As I begin my 17th year of helping golfers improve so they can play at their peak performance levels, I am surprised at the number of golfers who still aren’t aware of how much their mental mind-set effects their physical game.
When you are hitting to a par 3 over water, have you ever said, “Don’t hit it in the water?” And you hit it right into the water? Or on a hole with OB on the left, have you said “Don’t hook it out of bounds?” And it flew OB?
I played with a woman recently who declared on the first tee that she got upset easily and we would probably hear some anger and bad words from her. Since this is the beginning of the golf season here in western North Carolina, it appeared she was insecure about her game and was making excuses from the beginning. She was exasperated with each shot she hit because they were going high and not as far as she thought they should. Thinking she could talk herself into hitting it longer, she began to tell herself, “Don’t hit it short.” This continued for 18 holes. She left every shot and every approach short.
She didn’t know that one of the most important mental tools in golf is to create what you want with positive thoughts and visualizations. Your unconscious mind is the part of your mind that controls all of your bodily functions, including your golf swing. The unconscious hears everything and responds to it literally. The word “don’t” is a value judgment. Judgment is a function of the conscious mind. The unconscious doesn’t understand the word “don’t” and only responds to the picturing of the statement. So her body was responding perfectly to her message of “Hit it short.”
The PMI program teaches golfers how to improve the 4 C’s in golf which are the skills that most golfers complain about; Control, Confidence, Consistency and Concentration. All golfers and athletes want to be more confident, especially under pressure in a tournament. The PMI July 2003 Newsletter "Confidence” (www.pmi4.com, Archived Newsletters), explains the mental tools you need to develop to be more confident.
The way you talk to yourself, either inside your head, or outwardly by voice, determines your confidence level, self-doubt, and your performance. On the golf course you need to talk to yourself as if the best caddy or sports psychologist in the world is encouraging you.
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 practice these images and thoughts over and over again in their minds as if it was the real situation, until the image is automatically accepted.
I have put these images and positive affirmations on seven PMI compact discs. All you have to do is listen to them repeatedly to gain the 4 C’s. They can be ordered on the shopping cart at www.pmi4.com/cart
What you say to yourself actually causes a physical change in your body. Since this is such an important conversation, make certain it is what you want to happen, not what you don’t want to happen. Believe that you really do have the power to “create” the golf game you want. It is easier to complain and blame than to find positive thoughts and emotions. Don’t replay the same scenario and “what-ifs’ over and over. This will wear you down and create tension which causes mishit shots. Since you can create anxiety and tension, you can also create confidence and calm.
Creating 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 faults or game weaknesses, or why you can't hit a shot, it becomes difficult. Focus on your strengths.
What you envision in the inner, what you truly feel in the inner, is going to manifest outwardly. It is the power of now; right now. Your subconscious mind doesn’t discern the difference between good and bad, right and wrong. To create what you want, keep your self talk in the present moment with a positive statement. Build a vault of the best things you are capable of so you can depend on them time and time again. If you make a mistake, analyze it for what you can learn and then LET IT GO FOREVER.
You allow your subconscious mind to run your internal organs. Why not trust it to swing the golf club for you? You have read about Tiger Woods’ brain being wired differently from the rest of us. He has been putting the same positive programs into his unconscious mind all of his life. What kind of programs are you putting into your data bank?
Why do you do what you don’t want to do, and don’t do what you want to do?
Many words create negative pictures in our minds. They are indicative of a guilty past or a fearful future and thus reinforce the conflict within us. Your conscious mind and unconscious minds must be sending the same message or you will be giving a mixed message to your body. It is important to recognize the impact of words you use and to set mental boundaries.
We talk to ourselves all the time. There is a voice in there that is talking to us either positively or negatively, depending upon our past experiences. In order to play good golf, you have to have positive self-talk.
KNOW THAT THIS IS A PROCESS OF CHANGE.
EACH TIME YOU CHANGE A NEGATIVE THOUGHT TO A POSITIVE ONE, YOU ARE CLOSER TO GETTING WHAT YOU WANT.
Since we live in a world that is always looking for the worst scenarios, how do you change negative thoughts?
One way is by repeating affirmations.
Affirmations are statements that affirm what you want now, in the present. Affirmations give you permission to be or do what you want. The most powerful affirmations begin with the words I AM which send a message to your unconscious about what you want to create NOW. You can program your brain for your own personal success by repeating affirmations along with pictures and good feelings of what you want to happen.
KNOW THAT YOU HAVE A CHOICE ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK.
WHAT YOU SAY TO YOURSELF IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR OWN MIND IS WHAT YOU BECOME!
For additional information about how your thinking and self-talk effect your game, log on to www.pmi4.com and click on the Archived Newsletter page, and then the May 2002 newsletter, “Self Talk.”
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