When you think of improving your sport performance, how often do your gut feelings come to mind? Do you relate your gut feelings to how much you trust yourself and your abilities? I’d like to bring you some mental training that will help you take full advantage of your sport mechanics and how you think and feel about your ability to perform well. There are many factors that affect performance, not just the skills you’ve been practicing, when it comes to performing well at an event, practice, or competition and doing it to the best of your ability. As a mental trainer and hypnotherapist, of course, I try to help improve your mental skills and hope to do so in this article.
If you haven’t noticed already, what happens when your mind and body are a little bit out of whack is that you are not able to perform to the best of your ability. Take the example of not sleeping well. You cannot perform well in whatever you do, if you are overtired or not well rested. If you haven’t eaten well, you know that you run out of energy before you finish your game or whatever you need to accomplish, so needing to sleep and eat well are important. Exercising regularly, so you have enough endurance and energy to compete, is another example. These factors are all important for the long haul if you have any expectations of improving your performance.
What we seem to take for granted and forget is that the mind and brain are controlling our experience to some degree. Not to say it takes control of everything. Although, that’s what happens when our ego gets involved and believes we are in control of everything and that how we think things should go is how they really ought to go. We need to recognize that our mind creates our thoughts. It creates the way we view ourselves, our mechanics, our skills, and the way we view the event we are about to step into. All of these things affect how well we are able to perform, just as much as sleeping, eating and exercising help to prepare our bodies properly for a good performance. So you want to make sure you are practicing your mental skills as well. You need to tweak and work on them just as diligently as you work on your physical and mechanical skills. They really are just as important as making sure you eat well, sleep well, exercise and drink lots of water. All of them combined enable you to not only perform well, but also to improve your performance.
In order to help you with this, I want to look at an affirmation or suggestion that I pulled from some of my hypnosis products. It is: “I trust my gut feelings, my internal guidance, how I feel- I trust myself”. This might sound fluffy to some of you, especially those of you who have very traditional ways of learning and are rational thinkers, but I have been pleasantly surprised to find out that most of my clients have said they know what a gut feeling is when asked if they get them.
So why don’t you stop right now and think about what a gut feeling is to you? Think about times in your life where you have had a sense about something or a feeling about which way to turn when you were driving (left or right), or a sense about whether or not to go to a particular event, talk to a particular person, or a feeling that there was something more to a person coming into your life than you may have realized. You might have had gut feelings about moving or making business decisions. Really, we all have had experiences with gut feelings at some point in our lives, whether we labeled them that way or not.
What I have often observed in talking with golfers is that they get a gut feeling about which club to choose, how to go about playing a particular hole, where they should aim the ball, and what strategy they should take with each shot. They have gut feelings about them, but the tricky thing is whether or not they trust those gut feelings.
Lots of golfers have shared with me that they have gut feelings about what club to choose, but if they doubt themselves or have any issues with confidence, they second guess themselves. They may end up trusting the club another golfer in their group chooses or the golf club the group before them used (which driver for example). They end up second guessing themselves—and we have all heard that expression—which points to the fact that they had gut feelings to begin with.
So when you second guess yourself, you are actually doubting yourself. You might look around you to see what someone else is doing. You might change your actions or your thoughts because of what you observed from someone else. It is really a lack of trust in self, a lack of confidence and knowing yourself well, honoring your decisions and what’s right for you. You have allowed doubt to creep in, and that decreases your performance. So when doubt creeps in and a lack of confidence is present, you need to counteract that with trust in yourself and your gut feelings. Trust how you feel and the internal guidance you have. “I trust my gut feelings, my internal guidance, how I feel. I trust myself.” This type of thinking will improve your performance.
If you have read any of my other material, then you know I advocate using these skills in all areas of your life. By doing so, you get the repetition, reinforcement, understanding, knowledge, and ability to excel without hoping you can “pull it off” when you are performing or competing in your sport. Most people don’t know how to work their mental skills, and they attempt to make something happen when they are out at an event, or they try to make themselves focus and trust themselves. Those things cannot be made to happen so quickly. They are skills that need to be built upon and need to be perfected over time. Trust is not something that is going to pop out of the blue and suddenly happen.
Doubt and lack of confidence are likely in your character, in some form or fashion. You are probably even familiar with the way it feels when you doubt yourself, but you can also tap into the fact that trust and confidence are in your character as well, and you can start to decipher the difference between when you doubt and trust yourself or when you have confidence and when you don’t. With that kind of self study or observation and understanding, you can gain greater and greater clarity about who you are and notice when you are in confidence and when you are not. When you are not, you need to do something about it. Step out of it. Take a moment for yourself. Look within yourself for your gut feelings or your internal guidance and see how you feel. Reflect upon your past and your understanding of who you are and what you have learned through your experiences. When you doubt yourself you know it is time to work on trusting yourself. The moment you feel doubt, you know you need to work on trust.
This will not happen overnight. You need to practice and understand these aspects of yourself. Work with them and know that you can handle them and switch over from lack of confidence to confidence, from doubt to trust, at any given time. Then if doubt tries to creep in when you are out there performing in your sport, you will know exactly how to handle it. Not only that, but doubt and lack of confidence will become less and less frequent in your day to day life and golf game, or whatever sport you may play. So not only will it occur less often but when it does happen while you are out there playing, you will know how to handle it.
So remember this suggestion and say it over and over to yourself this week: “I trust my gut feelings, my internal guidance, how I feel. I trust myself”. Take a look at yourself, reflect on your past and observe and notice the gut feelings you’ve had before, and go to work on the suggestion I’ve given to you in this complimentary mental training. If you’d like any more help, please contact me. I do phone and Skype sessions all over the world, and I have product downloads in the product store on my website. I am here to help you any way I can in many available forms.
I wish you well as you work on this aspect of your mental skills. Really take it seriously, and use the information I have given you. As you begin to start trusting your gut feelings, you will improve your performance. Have an amazing day!