Mental Training for Golfers:
MENTAL COACHING FOR YOUR GOLF GAME
By Joan King, BCH, Peak Performance Strategist
Most golfers aren’t aware of how much their golf games can improve with mental coaching.
How do you know if you need mental game coaching? Here are some mental weaknesses to help you decide:
- When you aren’t able to take your game from the range to the golf course.
- When you have lost confidence in the ability you have experienced before.
- When you finish a round of golf and mainly talk about what you didn’t do, and what you could have done.
- When you are thinking more about swing mechanics, other players, or outside distractions than on playing your game.
- When you lose control of your swing on the golf course and are not able to get it back.
- When you have the “first tee jitters”, or “yips” in your short game.
- When your game is inconsistent.
- When your game falls apart under the pressure of competition.
- When you aren’t playing up to your potential.
My primary goal as a mental golf coach is to teach you how to become your own mind coach on the golf course. Through an analysis of desires, personality traits, golf strengths and weaknesses, you are given the mental tools to be more confident, focus better, stay relaxed, have more fun, and practice more efficiently mentally and physically. To increase your number of consistent scores, you are given proven successful mental preparation routines that are used by world-class professional golfers.
Important in the learning process of any skill is the knowledge of your sensory system. We learn through our senses, which is called imagery. Your dominant sense is the one in which you most easily interpret information and understand instructions, as well as performance. Many golfers think they have to "visualize" and hold on to the image to execute a good golf shot. Visualization is not the same thing as imagery. Seeing or visualizing is only one of your senses.
For example, when you are playing golf you use each one of your senses: You do not see the wind. You feel and hear it. The wind is an auditory and kinesthetic image. You see your golf swing in your mind’s eye. You feel the golf club through your hands. Your sense of tempo and timing is an auditory image.
Imagery is making a mental representation through the use of your senses. You access and process information through your five senses, but only one sense is in your consciousness at any one time. The senses we use in golf are visual (seeing), auditory (voice, rhythm, balance), and kinesthetic (touch, feeling). If your dominant sense is visual, you will be able to “see a line on the green”, and learn the golf swing best by seeing it performed. If you are mainly auditory you will understand instruction best and be most confident by sensing the rhythm and tempo of the swing or putt. If you process information kinesthetically, you will learn best when you can feel the swing or feel the undulations on the green through your feet.
Practice makes perfect. To be more exact, perfect practice makes perfect. The only place you can practice perfectly is in your mind. Golfers have always created images to enhance their golf shots. You may have heard the expression, “It landed like a butterfly with sore feet”, which describes a successful flop shot hit out of a greenside bunker. As you create images and anchor them with good positive feelings, your mind will remember and know to repeat them.
Peak performance golf happens when a golfer is in the right state of mind. This means letting go of all irrelevant thoughts and focusing on creating what you want. In your inner mind, use your imagery to sense yourself practicing, playing with confidence, and being calm and relaxed. See, hear and feel yourself accomplishing your goals. Experience how good it feels to accomplish your goals. Enjoy your success!
Joan King is the founder and President of POSITIVE MENTAL IMAGERY, a mental sports consulting service since 1992 dedicated to helping golfers achieve their peak performances. Joan is a Board Certified Sports Hypnotist who helps people attain positive life style changes to realize their potential. She can be contacted at 828-696-2547, email, firstname.lastname@example.org or fax 828-696-2547. Her Website is www.pmi4.com