf is to first: be aware of the limiting ways you think about yourself, and the negative thought patterns you have about your performance. Second, you need to just stop thinking those limiting types of thoughts. Finally, you must go to work on releasing the blockages and boundaries you place on yourself with your mind, and start thinking in healthy ways. You can start with this suggestion: “With each shot I learn about myself and what works for me- improving my touch- learning and noticing that each day it is easier and easier for me to play golf well.”
So have fun with that suggestion as you play this week. Have fun learning, understanding yourself and growing, and be sure to take the mental part of your game as seriously as your mechanics. You can have some of the best mechanics in the world but if the mental skills aren’t there, your mechanics will waver and lag behind, and you will become extremely inconsistent in your game. Start to take a look at the importance of your mental skills and realize there is a cause and effect relationship between what you think and how you play. If you think a certain way, it affects you and your performance in a certain way. But don’t just take my word for it. Start finding your own evidence and it will have a much greater benefit, long term, once you learn it for yourself.
If you would like any more information about this, or some help applying it to your life and game, please contact me. I am available to work with you, and I know this will help you get back to enjoying golf and the things you used to like doing (but maybe don’t so much anymore). I really hope you find golf getting easier and easier with each shot you take this week, and going forward. Thanks for reading. InJoy your day!