Archived Newsletters - CONFIDENCE:
Newsletter July 2003
Vol. IV, Edition 7
by Joan King
The mental parts of the game that golfers most want to improve are the
four C's; confidence, control, consistency and concentration.
Golfers believe that they will gain confidence when they play well.
This is true, but success is hard to hold on to, and as it slips away,
so does your confidence. True confidence comes from believing in
yourself and in your ability to improve. Champions continually strive
to improve. They keep their focus moving toward success and learn from
Hilary Lunke is the new US Women's Open Champion. Hilary is by her own
admission a short hitter off the tee, but she conquered the 6550 yard
Witch Hollow Course at Pumpkin Ridge, Oregon all week with her stellar
game play. She had been working on her game and in the Monday 18-hole
play-off, it wasn't where she wanted it to be. She was unable to reach
some greens with a fairway metal.
Hilary trusted her short game to bring her through all of the momentum
changes that occurred several times during the play-off. Hitting only
9 greens, she had 23 putts, one putting 10 times in the first 11 holes.
Her exemplary mental game is a good example of having the confidence to
win a major championship. She said, "I didn't need other people to
believe in me, but it was important that I did."
FOCUS ON THE SOLUTION, NOT THE PROBLEM.
Focusing on your weaknesses, keeps your attention on the negative and
leads to low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence.
Self-confidence remains when you aren't deterred by a missed shot, or
not having your "A" swing. You are able to let it go, remain calm and
focus your energy on the next shot. A good example is Annika Sorenstam's
offline shot hit under the stands on the 72nd hole. She was confident
enough to take as much time as she needed to be clear about her options
and how she was going to play her next shot. Would you have handled this
situation the same way, or would you have been in a hurry to get out of
there and move away from the feeling of embarrassment?
USE POSITIVE SELF-TALK TO DEVELOP CONFIDENCE
Developing self-confidence begins off the golf course. You must believe
before you can achieve. As your confidence builds, you move from "I'll
try it", to "I think I can do this" to "knowing" that you can hit the
shot, or break 90 or whatever you desire. As you focus your attention
on believing in your ability, you move toward your goal and become more
confident as your skills improve.
This state of "knowing" is accomplished by constantly reminding yourself
of what you do well. Think about it often. The more you think about
creating what you want, the easier it becomes. When you focus on your
swing fault or game weaknesses or why you can't hit a shot, it becomes
difficult. Focus on your strengths.
Your self-image and self-confidence are formed by the verbal, visual and
feeling images in your mind. World class golfers constantly repeat their
positive self-talk. They use these images to practice over and over again
in their minds as if it was the real situation, until the image is
PLAN FOR IMPROVING CONFIDENCE:
1. At the end of every round, write down what you did well in that round.
2. Write down what you can do better.
3. Write down how you are going to do it.
BODY LANGUAGE FOR CONFIDENCE
1. Practice your setup so that you feel the athletic stance that prepares
you for a smooth balanced takeaway.
2. Breathe deeply through your abdomen to relax your body.
3. Feel and visualize your smooth, easy, effortless swing.
4. Walk with your head high looking straight ahead. Walking with your
head and eyes down will promote negative self-talk.
Your "authentic self" is where you live consistently with your desires,
your dreams, and your gifts. Your "fictional self" denies who you really
are and is defined by your environment and the world's expectations. When
you change how you look at your golf game your performance will change.
To become a winner you must have confidence in yourself, in your ability,
and have a desire to enjoy what you are doing.
It is important to realize that everything you do on the golf course is
for your benefit and enjoyment. When you decide to let go of the pressure
by trying too hard and letting go of the compulsion to win, you can begin
to enjoy playing. This is your game and the first responsibility is to
1. Believe and visualize your ability to play the game well.
2. Believe and see yourself improving.
3. Think positively and see yourself building on your positive efforts.
4. Compliment yourself often. See the good in all things.
5. Act like a champion. Act as if it is impossible to fail.
WINNERS SEE WHAT THEY WANT TO HAPPEN; LOSERS SEE WHAT THEY FEAR MIGHT HAPPEN.
IF IT WORKS, DON'T CHANGE IT!
All golfers are familiar with the thoughts that occur when they are playing
well. They become defensive and try to protect their lead, or score which
puts the focus on how to avoid mistakes rather than on playing well. The
old sports adage, "Never change a winning game, always change a losing
game" applies here. Once you get your momentum going, it is important to
maintain it by doing the same things that got you to that position.
WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT IS WORKING, DO MORE OF IT!
Stick to your game plan even though you are playing outside of your comfort
zone. Be patient and wait for the good things to happen. This is not the
time to play aggressively. Overconfidence can cause you to try and hit
low-percentage shots. The strategy of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods is
to play conservatively on Sunday and let the other players press to catch
them. Play your percentage shots; the shots you know you can hit at least
50% of the time. Play smart golf.
· I AM more confident in my ability every day.
· I AM enthusiastic about playing golf.
· I AM confident I can recover from my mistakes.
· I AM enjoying learning to improve my golf game.
· I AM a winner!